Want to leave a legacy to your children? Teach them to appreciate and love music — your music. Yep, you may need to shell out a little dough for an mp3 player or some music lessons. But you will undoubtedly be passing on something very personal to you. Even better, your kids will have their own perspective and appreciation for music as the years pass.
Since I’ve roamed the planet a few years, I’ve stored up memories of a whole lot of different kinds of music in my life. I remember “current” music from when I was a kid, a teen, in college, as a young adult, and now. I’ve also come across many pieces from decades or even centuries ago. If you saw my iTunes playlists, you’d see this variety plain and clear. I attribute that open-eared approach to my family when I was growing up.
They allowed me to be exposed to Handel, Mozart, seventies ballads, jazz, blues, 50s and 60s rock, eighties pop and rock, John Phillip Sousa, big band swing, and Bach. You can’t just hear this on the radio — you really have to make an effort to get that kind of variety. As I grew up, I participated in music that I had never heard before but loved very quickly. Classic rock bands like Yes, The Who, Led Zeppelin, orchestral music, classic marches, Latin music, innovative soloist performers like Maynard Ferguson and Miles Davis.
The more I performed, the more I was exposed to people who knew more music than I did. My appreciation grew so much that I ended up marrying another person with a broad musical taste. Some elements of my husband’s favorite music has rubbed off on me. I hope I have many more years to learn about and enjoy music even more deeply than I do now.
One of the more exciting things about having kids was knowing that I would be giving them the gift of music. My husband and I are strongly supporting this path. Just this past week I was able to show one daughter an online video of Stevie Wonder performing “Sir Duke,” and on Sunday I made sure all my girls watched the legendary band “The Who” for the Superbowl halftime. Even with those small snippets, I know I am planting seeds of interest and enjoyment.
No, they may not like those musicians as much as I do. And they may end up loving a style I don’t really care for. But it’s just my job to keep exposing them to quality stuff. In the future, they will know how to discern OK music from truly brilliant music. They will know why they like what they like instead of just going with whatever is around them. They might even become disciplined enough to learn how to play what they like.
Music is part of my personal legacy and it gives me great joy to pass on these little nuggets. You don’t even have to be a musician to share your musical interests and the joy they bring you. As long as it’s age appropriate, have it on in the background, talk about the artists, ask if they can hear this certain instrument or can sing along to that part of the melody. When you share your music with love, you create loving memories and a lasting legacy.