Trial & Error- Tips & Advice For New Parents – To Band, Or Not to Band
Kids don't realize it. Young adults don't realize it. You don't realize the strength of genetics until you look into the eyes of your first child and think, "This is a mini-me". The first picture ever taken of my first-born, Tyler, looks like they superimposed my head onto a baby's body.Once you realize just how much your child looks like you, you begin to think about how much they will one day ACT like you as well. If you're comfortable with who you are as a person, you're probably not too worried about your kid acting like you. For someone like me, this is something to put the fear of God into you. The fact that my kids will one day not only look like me, but act like me as well, has created some change in who I am.
Thanks to genetics, there are certain things my two boys will never be able to change. Baldness, below-average athletic ability & zero musical talent are just a few of the genetic limitations my boys will one day come face to face with. It's what you do with these genetic traits that sets you apart. For example, I'm balding, so I'm very happy in my job that allows me to wear hats to work most of the time. I have no athletic ability but love sports, and my job allows me to work in and around sports a lot. I have zero musical ability but love music, and working in radio allows me to be around music all day every day.
I don't want to depress you, but in addition to having your best traits, your kids will also have your worst traits. For my kids, it's a love of music with zero love in return. I tried playing an instrument when I was a kid. I was terrible. I didn't understand it, but since I was the only trombone I got away with being terrible. I also tried singing. I was in my church choir for a couple years, but it took singing a solo in church to hear just how bad I really was at singing.
That all leads to my parenting dilemma. My kids love music, but do I save them from themselves, or do I allow them to find out for themselves just how much genetics has screwed them over? I keep looking for any little sign that I may have a diamond-in-the-rough who might one day make daddy very wealthy with their musical abilities, but so far let's just say I haven't started shopping luxury retirement homes. As far as I can see, there are three possible solutions to this problem.
Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain- A little slight-of-the-hand magic might be called for with this method. It's really about redirecting focus. Every time your child mentions anything involving a band or choir tryout, come up with something else they should be doing at that same time.
"Dad, band tryouts are Thursday after school, so you'll need to pick me up".
"Oh, is that THIS Thursday? I thought we were going to see the midnight showing of Iron Man 3 that night, and I can't be out that late if I don't get a nap after work. But if you'd rather try out for band, we can just watch the new Iron Man when it comes out on Blue Ray".
Be their biggest super fan- Kids don't want to do what their parents want them to do. That's not news to you. Reverse psychology is still used for a reason: It works. If you suddenly become enamored with their music, driving them to (and watching) every rehearsal and practice, music will lose its "cool" factor. Throw in suggestions and tips at every opportunity, and, is possible, get the same instrument they play and start taking lessons. They'll be so mortified seeing you playing the same instrument that they'll never want to pick it up again. The quickest way to get a kid NOT to do something is to encourage them to actually DO something. This method will require great sacrifice. You'll have to listen to a lot of crappy music, but it'll all be worth it in the end when you don't have an unemployed "musician" living in his old bedroom at 32 years old.
Encourage your kid to join a band- This may seem to fly in the face of my first two recommendations, but this is a last-ditch attempt at complete failure as a parent if the first two methods fail. First, being around other young kids trying to play music may be enough to show them they're not up to being a musician. There may also be the off-chance that one of the other kids is actually worse at music than them, so seeing someone play that bad may lead them to a little more soul searching in regards to whether they're cut out for music. Punk music would be preferred. Sure it encourages rebellion against "the man", but you only have to learn three chords and the worse you are as a musician in punk music the more popular you are. The problem with this plan is that you may have to one day actually listen to the music they're playing.
I don't want to take the music away from my kids because I remember how much I loved music growing up. I guess it's obvious I still love music, although radio is a lot less about listening to music now and a lot more about TPS reports. I just have to find a way for my kids to channel their love for music before they reach adulthood and do something stupid like becoming a radio DJ.