Does growing up in a musical family make you a better musician?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by w3stie, Oct 23, 2011.

  1. Sollophonic

    Sollophonic Friend of Leo's

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    My Gran played piano, but was self taught and could genuinely play by ear. She could rattle off classical pieces without any music in front of her.

    My sister learned piano to Grade 8, my brother oboe and sax to Grade 6

    My wife learned violin to Grade 7, her twin sister sax and clarinet to Grade 6, her older sister piano to Grade 5.

    Apart from my wifes mother still playing piano, I am the only member of the close family that plays an instrument regularly. And I am completely self taught, with no formal training.

    And my two kids have shown virtually no interest in playing an instrument at all. My son has a set-up drum kit that gathers dust in his room.

    Go Figure!!!
     
  2. mc_1

    mc_1 Tele-Holic

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    as many have mentioned, exposure to music, whether formal or informal, is pretty important, as is musical encouragement.

    if i had to guess, i would guess that most great musicians had a parent who sang to them.
     
  3. TJNY

    TJNY Friend of Leo's

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    My current guitar teacher is teaching his 6 year old how to play. He is very good already for his age. It certainly makes a difference! Here's some proof:


    BTW, Electrohamonix caught wind of him and sent him some pedals for free!! Linked his video to their site. Very cool! That's the video above with the pedals

     
  4. DirtyMacSpecial

    DirtyMacSpecial Tele-Meister

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    I can say that my mom was a professional flute player for a touring symphony, didnt actually leave much of an impact on me besides her pushing me to play an instrument. One thing I can say though I felt had an impact was more the music my parents listened to def set me on a path to play guitar
     
  5. allen st. john

    allen st. john Friend of Leo's

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    I think the consensus is that it helps. But how?
    If you've got musicians in the family, it's probably an indication that someone, somewhere back in the day had "talent." That often, although not always, is passed down in some way and it can't hurt.
    But the bigger factor is the culture of the family. In my family, not only did no one play, my parents actively discouraged me from taking up a band instrument. I wanted to play violin (because it was close to guitar) and then drums and they flat out said no, (largely because we lived in small apartment and they would have to listen to me play/practice with no possibility for escape.) The local library offered guitar lessons but the teacher said I was too small, my parents didn't protest and that was it until I was in college.
    On the other hand, the first thing my father did when he got home was pick up the newspaper, and on Sunday afternoon he'd sit down in front of the TV and watch the Mets lose, and my mom would stay up and read the newspaper after I went to bed.
    I don't think there's any mystery why I'm a journalist who writes about sports.
     
  6. Mike Bruce

    Mike Bruce Friend of Leo's

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    How? Exposure, immersion, conditioning, language, concepts, styles...we learned the why and how of music along with the performance of it. Intervals, scales, keys, harmony, dynamics, and it was made fun with games and parodies. All this in that time of our lives when learning is easiest, when we were young. We were conditioned to want it. It made us happy to learn, it involved our hands, head, heart, ears, voice. It became a way of life, a culture, it was what we did. We sang when we traveled, when we camped and fished and played, we played piano and later other instruments for fun and for serious academic achievement.
     
  7. emu!

    emu! Poster Extraordinaire

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    Well, if your last name is Van Halen...it probably will get you a bass gig.
     
  8. Andyek4

    Andyek4 TDPRI Member

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    I think what really helped was my dad, he always would help us out with things and would always listen and critique our playing in a way that made us want to try harder to get it just right. It also helped that music was always playing in at least one room of the house for inspiration. I guess my father drove us harder and still does with my younger brother because he and his band came so close to the big time and were deprived of it because of what was going on in this country at the time, they actually received a letter stating this from a record company. Playing an instrument in my house just wasn't an option.
     
  9. oldmark

    oldmark Tele-Holic

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    I don't know. EVERYONE in my family played something or is interested in music.

    Mom toured the eastern US with a school chorus in the 1930's and sang on the radio several times with them all over.

    My dad learned to play piano at age 70...He had a great collection of big band swing and boogie-woogie piano that I wore out playing all day.

    Growing up, I never realized other people did NOT play or sing-I thought everyone could do it.

    My middle brother - who plays guitar and bass - adopted twin girls many years ago...one of them plays drums in a girl group near Boston, and they both play guitar. I guess they got it by immersion.

    mark
     
  10. RevMike

    RevMike Poster Extraordinaire

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    I grew up in a musical house. Dad played button accordion, banjo and harmonica, and sang tenor in a barbershop quartet. Mom played piano. I was sort of forced to take piano, which I totally hated. (although I love to play piano now) Even so, it was driven into my head that musicians were losers and transients, and I would amount to nothing if I didn't go into the business world. I know my parents meant well, but looking back, if I had it to do all over, I would have defied them and pursued music as a career. I do ok part time, which to me, means if I really put myself into it, I could make a decent living. I never...ever wanted to be famous. Problem is how do I start all over now that I already have family..mortgage..etc..etc.
     
  11. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    It may not make you a better musician or even "a" musician, but if the desire is there I would think the encouragement , participation and support would be there 100% . Parents participation with the study of music is equally as important as the lesson. And I don't mean " stop watching TV and practice " , I'm talking genuine interest.
     
  12. Ted M

    Ted M Tele-Afflicted

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    I think it can really help - some of the best musicians I know had parents who played music of one sort or another.

    My family was not interested in music, and my Dad (a doctor)was dead set against me playing guitar. When I was 18 and talking about being a professional musician he told me "You have no talent, you're no good and never will be any good."

    The desire to prove him wrong motivated me to become a good player and play professionally, so I guess I can thank him for that.
     
  13. GregB

    GregB Tele-Holic

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    Short answer : Yes

    Are there other factors which also contribute? : Yes

    Does that mean if you're not from a musical family you can't play? : No

    As for the 10,000 rule, that stirs up a whole 'nother mess. But I have found that just as Arther C Clarke once said "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" I've found that "A certain sufficient amount of practice is indistinguishable from talent."
     
  14. Mike Bruce

    Mike Bruce Friend of Leo's

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    Agreed.
     
  15. sax4blues

    sax4blues Friend of Leo's

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    First off... 2000th post!!! If my boss only knew. :eek:

    There seems to be a general agreement that environment will influence a persons choice of activities. Kids growing up surrounded by music will probably play some music. But.. "Does growing up in a musical family make you a BETTER musician?" My limited experience would be it is inconclusive that musical families produce "better" musicians.

    There are endless stories of guitar players from families that did not support them, who locked themselves in the bedroom every day after school to practice for six hours and went on to be great. I know more than a few kids who are dedicated great players and their parents are not musical and not involved in the kids music.

    I also know kids who have received substantial family support and they are just average at best. These kids are surely involved because of the musical family influence, but I would not think of them as better muscians.
     
  16. rolling56

    rolling56 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I took drum lessons when i was a kid and my brother took guitar lessons. My brother took my drum sticks and got a '64 Ludwig set and joined a band. I played his drums when he was gone but wanted to learn to play guitar. I'm a lefty and got told that lefty guitars cost to much........this was in 1964. So i waited till 1981 and bought a guitar and had friends show me how to play and been havin at it ever since.

    My parents only played the Victrola and 78's and the radio of course........there was no one in my family that plays anything that i ever knew of.
     
  17. Tommy Biggs

    Tommy Biggs Friend of Leo's

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    There's going to be plenty of exceptions, and as Skub says - "if it's in you, it's in you", but in general exposure to music and sibling competition are going to be a big step in the right direction. Seeing how something is done by someone that is 'trained' or 'better than you' is a powerful teacher.

    Starting young is a tremendous advantage in getting to 10,000 hours.


    There are many complicating factors here though. One example is where birth order could play a role. If the oldest child is a prodigy, the subsequent children might tend to avoid that area of excellence to find their own niche.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2011
  18. TEAM LANDRETH

    TEAM LANDRETH Tele-Meister

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    I grew up in a musical house, although music as a career wasn't encouraged. I became a professional anyways. My kids grew up with the stereo on all the time and they are both pros. One is touring in Germany at the moment and the other is writing songs in LA for the act he plays guitar for while they do pre-production on their new album with Universal/Interscope.

    They had professional quality instruments right from the beginning and got lots of support and encouragement. I'd say it helps to grow up around music with anything you want to play or try to play at your finger tips.
     
  19. Flatfoot

    Flatfoot Tele-Meister

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    Generally, I think the answer is yes. That being said, one of the finest young guitarists from my area told me once that, as far as he knew, nobody in his family ever played any musical instrument before him.
     
  20. bradpdx

    bradpdx Friend of Leo's

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    I agree that the answer is "yes" but not to a predictable degree.

    My brother and I both play guitar, sing and write and do pro gigs in addition to our day jobs. While our parents didn't play anything, they loved music and it was cranking on those old KLH speakers much of the time.

    This meant a lot of Beatles in the '60s, along with Pete Seeger and many others. It definitely set things in motion for my brother and me.
     
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