The Impact of No Live Music, Thinking About My Kids
As a result of social distancing, live music events around the globe have been cancelled. My initial thoughts went out to the musicians – me being one of them – that will not be able to make money during the summer music season (this is when most gigs occur). As I’ve had time to reflect, I’ve come to realize that my kids are missing out on a ton of live music experiences.
In this brief post I’m going to look at how music brings us together, why live sound is best, and the value of everyday music experiences. Of course, there are many other reasons why live music is so important, but here are a few reasons I believe are worth considering.
Bringing Families Together
Each summer, my family attends a number of folk music festivals. One of our favorite things to do is search out bands that interest us. Typically, we will go from one stage to the next and only stay if we’re captivated by the music we hear. Some of my families best memories are of us sitting on the grass listening to bands and then, discussing what we like or don’t like about the music.
Building memories and having traditions is part of what makes families unique. Getting out of the house and experiencing music together provides a shared experience that you and your kids can cherish for years.
Nothing Beats Live Sound
If you’ve ever been to a drum and bugle corps show, there is honestly nothing like it. One of my fondest musical memories was sitting with my family while the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum Corps built up to a passage that was so loud I couldn’t hear myself yell. I don’t care how good your sound system is, nothing can beat the experience of live music.
I want my children to hear and see music live. It allows them to analyze the music, take in environment, and hang as a family. Whether it is an orchestra, rock band, or soloist in a coffee shop, there is something magical and refreshing about experiencing music when the artist is right there.
Living near Washington, DC my family has the opportunity to hear street musicians as we walk about the city. Hearing these sounds provides an energetic buzz, which is part of the tapestry of city life. It is chaotic, but beautiful. Yet without out, there is a void. Something is missing from the cityscape that is essential to its being.
Beyond the music we hear on the streets, the music that is made when my kids go to choir, band, or orchestra is also missing from their everyday life. The ability to make music with their peers is important to them. They spend a significant amount of time diligently practicing to present a final product to others. While they can make a YouTube video and get some feedback, it is just not the same. I have performed thousands of times and there is something magical about connecting with the audience, which is something that kids can only experience by performing live.
One Last Thought
In a world that is more and more online, I believe it is essential that we embrace live music as part of our daily lives. Eleanor Roosevelt said. “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost.” This is what I want for my kids. I want them to experience life with the greatest fulfillment, which I genuinely believe live music is an essential part of living a fulfilling life.
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John Owens, Ph.D. is the author of Music at Home: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Musically Insightful Kids. Check out his upcoming books, articles, and courses at johnowensmusic.com.