Social Question

zensky's avatar

Are you or someone in your family musically inclined?

Asked by zensky (13367points) August 1st, 2012

If no-one in your family is – what’s that like?

I can’t imagine life without music – and much of my childhood, and my children’s too, has been focused around music.

What’s it like being in a non-musical family?

That sounds a bit facetious but isn’t meant to be.

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31 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

What’s so weird is that my parents can’t carry a tune. I wish I had a recording of them singing “happy birthday” to show you. It is so bad you can’t possibly imagine. And yet….

My father decided to learn to play the recorder around the time I was 8 years old. He took a woodworking class that year, too. Funny, because he was a postdoc. You’d think he wouldn’t have time to take on a couple of new hobbies. But he did.

His recorder playing impressed me, and I wanted to learn a little. But the next year, they demonstrated all the instruments in class, and the instant I heard it, I knew which one was for me. I took lessons for the next ten years or so, through my first year in college. Unfortunately, the college I went to had a very strong music program, and so, if you weren’t a professional, you weren’t good enough. I stopped playing for fifteen years.

Then, serendipity struck.I hurt my back in a car accident and couldn’t dance. My chiropractor became a friend, and he came over to visit one day. He saw my instrument case, and asked to hear me play, since he was also a trumpet player. My lip was not strong, but I still had good tone, and he gave me a set of exercises to bring my chops back.

I started playing for the dance instead of dancing. I got better and better, and a number of other opportunities came my way. I probably could have been a professional if I had wanted to go that way. But I prefer being an amateur. I’ve played in a few little groups and done some recording. I play a number of other instruments, as well.

I’ve encouraged my children to learn piano as a starter instrument, since I always wished I coiuld play piano. We have musical evenings sometimes, and we can all write music. The kids make up songs and love to play. Sometimes my son drums with the dance workshop.

So, from a non-musical family to a musical family. I’m sure my parents would be good musicians if they had had training, but they didn’t, and so they are really bad. I’m sure that I’d be really bad, too, except that I’ve had a lot of training over the years.

Really, that’s the difference. Training and exposure and music around the house. If people work at it, they will become good. If they believe they can’t do it, they will be bad. Nonmusical.

JLeslie's avatar

We don’t play instruments, but my family loves music. I grew up with all sorts of music. Mostly my parents played 50’s and 60’s music, but they played popular music too. My mom used to tape songs off the radio onto a cassette. She would lay down on her bed with that little tape player and listen to her music to take a break from things. When we took road trips we would sing songs together. We also would dance in the living room to Beatles and Beach Boys. Some classical here and there, especially when staying with my grandparents. And, I took ballet, so classical music was part of my routine as a child because of that. My aunt breaks into song if you say a word that triggers a memory of a song.

My sister actually studied piano for years, but I never heard her play much. I only took 6 months of instruction so I know the very basics of reading music, how to find C, that sort of thing.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

Both of my nephews are self-taught (drums and guitar). One was writing his own music at 10, and both boys taught music to other kids when they were 12 and 14.

dabbler's avatar

My mom played piano, dad played a bit of recorder or banjo on rare occasion.
They both played a lot of kinds of music on the stereo and radio, leaning to classical and jazz. My dad brought Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album home one day when it first came out.
I can play piano a bit but my wife is a much better piano player than I am.
I’m pretty good on a blues harp or a theremin or banging one of the hand drums here.
It is not uncommon for one or both of us to sing or dance or play something silly, especially when the parrot is joining in.

tranquilsea's avatar

Both sides of our family are extremely musical. My husband’s father and grandmother were both musicians. My mother and my grandmother both were great singers. My great grandfather was a part of vaudeville.

All my kids play piano. My youngest son learns new songs in about a week and he’s on the fast track through all his piano grades.

I was trained in the clarinet and was a part of a choir for a few years. My hubby is a drummer.

wonderingwhy's avatar

Nothing in my immediate family. What was it like, I’ve really nothing I would feel qualified to compare it to but it mostly went unnoticed. Early on I developed a much broader and deeper interest in listening to music than my parents, possibly in response to the lack of familial exposure to music, which they were kind enough to indulge. While that love has steadily grown, it never manifested itself in an ability to do anything musically (and when it comes to singing the world should be grateful). Though taking stock, I seem to have surrounded myself with people who are quite talented musically and have a deep appreciation for it.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

My uncle, K. Scott Warren is an amazing pianist, and an even more amazing organist and composer. Every time I hear him play, I’m just stunned by his talent. I don’t see anything on his page, except for his compositions which include more singing than they do accompaniment, but I’ve heard him play this by Olivier Messiaen.

I can’t remember the name of his major graduation piece that he performed, but it was beyond incredible both to hear and to watch, because organists also must use their feet. It’s very complicated and fascinating!

Sunny2's avatar

One of my grandmothers sang. My father played the saxophone with Hoagie Carmichael when they were both at the University of Indiana. I sing. My brother played the drums. My son plays piano professionally when he can. So yes. Music has been and is a big part of my life.

TexasDude's avatar

I’m the only one in my living family who is musically inclined. I play guitar and write all the songs and play a little bass in my band. I also play a little tuba, trombone, and some other instruments. My great grandpa on my mom’s side played dozens of instruments and I was raised listening to a variety of music, though.

AshlynM's avatar

Been playing piano since I was 3 years old.

digitalimpression's avatar

Dad – Guitar/Banjo
Mom – Clarinet/Piano
Sister – Piano
Wife – Saxophone
Myself – Guitar/Piano

zensky's avatar

@digitalimpression Youtube or it never happened.

augustlan's avatar

Pretty much my whole family can/could sing. My maternal grandmother was a fantastic a capella singer (good enough to perform professionally in her youth), and she passed down the talent to just about everyone. There was a lot of music and a lot of family singing in my childhood. My ex-husband is a drummer in a band, and our kids have grown up watching and listening to him playing. And our youngest daughter plays clarinet.

Shippy's avatar

On my mother sides everyone played piano. But mostly my grandfather, he was very good too, and was featured on television once. He used his gift for many different things, including being a piano teach as well as a honky tonk player in a bar after retirement. I never did learn to play piano and often wonder if I would be any good at it. I once had a boyfriend, not too long ago who played violin, he loved classical music and to me it seemed rare to meet person who played violin, but music was very much a part of his family. I love music as it can alter my mood immediately, wake me when tired, or put me to sleep, it is a great living tool I feel.

this_velvet_glove's avatar

My father used to be a singer when he was younger. I’ve been told I can sing too (haha) and I also play guitar.

Bellatrix's avatar

My whole family enjoys listening to music. My father played the harmonica and there was always music, including someone singing happening around the house. My ex-husband’s family, with the exception of my ex, are all very musically talented. His brothers play the drums/guitar.

My children are all musically talented too. All of them can play the clarinet and my middle daughter can play guitar. My son, despite being the most talented of them all, decided he didn’t want to study music anymore at a quite young age. I keep hoping he will be inspired to pick up some instrument in the future. I even bribed him with the idea that women love musicians. Didn’t work.

cookieman's avatar

I come from a relatively musical family. Nothing professional-level.

My father sang in a blues band and my uncle was a jazz pianist. My mother, aunt, and grandmother – while not musicians, were huge fans. There was always music playing.

I love all types of music and have been told by a few people that I could sing, but who knows. Someday, I’d love to learn piano.

DaphneT's avatar

My niece plays high school bass, and violin and has started piano. Her younger brother plays baritone, tuba and picks at the piano, her older played violin. Other nieces and nephews sing, played violin, picked at piano. One brother built a half-bass for his son. We all grew up with a piano in the house because Mom played and an Uncle would play when he visited. Other cousins sing and play instruments; only one has made a career of music.

harple's avatar

My great grandparents made a living as a fiddler and a flamenco dancer duo (a photo exists somewhere I think)... Neither sets of grandparents were particularly musical.

My mum sings beautifully, and can play the recorder superbly.
My dad can’t hold a tune. (No idea about whether my father could…)
My oldest brother is a singer/songwriter – he always played the guitar when he was young.
My other brother and my sister both learned violin at school, but hated it and gave it up at the earliest opportunity.
And then there’s me – Harp, piano, violin, viola, recorder, and more recently, ukulele…

I still think I was very blessed to be supported in it as a child. I was very academic so they could have pushed me towards any number of “real” careers.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

No one in the immediate family is musically inclined. Zero. Zip. Some of us have tried and failed miserably. The next generation only produced two that were interested: a nephew that started a band that was good enough to play in public, and a niece that played the violin and later the mandolin.

Music also wasn’t played much in our house. There was a record player and a limited number of records to choose from. Most were for children. Peter and The Wolf was my first introduction to classical music, and it pretty much stopped at that. The SO and I went through this list of Top 100 Classical Songs, and while I had heard of most of them, it was mainly from either church or television commercials. How sad is that?

So what’s it like growing up in a family like this? It’s a bit of a bummer.

bookish1's avatar

My mom has perfect pitch and my dad can’t carry a tune to save his mortal soul. Luckily, my mom transmitted to me her musical/auditory orientation rather than my father! I don’t have perfect pitch but I am very good at recognizing the right key/scale, playing by ear, and catching a rhythm. (Spelling the word “rhythm,” however, has always been difficult for me!)

Music and sound are one of the most important and manners that I interact with the world, and I think this auditory orientation has also helped me with learning a foreign language.

ucme's avatar

Well, we’re hardly the Von Trapp family, but my son plays acoustic guitar & my daughter plays the trombone.
As for myself, well…..I like to blow my horn, a neat trick if you can pull it off.

tedibear's avatar

Both sides of my family have several piano players and good singers. Not on a professional level, but well enough for churches, school specialty groups and local groups. Currently I sing in a community choir that is lucky enough to have my college choir director in charge. I keep trying to teach myself piano, but I don’t stick to it. I took “class piano” for one semester in college, but didn’t keep going with that either!

My husband played trumpet in sixth through ninth grades. He was first chair from eighth grade on as no one could manage to play his challenge song as well as he did. He quit when he got to high school (tenth grade in his school system) and they told him that he had to be in marching band to continue. He said no, they wouldn’t compromise so he quit. Somewhere along the line he picked up guitar. He learned a lot while living with a music performance major in college and I think he plays wonderfully. He says that he “sucks” but I think he’s comparing himself to professionals. One of my favorite things is when he randomly picks up his guitar and starts playing. No one else in his family is musical as far as I know.

wilma's avatar

My mom was a pretty good vocalist.
Dad, no music
Me- French horn and I could sing but was much to shy to ever do it in front of people.
My daughter has a beautiful voice and plays piano.
Son # 1 can’t carry a tune in a bucket.
Son #2 plays guitar and is really into all kinds of music.
Son #3 is a percussionist. Very into music.
My husband has a nice voice and has a good ear for music.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I have always been a singer and my family (both sides) say that they don’t know where I got the talent from as none of my close relatives can hold a tune!

My dad, whilst not being a talented musician himself, loves music and I definitely got my appreciation from him. The only person I know who admits to not particularly enjoying music is my Grandmother. She’s indifferent to it and, so far, has not found a particular singer, band, musician or even genre to appreciate above all others.

digitalimpression's avatar

@zensky I was playing long before youtube existed. I hope to be playing long after it has been replaced.

cazzie's avatar

It is one of hubby’s aspie gifts. He can pick up just about any instrument and play a tune on it within 30 minutes. He auditioned for the local conservatory. Got the highest grade on the written music theory test, but missed out because he hadn’t mastered any particular instrument. He messes about with electronic music he composes himself and plays a guitar, flute, base and keyboard to make some pretty cool stuff.

Shippy's avatar

I just re read my answer and had to point out, that “they” didn’t play piano on her sides, that would hurt no doubt!

harple's avatar

@Shippy Aw, it sounded like fun! ;-)

fremen_warrior's avatar

My dad is a self taught guitar player / hobbyist, and he taught me how to teach myself how to play guitar, so I’m a semi-self-taught guitar player wannabe / hobbyist amateur enthusiast dude.

flutherother's avatar

Going back four generations no member of my family has ever picked up a musical instrument, but I do like music.

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