I was at a gig last night, watching two groups that I really like (Wooden Shjips and Hookworms) and try to see at least once a year. Both bands play quite heavy repetitive music and I really enjoy really losing myself in it. As is quite often on such occasions I find myself thinking about the many gigs that I have been to during the years and my mind naturally goes back to when I was young. As such I always enjoy seeing young people really getting into the music and enjoying themselves without seemingly a care in the world, in a way that only young people can.
Of course this leads me into wondering what sort of music the boys will come to like when they are growing up and what effect I will/ can have on this. I used to find it interesting on the recently lamented Word Podcast that the first question they always asked their guests was “What music was in your house when you were growing up?”. Invariably the guest would always talk about the styles of music that their parents (usually, but not always, their Father) listened to and how it influenced them to become a musician, writer, artist etc….
My parents were not what you might call keen music fans, and owned no more than around a dozen records. However, my Mother had the radio on in the house all day every day, and from that I gained a great appreciation of pop music of the late 1960s and 1970s, to such an extent that I began buying records in earnest when I was just nine years old.
This leads me to place myself under a great deal of pressure because, on the one hand, I really want to ‘educate’ Jake and Sam in terms of listening to music. I’d love them to like what I like and have conversations about this and that band. However, on the other hand, I also want them to find their own way in life and develop their own tastes, and nothing would make me more proud to see them on stage playing great music, their music – although I’m sure that I’d then be in a state of constant angst that they become exposed to the seedier side of the music scene.
For me this brings up many of the dilemmas that we face as parents. We want our children to be confident and independent, but somehow we want this under our own terms. We fret about whether and by how much we should influence them without stifling them and having the opposite effect.
I guess that the answer probably lies somewhere in between, that we are there to gently guide them when we can and hopefully nudge them in the right direction. For me being young is about being free, enjoying life and not having to worry too much about the future (that’s the job of parents). I hope that my boys can do that in a healthy way; but it won’t stop me from having the stereo on when they’re around!