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Did your parents/family help with your musical life?

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Inspired by a couple of posts in the "Notable Deaths" thread, and following on from the "Did music lessons at school help with your musical life?" thread.

In the notable deaths thread one poster had great support and musical knowledge from their (sadly departed) father. A responder said that they (sadly) got no support whatsoever for music or indeed anything else from their father☹️.

What's your story?

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My mum had an obsession with prince, so I was listening to that from a young age - which didn’t hurt!

my uncle played guitar. When I got a bass he took a lot of interest and would often come round grab my bass and play along to chilli peppers and Beatles records - probably the only decent records in my Collection according to him. I would just watch in awe, and when he finished I would try and replicate something close to what he had done.

good times!

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I was forced by my mum and dad to go to piano lessons as a youngster. I very much regret not taking advantage of them the way I should've! I'm an OK player, but should be far better! 

 

They also bought me my first 6 string electric, and my first proper bass. 

My bro also bought me my first proper bass amp! 

 

So really they helped me out massively! Although oddly, they've never really got me into particular bands or genres and whatnot. They've never had a record collection for me to learn from. Basically I got my listening from mates at school! 

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Yes, my mum made every attempt possible to nurture any musical direction I had, I had piano lessons, I got a piano, got a guitar, etc. My family all sang all the time anyway, and even if the music wasn't something I would necessarily want to listen to, it was always there as a communication.

So yes, without that, it wouldn't have been the same.

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When I saved up to buy my first bass, £45 which was a fair bit of dosh in 1980, my Mum & Grandparents bought new my first amp. Other than that nothing at all, but help at the start is worth much more imo.

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I had precisely zero help from my very naturally musical mother; she simply couldn’t give a toss. 

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Nobody musical in my family and my parents thought pursuing music was a terrible idea.

I started playing guitar at 13, and after a few months on a borrowed acoustic, asked for an Epi Les Paul Special II for Christmas, on offer from Soho Soundhouse for £99.  "Can't you find a cheaper one. It's not like you can really play it anyway" was my Dad's response. When I wanted to take music for my GCSE options at 14, the blocks were put on by my parents in collusion with the head of year "You can't read music now, there's no point carrying on studying it". Didn't stop me playing, and a few years later my shitty unsigned band ended up being one of the first shitty unsigned bands to be offered a headline tour of O2 (or Carling as they were back then) Academy venues. 

With my parents still nonplussed, I was pressed to stop chasing my dreams and ended up at 21 working with my dad at the same company he'd worked for since he was 15 years old, and the band folded shortly afterwards. 

Seven years of increasingly dull corporate misery later, engaged, with an infant son and a second one on the way, I took a chance, to my parent's sheer horror, and left the sensible job to make a living from music. Until COVID struck, I'd managed to sustain a career for eight years, although I do very little bass playing now and primarily work as a sound engineer and tour manager. 

I don't see my parents any more, but when I landed the biggest gig of my career last summer, touring as a monitor engineer for an artist who's music was always played in our house growing up, I finally got some acknowledgement, with a one word comment from my dad on a post on my company's Facebook page after mixing the main stage headline slot at Boomtown Festival - "Congratulations". That was it. I didn't feel compelled to reply!

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I was taken to piano lessons from the age of about 7, after my folks realised I had ‘a good ear’. My granny bought me a small Spanish guitar back from her holiday to the Costa Blanca which sparked an interest in me getting to grips with 6 strings. Disenchanted with piano lessons by about 11 years old ( largely due to a very slow teacher I’ve always claimed...) I got an electric guitar with help from my Dad, even though he didn’t really agree with it. Loosely based on a Gibson 335, I loved it. After that it was down to me to get an amp and stuff, with my folks always asking me to turn it down. To be fair, my Dad did run me and my gear to the next village when a I started rehearsing with what would then become my first band, aged around 14, although his keenness to help may have been something to do with our drummer’s rather attractive mother I think...

All the time I played in bands my parents only came to see me twice which did sadden me a bit, especially as the other parents of band members regularly supported them. When I turned pro in my mid 30’s ( with a wife and daughter to support) my Dad supported me after making sure I knew what I was doing. Although he didn’t show it, I found out shortly after he passed away a couple of years ago that he always told everyone in the village pub what I’d been doing with my music and how proud of me he was.

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I had recorder in school and piano lessons once a week after school. 

I ended up playing truant and missing the lessons my parents were paying for. 

Mum isn't interested in music and dad listened but never played. 

When (inevitably) they found out what I'd been up to, I knew to fear the wrath of my mother. 

It was with a certain bewildered relief therefore that the loving, gentle man my father always was, decided to handle the disciplinary hearing. He asked why I bunked off lessons when I clearly loved music. I told him yes but not that music. 

Two days later he came home with an electric guitar he'd seen advertised on the buy and sell notice board at work. He waited until he saw my bloody tattered finger tips after a few weeks of Bert Weedon or somesuch, and organised lessons with a young guy over the road. 

Oh and he built me my first amp out of an old radiogram. 

It wasn't just the single most important event in my teenage years, the start of a life long passion, but it was, and remains, the most wonderful inspiration for how to be a parent I could ever hope to achieve. 

I miss him so much, and I don't think he had any idea just what he'd done for me. 

 

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My folks were rather Puritan in their approach to 'enjoyment' and such, and so disapproved (passively...) to any music. I think they'd tried to see what it was all about at some point, as we had a radiogram, with a 'My Fair Lady' and a 'South Pacific' disk, and another by Kathleen Ferrier, whom my mother liked for having died tragically young, rather than her (undeniable...) musical talent. My father (or was it Santa Claus..?) did get me a reel-to-reel tape recorder (Robuk...) one Christmas, which enabled me to play continuous and diverse music through the night whilst I slept.
At no point, ever, in my various musical ventures, did my parents show any interest nor appreciation, certainly not by attending any of my performances. My father did, however, lend me the cash I needed to get my first 'real' drums (the Camco kit I've played ever since...), and I helped him make the beech and ply flight cases for the kit; needed when I moved to France.
So... Little, or no encouragement, but little or no obstruction. They disapproved my path, but allowed me, grudgingly, to tread it. A fair enough deal, maybe, all things considered. :|

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My Dad never understood the significance, when we moved from a flat into our first house, and he bought that radiogram. We only had 3 LP's of West End shows,  My Fair Lady, Flower Drum Song and South Pacific (Hey @Dad3353, that's spooky!!). The radiogram was the only furniture in the front room so I grabbed a deck chair from the garage and sat there for months just listening to those LP's. That was the first music I had heard close up and I was sold.

As far as being a bass player went, I think the kindest thing I can say is my parents were neutral.

They helped in practical terms if I asked. Dad lent me the money to buy my first bass and I worked all summer to pay him back, and he gave me lifts with my gear until I joined a band with a van. They thought it was a phase, but swung from little interest to discouragement and full opposition when they realised how serious I was. 

They were really not happy at all when I finished school and joined a pro band. They were convinced I was headed into a world of drug taking, sex and mixing with criminals. . . . I wish. There was all of that and a few high points but on the whole Rock was pretty mundane!

 

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My parents bought me my first drum kit (very much secondhand, but decent, previously owned by a ‘proper, professional’ drummer) for Christmas 1961. They allowed my ‘group’, as bands were called in those days, to practice in our front room, Dad even ferrying me to and from bookings (gigs) in his Ford Anglia until I was able to drive in 1964.

And I was able to buy my 12-string guitar with their 21st present money a few years later.

So I suppose yes, they did encourage me.......

Edited by Baxlin
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My mum and dad encouraged me to play music (keyboards and so on) but after a few failed attempts, my dad said politely: “you’re on your own.”

I saved you and bought a guitar and an amp myself, and played it constantly for about a year. Since then they’ve done everything to support me, including watching some truly terrible shows.

We didn’t have much money when I grew up, but they paid for a guitar lesson every couple of weeks to get me started which was incredibly helpful and I can still remember today. I traded up the guitar and bought a Kay bass guitar for £15 and it all started.

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My mum was a concert pianist and a recorded artist, she desperately wanted me to take up the piano, when I showed no interest in her chosen instrument she never ever gave me any encouragement or even acknowledgement when I took up the guitar and bass instead, even today now she is in her 80's, when I played her what I think was the best music I had ever played on, the response was, "the lyrics are depressing" Bear in mind I had actually played bass, KEYS, recorded and produced the song which has since been released on a compilation album that was still all I got!

My dad was not musical but loved music and ended up as a promotor for the local council, he loved Folk Jazz and big band music, through him I met the likes of Herb Miller, George Chisolm, Acka Bilk, Adam Faith and many more, I got to work on the concerts learning stage management, sound and lighting skills so he really gave me all the musical encouragement I could ever need.

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My father built the pipe organ for our local church.  He also paid for piano lessons with a wizzened crone who kept disappearing into the kitchen every five minutes to return reeking of sherry. When I pointed out to the font of my genes I really needed some way of practising at home the reply was: "I've created a church organ, what more do you want?"  As pipe organs don't really have a 'quiet' mode, painfully bad renditions of Chopsticks echoed briefly round the (small) town centre to the acute embarrassment of the 8 year old generating them.  I gave up keys very, very soon afterwards.  

Edited by lownote12
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When i told my parents i wanted an acoustic guitar for Christmas they were pleased as they thought I aspired to be the next Julian Bream. When they heard me crunching  out the chords to Neil Diamond's Crunchy Granola Suite they became a tad disillusioned. That said, pater has Van Gogh's ear for music while mum thinks that unless its Beethoven, Mozart, Bach etc she's not that interested in the noises i make

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As a parent I would encourage and support my kids in anything they wanted to do, as long as it was legal. My wife drives them mad with her "helpful" suggestions! We don't really push our kids too hard but are there for them at every step. So far, thankfully,  we've got good feedback.

I was determined to be totally different to my parents. I think I've succeeded.

Edited by chris_b
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When I was 14 I asked my parents for a Bass Guitar for Xmas.  Xmas morning came and I discovered my dad thought I would have preferred a second hand ZX Spectrum and a load of games.  He was wrong. Back in school after Xmas Hols and I hatched a cunning plan to sell the Spectrum and my old Scalextric set (I had a willing buyer lined up for the Scalextric set) with a view to putting the proceeds towards a cheapo Bass.  Imagine my disappointment when my Mum informed me that the Scalextric has been part-exed for the ZX Spectrum.  She also told me that day that they were getting divorced - I was pleased about the divorce, less happy about the Scalextric. So on reflection, I think they didn't help much.

Edited by kendall
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Yes and No. 

My family weren't musical at all but they liked some good music. Sad would have Beatles tapes on in the car constantly and other 60s hits but he ruined them all by trying to sing along. I had two older brothers so the family sport was always taking the p1ss out of each other for a sling as I could remember so liking the Beatles was something to laugh at, I grew up thinking anyhow. Some of those 60s songs have stayed with me though and I still love songs like Little Tin Soldier and want to do it in any band that will entertain the idea because I love the dynamics. 

I remember being ten or eleven and spending some days in a boring summer break going through the vinyl and falling absolutely in to Johnny Cash, then discovering Bob Dylan via Joan Baez. Then there were the "top of the pops" albums of sound a likes that got me in to Free, then UK Gold TV got me enraptured with the Sweeney and 70s Dr Who so I was drawn to Slade and T Rex. A few years later I discovered Sabbath. I had a music obsessive Uncle who really encouraged me and bought me CDs of Bat out of Hell and the best of the Police. I still listen to those same CDs now. 

I got really drawn in to lyrics, and aged 13 got my first Megadeth album and started rewriting lyrics for their songs.  Then got in to Aerosmith. At school we had two lads who were good guitarists but nobody wanted to sing so I tried to bluff a Jim Morris on style thing which worked for a week then one of the lads realised he could do that easily himself but encouraged me to get a bass. At 15 I begged for a bass for Christmas and got it. 

So while my parents gave me no musical direction they did allow me to pick through their records and copy, borrow or listen to whatever I fancied. They were not convinced about the whole bass thing because it was alien to them, but over 20 years later I'm still getting enjoyment from it. I don't think I'd have got here without picking through the vinyl at home. 

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Both my parents admitted that in their own way they rebelled against their musical families and didn't learn any instruments.

However, both played music constantly, either at home on the stereo or out in the car.

My paternal grandad had been a semi-pro guitarist in a local dance band but he died when I was 3 so I never really knew him.  My maternal grandparents' siblings were church organists and choirmasters, but were either dead or we didn't see them.

I'm assuming there was something in the genes as both me and my brother play various instruments.  They paid for lessons and watched concerts/gigs etc, but never really got involved in helping us learn them.

I have tried to gently push my own son by leaving various instruments lying around the house and playing music regularly but he just doesn't seem interested.  I did push him a little into some drum lessons about a year ago but his drum teacher actually rang me and told me I was wasting my money!  Before you start thinking he was a bad teacher, I think the issue was that as I'm divorced from his mother, I only have him every other weekend and he was only getting to practice at my house - his mother was not encouraging him so he wasn't improving away from the lessons.

I just hope he doesn't end up on here one day saying how much I didn't support him!  

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My dad was very accepting of me and my brother both wanting to learn to play (me bass, and my brother guitar) and agreed to sign the hire purchase agreements which allowed us to buy our first instruments and amps, as I was only 12 at the time.

We paid him back every month from our paper round wages. He used to give me lifts to gigs and rehearsals too, and we'd go and see local pub bands together.

My dad would have liked to be a drummer, and only i found out recently that his dad used to be a violinist, so maybe that's why he is so open and helpful.

My mum strangely never showed any interest at all in our music, never asked about what we were doing or seemed very interested when we'd done well, which was a shame.

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My parents had no musical ability or knowledge to pass on. They had records, but were not enthusiasts.

However, they were very encouraging of my music (or any other interest for that matter)

They bought me my original gear (Kay bass) but I never learned how to play it.... I just was not in the right place then.

Later I bought my own bass and taught myself the basics.

From then on they have been really supportive..... knowing all my early band-mates by name (when your band was more like your gang) , helping with lifts to gigs, mum listening to my Crass-inspired lyrics(!), coming to gigs to hear the band.... and even in more recent years coming to the odd open mic I did or covers gig my current band has.

My brother was getting into making music at the same time, so we exchanged notes, and eventually co-owned a fostex fourtrack.

In our late -twenties me and my brother formed an originals band togther. Lasted a couple of years and we have our demo tape as a kind of family heirloom!

 

Finally in the last year I have managed to teach my mum 3 chords on the ukulele (C,F,G of course)!

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My beloved parents looked on with interest as I got to grips with the bass. They were pleased to see me doing something creative. My dad in particular was interested in my progress; he had an artistic bent and always loved music, and I think he would like to have picked up an instrument himself but World War 2 got in the way a bit. They didn't even complain at hearing me practice Level 42's 'Dune Tune' over and over again in an attempt to get it right, in fact my dad grew to really like the tune. (Years later I sneaked it onto a mixed tape I made for him, and when he heard it he laughed fit to bust.) Then one evening I was sitting with them in the living room, they were watching the telly and I was flicking through the adverts in a mag -- I think it might have been the sadly missed IM&RW -- as I was desperately in need of a new amp as my band was starting to get somewhere. Dad asked what I was looking at, I said I was quite interested in this Laney Pro Bass 4x10 combo that had just come out, it looked like just what I was after as I couldn't afford a similar Trace, and I said I was thinking of popping into London at the weekend (rail travel was actually cheap back then!) to check it out. Dad looked at Mum and said "What do you think?". Mum said, "Well it is his 21st soon." Dad looked at me and said, "If you try it out and you like it, we'll buy it for you." You can imagine how stunned I was at this bolt from the blue. I told them how brilliant that was, and that I hadn't been dropping hints or fishing for it. Mum said yes we know, if we thought you had we wouldn't have offered. 
I still remember driving home from Tempo Soundhouse in Hanwell a few weeks later, feeling like a dog with two danglies, with my shiny new amp in the back of the car. It served me faithfully for 20 years and I wish I still had it. Wish I still had my parents too.

Edited by Rich
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13 minutes ago, Bigguy2017 said:

Does "Turn that racket down!" count as encouragement?

Good practice for playing live!

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