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Did your parents/family help with your musical life?

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29 minutes ago, Rich said:

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.

My dad was the same, and had the same restrictions. However, after buying me a piano, when I moved on a bit and I was more guitar based, he started playing it and doing show stuff on it (they did theatre and stuff), then he got a home organ thing, and he loved that. He didn't ever get that great on it, but he really enjoyed it, so I think the music fed back.

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My parents bought my two sisters fairly basic classical guitars , I used to "borrow" one of the guitars and their instructional books to try and teach myself basic chords and strumming techniques , my sisters weren't really interested in playing them , so I had unlimited access to a guitar .

My parents weren't really supportive about any of my activities , I used to race kayaks to a high level , they were suprised when I came home with a medal . But on the other hand ,they never curtailed me , I was given freedom to follow my interests .

My dad said he would have bought me a complete set of golf clubs if I showed interest in golf , but no help for anything musical at all.

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2 hours ago, martin8708 said:

My dad said he would have bought me a complete set of golf clubs if I showed interest in golf , but no help for anything musical at all.

My Dad did buy me a set of golf clubs, even though I'd never expressed any interest at all.  I played a couple of times, and the lowest round I managed was 149 249!! Whoever said golf spoils a good walk was spot on.

 

correction to score!!

Edited by chris_b

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1 hour ago, chris_b said:

...correction to score!!

That's just under 14 per hole; not too bad for a first time round a course as a beginner. Few people start their careers with 'holes in one'. It might be worth persisting, and getting a couple of lessons..! B|

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My late father was a pro musician before WW2. He was playing with the likes of Ted Heath and Frank Chacksfield at this time and was on the verge of establishing himself when war intervened. Afterwards he settled for a 'real job'. He continued playing in dance bands until the onset of dementia and he had to move into a home.

When I turned up 13 years later he was keen for me to carry on in the family business. I had violin lessons from the ages of 4 to 6 and then moved on to piano. I discovered bass at 14 he was always encouraging. I started going along to a Sunday lunchtime jazz session at a pub in Portsmouth and he would come along afterwards and we both played in a rehearsal big band. It enabled me to discover what an incredible sax player he was. As a result of that, I got to play in a modern jazz quartet with some amazing ex-Marine bandsmen as I found my feet on the instrument.

Let's say my mum was as keen on me playing as she was on him playing!!

I owe my Dad the career I have had on bass and am forever grateful for that.

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Great thread! Love reading the replies.

My parents records certainly shaped my interest in music - mostly Mum - 60s Stax Soul, early rock 'n' roll and some country. My Dad was a pro drummer in the 60s but gave it up to train as a teacher. The second I mentioned drums, I got sticks, brushes, a snare, bongos... but never really clicked with it. I was too young & you can't learn from your Dad (or I couldn't).

Then at 15 in 1988 I started saving as my friends and I were going to buy instruments to form a band. I'd never saved for anything in my life but my parents matched my money and at Christmas I bought a Squier. Dad's best friend in music was a bass player and he'd show me drum brushes on bass strings and showed me the 12 bar blues structure. Occasionally he'd recommend something to listen to.

He came to pick me up from rehearsal and would always moan about my singers. Then in November 1994, both my parents came to one of my gigs. Mum loved it (not the music so much, but the atmosphere) and Dad took photos. I still have a framed pic of me from that show in my living room. 

Sadly Mum started developing Alzheimer's around 2009 but they came to a second show in 2014. It was a much bigger show and I guest listed them. I don't think Mum fully kept up with what was going on and Dad was stressed from looking after Mum but she enjoyed it and met some of the band. 

I haven't played them a recording since 2011. In the early days of Mum's dementia I was playing them an EP and bless her, half way through she said "what is this crap?" :lol: The last thing I played her had a song when the band stops and there is a bass run. Mum said "that's my favourite bit" and it seemed a fitting last comment for her to make on my music. 

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My family home was a music free zone. My parents had very little interest in music (although my dad was a good singer - he was Welsh). 

So I got zero encouragement to play music. Maybe my teenage self would have rebelled against playing in a rock band, if my parents had actually approved of me doing it.

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I probably owe my parents a lot for simply not being discouraging - they never told me I was wasting my time, and best of all were happy to acknowledge that the stuff I was playing was not going to be of any interest to them, so they were happy i was out playing in bands without ever wanting to come and see me play.  Didn't even a raised eyebrow when I brought home a Marshall 8 x 10 and lugged it upstairs to my bedroom, just a helpful suggestion that it might be better in the spare room

My Dad was always a music lover, and having been into British jazz as a teenager when it was new and exciting in the 1950's he understood my teenage obsession with music.  His one experience of playing live music was on washboard in a jazz club in the cellar of a pub in Hammersmith, which made him realise that he would never be a musician, but his brother played guitar (and oddly there is some skipping a generation thing, as his brother's son tried learning the bass and was dreadful).  And one of my Dad's best drinking pals from the 1970's was a professional guitarist who played with some pretty well known people

My mates were far more of an encouragement for me - they all played guitar (to various levels of accomplishment) so I worked out that if I got a bass I could be in a band quite quickly.  Got my first bass at 18 from £1,000 that my parents had always planned to give me when I reached that age, was working at 19 and my spare cash went on equipment, so I never had to get my parents to fund anything.

 

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My Dad was a bit of a music lover, with early Beatles and, later on Manfred Mann singles being brought home (he's 96 now, so some might have thought he was a bit old for "that sort of thing" at the time!). My maternal grandparents bought me a classical guitar when I was about 13 which, I'll admit, I didn't make the best use of. My fault, though my teacher was not ideal. My uncle played keyboards in a sort of showband which played around South Dorset in the mid to late 70s and later actually ran a music shop until the web kicked in. 

A number of things which, cumulatively created an environment with hindsight. 

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I mentioned some of this in my reply to the schools thread as they are somewhat interlinked, but I think it's worth going into a bit more detail here.

In a word: NO. I think that they would have been very supportive had I learned a "proper" instrument and been interested in classical music, but I didn't and so they weren't.

My mum is very musical. She learned the violin at school, the guitar while she was doing her teacher training, has sung in some serious choirs and now in her 90s is part of and "oldies" ukulele group and probably did more "gigs" than me last year! My dad could play the piano, but I think that was just part of his standard upper-middle-class upbringing, he almost never played at home even though there was a piano in the house.

However both of them were very anti pop and rock music. Very little music was played at home, and for a long time the only record player we had in the house was a valve driven radiogram suitable mainly for playing 78s. They took me to a few classical concerts when I was young, which I found boring, although TBH I showed little interest in anything musical until...

In the summer of 1971 I spent two weeks at scout camp where Radio 1 was on all day every day and by the time I came home I was completely infatuated by the music of the nascent glam rock movement. My parents were horrified, and that is not over-exaggerating. While I was not actually forbidden to listen to pop music they did everything they could to make it as difficult as possible. The only record player/radio was in the living room and I could only use it when they weren't also in there which was almost all the time they were at home. I managed to buy a cheap radio off a friend at school which I could use in my room. They were also very discouraging about me buying records with my pocket money right up until I left home to go to university, although quite what they expected me to spend it instead I don't know, as by the time I was really into music I had pretty much abandoned all my other interests.

Considering my parents' attitudes to non-classical music and the fact that music was rarely on in the house, for some reason over the years we had acquired two guitars - a nasty cheap steel-strung instrument with massively high action probably bought from a catalogue, and a beginners classical guitar - as well as a reel-to-reel tape recorder. I took possession of the tape recorder as no-one else was using it and used it to tape my favourite songs off the radio. Then in 1973 my mum decided that she was going to attend "folk guitar" evening classes (she was doing teacher training and suspected it would improve her employment prospects) and when I asked if I could go as well, very surprisingly she said "yes".

For me the classes were a disaster. I had the steel strung guitar which was essentially unplayable and I hated the songs we are being taught to play. At the end of the year I could either hold down a chord or do some of the simpler finger-picking patterns, but not both together at the same time. However over the summer holidays I got hold of some sheet music and chord charts for music music I actually liked including The Beatles Complete song book, and suddenly I found I could actually play something recognisable. I badgered my parents to buy me a better guitar for my 14th birthday and was rewarded with a Kimbara branded steel-strung acoustic guitar, plus my own copy of the Beatles song book. This was the only time they positively helped me in my musical endeavours, although in buying me an acoustic guitar I think they hoped it would be a gateway into learning the Classical Guitar rather than "Rock n Roll". How wrong they were.

I quickly learned that I wasn't going to get any more help or encouragement from my parents, and if I was going to get an electric guitar I would have to do it myself. I sold all my model railway and some other toys and managed to get what I hoped was enough money for an electric guitar and small amp - two of my class-mates had managed to do this for under £40. However by the time I had the required funds, all those bargains had gone and I that all I could afford was just a solid electric guitar, or an amp and a cheap pickup for my acoustic. Deciding that an electric guitar without an amp wasn't much use I chose the latter. Unfortunately fitting a cheap acoustic guitar with a pickup still didn't make me sound like the guitarists on the records I was listening to, and although a home-made fuzzbox helped a little, it still wasn't right.

By then I had formed my first band with some friends form my school that shared similar off-beat tastes in music. We had a weird selection of musical instruments - a couple of acoustic guitars fitted with pickups along with my amp, no bass guitar although we were occasionally able to borrow one complete with a pathetically underpowered amp to add some dull, farty thuds behind the music; two "Bontempi" style organs that weren't in tune with each other, and a few home-brewed electronic circuits that produced weird noises when activated. Our "drum-kit" was composed of various tamborine and bongo style "drums" along with cans and anything else that made a suitable percussive noise when hit, all held together on a stands made from wooden dowels and clamps nicked from the school chemistry labs. As you can imagine, this was not a gigging band. Instead we composed and recorded hours of our own weird songs and instrumentals influenced by both prog-rock and the newly emerging post-punk DIY movement. However it was with this band and these ramshackle instruments that I recorded my first commercially released music and even got played on John Peel's radio show.

I had decided that the only way I was ever going to be able to afford an electric guitar would be to make one myself as I could buy the parts as I needed and could afford them. So for my last two years of school, when I wasn't in my 'A' Level subject classes I was in the woodwork shop slowly putting together my own solid electric guitar. I later worked out that I had spent more time doing this than any one of my actual exam subjects. At the time (late 70s) the only easily acquired information on making your own electric guitar was from International Musician magazine where Stephen Delft was producing instructions in monthly instalments. I quickly realised that I wouldn't be able to make my own truss-rod and therefore it would be best to buy a ready-made neck. and fit it to the body of my own design. I think the guitar ended up costing me just under £100 spread over about 18 months. The completed instrument was bought home at the end of my last term as a "fait accompli" and there was little my parents could do about it other than be disappointed in my choices, and by then I no longer cared what they thought. Besides I was likely to be off to university in October.

My parents continued to be disappointed with my choices regarding music when after 3 years of university I dropped out because it looked as though my band were about to be signed to a major record label (the label eventually decided that Wham! would be a better bet). My mum came to one of our gigs to see what all the fuss was about and absolutely hated it, didn't understand what we were doing, and told me as much.

However I think without all that parental disapproval I would never have been quite so determined to play and write music. Although I consider myself to be a reasonably good composer, even 45 years on I still have limited technical ability when it comes to playing guitar, bass or keyboards, and I still have work hard at many things that my band-mates find simple. So I do have to thank my parents for making it so hard, because otherwise I might have simply messed about on my electric guitar for a couple of years and then given it up for something newer and shinier like a lot of my other friends.

And ultimately my determination to play rock music has lead to my job. Back when I was a teenager, when I wasn't struggling to play the guitar and write songs, I was creating album covers for imaginary bands including Letrasetting complete lyric sheets. Later I learned to screen print so that I could produce impressive looking posters for the gigs I was playing. Eventually I got employment with a series of design and advertising agencies, until I went self-employed just over 11 years ago. These days I am mostly involved packaging design and artwork for chocolate products, although I still get to do the occasional record or CD cover.

Incidentally my sister who is completely and utterly tone-deaf had piano lessons and managed to pass all her grades until she got to the point where her inability to hold a tune or distinguish between two different notes could no longer be compensated by the fact that she could read music and play the right notes in the right order from it. The piano at home was old, didn't cope particularly well with 70s central heating and consequently was almost always noticeably out of tune. In particular the strings that produced G above middle C (which is seemingly in every beginners piano piece) were out of tune with each other, and that particular "note" came out as a horrible discord. She got plenty of encouragement from my parents despite the fact that her playing on our piano was musically jarring, because she was learning "proper" music.

 

TLDR: My parents gave be almost zero support and did much to try and discourage me, but as I approach my 60th birthday, it has made me the musician, composer and graphic designer that I am today.

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My Dad was a well respected drummer and teacher, who did a lot of theatre and TV work, so he was always encouraging. There was always a kit set up in the house for teaching,that I could mess about with but I was never serious about it. He never listened to records at home, mainly because you need a break when you're playing shows every day, but he would buy all the drum videos and magazines, so even at a young age I was aware of all the best players. 

When I decided to start playing bass, my parents bought me my first bass and amp, with the stipulation that I learn properly. My Dad got me lessons with the best guy in the area (even though he didn't teach), so I learned how to read and play changes. Eventually he started asking me to sub for him on some shows, which lead to getting more work.

Besides all that, I had many good times with my Dad when we would take days out to visit music shops and go to all the drum and bass clinics that were happening. In fact, one of the last things we did together was go to a Nathan East clinic.He was feeling really rough, but still wanted to go.

I definitely wouldn't be doing what I do if it hadn't have been for all the support that my parents gave me.

 

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5 minutes ago, BigRedX said:

TLDR: My parents gave be almost zero support and did much to try and discourage me, but as I approach my 60th birthday, it has made me the musician, composer and graphic designer that I am today.

Often the way, I see so many parents who give their kids all the support they could ever want, only for those kids to simply waste opportunities and talents, whilst so often it's kids who, whilst by no means unloved by their parents, have to fight to for opportunities who seem to shine. Having said that, there are a huge range of factors that will moderate the support/success equation, not the least of which personality (in both the nature and nurture sense); some kids are just destined to waste opportunity whilst others seize on it, so at the very start of things you have the interaction of high/low support parents and high/low motivation kids.

I think that I would have done better with more support, my Dad simply wasn't interested, in fact despite not being a musician himself he saw fit to criticise every instrument teacher I had, and my Mum was of the 'that's nice darling, you got Grade 8, you can have an extra sausage with supper tonight' type. 

A pivotal point in my life in fact came when my tutor told my father that without a better instrument I wasn't going to progress. I was studying Grade 8 at the time, I think I was 13 so pretty decent for my age. She advised buying new, not because it was a better decision, but because in the days before the internet, buying used was more problematic. She gave my Dad a list of instruments in descending price order, and was explicit is saying of the bottom one "Do not buy one of these". We went to the shop she'd recommended, I played about 20 instruments, and he then said "You're having that one, it sounded best" which was of course the one my tutor has explicitly stated not to get. 

It was 40 years ago, but still makes me angry. His attitude was characterised by "I'm not going to have some snotty orchestral teacher tell me what to do". If she's said 'Do not spend £10,000 on ........ as those instruments are rubbish" he'd have bought one just to fosters her off :(

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My parents, God bless 'em, paid for my violin lessons during my teens. They didn't think much of it when I started playing the guitar and the bass or, heaven forbid, developing an interest in non-classical music, but by that time, I didn't care what they thought and revelled in their disapproval. So yes, they helped by getting me started and ensuring I could read music and their gripes merely spurred me on when I went my own way.

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Neither of my parents played an instrument or were what one would consider musical. My mum always had the radio on, she loves listening to music, especially the pop music of her day (60's/70's). She used to pinch my Queen albums, and for that matter my stereo so she could take them to work with her. She used to be the cleaner at the local secondary school. She cleaned a couple of classrooms and the main corridor as you walked in the main entrance, and you could always hear that Toshiba stereo cassette player blasting out either Queen or Abba, in the evenings. I suppose my mum always listening to music is where I got my interest in music. My dad's taste in music is dull...no, actually, it's just awful.

I wanted to have guitar lessons, and if they could have afforded to, my parents would have paid for them, but they was skint most of the time I was growing up. Just one of those things.

My dad did take me to the local music shop when I bought my first bass, and then let me use his Hacker valve amp...that was supposed to be used with his Hacker turntable...because I couldn't afford an amp. I think I nearly broke the thing. It looked like this https://picclick.co.uk/Hacker-GP42-Gondolier-vintage-Record-Playerplus-hacker-224065916852.html

My parents knew nothing of bands and music, so when I was making an awful din with my mates they supported it as far as it went...which to be honest wasn't far.

I took a long break from music, but when I got back playing several years ago my parents have both come along to some of the gigs. Some they've liked, others not so much   My mum particularly didn't like the indie punk band I was in a few years ago. 😎

I suppose I never really wanted to make music all I did, or to make it my job as such, so for my parents that made it easier I suppose. I'm just thankful my Dad gave me lifts with that great big Warwick combo I used to have (it weighing about as much as a Cathedral).

I probably faired better than my brother who wanted to be a tennis pro and go to the Andre Agassi training camp thing in US. He's still not forgiven them for being to skint to let him go 😂

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10 hours ago, Steve Browning said:

My late father was a pro musician before WW2. He was playing with the likes of Ted Heath and Frank Chacksfield at this time and was on the verge of establishing himself when war intervened. Afterwards he settled for a 'real job'. He continued playing in dance bands until the onset of dementia and he had to move into a home.

When I turned up 13 years later he was keen for me to carry on in the family business. I had violin lessons from the ages of 4 to 6 and then moved on to piano. I discovered bass at 14 he was always encouraging. I started going along to a Sunday lunchtime jazz session at a pub in Portsmouth and he would come along afterwards and we both played in a rehearsal big band. It enabled me to discover what an incredible sax player he was. As a result of that, I got to play in a modern jazz quartet with some amazing ex-Marine bandsmen as I found my feet on the instrument.

Let's say my mum was as keen on me playing as she was on him playing!!

I owe my Dad the career I have had on bass and am forever grateful for that.

I think I should also mention my neighbour (during my late teens), Mrs Sanderson. When my band were practising in the garage, she would come in and tell us how fantastic we were! 🙂

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I grew up with a semi pro musician for a father, not only was he the drummer in several bands but, for reasons unknown, he became well connected in the music world (Mitch Michell, Jake Hannah, Joe Morello etc). Accordingly there were bands rehearsing in the house pretty constantly but I also got to go to many concerts and music parties with my father. Even if there was no live music at home there was always a record playing. I was encouraged to play an instrument, starting with violin and trumpet at school and drums at home (a slight digression but my first drum kit was a present from Joe Morello to my father at a concert - Joe’s stage had some mini kits on and at the end of the concert Joe gave one to my father for me!).

I have therefore always loved music from home, albeit mainly blues and jazz This led onto me teaching myself classical music via Classic FM when it first launched and the associated magazine that they published. This then was converted to Opera as a great love. 

I was never any good as a player (always playing the notes and not the song) so never tried to get in into a band (other than some school concerts). I gave up playing in my early twenties and became a lover of listening to live music wherever I could get it and of pretty much any genre. Taking up bass eightish years ago was as a result of the love of music my parents gave me (my mother was involved in musical theatre and also had an involvement in a record store). I am still a crap player (due the same lack of talent but now also arthritis in my fingers) but keep plugging away thanks to the inbred love of music. 

My parents both died before my first gig on bass.

Edited by Bobthedog
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Just thinking back... as I have already posted my parents had no knowledge to pass on, but tried really hard to support.

In most ways that was great. However, when it came to gear it didn't work out so well. My dad had a habit of buying kind of sub-standard gear - bikes, cars, TV etc. We couldn't afford expensive stuff, but he always managed to get something much cheaper than we could afford 😄! Applied to musical instrument too ☹️.

So although he tried, I only got some playable gear when I started buying my own!

 

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