Exposing Children to Music

Last week I was listening to Mat Kearney on Pandora and thought, I really want to see this guy in concert. A quick internet search found that he was playing as a headliner in just a few days at the Sacramento Music Festival, formally known as the Jazz Jubilee, during Memorial Day Weekend. What luck! We needed something fun to do since this weekend marks 10 years since we got hitched. A quick review of the day’s schedule revealed many bands playing jazz, blues, and other types of music (that to be honest, we aren’t accustomed to), in venues throughout Old Sacramento. It sounded like a fun adventure and Joe was in, so we decided we would take the kids and explore new music in a fun atmosphere.

Our day started a little shaky. We were tired from a morning garage sale, it was hot, and we were hungry. But after a pizza and a pitcher of beer for the parents, we were ready to rock. We visited our neighbor’s blues band where the kids ruled the dance floor. My daughter only told me “don’t embarrass yourself” once so I suppose that was a success. The kids got to see so many different instruments being played from the usual guitars, to the not so usual washboards. Their favorite was the harmonica. It exposed us all to a new culture. We could admire the skills of these musicians and the kids could observe the talent it takes and perhaps will want to try playing musical instruments themselves one day. Some of the best music we heard was during dinner in what they considered a “free” venue. When I realized that it was high school students that had been serenading us with roaring 20’s music I was so impressed.

The last concert of our evening was finally Mat Kearney, which I had really been looking forward to. We got there early so that we could get good seats. I wasn’t sure how the kids would do in a “real” concert environment and didn’t know if they would want to stand for the whole show. To my delight, the first song began and my little guy asked me if I’d like to go dance with him. Heck yes! My kids and I hurried near the stage and the kids surprised me by being entirely in their element. So we all abandoned our seats and stood for the entire show. My daughter kept wanting to get closer to the stage and we held the kids for a bit so they could see better. I smiled as the four of us danced and sang together. What an anniversary gift.

From a parenting perspective, I am happy to expose my children to different types of music and teach them to recognize the beauty of playing an instrument so that they understand that they have the option to explore that art if they desire. Plus it’s good for them to see us try new things, how else would we have found out that we like Zydeco? We’ve come a long way from watching “Little Einsteins” (a Disney cartoon teaching children about famous composers and artists) to rocking the pit at a concert. But no matter the genre, I am just happy to share live music experiences, that I love so much, with my husband and kids.



There are concerts abound during the summer. Many parks, festivals, and fairs even offer free concerts. Find one near you and try listening to something new with your kids!


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