My husband and I love listening to music and have exposed our children to our favorite genres since they were very young. Because of this, their musical interests are quite varied. In fact, it would not be unusual for us to listen to urban contemporary gospel, pop, jazz, and classical music all on the same day. And, since they’ve been performing in musicals for the past four years, we also like listening to show tunes together.
Our willingness to support and foster our children’s appreciation for such a significant part of American culture is one of the reasons we did something when they were only seven and four years old respectively that only the bravest parents would do: We took them to their first concert.
Headlining the concert was my girls’ favorite recording group at the time, The Cheetah Girls. My husband bought four tickets online the moment they went on sale as a birthday present for our oldest daughter since she and her sister were huge fans of the multi-platinum recording group that consisted of Adrienne Bailon, Sabrina Williams and Keily Williams.
So, why am I telling you all of this? Because it was around the time of this concert that I began to understand that our family night at the Allstate Arena was far more significant than I initially thought. Sure, we made them happy by spending what felt like an enormous amount of money on the tickets and got to hang out with my sister and her oldest daughter (who also attended the concert) after the show. But, that night was so much more than that. It marked the beginning of a beloved tradition of going to concerts as a family that still continues today.
A college professor that I once interviewed while writing an article about the effects of music would be pleased. In fact, the professor–who had a child of his own–said parents should be “intimately connected with their kids’ music.” During our conversation, he revealed that his dad “hated” most of his music and, therefore, “wasn’t engaged in it.” However, he explained, “it’s important to remember that (music) is powerful to affect (kids’) attitudes, and the only way to be involved in mitigating or perpetuating that potential effect is to be involved.”
Fortunately, our first concert with our girls was considered a hit. They loved the show–which featured lots of songs with positive messages about friendship, reaching one’s dreams, etc.–and even had a chance to meet the Cheetah Girls (and Miley Cyrus) afterwards at a Meet ‘n Greet. But, more importantly, they began seeing at a young age that Mommy and Daddy will do whatever they can to bring into their lives opportunities for cultural engagement, as well as time to connect with them. And, believe me when I say that the smiles on their faces last way longer than the ringing in my ears.