Truth, Pain, and DMX

Growing up as a white kid in a predominantly white area my upbringing wasn’t as tragic as many, but through-out my teenage years the reality of life started cracking away the shell that had been built around me. Plenty of loss that left a void needing to be filled, but rather with strife, I turned to Dark Man X and many other artists just like him.

To live is to suffer. To survive, well, is to find meaning in the suffering

-DMX

My parents divorced when I was just starting my teenage years. As one of the most important developmental times in a kid’s life I was going through some deep emotional trauma with them splitting up. My father filled his void with drinking and it destroyed our family. Without guidance I turned to what I knew, and at that time in my life, that was music. Around the same time DMX was coming out of the gates swinging. There wasn’t a person that didn’t know “Y’all gonna make me lose my mind!!!”. As a teen I blasted these albums on repeat. We didn’t have iTunes, Spotify, or anything like that. It was CDs and that is exactly how I listed to X. It’s Dark and Hell is Hot and DMX’s follow up, Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood and …and Then There Was X, guided those teenage years of mine through the darkness that continued to plague my younger years.

I always felt like DMX spoke the truth no matter how harsh. He never glorified the drugs he was addicted to, just spoke to the pain and truth involved with the addiction he was faced with. While I wasn’t addicted to drugs, I was going through a pain of my parents separating, followed by my dad passing away… and as a kid, you do not exactly know how to deal with these things. DMX allowed me to let out the anguish I was facing watching my parents relationship burn to the ground. Hearing him rap with so much emotional depth, that deep voice, and the growl. I don’t why but those barks, his energy, whatever it was, it gave me the release to understand my own emotions to get me through.

DMX kept me grounded. I can only imagine what impressionable shit I could have gotten into coming out of a broken home. X allowed me to escape without hurting myself, and I can never thank him enough for that. While he isn’t the only artist that helped carry me through pain, this past week, reading and watching DMX slowly decline in health brought back a lot of these memories and made me remember how thankful I am for him and every single other artist out there, whether they know it or not, but their art is helping someone somewhere.

RIP Early Simmons aka Dark Man X

7 Ways to Support Your Child’s Musical Interests

When your child shows an interest in something, it’s your duty as a parent to show your support. So if your child leans toward music and playing instruments, here’s how you can show your support even if you’re not musically-inclined yourself:

1. Enroll them in lessons

For non-playing parents, the best way to teach our child how to play an instrument is to enroll them in lessons. With a professional teaching them piano lessons or guitar lessons, your child can learn how to play faster and easier.

Pick a good teacher that will be able to hold your child’s attention during lessons while providing a suitable learning environment at the same time. Ask for recommendations from friends and family, as well as your child’s music teacher at school. It can also be a good idea to enroll your child in a group class where they can socialize with other kids while learning.

2. Help your child practice

Practicing at home is crucial when your child is learning an instrument. Even if their pick-up is fast, they might quickly forget what they learned if you don’t help them practice at home.

Even if you are not a player yourself, you can still help your kids practice their chosen instrument at home. Here are a few tactics that you can try:

  • Set up a regular practice schedule that will comfortably fit in their routine
  • Encourage them to practice at least thirty minutes a day or more, even when you’re not around to watch them.
  • Get practice pieces from their teacher or download sources from the Internet.
  • Work on difficult tasks or pieces together. Take note of what they’re having trouble with so you can tell the teacher next time.
  • Download kid-friendly practice videos that your child can follow.
  • Don’t force your child to practice when they don’t want to. Otherwise, it will make practice sessions seem like a chore.
  • Don’t make negative comments about their playing. It will take some time before they can get to a point where the music sounds good.
  • Provide lots of praise and encouragement.

3. Learn with them

You are your child’s first role model, and if they see you playing music, it will help encourage them to continue learning. While your child is taking lessons from a private tutor, consider learning the instrument yourself at home. As an adult, you might be able to pick up lessons faster or play instruments easier since you have better finger dexterity. So while both of you are learning, you can help overcome difficult tasks by demonstrating it yourself.

Moreover, some children learn better when they are teaching someone else how to play. You can ask them to teach you something while practicing to help develop their skills and build confidence. At the same time, this will allow you to bond with your child through learning.

4. Hold performances at home

It doesn’t matter if your child is a prodigy or a complete beginner. If your child wants to play for you and the family, it shows that they are proud of what they have learned, much like when they show you a picture they drew at school. Show them support by watching their performance with full attention and encouraging them to play for other friends and family.

5. Listen to songs together

Make music appreciation a bonding moment between you and your child. At the same time, you can also get to know the type of music they are interested in, as well as the pieces that they like to play. Help your young musician expand their range by introducing music as well. They might fall in love with the songs that you grew up, too.

6. Attend performances

Attend local music festivals or concerts by your child’s favorite artists. It’s a great way to introduce new role models to them at an early age, whom they can look up to when it comes to music. Showing musicians your support will help your child know that they have your support in their passions as well.

7. Don’t push

Don’t force your child to take up music. Don’t push them to practice when they don’t want to. Don’t make them feel guilty by saying you paid for their lessons or instruments. Your child will gravitate towards their interests on their own, and you have to let them do so.

Seeing your child develop a skill or talent is one of the most rewarding moments as a parent. So if your child shows a deep interest in music, help them cultivate their passion by showing your unconditional support.

Getting Kids Interested In Music

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Children are interested in many things right from a young age, but they usually don’t start getting curious about music until they’re a bit older. Or at least, they don’t start to understand music until they’re older. Getting them interested in music from a young age is one of the best things you can do. It helps to give them a purpose in life, and helps to nurture a passion for such a beautiful thing. Music is going to help them through a lot of situations in life, so the sooner they find a love for it the better. Here’s how you can try and help grow that love.

Take Them To See It Live

Taking them to see music live is going to be so much fun for the both of you. It’s obviously better to do something like this when they’re old enough to understand and enjoy. If you take them too early all you’ll have on your hands is a potentially tired and fed up kid, not what you want when you’re trying to enjoy a concert. But when they are old enough, check out websites such as TicketOffices.com and ask them what sort of things they like. It’s important for them to find their own love for music first, whether that be a love of pop music or a love of rock music. Even if you’re not the biggest fan of it, you should still try and go to the concerts to help nurture that love for music from a young age. You could make it a family event and get everyone involved, or you could keep it personal and use it as a way to bond with your child. Some parents love sports and engaging with that, you could be the parent who loves music and helps them to develop that passion. You never know, what you do in the beginning could turn them into the next super star!

School Clubs

School is where they learn the most, from social skills to education, it’s where they learn everything to set them up for the rest of the life. The one thing that is going about schools is the fact they have so many different school clubs to entice all children to join. One of them is always music. Whether it be something like band practice, choir, you name it, they should have it. Not only is it a great way to get them interested in music, but it also gives them the chance to make new friends who have similar likes to them.

Play With Them

If you have that love for music, and if you know how to sing or play an instrument, then you should be looking to do this with them. No one is going to be able to understand how they learn, and have the patience to help them get to a professional standard. Plus, it’s a great way to bond with them and gets you spending some good old quality time with them.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

Reasons Children Should Play an Instrument (And How to Keep Them Interested!)

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As a parent, you will be constantly looking for ways to develop your child’s academic and social skills. One of the best ways to do this is by getting them to learn to play an instrument. Of course, you can’t force them to do so, and keeping their interest can be a challenge, but there are some great tips to help you out in this post. But, first, let’s take a look at the reasons why learning a musical instrument is advised for children…

What are the benefits of getting your child to learn to play a musical instrument?

  • Playing an instrument can improve your child’s social skills in many ways. Often, practice involves interacting and even performing with other kids. Not only this, butyour child will feel more confident too, which can help them when meeting new children.
  • Your child’s listening skills will improve.
  • Learning an instrument nurtures self-expressions. It is a great way for children to express how they are feeling.
  • It gives you an opportunity to teach your child about different cultures.
  • There is a level of responsibility that comes with learning an instrument, as your child will need to maintain their instrument and look after it properly.
  • Improves comprehension and reading skills.
  • Math skills will also improve.
  • Playing an instrument will drastically help with coordination.
  • Learning to play an instrument will teach perseverance and create a sense of achievement.
  • This is also a great way to enhance your child’s memory skills

How to keep your child interested in playing an instrument

Now you know the benefits that are associated with children learning a musical instrument, however, one of the challenges you may face is keeping your child interested in their guitar or piano. After all, children often have short attention spans and they grow bored quickly. It is your quest to make sure they do not give up on learning to play their instrument. So, how do you do this? There are a few options. Firstly, it is a good idea to keep things exciting and set them musical projects. One option could be to get your child to create his or her own album. You can even get a CD made at Nationwide Disc so that your child feels like they are a superstar. Aside from this, make sure you choose songs that are going to appeal to your child, i.e. pop songs that are topping the charts. It is also important to be your child’s biggest fan. Set aside time for their performances and take a keen interest in what they are doing.

So there you have it: the reasons why musical instruments are a must for any child, as well as some tips on keeping your child interested in their instrument. Hopefully, the advice above will help you to progress your child’s development. You never know, you may have the next Beethoven on your hands!

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.