One of the challenges of being a parent is having to explain different life situations to children from time to time. It’s no different for songwriters and musicians, especially when it comes on to the rigors of being in the music business and how that often affects family life.
For that matter, some songwriters who become parents may take time off from their career in order to focus on raising their children. Garth Brooks, the well-known Country singer-songwriter is one such example. In 2000, Brooks announced he was putting his career on hold to raise his three daughters. He came back on the music scene in 2014.
Parenting advice is, admittedly, not among our expertise. We're obviously into helping you make music online and find publishing opportunities. But we can safely say that very few songwriters can afford to put their career on hold for an extended period of time. For many, their best bet is to juggle their job (or jobs) and parenthood. This, of course, can put a strain on providing children with the care and attention they need. One of the ways to ensure your child doesn’t feel left out due to your occupation as a songwriter or musician is to spend time explaining what you do and why you do it.
If you don’t talk about what you do, the child might just fill in the blanks with any number of reasons. These reasons might include thinking that you don’t want to be around him or her or they might not be good enough for you. As such, it’s a good idea to explain your occupation. Of course, explaining anything to a child is not always easy. Here are a few tips to help you out:
- Find out how they feel
Kids are often more observant and perceptive than they are given credit for. Even if your child doesn’t seem to be that interested in knowing what you do, they might already have an idea and formed an opinion. Even worse, someone else might have explained your job to them; other people who might not always place the same value on music as you do. Spend some time with your child finding out if they understand what you do for a living, why you might not always be around, and how they feel. The responses you get will help you to frame your explanation appropriately.
- Describe what you do in simple terms
The process of music creation isn’t exactly simple. Explaining all the ins and outs can be a bit too much to process for a young child. You can clarify your job as a songwriter or musician by referring to songs they know, or might have heard on the radio, and explaining that someone had to write it before it could be played. You can then go on to mention how you do the same thing. If possible, you can play a recording of your own music so they get to experience something you have created. If you make money from your work, or plan to, you might also want to make the link about what you do and how that makes it possible for you to provide certain things, such as toys, clothes, food, and care for them in other ways. That way, they get to understand some of the benefits of your job.
- Include your child in the creative process
If you work on creating music at home, it might also be a good idea to involve your child in the process. This can make it easier to explain what you do. Of course, you may not be able to directly involve them in the process. But you can let your child in on your job in subtle and indirect ways. You can probably make it known when you’re going to start a new song, what you plan to call it, or telling them about an interesting instrument you will be using (an acoustic guitar or ukulele, for example). Not only will they feel involved, you may just help to spark their interest in music from an early age.
- Take them along
If you're a songwriter or musician who performs, this is another way to involve your child in your job. Taking your little ones along, from time to time, is akin to how many parents occasionally carry their kids to the office. However, this is something you should do only when it is absolutely possible and/or sensible. A music studio is usually not an ideal place to take your child unless there is a designated area for children, neither is a nightclub. Only take them along when proper arrangements can be made to assure your child will be safe and comfortable.
Children are naturally curious. Their developing minds will want to have some awareness as to what you do and why. This is especially important if you have to spend time away from them on the road. Likewise, if you are not able to give them all your attention when you’re at home because you might be working on a project. If you have kids who are old enough to understand, you might try the above steps in helping them understand what you do, if you haven't gotten around to it as yet, that is.