Why Is Music Important?
Why is music important? That’s a great question. See, I grew up in a musically deprived environment, which is why I am so fascinated by families of musicians providing musically rich and inspiring environments for their children. For that reason, I was so excited to sit down with Lisa James, who comes from a long line of stellar musicians and music educators. She’s also one of Portland’s most sought-after singer-songwriters.
Why Is Music Important? I Asked Lisa James to Provide Some Answers
When you watch Lisa perform, the first thing you’ll notice about Lisa is her angelic voice. The next thing you’ll see is her radiant smile. That’s because Lisa loves making music.
I first met Lisa as a student in the Portland Community College (PCC) professional music program nearly a decade ago. At the time, she was pursuing her education and improving her craft. Today, Lisa is one of the most sought-after singer-songwriters in Portland, OR. She also leaped student to a professor at PCC. You can learn more about Lisa at http://www.lovelisajames.com/
Music as a Form of Community Connection
Lisa talks a lot about community. That’s because she grew up in a family of music educators, embraced by the community of instructors at Portland Community College, and now teaches the recording arts at the very same college.
“My entire family has always been very supportive of me and the music I’m creating,” Lisa says. “I think because they all have that connection to music too, they tried to foster that in me and have always believed I would achieve the things I set out to do.”
Today, Lisa shares her passion for making music, performing, and recording with a new generation of musicians through PCC’s music and sonic arts program.
Music Lessons as a form of Family Connection
Lisa comes from a long line of stellar musicians. Her mother, Edie Bennett, has been running the Bennett Suzuki Violin Studio of Portland for more than thirty-five years. For that reason, Lisa had the opportunity to pursue any musical instrument she gravitated towards as a kid. “In my life as a child, I was so fortunate to be handed instruments and opportunities for trying different ones like cello, piano, guitar,” Lisa says, “so I’m going to do the same thing in parenting practice.”
One of the shining lights of the pandemic was the time and space for Lisa and her daughter to strengthen their bond through music. “I am grateful that’s she’s into something that her mom is into,” Lisa says. “It’s been so inspirational for me, and it’s made our bond so much closer to be able to sing and play guitar together.
Three Tips for Raising More Musically-Able Children
As an artist, music educator, and mom, Lisa is uniquely positioned to provide practical advice for parents who want to raise more musically able children.
- Provide access to instruments: Leave musical instruments out in plain sight. That’s a great way to remove barriers to practice while simultaneously making it easier to grab a musical instrument and play, whether it’s for fun or serious practice.
- Create musical routines around the house. Getting a child to practice is very difficult, but if you make it fun and build a habit around it, your child is much more likely to create a lifelong musical bond with the instrument.
- Learn a musical instrument with your child. Studying a musical instrument together is a great way to enrich the bond between parent and child. “If you are to engage with them, Lisa says, “I feel the retention rate is so much higher, and the enjoyment for the instrument grows because you have this experience unlike anything else.”
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