We went to our first family concert last Saturday: Sarah Jarosz, Hayes Carll, Shawn Mullins and Todd Snider at the zoo. It was raining as we spread our blanket and I had some momentary regrets about our choice, but everything cleared up by the time the music began and we had a great time. Ellie Jo made friends with the ladies sitting beside us and they entertained her with bubbles and an elephant ear.

A week ago we saw a short set by The Lone Bellow and ever since then Ellie Jo has been asking if she can be “in” music. She’ll hear a song that she likes and she’ll say, “Can I be in dis song?” She is suddenly fascinated by the concept of music being something that she can personally experience.

So Uncle Lukie and Auntie Marie pull out their instruments and sing for her. I get out my two violins and help her “play” one of them. We sing more silly songs around the house. And I keep looking for family-friendly concerts.

Because, in our quest to raise emotionally whole children, we want them to know that music is a way to express their emotions. Music will help our kids sort out their feelings or find kindred spirits who put words to what they feel. Making their own music can be a powerful catalyst for connecting with themselves and others. And, goodness, music is just plain fun!

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