Hello, my name is Mrs. Gray and this is my confession of a music mom. My husband and I started our music school when our daughter, Kierra, was fairly young. She was our very first student, beginning piano at the tender age of four years old. If you can’t tell by now, we are a very musical family. In fact, her dad and I met our freshman year at Claflin University where we participated in the Jazz Band, Pep Band and Gospel Choir. While in college, my husband was the personal musician for Mrs. Tisdale, the President’s wife. He would accompany her when she traveled to speak at various places and events. Many people may not know this, but I play the alto sax in addition to the piano and drums. My mom was a pianist and introduced me to music at an early age, so I never had a second thought as to whether or not my child would play an instrument.
Kierra was a straight A student growing up and when she began music it came pretty natural to her, but everything changed probably around middle school. On her level of musicianship, she found that things became more challenging and she had to put forth more effort in order to grasp the concept. So in other words, she found herself having to put in more work in order to grow musically.
Her father never wanted to be “that parent.” You know, the parent that forces their child to do music because of their own personal love for music. So when we had moments of her saying that she wanted to quit, he would just look at her and genuinely say, “if that's what you want to do.” I was horrified! No way was I going to allow my daughter to just quit music, especially because it was getting "challenging." I understood my husband's stance of not wanting to live vicariously through her, but I didn't see it as us forcing music on her. This was a gift that we were giving her that no one could take away. She could have this beautiful gift for a lifetime and be able to share it with others, besides that, we've spent years on this musical journey and as far as I was concerned, this was not the end of the road for her.
I confess that I was that mom who didn’t allow her child to quit music when things got challenging. I confess that I was that mom who had to be extra involved in her daughter’s musical journey. I confess that I was that mom that was encouraging her through the hard times because there were many and celebrating her accomplishments for the large goals and little victories along the way. I believe that it wasn’t striving for perfection that got us through, but the consistency that truly lead us to success. I think as parents, we have to be careful not to always give our children the easy way out. This can be hard when we are their superheroes, but some of the best life lessons Kierra has learned were from sticking it through, practicing when she’d rather watch TV, not giving up and effectively communicating her frustrations with her father and me.
Kierra is now beyond her teenage years and we are so proud of her! She’s been nationally recognized and honored for her songwriting, she’s won multiple music competitions, she’s a fantastic music educator here at GMG and she’s pursuing a career as a singer/songwriter. Every once in awhile we will look back on her musical journey and reminisce and she says, “mom, thank you for not letting me give up.” I confess that every time I hear her say that, it absolutely melts my heart!