Friday, January 21, 2011

Our Guitar Playing Son

Nolan, who turned 15 in December, is an avid guitar player, both acoustic and electric. 

He is self-taught on the guitar and does know how to read music thanks to a year of violin lessons when he was much younger.

He also enjoys woodworking and has been working on what else, but an electric guitar model.

He practices about  2 - 3 hours each day, all on his own initiative.  I much prefer when he practices the acoustic because the electric guitar is loud and on its own not very soothing to listen to. 

While there is some Christian rock being played  and both Thomas and Nolan play for their youth group worship music time, they also like symphonic metal - such as Nightwish -  and bands like Switch Foot and Three Days Grace.

Nolan admires the electric guitar playing abilities of Slash from Guns and Roses, so Mike and I have  flashbacks from time to time when we hear Welcome to the Jungle echoing throughout the house.  (Oh we have come so far from our college days with dear husband cranking a Guns and Roses cassette in his old Buick Skylark.)

still a work in progress, the wood came from Nolan using a hatchet on some of our firewood, a piece of cherry for the neck and maple for the rest

However, finding a balance as a parent has meant letting go of my wants at times, and learning to compromise   in order to nurture the children's interests, gifts, and dreams.  In this case I look past his use of electricity  in order to play because while I may not choose this path, he has.  It is so different than our family's decision not to have a toaster, microwave, central heating, or a dryer.  

 We have also chosen to be open to alternative  music as long as there are few if any profanities and the content is not too alarming.  It has given us opportunities for discussion to talk about what is uplifting and what would glorify God or not.

There is give and take along our journey.

Warm wishes, Tonya


  1. HI Tonya,
    I can relate! Our son Sam , 16 also plays. My husband has been playing for over 40 years now and we are fortuante to have a studio "in the barn". Sam plays for the church youth band and sometimes the ACDC and Greenday tunes bring me back to another era...LOL! He always gets a kick out of knowing his Mom went to a few ACDC concerts...LOL!

  2. It's funny how you have to let go, and hope that you taught your children right from wrong.

  3. thanks for sharing this slice of your family and how you've come to compromise your wants with allowing your son to find his own path. That's always a hard thing to do as we teach our kids to stay true to our beliefs but for them to develop their own life journey too.

  4. I can relate too. My son, Jairus, plays electric guitar and also plays in our church's youth worship band. He mostly listens to Christian rock but I've been learning to also not freak out (inside) about him checking out other music. My daughter plays piano - loves more classical music but also joined the youth worship band. What fun it has been to watch the two of them learn some of the same music and even (yikes!) practice together!!!

    What a great guitar model.

  5. yes, parenting is truly about finding balance. the values and beliefs that you have taught your kiddos will be with them no matter where they go and what they do. good for you for letting go a bit to let your boy find his way - it's such an integral part of growing up. our boys recently received an electric guitar too and it is loud!

  6. How wonderful that you have raised such a talented young man. My oldest son (now 26) taught himself to play the guiter when he was younger. I hadn't thought about it until I read your post, but I miss his practicing every afternoon. Well, I never thought I would say that-ha, ha.

  7. What an impressive project - and so wonderful to have such supportive parents!

  8. Oh goodness this brings back memories *grin*. I played classical guitar and in highschool I had a chance to join band and play electric guitar and I got to take the guitar home with me to practice so I would use it to play as much rock music as I could!! guns n roses, zz top, led zeppelin's stairway to heaven... haha I had so much fun. How wonderful that your son is enjoying playing so much and the guitar he is making looks FANTASTIC!!

  9. Ah, the balancing act of parenting. Some days I seem to have mastered it! Others, ah, not so much! Amazing piece of art, Nolan. Clearly an artistic soul.

  10. May he always glorify God with His talent! My daughter plays the violin, my son the guitar, and my other son the recorder. It is a delight to have them play for us at the dinner table or before family devotions so we can sing songs with one another.

  11. I think you are great parents. I am certainly quite open and flexible in my views about art and music but I am so dismayed by a lot of the popular music with the over use of swearing for the sake of it it seems. The content of the songs too and the sexualisation of the film clips...I think they should be rated like movies and not for general airplay but restricted to after hours. I don't think enough parents actually listen to the words of the music their children (and I especially mean the under-teens) are listening and exposed too.

  12. I really enjoyed this post, I think because you explain so clearly what your thoughts are, what the compromises are, and where you see possibilities and opportunities. No doubt God is speaking through your son's musical abilities - not to mention his woodworking abilities! Good for you.

  13. my daughter had a guitar for Christmas - at the moment they both mostly listen to Christian music, but I am starting to encourage them to listen to 'classic' rock and pop - I think musical children have an unerring ear for quality, and tend to avoid twaddle, whatever the generation - we may blanch *now* at some of the lyrics from Guns'n'Roses - but you know what, we survived, we came out knowing right from wrong, because we had God's hand on us, and so will they.
    And that is some awesome guitar work!

  14. Oh Tonya, this is just like my brother. He's played classical guitar when he was younger, and now in college and a band. He also played worship for the youth group and lead a prayer meeting for the worship team. I am so proud of him! I designed him a guitar shirt for Christmas and he just loved it. Seemed to fit him well. :-) I love your son's woodworking, he's very talented.

  15. We also think it's important to nurture our children in music, art, etc. It's so important for kids to learn to appreciate these things. As a former *KISS* freak, I would be careful about the lyric exposure issue. I can still recite most of their lyrics... which I'm sure are pretty much along the same lines as the groups listed above... I wish my young mind hadn't been exposed in retrospect.

  16. Wow Tonya what a talented son you have. His woodworking is beautiful!

    I think it is great you are letting your son follow his interests, you have a wonderful open communication with your children and that is key through those adolescent years.

    Give yourself (and Papa) a pat on the back for a job well done.


  17. My husband is rebuilding fender guitars - and I showed him the guitar Nolan is making - we think it ROCKS!

    Tonya - I prefer the acoustic too! We have three electric and one acoustic :(.

    Rock on Nolan!