Karina Chronicles

How To Perform Music With Your Teenager Daughter (And Still Like Each Other)

Helen Austin is a singer, songwriter, and classically trained musician.  Originally from the UK, Helen now resides in Vancouver with her family.  You can follow her shenanigans on her Facebook, Twitter, or see her on Youtube.

Here’s a little back story to my live performing life with my daughter, Daisy, who is now 15.

When my kids turned 3, they got two thing: skis and a violin. We live 30 mins from a ski hill, which explains the first and violin is really the only instrument you can learn at such a young age. I figured that learning to play music while learning to talk kind of went together.

But there was no expectation to become a musician. My only aim was that they would enjoy playing music and be able to do it for a long time. The rule in our house is that while you still have to learn math you have to be learning an instrument, which kind of takes you to age 18. After that it’s up to you.

We had our struggles through the years and many times Daisy very strictly told me that she was ‘not going to be a musician!’ The only time she played with me was a the Relay for Life, for which I wrote a song and there was simple fiddle part, but never at any other time.


A little over a year ago Daisy started showing signs that she wanted to harmonize and do a little fiddle back up. I happened to have a very short 30 minute, no pressure gig coming up so I suggested that we put 10 songs together and could fill in any extra time with some fiddle tunes that she already knew. She agreed and I made sure I was ‘super’ nice to her about practicing because, to be honest, I couldn’t believe that she actually wanted to play with me and I didn’t want to wreck it.

We did the gig and the audience LOVED her. She is a quiet child and has this grace that I just do not possess. From then on she had the bug and, although I am not quite as nice to her in rehearsals any more (she is capable of so much), she now plays every gig with me and I LOVE it!

So in taking that deep breath, sticking to my guns throughout the ‘I hate you’s and making music practice as essential as doing their homework or brushing their teeth I am reaping the rewards by watching both my kids not only play well, but getting such joy out of making music.


Leave a comment