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Choosing a Musical Instrument: Music House Stories, vol. 1

 by Aaron Sizemore

Choosing a musical instrument: How does a child decide his or her destiny?

Most of us decide what our careers will be while we're in college -- possibly late high school at the earliest. Now imagine making that choice before even finishing elementary school? Sounds absurd, doesn't it? And yet that's often what happens in the lives of musicians. The instruments they choose while still very young remain the vehicles for their hopes, passions and dreams into adulthood. How does this mystical process happen? We asked some of our teachers -- all of whom are also accomplished performers -- to share their experiences. Enjoy this first installment of stories. More to come soon.


Pat Adams - Drums

His parents were professional pianists, but he chose his own path.


I grew up with music. I was born in New York City while my dad was holding down the piano gig for A Chorus Line on broadway. He and my mother, both classically trained pianists, moved back to the midwest when I was two. My earliest musical memories include hearing the piano and records that spanned from musicals to Perez Prado to Stravinsky. After countless attempts at turning me into a pianist, my parents gave up and let me choose my own path. I discovered drums when I was 11. My cousin let me play his 60s ludwig kit and I was hooked. The immediacy of the drums struck me. I loved that I could "skip" all the boring scales and tone production. Obviously, this was wrong and I eventually learned about scales and drawing the sound out of the drum later on. To prove my dedication, I played a rubber practice pad for six months before my parents bought me a snare drum. I then played that for six months longer before finally arriving at a full drumset.

Brian Kephart - Guitar & Bass

Childhood dental work ended his trumpet career, but that was really just the beginning for Brian.


I always wanted to play an instrument and be in a band. I took a year of piano lessons at age 6 and played trumpet from grades 5-8, and while I did very well, nothing in those experiences connected to the passion that I felt as a music listener. One day in 8th grade, right around the time my new braces were making the trumpet much more difficult than it had been, a friend of mine got a new guitar, thus enabling him to loan me his old one. My incessant practicing on that undersized, borrowed instrument convinced my parents to buy me my first acoustic guitar for my fourteenth birthday, followed six months later by a Stratocaster I bought with paper route money. Within a year I was in a band. Two years later, I began playing electric and upright bass as well, because bass is awesome.

Sarah Adams - Violin

From infant drummer to toddler violinist to child performer.


My dad was in a band. I started playing the drums and piano with him at 18 months. Of course, I wasn't very proficient, but I could follow basic beats and simple patterns. He also had a guitar and I wanted to learn to play so badly. I'd begged for a guitar and lessons from the age of 2, but was too young to play. My mother taught with a lady whose daughter played the violin and found out kids as young as 3 could learn the basics of violin playing. She bought a violin for me the Christmas right before I turned 4. I started playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and some simple fiddle tunes. I enjoyed it, but it was hard. The year I turned six, my younger sister started playing, too. Soon, we were playing duets and doing gigs with my dad. We were the coolest kids around. We could out-fiddle the band's fiddle player! My sister changed courses and took up Taekwondo, but I knew I was a violinist for life. As I advanced and the classical music got more intricate and the fiddle tunes got faster and faster, I was hooked. Through the course of my life, I've played tons of instruments, but violin will always be my first and dearest love.


More stories to come!

Music House School of Music has locations in Overland Park and Lenexa with 30 teachers sharing their knowledge with over 650 students every week.

Interested in Guitar, Piano, Voice or Drums?

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Written by Aaron Sizemore
Aaron Sizemore
Co-founder & Executive Director at Music House