The following is a guest post by singer-songwriter Stephanie Quayle
Picture this, just outside Bozeman, Montana, miles of wild green fields, off a gravel road sits an old white farmhouse. Inside under the stairwell, tucked away perfectly is our weathered upright piano. I remember crawling up onto that piano bench and pressing my tiny fingers against those magical black and white keys, and so the dream begins.
As I sit here at my desk writing about the impact and influence music has had in shaping every cell in my body, I think back to moments like the above and it feels like a dream. A dream realized.
My mom put my brother and me into piano lessons when we were very young with the toughest piano teacher in town, my Grandma Katherine. She was the quintessential role mode of strength and determination, structure and consistency.
She wore each of her silver hairs swept up in a perfect bun and there was no room for error. She worked us like she must have worked her farm, for that I am sure, but she was a huge influence on my love of music and work ethic.
Every so often there would be recitals at her small home’s front living room turned performance hall, where I would sit in my finest, trying to keep my composure while playing all the notes on the pages of sheet music perfectly. I loved to make my teacher proud but would sometimes not play a specific part just to see if she would notice-she always did.
My parents unwavering support during my teen years allowed me to try all kinds of musical adventures from singing in choir, playing clarinet in the school band, to buying my first guitar at a local pawnshop. When I came back from my year exchange program in Switzerland, I knew this would be my life and I was determined to make music my career. My parents accepted the journey with open arms and watched as I set out on the windy road ahead.
As I have grown as a singer, songwriter, musician and recording artist I have had the opportunity to share my story and impact lives. From keynote speeches for organizations like Girls For A Change to performances for the Girl Scouts with sing-alongs campfire style teaching these young dreamers the words to my song “Be Who You Are,” I always reiterate the importance of work ethic, perseverance, determination and the power of getting back up when you fall.
I find in these most precious moments a desire to speak with the parents. We discuss the importance of them supporting their child’s dream in every way possible. Music not only shapes your children, but builds their confidence, aids in their other studies, gives them something to be excited about and exposes them to new experiences that create moments that you can share together. Music gives them a skill that can benefit them for the rest of their lives and can open up endless possibilities.
How many times has a song come on the radio that you both started singing on the way to school? I remember those days with my mom like they were yesterday, that’s what it is all about.
When I first came to Nashville I remember hearing the words “it all begins with a song” and “a song can change your life.” I really feel the impact of those words with my single “Stand Back” that I co-wrote with Mindy Ellis Campbell and Mark Carson. We wrote this song from a strong female perspective and once we demoed it with a full band we really heard its potency.
I was blown away when I heard from a fan that she and her daughter were singing every note, every word together. That meant a lot to me because I want this to be on every woman’s lips and be a song moms can sing with their daughters.
I don’t think there is anything more beautiful than a strong woman, no matter the age.
I am not a mom, but from the perspective of a daughter, I would encourage you to surround them with music. Sing with them. Dance with them. Share the magic of music together and encourage them to make music of their own even if it is just humming a new tune.
If you already support your children with music lessons: push them, make them practice and nurture their drive. If they fall short of a note let them know that you still believe in them and love them just the same. My parents did this for me and now I am proof that the wildest dreams can come true.
Sometimes life comes at you fast. So fast, in fact, that it can rock your world and change your life forever in the time it takes to write a song lyric. Growing up on a farm in Bozeman, Montana, Stephanie Quayle always loved to write and play songs and always dreamed of a career in music. But it took two life-changing events to bring her to Nashville and to the career that’s now unfolding with the release of her EP, Stand Back.