Teenagers, music and being yourself…

This morning I’m reflecting on the 15th in the series of the Teenage Theme Nights. We had two wonderful nights where almost 70 teenage musicians performed their favourites from the 1970s.

The four teenagers in this photo – Julie, Joy, Eoin and Conor were our emcees for the two nights. Julie performed an instrumental version of Billy Joel’s Scenes from an Italian Restaurant on piano, Joy arranged strings for and sang Carly Simon’s You’re So Vain, Eoin arranged and sang a Neil Young medley accompanying himself with harmonica and guitar, and Conor led a keys/piano/bass/drums quartet to play Chick Corea’s Spain. And there were many other standout performances over the weekend, too many to list.

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But that’s not the point I want to make today.

Expressing yourself, being true to yourself can be difficult as an adult. It can be even more difficult as a teenager. However it’s key to your happiness.

And so when I see these teenagers be true to themselves through their performances, the way they introduce their song, through the jokes they make when introducing their peers, or through the jokes they don’t make when introducing their peers, I know that’s another step in the right direction for them not just as musicians, but as people.

Playing music has helped me hugely along the journey to be myself. And it’s why I enjoy the theme nights (adults and teenage) so much – because through music, I believe they help others do the same.

It won’t be music for everyone, but if you can find something that plays that role for you…stick with it, embrace it, work at it, do more of it. It’s invaluable.

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