London DJ, songwriter, record producer and father Jax Jones on how to raise rockstars and mini maestros and why live music is key
Jax Jones is an ambassador for Shaping Us, a campaign led by The Princess of Wales to raise awareness of the critical importance of early childhood in shaping the adults we become. Jax stops by to share his advice on how to get kids interested in music from a young age.
How did your childhood experiences and upbringing shape your approach to music and your career as a musician?
It was everything. There were no musical people in my family. Music started purely as one of the activities my mum would send me to when I was little to fill my time. Music, at that point, was just something I did as part of school. I started learning the classical guitar when I was eight, via a government-funded school on Saturdays called The Centre of Young Musicians. That was my haven, as it was chaotic for me at home… My biological father left when I was quite young. And when my stepdad came along, he was Nigerian, and he introduced me to the musical influences I have today… Growing up in South London, general inner-city life, music just kept me doing my own thing. It was super important.
As a father yourself, how has being a dad impacted your music and creative process?
Having a child was the least selfish thing I’ve ever experienced. Finding a partner or having a career tends to be idealistic and about yourself. But having my daughter was a fulfilling epiphany. I was serving someone else fully – you don’t get anything tangible in return. It brought a new joy to my life. And I did a lot of work to prepare for it so I could be the best dad possible.
Will you encourage your daughter Lawana to follow in your musical footsteps – has she shown any signs at her young age of being interested in music?
She just likes hitting stuff at the moment! I’ll sit at a piano; I can play Baby Shark. She finds it nice that I do it, but she isn’t interested enough to do it herself. She listens to a lot of music. She sings it back and changes the lyrics, which is what we do in the house – she’s only two. She’s a really good singer.
I’m allowing her to integrate into it without any vocational aspirations. She’s her own person, so whatever she wants to do. My job is to give her the resources that she needs to set her up so she can do what she wants to do and allow that to happen. She’s on her own journey…
Raising a miniature musical marvel? Here’s how to support them.
Nurture Their Interest
If you’ve got a little music enthusiast in the making, it’s all about letting them groove to their own rhythm. Encourage them and let them explore different styles of music. Whether it’s pop, dance, hip-hop, or classical – let them soak it all in. Music is like a journey, and this is where it all begins!
Live Music Vibes
Taking your young one to concerts and gigs can ignite their musical passion like nothing else. The energy, the stage presence, the raw emotions – it’s like a wave of goodness to their creative soul. After all, every musician’s journey is inspired by those unforgettable live moments they saw when they were young.
Instruments are their way of speaking the language of music, so getting your kid set up with their own instrument is like handing them the keys to their own musical kingdom. If they’re drawn to a guitar, keyboard, drums, or any other instrument, consider getting them one. It’s not just an instrument; it’s an invitation to express, to experiment, and to compose their own sonic stories.
Learn the Notes
Alright, it’s time to level up their skills. Lessons are where the real magic happens.
Finding the right teacher – someone who clicks with their vibe – can be a game-changer. Private lessons provide that personal touch, while group sessions bring in the camaraderie. With guidance, they’ll refine their technique, understand musical theory, and unlock their full potential.
Transform a corner of your home into a creative haven – it worked for me.
This is their sacred space – where melodies come to life. Equip it with sheet music, practice recordings, and all the tools they need to sharpen their skills. With this setup, their practice sessions turn into jamming sessions, where they fine-tune their craft and embrace their unique style.
Here’s the deal – learning an instrument is like riding a rollercoaster. There are high notes and low notes, but it’s all part of the journey. Be their anchor in this musical sea. Encourage them to practice regularly, but remember, it’s about progress, not perfection. Lift them up, cheer them on, and remind them that even the pros have their off days!
Beyond the practice room, there’s a whole world of musical experiences waiting for them. Look around your community for music camps, workshops, and festivals. These events are where they’ll learn from fellow enthusiasts, collaborate, and find their place in the musical tapestry. It’s about soaking up inspiration and growing together with others who share their passion.