To the Weird Kids

By: Shane Nicholas
Owner, StickandStrum Academy

A call to all of those weird, quirky, introverted, awkward, awesome kids out there..

You know the kids I’m talking about. The ones that seem like a round peg in a square hole. They see things through a unique filter and interact with people a little differently. Though they may not always fit in, we know the truth: These are the awesome kids. The ones that will make a difference once they find their place to shine. Maybe you have one in your family. Maybe you were one.

My story isn’t an uncommon one. I came from a broken home and struggled to find my way during my pre-teen and teenage years. I wasn’t really into sports. I didn’t join all of the clubs at school. I was introverted and awkward. I was just kinda…there. Though I played sax in the band I wouldn’t consider myself musical. I picked up a guitar at age 14 and everything changed.

There was just something magical about it. It was something that I could work on and see growth and improvements, which really clicked for my task-oriented personality. Guitar was unabashedly cool and I could still work on it in my own bubble without people judging me.

Sports and clubs were hard because to improve and grow I had to do it in front of other people. For an awkward kid like me that was rough. Music became an outlet for all of my awkward teen feelings and struggles. I could just lock myself in my room and play for hours and I loved it. It became an escape. But then something cool happened.

I joined a band. You won’t see us on the Grammys anytime soon but it was life changing. Suddenly I had an outlet for everything that I had been working on in isolation. We wrote songs and I was able to express some of the things I had been feeling. We played gigs and I found myself becoming more confident and conquering my fears. Playing with some friends became something that really clicked and led all of us onto a lifelong love of music. Three of us actually pursued careers in music.

What I love about music lessons is that it gives an outlet and validity to some of those emotions and feelings that can otherwise go unchecked.

I realized that music lessons are so much more than teaching people about music.

It’s about building confidence.
It’s about providing an outlet.
It improves test scores, increases IQ, and benefits language development.
It’s about helping kids to feel accepted and valued.
It’s about kids realizing that they are heard and understood.
It’s about creating something that can be used their entire life.

At Stickandstrum Academy we work hard to get instruments into kid’s hands as soon as possible and offer classes for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers all the way through elementary school, teens, and adults. I wonder what would have happened if I had first picked up a guitar when I was 10 or 7 or 4 instead of 14. My son is 3 and I am already loving the results of having him in our group classes and even private piano lessons.

He’s a happy, inquisitive, outgoing, and kind kid and I can’t help to think that part of that has been due to his exposure to music at a young age.

Not only do we offer lessons but we really focus on groups and community with lots of options for students to get started. We are a no pressure, no judgment kind of place and families really seem to enjoy that. Stickandstrum has group options for kids who are still figuring out what instrument they want to play, including our popular Intro to Instruments class and our Jam class where complete beginners get to play in a band together. We include all instruments and supplies for these classes so parents don’t have to buy or worry about anything.

Our amazing teachers can also meet you where you are if you are more advanced or are just ready to take it up a notch. More than 10% of our studio is made up of adult beginner students so it’s never too late.

I didn’t pick up a guitar until I was 14 and I normally hear one of these two statements from parents when their kids begin taking music lessons with us:

“I used to play piano as a kid. I wish I hadn’t given it up.”
“I always wanted to play an instrument but just never got around to it.”

So…what are you waiting for? Let’s rock!

Our Sponsor:

Shane Nicholas is the owner of Stickandstrum Academy in Riverchase. Stickandstrum offers group and private lessons in guitar, piano, voice, drums, ukulele, electronic music, banjo, sax and clarinet, and more. For more information check them out on Facebook, Instagram, or their website.

Gift Certificates are available for the holiday season and make great stocking stuffers. Stickandstrum has options for group classes for as low as $100.

Check out their Holiday Ukulele Class for Families. For $100 each, you and a child get to learn Christmas songs on ukulele for four weeks and the class includes a ukulele that you get to keep!

This class for absolute beginners starts on November 7th and you can sign up or get more info here


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