The Casten Kids Pursue Their Musical Talents From Home

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by Michael Casten |

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As the fall approaches, we are getting ready for school and extracurricular activities. All of our kids — Ava, 13, Henry, 11, and Ella, 10 — are musically gifted.

Ava has played the violin since she was in fourth grade. She takes lessons privately through the online platform Zoom. Every week, she hunkers down in her bedroom and plays with her teacher online. She has gained great skills and plays several musical pieces. 

Henry has an affinity for the piano, having taken lessons since the fourth grade. He can hear a piece of music and have the song fairly well mastered within hours. He also reads music. Like Ava, he’s taking private lessons through Zoom, on a piano in his bedroom. 

Ella’s musical talent comes into play with singing. She has been part of the Young Naperville Singers for a year. Starting this fall, she will sing with her peers using Zoom. She has a great range and a good ear for music. She practices using a karaoke machine or by singing a cappella. 

We encourage our children to continue with music. We hope they will become good enough to get college scholarships. We know sports are very competitive, and educational institutions often look for good musicians as well. 

With the COVID-19 quarantine, it is sometimes difficult getting our kids to practice their musical talents. They would rather play on their devices or outside, or just chill out at home. We are looking forward to the school year and its more structured schedule.

Sometimes Ella dabbles in writing her own songs. She’ll grab a piece of paper and write about how she feels at the moment. She eagerly shows us her finished product and goes about putting a tune to it. It’s amazing to see her grow in her musical talents.

Eventually, all three kids will one day return to studying in person with their instructors. Until then, we rely on the technology afforded us so they can pursue what gives them pleasure and a sense of accomplishment. We eagerly await the opportunity to continue watching them grow in their musical talents, helping them become well-rounded people.


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