ACL Wrap-up from Austin Kiddie Limits


Buttercup playing Abrakadoodle’s Art+Play Game

I know I went all nuts on y’all and said I was NOT going to bring my kids to ACL this year. I stick by what I said, that there are easier ways to see live music with your kids, but if you have an adult ticket anyway, and you have really great in-laws in town who can pick the kids up about mid-afternoon, then why not?

ACL’s Austin Kiddie Limits has kids activities like rock-star hairdos, temporary tattoos, video karaoke and different ways to get messy with paint. That is Buttercup above, at the Abrakadoodle art+play activity, which might just be the art+play at her next birthday party.

Growing Up Austin

Me and Sparkles Being Like Monsters (at least one of us)

We learned a lot at the Rosetta Stone booth, where we took this picture. (Heather, the photographer, said, “Be like a monster!” and Sparkles left me hanging!)

Rosetta Stone at ACL? Aren’t they the folks who do language lessons on CD in big yellow boxes for $500? And, do CDs still exist? Well, I talked with Jonathan Mudd, Director of Global Communications and Paul Weaver, Senior Director of Product Content at Rosetta Stone. They said Rosetta Stone still makes the CDs in the big yellow boxes, but they also make mobile apps for kids and adults. They are leveraging the language theory and speech recognition engine that they have perfected over the years and merged that with the latest in mobile technology and game design.

Their first offering for kids is “Kids Lingo Letter Sounds” which helps English-speaking kids ages 4-5-years-old learn Spanish. Cute characters tell a story and the kids speak Spanish to move the action along. My kids like that they get to talk, they don’t just passively watch the screen. I like that it is based on a story, so it keeps their attention. Both our girls either are now, or have been, in Spanish immersion classes at their elementary school. Now they can practice what they learn at school by playing a game. The game does need more words and it would be good to have options for other ages. Hopefully that will come in time. For now, Sparkles and Buttercup have both given it a thumbs-up!

But what about us grown-ups? Rosetta also has a number of Travel apps for any age, so you can practice transportation, restaurant and “Donde esta el bano? when you are on a trip. Since it will be a while (maybe when the kids are grown?) before I can learn all of Spanish, this is a fun place to start.

The music at Austin Kiddie Limits was pretty good and I doesn’t usually like music made for kids. My favorites were Tim and the Space Cadets with Mother Falcon and Play Date. There was also shade and lots of room for dancing, which is pretty sweet.

That’s all for this year from Austin Kiddie Limits. Stay tuned for a few more posts, the last of the Parenting Advice from ACL Musicians series, and an overall ACL wrap-up.


ACL Musicians Save You From Justin Bieber

Growing Up Austin - Courtyard Hounds

Courtyard Hounds make music with Emily Erwin and Martie Maguire’s kids on the Austin Kiddie Limits stage

Like I said yesterday when we talked about practice/inspiration, and the day before that when we talked about lullabies, I have answers to real questions from ACL 2013 musicians. Today’s topic is Question #3 – “What do you do if your kid likes music that you really don’t like?”

I lied about saving you from Justin Bieber. I don’t know what made me do it. Maybe I was just trying to get your attention.

The ACL musicians we talked to thought alike on this one, with 11 out of 17 saying some form of “Suck it up.” (Well, assuming it isn’t offensive or age-inappropriate.) Brian Vander Ark from The Verve Pipe goes so far as to say, “You’re not SUPPOSED to like your kids’ music. That’s how music evolves!” Rick Silvestri from Andy Z and the Andyland Band brought up a point that is difficult to argue, “A child is a person.” And each person gets to have their own opinions.

The second-most mentioned suggestion (6/17) went further, recommending some form of “Listen and learn.” This was Rev. Sterling Lands II’s whole answer, “I listen and learn.” I like this one. Music can be a great way to connect with someone, either because you share common tastes or because you take the time to really listen to each other’s playlists all the way through.

Kristen Geller from the Andy Z and the Andyland Band and Kevin Russell from Shiny Ribs  both said music should bring people together and be fun, not create trouble. There are enough other things to fight about, right?

One fun thing to do is make music together, like the Courtyard Hounds on the Austin Kiddie Limits stage on Friday. Emily Erwin and Martie Maguire joined their girls on stage, first for a few songs together, then a few acapella songs just by the girls. There were two proud and loving Mamas on that stage, their smiles beamed all the way to the taxis.

I will tell you one music taste I really don’t like. It’s the one that says my taste is better than yours. There are limited cases when this might be logical, like if you are applying for a job to review music based on standards and you have special training or experience. But, for every other time, which is almost all the time, there is no such thing. I tell my girls, you like music that makes you happy and don’t let anyone tell you any different. It doesn’t matter if it’s smart or new or popular or indie or pop or classic rock-n-roll, it just matters if it makes you happy.

Which is why I can sing all the words to Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend.”

“If I was your boyfriend, I’d never let you go

I can take you places you ain’t never been before

Baby take a chance or you’ll never ever ever know…”

Stay tuned tomorrow for the last question in this series, which is one you really don’t want to miss, “Do you have any tips for getting the young ones to bed at night?” More sleep awaits you…



ACL Musicians Help Raise Your Teenager

Elizabeth McQueen

Elizabeth McQueen playing with Asleep at the Wheel on the Lady Bird stage

Like I said yesterday when we talked about lullabies, I have answers to real questions from ACL 2013 musicians. Today’s topic is Question #2 – “If you met a teenage musician and she asked, “What is more important, to be inspired or to practice?”, what would you tell her?”

Everyone said “both” in one form or another.

Maybe inspiration and practice are like the chicken and the egg, you have to have both and one leads to the other. But which comes first?  Please, ACL musicians, give us a clear and definitive answer…

Out of 17 musicians…

  • 8 said practice
  • 6 said inspiration
  • 4 said both equally

Yes, very clear. Thanks, y’all!

Tobias Winkerton from Junip had an interesting response. He recommended practicing on being inspired. I think I know what he means from my writing.

I need to pay attention to how inspiration works for me, so I can nurture it and give it room and light. I don’t get inspired when I’m too busy or trying to work to fast. I get inspired when I look at something from the side at an angle instead of head on.  When inspiration first starts, it feels like a headache. Like there are no words in the English language for what I want to say. Like I want to turn off the computer and go to sleep, I think because I’m tired but really because I’m afraid I won’t be able to do it. I’ve had to practice being aware of that feeling and working through it until I get to that place were it all feels good.

Well, Tobias, maybe that isn’t what you meant, I was just imagining.

Stay tuned for more answers to your parenting questions. Next, find out what you should do if your kids like really crappy music. And they want to listen to it in the house. And on road trips. Ahhhh!

Many thanks to the practice folks:
Rev. Sterling Lands II from The Warrior Gospel Band, Gordy Quist from The Band of Heathens, Rick Silvestri from Andy Z and the Andyland Band, Andy Zamenes fr0m Andy Z and the Andyland Band , Brian Vander Ark from The Verve Pipe , Johnathan Terrell from Not In the Face , Tim Kubart from Tim and the Space Cadets, Seth Goldstein from The Ohmies

the inspiration folks:
Shanti Wintergate from Play Date , Greg Attonito from Play Date, Kevin Russell from Shiny Ribs, Arlene Bell from Disciples for Christ, Kevin Marks from JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound, Rick Carney, Music Director for School of Rock

and the both folks:
Kristen Geller from the Andy Z and the Andyland Band, Elizabeth McQueen from Asleep at the Wheel, Ian Bevis from Bear Mountain, Scott Mills from CALEB