We Love ABC: A family affair
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We Love ABC performs in Ruang Rupa art gallery, South Jakarta. Courtesy of Aprilia Apsari
A Rock n’ roll dad introduces music to his children in his own way.
On a daily basis, Ricky Surya Virgana is playing music for life. He has two faces; one with this classical influence where he plays cello and hangs out with classic musicians, and the other is playing bass for Jakarta’s indie outfit White Shoes and the Couples Company.
He enjoys his career, which flies him to new places and sees him meet interesting people while also making a living.
As an artist Ricky has an artsy approach to life. He is passionate about what he’s doing. Music is his playground.
Back home, he has two children who are also into music. Dad has an edgy taste in music. The saying “you are what you hear” is implemented in the house, which has a high dose of musical interaction.
The basic knowlegde of music is transferred from the parents to the children. They play music at a young age, just like Ricky.
“My first daughter, Sisilia Virgana — Sisi — has been learning to play music since she was five years old. We played cello together back then and that becomes a habit. Then my boy, Satria Virgana — Sachi — also asked me when he was five if he could play music,” remembered Ricky.
If you’re wondering how it feels to form a band with dad, daugther and son, Ricky and his children tell a story about We Love ABC, the family’s first band.
“I asked Sachi what he wanted to play. He came back to me and bravely said he could play drums. Then we tried to play and form a band. Sachi can keep the beat by only playing the snare, fortunately,” Ricky continued.
With so many musical influences floating around the house, the children can always listen to classic tunes that their dad plays.
We Love ABC have performed a few times in public. Their performances always draw good responses. Ricky has given his children a good musical education.
“Basically every kid has their own talent but for me you need to introduce music to them early, let’s say four or 5-year-old. The ideal way is to learn classic piano and you really need to find a good teacher. Good teachers give the kids a good musical grounding,” said Ricky.
Sisi, who is now in the fifth grade, is able to play both cello and piano while Sachi is still at the beginning of his journey searching for suitable instruments.
“Sachi can play snare drums. He probably will learn classic guitar by the time he’s 6,” explained Ricky.
“It’s not hard to teach them. The kids are quite fast in their understanding. The problem is they still find it quite hard to be focused. But they’re still young, so it’s very understandable.”
Children’s ability to adapt is probably the main factor that makes some of them learn music quickly. But there is also a negative side to this coin.
TV contributes in a bad way, where now viewers can see small children singing adult songs, which sometimes tell hard facts about adulthood, such as love affairs or broken hearts.
There’s a joke in the music industry. If you can keep children singing your song, then you have a hit on your hands. They won’t lie about what tunes they love to hear. But then the content of the songs also needed to be appropriate for their life stages.
Mainstream music today is definitely not suitable for minors. The fun concept that they need is not there. And of course, introducing the concept of lipsync — which occupies much of our TV — is unsuitable with people lying on screen as if they were singing live.
It has to be kept simple in the early stages. What Ricky’s has been doing with his children is a good example of how music can be introduced in a decent way. People should learn from his way of teaching, and he also thinks that sending away your children to music schools sometimes is very questionable.
“There are good quality music schools here,” he says. “But sadly there are less people who realize that they exist. Most parents love to get their children into music schools that are more business orientated, like the ones you see in the malls or franchised music schools, which aim to hold concerts as often as they can in order to make the parents happy.”
We Love ABC is a simple way of delivering the fun side of music. There won’t be any official releases, but it is a way of how the family can seek fun through music.
“This is the way to keep close to my kids. Every family has its own way of keeping the house a warm environment and my way is doing We Love ABC with the kids,” said Ricky.
With people like Ricky, we can all be assured that our children have solid ground from which to grow. This rock n’ roll dad shows how music can be transferred in a gentle way.
You can see We Love ABC on YouTube. There are many videos of them having fun through their music as a family.