Children Allowed-Please Bring your children

San Francisco has one of the best family spots for music in the USA

For Immediate Release
Children Allowed-How Bringing your Child To Hear Music Could Be the Best Thing You have Ever Done
August 7, 2012
By Jazz Spy
Without sounding too dramatic, I just had one of the greatest parenting experiences of my whole life and I want to share it with you. Bringing up children is a funny thing. Sometimes it seems there is no knowing what influences you are having in their lives, if any at all. And then there are those moments, those breakthroughs, the light in the eyes, the surprise at something new, the revelation of growth and the joy of understanding.
Now my thinking is that you can experience all of this through live music. I am not talking about the experience of raising a gifted, artistic child. That is a whole other matter. I am speaking of the very simple act of taking your child to hear a live concert and experiencing it together. As children develop their own identity, they have a whole world of likes and dislikes that leave you out in the cold. And the whole matter of experiencing art together gets a lot more complicated once the teen years begin. So what can you do? For me, a music writer, fan, performer, and all around enthusiast, staying home is not an option. As long as I live, I will be encouraging my daughter to share my passions in the arts.
We are very lucky to have one of the most comfortable and inviting music venues for teens in the country, Yoshi’s San Francisco and Oakland. The experience of taking your daughter or son and a friend to a nightclub is something my parents never did for me. But back in the days when my father was taking the train into the Big Apple to catch Sidney Bechet at Jimmy Ryan’s on 52nd Street were gone by the time I was growing up. He still took me to New York to go to Broadway shows occasionally, but I never had the chance to see with him something he had experienced and loved, a rip roaring jazz night with the big city crowd going wild. In those days, children and night clubs were not considered a good mix. But times have changed and there is Yoshi’s, which is almost the perfect place to bring your offspring.
I am very lucky to have developed the sense of what would be a good show to take a teen to but with the band NIYAZ, I struck gold. This group is an Iranian trio led by husband and wife team of Azam Ali and Loga Ramin Torkian and they are one of the great world music cross-over groups. The night I saw them they had a terrific percussionist, an electronic musician doing soundscapes and beats, and two excellent string players and well as the alluring and hypnotic vocals of Azam. Now Azam’s haunting voice and subtle dance steps were part of the magic. And then I looked over and saw my daughter locked in a musical reverie I had wished for. Not only did she adore the sounds, but she was hooked. Right before my eyes she had understood that the joy of music, and the sense of discovery and magic about the world was there for her to see and appreciate forever.
Yoshi’s has great waitresses, delicious edamame that kids love, reasonable sushi in the club, and special student night discounts on their web site. (these are most often the late shows at 10, but check for any other specials). Please send me any other ideas for taking your child to a show or art event. And read this column for more coverage of this most magical topic.
Ken Vermes writes as Jazz Spy. He is a photographer and writer who specializes in discovering the unknown out reaches of music and art. Write Ken at zken@comcast.net and follow Ken on Facebook.

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