From an early age, children are particularly receptive to the influence of music, which can either soothe or inspire. In households where music is a constant presence, children are exposed to diverse musical compositions from a young age, fostering their imagination and influencing their development.

Anna Dowling, a violinist, and John Dowling, a banjo player, are both members of the Dowling family, where music plays an integral role in their lives. Even as newborns, they attentively listen when their parents play different pieces for them.

John Dowling hails from Cornwall, England. In 2000, as a member of The Black Cat Theory band, he clinched first place at the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Awards. Two years later, he made history by becoming the first European to win the United States Bluegrass Banjo Championships in Winfield, Kansas. In 2007, he appeared as a master-class teacher on a BBC1 reality program, sharing the stage with Courtney Pine, Jools Holland, and Mark Knopfler.

While both John and his wife were proficient violin players, John’s interest later shifted towards the banjo, an instrument with ancient roots resembling the European mandolin but possessing a distinct, piercing sound. Historically, the banjo has held significance in various African cultures, often reserved for high priests or rulers. Today, it is primarily associated with bluegrass and country music genres.

Indeed, the banjo has deep roots in African-American traditional music, dating back to minstrel performances of the 19th century. African Americans played a significant role in shaping the early development of country and bluegrass music, introducing the banjo and influencing musical genres played on the banjo and violin. Today, the banjo has found its way into a wide range of musical forms, from mainstream music to Celtic punk.

John Dowling, for instance, enjoys listening to country music in his spare time, while both he and his wife excel at producing exceptional music with the violin. From the moment their baby is born, they expose him to the arts, often playing music composed specifically for him. As a result, the infant attentively listens whenever his parents play music, demonstrating an early appreciation for the melodies that surround him.