The Sound of Music

January 10, 2023

Music is a given in the Nelson household.  

For 2023, I decided that I wanted to learn to play the cello. I absolutely love the rich but steady tone of the cello and can pick it out when listening to music. There are no major goals set besides to learn and to hopefully play together as a family.  

You might remember I like starting a new year focused on intentions instead of goals. As 2022 was coming to an end, I started to think about what is something new that I want to learn and work on in 2023. 2022 came with many good changes for our family. But with big changes comes uncertainty and disruptions to schedules and the familiar. Our new normal has fallen into place, and I can think and plan more into the future.  

So, I rented the cello on my birthday in November and am beginning lessons this month. Over the years of listening to my kids play and love music, I wanted to join in as well. Ryan is musically gifted and has played the French horn for years. It’s been over 20 years since he played, so this year he wants to pick it back up. 

The girls have both chosen instruments that fit their personalities. Katherine has mixed her love of ballet with the music she plays on her violin. She is a feeler and a true creative who learns by figuring things out her own way and in her own time. To motivate her is to leave her alone to figure something out.  

Sally is precise; she loves to follow instructions and prefers specific steps and rules. She learned to read music easily and is motivated by recognition and completing tasks. I am like Katherine and enjoy the process and where the journey leads. Sally and Ryan thrive with an instruction manual and to say they completed the task. They are both incredible teachers.  

I have learned so much about music from my girls’ dedication to learn their instruments. For the past year, Katherine has been part of a string ensemble group. When she started practicing her songs at home, it sounded a bit off to my untrained musical ear.  

When I asked her about it, she responded graciously: “Mom, I am playing the violin 2 part–it’s alternating between the harmony and melody of the song.” It still didn’t make sense to me until I arrived early at her ensemble practice one day and heard the whole group playing together. I recognized the song, and it sounded beautiful together. Each musician was playing their own part which came together to form a completed piece of music.  

If you’ve been reading my other blogs, you might see where I’m going with this. Our family each has different ways of doing things; we are motivated differently and see life a bit differently, but when we come together as a team with specific responsibilities and expectations, we have purpose. If we don’t do our part, then our farm doesn’t work right, the music sounds off and the picture isn’t complete.  

The part I love about music is how we learn over time. 

A little bit of practice daily compounds to be able to play the scales, then a song, and then learning to play in a group. You can’t master it overnight; only through daily showing up, putting in the time with no exact outcome but a process, it is in the journey that you find success.  

Isn’t that how things work in our families as well? We put in the time, we give responsibilities and set expectations so we can work well together. We can appreciate what we each have to offer and give. It’s little actions over time that will have a lasting impact we never expected.  

And what would one of these blogs be if I didn’t tie it back to finances. In the same way we must practice our music or household responsibilities a little at a time, saving a little daily, monthly, yearly, all add up and compound. 

We may not know exactly what it’s for, but it will allow us to hopefully choose to say yes to an opportunity we didn’t expect.  

My intention for 2023 is for my girls and myself is to remember that the little things add up to the big things. We learn something every day, we show up for people, we know that what we do and don’t do matters and affects those around us.  

In the coming months, I will be sharing more concretely how we navigate our finances as a family and how we include our kids in our finances. We’ll dig into where we can make our finances more integrated within our lives because I believe it’s important for kids to see finances and money as choices.  

It can allow us to do the things that are important to us and allow us to be generous and wise. When we discuss finances, we have to first identify what’s important to us individually and how we are motivated. I’ve learned so much from my kids as we have talked about what they enjoy, what comes naturally for them, and what’s a challenge. This has led to discussions on activities they’d like to do and their understanding of choosing what they spend money on individually and how we spend our money as a family. 

This month, take a minute to reflect on how you individually, and if you have a family, see your own finances. 

Reflect on what is important to you. This can be hard and very unfamiliar for many people because we’re a mix of our experiences when we think about our finances. We carry our own wins and opportunities as well as takeaways from how our parents discussed or avoided conversations around finances and money. Observing your own approach to finances as a family is an important first step in making choices together for the future. 

Have a question or need help getting started? Let’s have coffee.


The opinions expressed herein are those of Anna Nelson and are subject to change without notice. This material is not financial advice or an offer to sell any product. Forward-looking statements cannot be guaranteed. This document may contain certain information that constitutes “forward-looking statements” which can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “may,” “expect,” “will,” “hope,” “forecast,” “intend,” “target,” “believe,” and/or comparable terminology. No assurance, representation, or warranty is made by any person that any of Anna Nelson’s assumptions, expectations, objectives, and/or goals will be achieved. Nothing contained in this document may be relied upon as a guarantee, promise, assurance, or representation as to the future. Anna Nelson is an investment adviser registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training.