254 Comments

I was so judgmental going into this (hi, Bay Area raised lib here 🤣) …thanks for a proper narrative ✊ Now have a new perspective.

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Apr 22, 2023·edited Apr 22, 2023

I am sorry I am late to this conversation . I am a la avid reader of The Free Press but this article first came out when I was abroad with terrible wifi. I was able only to read the title of the article and right away I knew who the author (and I couldn’t even tell that Suzy was the author) was referencing. You see, my daughter plays violin and—while I refuse to watch TikTok—we do watch YouTube violin videos together. The algorithm at some point suggested the de la Motte family’s material to me. Being from NYC, I am sometimes amused by the large family’s outings in the big city, as well as curious about how they are able to afford food, housing (a town house!), as well quality musical training for so many kids in the big city. I even passed one of the girls (maybe Pearl?) near the LC area the other day.

My daughter also does the Suzuki method, and I had heard from parents in the Suzuki institute we attended that some of the large fundamentalist Baptist families who homeschool are attracted to the method. That was the first vive I got from the family, but I also decided that it was unfair of me to immediately assume that they are as insidious as the Duggars. I do understand that some kids are naturally drawn to musical instruments, and when that is the case, I think parents should do what they can to foster that interest (that being said, if my youngest decides not to be involved or as involved in the music world as his sister, I’m perfectly fine with that notion). Yes, let’s beware of performative parenting—as some call it—but do this while fostering and supporting interest in the arts and music education.

On the topic of social media and the classical music world. Other than actual violin performances on YouTube, my daughter is allowed to watch (with me, she is not allowed to browse and choose videos) a channel called TwoSet violin. The violin/comedy duo will be coming to NYC later this year, and I had to sign up for their emails so I can buy tickets for their performance as soon as they go on sale (with close to 12K subscribers on youtube, I am expecting that the tickets will be sold out in less than 24hrs). From my perspective as a violin parent, I feel that the duo have increased access to and enthusiasm about the classical music world among young audiences through their YouTube channel. In that regard—and given how difficult it is to make a living in the music world—I can understand why the parents want to expose and create a brand around their kids. Plus, there is a great advantage to having so many musical kids: I have to pay extra for chamber music lessons.

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Love this article. Refreshing to read a happy family story.

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So… Is it just me or is anybody else wondering how they make ends meet? Living in New York City is crazy-expensive and I can’t believe that the profit from selling a house in California is gonna last that long.

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Interesting ,,,I was on their YouTube page with 80K subscribers and they are very active on YouTube, with a total of 470 YouTubes. Seems every other day a new YouTube comes out

They have one youtube saying how much each instrument from each kid costs ( seems like $16,000 per kid)

I would like to know a bit more on how they live and the numbers

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Apr 10, 2023·edited Apr 10, 2023

Wow! I hope one day they will consider returning to the borderlands where we need them and appreciate them. New Yorkers will see them as a strange oddity but that's it. They will never welcome this family or others that don't align with their bizarre insistence of antiracism ideology in the arts preferring the likes of Lin-Manuel who groveled and begged for forgiveness for not sufficiently feeling the hurt of the afro Latino community (whatever that is) that cried they were just not sufficiently represented in his money loser The Heights. The arts and creative process in what was once a great city are dead so I hope this talented family will relocate back to Lemon Grove and our borderlands where great art still has a chance.

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I dont think the title of this piece gives it the justice it deserves. The Kardashians have as much talent collectively as one of the 10 children in this story. If you think what feeding, housing, clothing etc a family of 6 or let alone 10 takes they will need and should use all the help they can commercially. Homeschooling may be the best economically choice and creating a family orchestra too boot, hats off and bravo!

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Thank you for a wonderful profile free from preconception-based opinionizing.

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Summer of 1978, or possibly later in the next year, I’m introduced to a Dr. Harvey Bialy and set about to interview him. He represented Charles Moffett and his family.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Moffett?wprov=sfti1

Moffett was a noted jazz drummer, and his five kids were a jazz ensemble. By ‘kids’ I mean aged 8 to 18…bass, vocals, drums, saxophone, and one whose talent I just forget. Their music was playing in the background, and Dr. Bialy was a bit miffed that I wasn’t paying concentrated attention to it. I was busy setting up for the interview, and as I told Dr. Bialy, ‘I thought this was Coltrane’. Yes…they were that good, rivaling the finest jazz performers of the day. Charles Jr. had even mastered circular breathing, something I’d heard of but never seen.

Eventually we arranged for the family to join us for a recording session…a full day of joy and amazing music, live and just for us.

Unfortunately, I don’t think an album was ever released from this date, but you can see from the Wikipedia article that some of the crew went on to music careers.

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This a lovely story, Suzy. My only comment is that I would have liked to see (maybe even expected) a deeper analysis of the WSJ study about the decline in importance of religion and having children. They had such a small sample size (1,000 out of 330 million) I hate to see so many people, particularly FP writers, jumping on the same easy bandwagon. There are more comprehensive and better studies out there and this study doesn’t seem to merit a blanket reliance. I have come to expect better from your and FP. I know you can do better.

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Wonderful essay. Yet, another example of why I avidly follow TFP.

Thanks for making my Oood Friday morning extra special.

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This couple with no visible means of support seem to be living by child exploitation.

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What a delightful story. I had a grin on my face throughout. Thank you!

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My wife and I used to watch these kids play at the Saturday market in Little Italy in downtown San Diego. They were incredibly good for their ages. The kids always struck us as somewhat odd and mechanical, and I don’t remember a lot of joy in their mostly absent expressions. I was never sure they really liked what they were doing. I wish them the best. For sure they had lots of God-given talent!

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Excellent. If Juilliard keeps training the whole brood they can become a fundraising cash cow for Lincoln Center w/PBS.

As for being their own cash-cow: They need a documentary made, their own website (including info, pics & concerts for subscribers) and a rep for corporate endorsements. Wow. Bright future. bless them.

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Such a refreshing story. Thank you, Suzy. I’m tickled to know about this big, talented, hardworking family.

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