Izzy Judd has revealed how a family tragedy helped bring her loved ones even closer together when she was a little girl - and why she's keen to encourage the same passion for music in her own children.
Like many kids, it's possible that your youngster already loves music and has favourite songs. And while extracurricular activities are fun and social, they are also important in helping broaden a child's talents and passions – such as playing a musical instrument or learning how to sing.
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Izzy, herself, was born into a musical family, and went on to study the violin at Chethams School of Music and The Royal Academy of Music. She was a member of electric string quartet Escala, who took part in Britain's Got Talent in 2008.
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"It's interesting because I'm the youngest of four and my parents ran a music school so music was very much part of our life and I never really questioned it," she exclusively tells HELLO! for our special Back to School digital issue, which was guest-edited by Giovanna Fletcher.
"I would practice my violin before school - it was just as normal to me as brushing my teeth. I had never really felt pushed or made to do it, it was just a part of our family."
After her studies, the violinist went on to tie the knot to fellow musician Harry Judd in 2012. They met on McFly's Wonderland tour, and they are now parents to two children, Lola and Kit - and baby number three is due later this year!
Sadly, Izzy was just a child when her older brother Rupert suffered a serious head injury following a horrific car accident in 1997. He now resides in a residential care home, which gives him the support that he needs.
The violinist recently took her family to visit her brother Rupert
During the troubling time for her family, Izzy remembers how playing music had a substantial effect on his recovery. "My brother suffered a really serious head injury from a car accident," she recalled. "Music was certainly, for one of my other brothers, his way of being able to deal with the grief and the loss – he was sort of able to get his emotions out through his cello.
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"Music was sort of his way of coping and I suppose as a family, we put on concerts to raise money for various charities that had helped Rupert. It was sort of a way in which our family could communicate in a way that words couldn't.
"For Rupert himself that part of the brain wasn't damaged, so when he just came out of intensive care, we always played lots of music to him through that time. We handed the French horn to him, he played French horn, and he started to move his fingers and to the music.
"It was our first sign of communication with him. At that point, he still wasn't able to speak and it's been the thing for Rupert, especially through recent times with lockdowns, it has been his way of being able to communicate and express himself and be free from his head injuries in those moments to just play his French horn.
"Our parents have given us a gift that even sort of through tragedy is still something that we can go back to and connect with, which I suppose is why I'm so keen to keep music going for Lola and Kit."
The mum-of-two is a professional violinist and played with Escala
It seems both Lola and Kit will have no trouble in finding their feet with music thanks to the influence of their parents. "I mean Lola I would say is more drawn to dancing," shared Izzy. "I'm teaching her the piano, she's learning at school and she's doing really well. I think she naturally likes to dance and move to music.
"With Kit, I feel music has been the thing that kind of calms him down. He just loves music, I feel like it really runs through his blood. So I think it will be interesting to see what happens when they grow up. I'll certainly encourage and do my best to give them the opportunities."
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Confirming that they are expecting another little boy, Izzy revealed that her two children cannot wait to meet their new sibling. "We're having another little boy and which I'm pleased for," she gushed.
"I think it will really benefit them, Lola is now having a couple of brothers so they're really excited. I think Lola might be helpful – she loves playing mummies and daddies, so now we're all very excited."
Meanwhile, it's been widely suggested that listening to music during pregnancy will not only have a soothing and uplifting effect on the pregnant woman, but it can also have a positive influence on the unborn baby.
Quizzed about her own pregnancies, Izzy went on to confess that she loved playing a specific song [Aurora - Half The World Away] to Lola when she was in her tummy – a song that she now recognises.
Izzy hopes her children will benefit from music
"I think amazingly there was a song which I used to play Lola a lot when I was pregnant with her because obviously, I had more time to sit when she was born. I remember this night when she was really crying – after she was born - and I put on this music and she absolutely recognised it as it calmed her down. Even now she'll ask me to sing the song."
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Izzy also opened up about the many reasons why music is so important for a child's development. "Even if you go into a career of music or you don't, it teaches you so many skills. Also the foundation whether that is discipline - knowing that if you work at something then you get results. There's also this social element of playing with other people, making music with people and being able to work as a team. It's more what music brings to a person and that is want to give to my children as well as all the amazing feelings of performing and playing with a group and making music with other people."
There's also no denying that the power of music can have a beneficial effect for relaxation and stress management – a sentiment Izzy completely agrees with.
"I think when you are playing music or making music, you are bringing in mindfulness," she explained. "You're completely present in the moment of what you're doing, mindfulness is obviously a technique to help with mental health. Music can allow you that moment to just be focused and totally taken away into this different world.
"I was speaking to a neuroscientist who was saying that we're of a generation now where we're much more likely to consume music and we listen to music. But we don't necessarily make music as a family. Whereas traditionally where time's gone by, we wouldn't really worry about what your voice sounded like. You just sit around a piano and play music as a family.
"That's really important for a child's brain development and generally just for bonding within a family."
Harry and Izzy are due to welcome another boy
The mum-of-two, 37, added: "I feel music probably isn't given enough of a space or importance within education. I think getting kids singing releases all those kinds of endorphins. I feel very lucky that I've been exposed to music."
Music also has plenty of long-term effects on a child's life – particularly on those who are able to perform on-stage. Asked about combatting stage fright, Izzy revealed: "You're putting yourself into a situation. You are stepping out of your comfort zone a little bit and that's going to happen to you later in your life.
"Everyone is going to be faced with that scenario of needing to do something that makes us nervous or takes us out of that comfort zone. If you're performing music as a child, it's going to then develop those skills when you're an adult and give you the confidence."
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