Music & Families is not just a store or a studio, it is an idea. It’s memories of playing a violin duet with a grandmother or a parent jamming with their teenagers. It’s seeing the wonder in a toddler’s eyes the first time they discover that they can reach the piano keys. That is the feel of who we are and why we are here.
Music is not easy, and unfortunately in our world of instant gratification, it sometimes becomes only a spectator sport. Learning music can bring out the best in us and in our families as well, teaching commitment and work ethic, goal-setting, and bringing much joy and satisfaction. We love what we do and want to be a resource of music for thousands of families.
Our motto is “Strengthening Families through Music and a Lifetime Love of Learning.” Our own family is very passionate about music. Collectively, we have studied, played and enjoyed music for over 100 years!
When the Nielsen girls were in grade school the Nielsen family decided to home school. That was a major turning point in our lives. We share a passion for reading and learning, and we believe it is important to continue to learn every day of our lives!
Heritage of Music
Grandparents can have a great influence on their grandchildren. Larene’s grandma, Irene Hammond, came to almost all of their recitals and performances. Even though she didn't play any musical instrument herself, she was always there to listen and show how important music was to her. Larene also remembers being quite impressed when she was a child to see her other grandma, Lawana Nielsen, taking piano lessons and using some of the same books Larene was!
Music is found throughout our heritage. One of the pictures you’ll see above is of Barry’s grandma, Harriet Wardle, in the Los Angeles Youth orchestra in 1929. Harriet played the violin and piano beautifully, and was a church organist in her LDS ward for over 70 years. She passed on in 2011 & that picture is one of Barry’s most precious possessions. Grandma Wardle passed her love of music on to 30 grandchildren & innumerable great grandchildren. Barry and Larene have the violin that she was playing in that picture.
Another picture is of Henry Marvin Beckstead playing the banjo. Henry Beckstead could pick up any instrument and play it. He is Claude’s grandfather. Claude inherited Henry’s violin, and wishes he could have known him! Seeing that violin around the house is what prompted Larene to ask to learn violin. Her younger sisters then followed in her footsteps.
George Hammond was a Mormon Pioneer, and played in bands after he came across the plains. The picture shown is of the Grantsville, Utah band in 1882. George is the third from the right, and is Larene’s great-great grandfather. His grandson, Murray Hammond (Larene’s grandfather) is shown in the last picture. This picture is of Murray (third from the left) and his 7 brothers singing at a cousin’s wedding in 1963. They were accompanied by their sister, Ida.
Our family has been greatly impacted by generations of music. We love the picture of Julian (Larene's son), Larene and Claude at their community orchestra performance. Three generations playing music together!
We encourage you to try music in your family! Stop in, email, or call - we'd love to help you however we can!
Larene Frei was homeschooled from 7th-12th grade. She attended Idaho State University as a Piano Performance major. She met her husband, Barry, in their music theory class, and they were married at the end of the semester. Larene and Barry have five children (three girls and two boys) that they have homeschooled from day one.
Music is something that Larene is passionate about. She started playing the piano when she was six, and the violin at eight; she started teaching both when she was fourteen. She loves to sing and has studied voice with Paul Harms.
Larene loves to play music with other people, and especially enjoys accompanying instrumental and vocal soloists on the piano.
Larene believes strongly that God has a mission for every person that comes to this earth. She is passionate about helping her children and students find and prepare for those missions. She believes in lifelong learning and enjoys studying and furthering her education each day.
Claude began to play the violin when he was in junior high. He stopped after that year, though he enjoyed singing and listening to music for years before he and Larene started taking violin lessons together when he was 45 and she was 8. He has since taught himself to play the viola, and is now learning the guitar, flute and piccolo. With his engineering background, and his love of music and woodworking, he began to make and repair violins and other instruments. He opened a business in 1997 called Nielsen Strings ‘n’ Things.
Our Support System!
Claude's wife, Deanna, took piano lessons when she was growing up and set a wonderful example of music for her children by enjoying singing and playing the piano, and spent many years shuttling them to and from music lessons, recitals and other performances. She was the accompanist for their many violin performances. LDS ward choir and community orchestra were always a must in our family! Claude and Deanna have 5 children and 22 grandchildren.
Barry, Larene's husband, has always loved music. He played the violin for a year when he was 10 in the after-school strings program, and started playing trumpet in band when he was 11. He played trumpet in band throughout junior high and high school and received the John Philip Sousa Band Award in high school. He was also the drum major for Irving Junior High and Pocatello High School bands. Fresh home from his LDS mission in 2000 he applied for college at Idaho State University, majoring in Music. Barry became the drum major for the ISU marching band his first semester. He continued learning music at ISU and at the University of Idaho.