Father-daughter duo bonds through playing music


Kate Durden

Sadie and Ian Irwin are a father-daughter duo that have been posting videos playing music together throughout the pandemic. “I feel like it’s [playing with her dad and brother, Charlie Irwin] something that can bring us together,” Sadie Irwin said.

Kate Durden

The strumming of chords can be heard by viewers as the vocals of freshman Sadie Irwin and her father, Ian Irwin, are recorded from their living room. 

The relationship between Sadie and her father has grown over the years, through playing and posting music online together. The family’s passion for music has created a strong bond between the two.

“It’s nice when you can find a common interest with your kids,” Ian Irwin said. “For some people, it’s sports, for some people, it’s board games or puzzles. For us, it’s playing music together so it’s a nice way for us to spend time with each other.”

Sadie and her father started to post videos of their music online during the pandemic when everyone was at home. They saw famous artists posting online concerts from their couches and were inspired to make their own. They even received a comment on one of their cover songs, “Stellate,” from the original artist, Samia.

“As far as posting the videos online, I think it started during the pandemic when everyone was stuck at their house, and you saw these famous artists doing living room shows in their home, streaming it live,” Ian Irwin said. “I think it was sort of inspired by that. ‘We’re stuck in our house, let’s make a song and share it with everybody.’ There was really no human interaction, no getting out and going to concerts or being in front of people. It was just kind of a thing to do during the pandemic, and I think that was the origin of it.”

Ian has been playing the guitar since he was Sadie’s age. He also feels the connection of playing with another person helps bond their family together. 

“Anyone who plays music knows there’s a connection, and if you can play music with other people there’s a real human connection you’re making,” Ian Irwin said. “You’re in sync; you’re either singing your tune with each other, singing within the beat of each other, working with one another to perfect something. That takes a real human connection, and when it can be done with your kids or with your father or someone in your family, it’s an even more special connection.”

Although Sadie enjoys playing music with her dad, she feels that it’s hard to find places outside of their online posts to perform together. 

“I think it’s hard to find a place to play guitar with your dad;I feel like it’s not normal,” Sadie Irwin said. “I can’t go to the coffeehouse and play with my dad. I have to do it myself; so, that’s kind of a limitation.”

Music has been passed through the family as Ian Irwin’s brother taught him his first chords. This inspired a spread for the love of music to continue as he also taught his kids their first chords. 

“Growing up, I was always surrounded by music — always playing on the TV or my brother or my dad just doing whatever in the other room,” Sadie Irwin said. “I kinda always had that musical influence; so, it’s always been something that didn’t really seem like it wouldn’t happen; it was always kind of inevitable.”

Sadie Irwin’s brother, junior Charlie Irwin, sometimes takes part in the posts by playing behind the camera. He thinks that he and Sadie wouldn’t be as musically inclined if their dad didn’t influence them so much through music.

“It’s [music] kind of always been there,” Charlie Irwin said. “It’s just something that I enjoy doing. I enjoy listening to music and playing music, and I feel like that’s true for the other people in my family.” 

Sadie Irwin has also played a wide range of instruments. She’s immersed herself with instruments such as the guitar, piano, clarinet and ukulele. She also feels that without her dad’s musical influence she wouldn’t have had as much music in her life.

“I think I’m heavily influenced by music,” Sadie Irwin said. “I’ve had so many experiences that I wouldn’t have if I wasn’t around so much music. It’s very positively impacted my life because it’s just such a great outlet and such a great way to experience emotions and relate to lyrics.”