So you have a musically talented child or teenager? Chances are, one day, they will develop aspirations of being the next … (fill in the blank). While their talent may ignore attention from peers, friends and family members, parents should try to look at their child's talent objectively.
It's not easy to do. In fact, for many parents, it's impossible to do. Their lack of objectivity breeds delusion which ends up hurting them and their child in the long run.
This article can help you prevent that and provide you with a system of checks and balances that will enable you to offer logical guidance and direction to your child by using the following tips.
LET THEM EXPLORE. You watched them explore and learn how to navigate when they were babies, now you should let them do the same as a child with musical interests. If they want to be a drummer, buy them a drum set. If they want to be a guitarist, buy them a guitar. If they want to be a singer, buy them a karaoke machine. You get the point. By providing your child with the instruments that need, you will help them to strengthen their interests and to illuminate their seriousness.
INSTILL DISCIPLINE. Contrary to popular belief, discipline is the key to succeeding in the arts, not talent. Sure there are minors who are child prodigies, but in the music industry, the person who has the discipline to religiously their craft is the person who outshines those who do not – or have not – every time. If you can instill discipline early on, you will greatly increase your child's chances of success. Part of having discipline is initiative. After you've provided your child with their instrument of choice, how much time does he / she spend with it? How quickly did he / she become competent in playing it? Discipline – or lack thereof – will be the determining factor.
SUPPORT THEM. You should be there – front and center – lending your support for every performance your child has. Not only does your encouragement mean a great deal to him / her, but it also gives you the opportunity to witness the impact that your child's talent has on people with an unbiased opinion. You can help them improve by offering a delicate mixture of praise and constructive feedback.
HAVE THEM COMPETE. Competition is what separates those who should be doing music as a hobby, and those who are most qualified to pursue it as a profession. Coincidentally, that gap is significantly narrowed with discipline, or widened by it. Competition also allows children to measure their talent against those of their talented peers and gives them a serious ego boost if they win; and incentive to get better. American Idol is essentially a talent show. The now defunct Star Search was also a talent show which was renamed for being used as a springboard for precocious music talents such as Usher, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, and Beyonce. Believe it or not, they all lost but found motivation to work harder to increase their chances of winning the next time around … and they all did – in other ways.
BE A PROTECTIVE PARENT. If your child has what industry professionals call, undeniable talent, someone will approach them with a business opportunity; whether it's to perform or record. In rare instances it may be a contract. When such situations arise, do not pretend that you know the business (if you do not). Do acknowledge that you are a protective and concerned parent and that any such offers made or extended to them will be evaluated by an attorney or knowledgeable consultant. Handling business on this financial level will safeguard your child in ways that you can not even imagine.
INVEST IN YOUR CHILD. Most parents invest in their children prematurely (and no, buying instruments is not an investment – that's a purchase). Paying for lessons of any kind is an investment. It measures a larger long term payment that can yield greater dividends down the road . Like most investments, some can not afford them, which is why it's advisable to have your child clear the progress , discipline , and sometimes even the competition hurdles discussed in this article before you invest your hard earned money. As challenging as it may be, your decision to invest in your child's fledgling music career should be one that's driven by benchmarks, not emotions. In the absence of such benchmarks, I suggest (if they are teenagers) encouraging minors to invest in themselves, and having the parents make an equal investment to measure their seriousness and and having the parents make an equal investment to measure their seriousness and hold them account in the process.
FIND A BUSINESS ALLY. There's a thin line between being a concern parent and being a stage parent. Stage moms (and dads) are notorious for being a pain in the rear because of their controlling ways and obvious distrust. Professionals do not like dealing with them and executives have little patience for them. And yes, you can jeopardize your child's career with such antics. Understand that if your child does end up in a situation that requires professional attention you are the one who will execute his / her business dealings, interactions, and negotiations.
This is why it's so common for parents to confuse their legal obligations with their professional occupation; bypassing the experience of qualified managers or failing to enlist the services of a competent attorney as a result. Sure some parents do make a career of handling their child's business affairs (Jessica & Ashlee Simpson's dad, Beyonce's father, and Chris Brown's mom, to name a few), but it's generally a good idea to find a business ally (manager, attorney, consultant) who can help you achieve, or manage your minor's music success before you need them.