In this previous post I spoke about what to do if your child wants to do more singing!
That post mainly revolved around finding a comfortable environment to improve and enjoy the process. But, the time may come where little Johnny has learnt some skills, created some solid confidence and is excited about being the next Justin Bieber. But how should you best tackle this situation?
It’s understandable that, as a parent, your first thought might even be
“isn’t it safer being a plumber or something?”
And the answer to that is… maybe! But, let’s face it, if Thomas Edison played it safe, we might still be walking around with candles in our hands. If Rick Astley played it safe, we wouldn’t have ever heard the 80’s classic ‘Never Gonna Give You Up.’ Wait. That’s a bad example.
We don’t need to labour the point on this one but, however twee it may sound, we really do have the opportunity to do, and be, anything.
Playing it safe because singing doesn’t guarantee a pension is just another self imposed limitation encouraged by society.
So now we’ve established that being a singer is, indeed, a valid option, we must be absolutely clear on what it takes to ‘make it,’ especially if we plan on investing our teenage years trying to crack it.
It begins with work ethic. I cannot stress this enough. IT BEGINS WITH WORK ETHIC. That’s still not enough.
If you want to become a lawyer, you know you have a crazy amount of studying in front of you. If you want to compete in the Olympics… get ready to work at it daily.
For some reason though, singing seems different and a solid work ethic is almost always overlooked. Maybe it’s because most people can, by default, already ‘do a bit’ of singing and it’s seen as enough. Maybe it’s because we live in a world where a reality TV show performance (X Factor etc) or a Youtube upload can turn someone into an ‘overnight success.’
But, for so many reasons, this is where we need to reassess what we mean by ‘success.’
Just for a second, consider the difference in life outcomes between a child who is inspired by performing on a reality TV show or gaining instant notoriety on Youtube, versus a child who is inspired by learning, creating and producing innovative music.
In my experience, the former is way more prevalent. As a result, we are left with millions of youngsters seeking validation from ‘how good the last cover song was.’ This is a widely accepted way of life, but we truly must ask ourselves… is this a life we want them to have?
And what happens if they are ‘lucky enough’ to get some ‘success?’ To tip the scale and go viral? Considering that singing is one of the most subjective activities we can partake in, and EVERYONE has an opinion… Captain Youtube still faces a life built on fickle judgement.
If it’s that depressing, why do we chase it?
Aside from the obvious excitement of it all, there is a theory that humans are built to follow the path of least resistance. Or in other words: trying to get what you want for doing as little as possible. Often called ‘lazy,’ but I think it’s a pretty sensible strategy in some cases.
The thing is, reality TV shows have value. They are good entertainment, create lots of jobs and can be an exciting experience for applicants. But, win or lose, they have very little to do with having a stable and fulfilling career as a singer. In truth, love them or hate them, reality TV shows masquerading as an easy step into a singing career, and ‘that’ is why most people enter them.
What I’m saying is there comes a point when, if children are looking to invest more time and energy into singing… let’s encourage them to invest it wisely instead of getting lost behind the smoke and mirrors. That begins with the understanding that it’s going to be a long, but exciting ride.
Whether it’s becoming a solo artist, musical theatre performer, or corporate singer, there really are many career paths in the singing world. There are also clear requirements and strategies to follow for each one which I’ll cover in the next post.
For now, if you are asking yourself “does my child have what it takes to be a superstar?” forget what they sound like, and focus on what they work like. Any successful singing career truly begins with developing an optimistic, creative and hard-working mindset.
If we can instil this from the start, instead of being hooked in by the bright lights, we don’t have to be so fearful about choosing this life path… and we can leave the plumbing to the plumbers!