As music teachers we are in a powerful position to influence young people. While it is certainly true that not every child who enters our studios desires to become a famous musician on any level, there are definitely some who do! Actually everybody wants to be a rock star at something! If we are honest with ourselves we will admit that this desire is not completely for the love of being good at something. No, we also want the perks that go along with being good at something. When you excel at something, people like you. People say you’re wonderful. It makes you feel good. With music and the arts the potential for large crowds of people giving us this kind of attention is even greater and it can come at a very high cost.
I am often frustrated because most parents do not want their children to pursue music as a career even if they are providing their children with music lessons. Knowing all the temptation that can come with fame I can see why parents feel this way. I’m a parent too! The fact is that if your child is talented and makes it big they will face temptations of all sorts… just like Whitney Houston and so many other artists. They will constantly have to make difficult decisions about drugs, fitting in, money (possibly large sums of it), and other addictions. Yes, everybody has to make these kinds of decisions, but for artists the level of pressure involved is often so much greater.
Do I think that we should steer young people away from the arts and show biz? By no means! I do, however, believe that as teachers we have a responsibility to help prepare them for the special types of challenges that they will encounter in the music world if they are preparing themselves to become professional musicians. This is just as important if not more important than helping them develop the craft. We must let them know that they can have wonderful careers in music without becoming a victim of fame. Here are 5 simple things we can do to help our students grow into HEALTHY musicians:
1. Always, always make sure that we teach them to love themselves! Let them know that their gift of music is not what makes them wonderful. They just are!
2. Provide them with recommended reading lists of artist biographies.
3. Include inspirational quotes on assignment sheets, studio websites, tweets, or other means.
4. Ask them what they want to be when they grow up and why.
5. Be someone they can talk to if needed.
If you are interested in getting resources that you can use to help prepare students to deal with a life of FAME, please visit my studio website at http://www.thefameschool.com