Sunday, February 7, 2010

Vocal Prosperity and Parental Management - When the Push Comes to Shove - Hats Off!?

Over the years, besides adults I have taught a lot of children. Some of them were learning how to sing for fun, but the majority of them were addressed by me to the junior instructors, who were also trained and guided by me. Those children who were coming with very determined parents who sounded very serious are usually enrolled in my course provided that the child was showing a great interest and had at least a remote talent to be able to succeed down the road in the music business. However, it was not always a straightforward endeavour. My memory still possesses a case where the whole family walked into my studio in Toronto and the child (approximately 12 years of age) and both the mother and father were wearing cowboy hats. I found it was a little unusual and unique. I saw people wearing these types of hats in Calgary, Texas and Nashville, but definitely not in Toronto. In my brief interview with them, the father revealed that his daughter had been taking lessons all over the place and he was quite disappointed because she was not achieving any results. He, meanwhile, seemed to be quite serious in playing his role as his daughter's manager. Obviously they were talking about the country music, which explained the cowboy hats in Toronto. So he sounded as if he had it all under control and that the only problem was his daughter's proper vocal development. I said, "Great" and I started the Introductory Session for my Vocal Science method. I could see that the mother of the child was impressed immensely - meanwhile, the father (the manager) first looked puzzled, then extremely amazed and then literally scared, especially by the time I was completing the session with very obvious, even videotaped before and after instruction results. That puzzled me a little. Why would he be looking so scared I was wondering? I finally completed the session and the mother of the child jumped up off of the couch and with absolute amusement offered me her Gold credit card. She said that she had been sitting in on a lot of her daughter's vocal lessons, but she had never seen anything like this. The father (still in the hat) also jumped up off of the couch, trying desperately to prevent his wife from paying for the course. Both his wife and the daughter were really surprised at his reaction. His words were, "Let's go home and talk about it." His head was down and he was avoiding the eye contact with me. They finally left and did not register for the course. They left me extremely puzzled as everybody liked it and admitted throughout the session that it was different than anywhere else. I asked myself for some time why did that happen. And one day after a couple of similar precedents, I found an answer. The father of that child clearly understood that I meant business, that his daughter would finally learn how to sing, which would mean that it would soon be time for him to take the hat off and become a real manager. Was he ready for it? Evidently not. He obviously liked the process and it was easier to play the role of the manager and feel good about it. When the push came to shove, there was not a real deal present. He called me over a decade's period of time asking for a lesson or two and revealing that his daughter was still studying and trying some recording. Obviously he liked the process of "getting there" and the child never became a child star as it was intended, as by now she would be a full grown woman and no doubt still singing nowhere. Go figure!!!

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