Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Why Parents Should Support Their Children if They Choose a Career in the Performing Arts

The Youth Perspective
 by Mimi Machakaire


There have been many misconceptions when it comes to children wanting to be singers, rappers, writers, artists and to just generally be involved in the creative and performing arts. This is disheartening, because while it is understandable that some people really are not talented and should pursue other options, there are those who actually are, and might limit themselves from a potentially fulfilling and lucrative career. The truth is that there are people who can blow you away with their remarkable skills of drawing, telling stories, crazy dance moves and many more. I wish I had half the talent that some of these amazing young people have, and the fact is when they do have it, they will not stop until people notice who they are. It is not just a pipe dream to them; it is their life.

Most parents think that when their child comes up to them and says that they would like to pursue a career in the performing arts, that this idea will not last long and by the time they realise that they are headed nowhere, it would have already been too late. While this is true in some cases, the same cannot be said for those who are genuinely talented and determined to realise their potential. Due to the volatile nature of performing arts careers and the fact that most establishing artists will not be paid or will be paid very little, it should be encouraged they can have something to fall back on if their first-choice career does not work out.

But the smart thing to do would be to just support them. Get them used to performing in front of people. Whether it may be at weddings, parties, clubs, or even school assemblies, anything that involves there being a large enough crowd for them to gain the experience and build enough nerve to do a more professional event for the future. If they are not good enough, the crowd will tell them and reality will set in the moment they either forget their words or moves, or they hear their first “boooo!” If they are good, the crowd will cheer and enjoy themselves; that way you will know for sure if your child really has a chance at this or not. For the ones who get a positive reaction from the crowd, the more practice they get at being on stage, the more chances they have at becoming noticed by someone influential who may be watching them in the audience. You will never know who might be looking for new talent in the entertainment industry, and therefore you have to take every opportunity possible to expose the talents of your ambitious child.

If your child wants to be a writer or author, look for magazines, websites and newspapers where they can send articles to on a weekly or monthly basis. Also, keep a watch out for any competitions they can take part in and stay in touch with other authors or writers who have made it, because they can also give your child advice on how to get noticed that much faster. Help them sign up for any local workshops they can participate in over the weekend just to keep their creative juices flowing. The point is to make sure that their skills are continuously developing, and by the time they look for work or a paying opportunity arises it will not be as hard to find compared to others who did not get that exposure and experience.

For artists, I can understand why adults and parents may be scared about the idea of them pursuing their creative careers, since it is a highly competitive and unstable career. But if he or she has the drive and ambition, in order to avoid them ending up penniless in pursuit of their passion, search for schools they can go to that focus on the arts. That way the teachers or other facilitators at those schools can help them get connected to other artists and keep them in the know of any projects that they can participate in. It is easier to pursue your dream with a strong network of support, and when you are surrounded by other people who are just like you and share your interests. If worst comes to worst they can just as simply still become teachers or mentors in their chosen fields due to the contacts they have made; either way, they can do what they love and get a steady salary.

The fact of the matter is there have been success stories of people who involve themselves in the creative arts. What is important is just how much passion that person has in order for them to go as far as they really want to. If parents keep saying no, there is the risk that children are stubbornly not going to listen to anyone, and at some point they will fail to realise that they are going in all the wrong directions in the hopes that they prove their point. But if, as a parent, you show your support, then they will look at all the options that will be presented to them and hopefully pick the right one in the hopes that they will make you proud as parents. Being involved in the creative arts is all about chance and talent. You either have it or you don’t, and if you have it then the chances of success are that much higher. There is a big difference between wanting to prove someone wrong and wanting to prove someone right. It all comes through how the adults of today react to the decisions that the adults of tomorrow will make.