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Discus: Parents Forum: 2004 Archive - Part 2: HELP ----- MUSIC PEOPLE !!
By Angstridden (Angstridden) on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 03:35 pm: Edit

D. is taking voice lessons and just started back at dance..jazz. She does not have a lot of dance training but is a natural dancer and very flexible from early on dance training.

Her goal is to be a pop singer. Plans to major in musical theater? in college. VOICE is the priority.

We have room for another class..should she take GUITAR (she does not play an instrument..took piano as a kid and didnt like it and doesnt want to take it again)
How beneficial would guitar be? She thinks she would enjoy it.

OR should she take another dance class like TAP.

Or nothing and maybe focus on something else.

Your advice needed.

By Alwaysamom (Alwaysamom) on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 03:56 pm: Edit

How old is your D, Angstridden? I think that will probably influence some replies here. I'm interested why she plans on a MT major if her interest is being a pop singer? I'd recommend you read the LONG series of discussions on MT in the College Search and Selection forum. MT is a field of study, especially at the college level, which takes great passion, in addition to talent, in order to gain entry. The acceptance rates are ridiculously selective and it would be very rare, indeed, for someone whose passion is NOT MT to be accepted at most colleges.

Has she acted at all? Been in shows at school? Taken acting classes? Acting ability and training is is something which most MT applicants already have in abundance, whether from their high schools, summer programs, or community theatre. It's a shame that she isn't interested in pursuing piano further because it's probably the most useful, and most common, instrument which MT students study. Some programs require a piano test in the audition process, even if simply for placement.

I'm not sure I have any real advice for you other than to explore what MT is all about to be sure that that's the focus you, and she, want to take right now. It's a difficult, competitive field, and not usually one which sees kids whose goal is to be a pop singer. Perhaps a Bachelor of Music in voice would be a better route? It's so difficult to say because the vast majority of popsingers have no college degree whatsoever. Best of luck to you!

By Mstee (Mstee) on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 04:08 pm: Edit

Pop style singing is a bit different from MT style singing, no?

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 04:11 pm: Edit

I can't tell ya what she should take but I can bring up some points you guys might want to discuss.

Also, I know she wants to be a pop singer though that might not mean she should major in musical theater. For musical theater programs, she would need to be good at voice, dance, and acting. If she went that route, then tap dance is a good thing to be involved with.

She may want to enter a music program that has contemporary vocal music or something related, not musical theater. In that case, her focus would be mostly on voice and performance now, with some dance such as jazz and hip hop.

Getting involved in playing a musical instrument is beneficial in either instance, though not required. It is not the reason my D takes two instruments (she does cause she loves them and has done them since she was little) but as an added benefit, her instrumental work has taught her a wealth of music theory that helps with sight singing, accompanying self on piano (also plays guitar) or even for others in rehearsals as an accompaniest. Actually one of her MT programs (UMich) wants kids to have some piano background and music theory, though most programs do not require that. As I said, being musical has helped in the other areas such as voice. So, playing an instrument might be good for your D if she wants to whether she goes into pop voice programs or into musical theater. Guitar is an insturment where she can play and sing at the same time. My D does that with piano and has played contemporary pieces while singing at the same time on stage. That can be done on guitar (since your D does not want piano). So, for someone interested in pop, it might be a good thing to do. If she were going the MT route, piano would be a better instrument in terms of learning music theory. But it sounds like guitar will suit her purposes.

If she cannot fit in another dance class and guitar, perhaps go with the instrument as she would be doing some dance, some music. But a lot of it depends on what she wants to go into. As I mentioned before, for MT programs, training and experience needs to include the three elements: voice, dance, acting. Instrumental music is still a plus in that field. For contemporary vocal programs, the instrument would be more beneficial than tap dance. I forget how old your D is but I don't know that she needs to decide yet. I would go with whatever she truly wants to do. Only take up guitar if she is into it.

IF she really wants to pursue musical theater, it is my belief that while training in voice, dance, and acting are important, that needs to be balanced or augmented with theatrical performance opportunities. Training alone is not ideal. Getting experience in musical productions would be what I would add. But since your D is contemplating pop music, she may not pursue a MT degree program. And if she does a voice program, then she may want to accrue some performance "credits" now with singing in ensembles (like my D sings solo with the jazz band or is in select choir) or any local teenage bands, etc. or any other performance opportunities. If she wants to enter a MT program, then try to augment her training with being in productions. It is a lot to juggle but I think the combo of actual shows and then training as well, is most ideal.

If her focus is pop music, apply what I said to that. If she is going into musical theater, apply the training and performance work to that area.


By Angstridden (Angstridden) on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 04:31 pm: Edit

She has done quite a bit of acting..

Folks I admit I havent a clue here. She wants to be a singer. She wants to sing pop Celine Dion.

In the past she has done shows like Sound of music, Secret Garden, etc and LOVED IT..really enjoyed the music .She is usually the lead and is able to memorize very fast..and do a great job with the singing, dancing etc.

I thought that if you majored in voice you were in usually classical music..and MT encompassed aLOT of different things.
She DOES want to ACT also.

Sorry for my confusion here.

BTW if she takes you recommend electric or classical?

By Angstridden (Angstridden) on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 04:32 pm: Edit

She is almost 15. Been taking voice since kindergarten.

By Angstridden (Angstridden) on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 04:35 pm: Edit

Soozievt I just reread your post..if she goes the route of majoring in comtemporary voice..does she need alot of dance? And also what schools have cont. voice or where would I find out.
See I was under the impression most VOICE schools had classical training and so MT was the way to try and go.
I guess I am putting pop and MT music in the same group.Because I guess I think if you can sing the one type you can sing the other and she likes both.

By Thumper1 (Thumper1) on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 07:18 pm: Edit

>>I guess I am putting pop and MT music in the same group.Because I guess I think if you can sing the one type you can sing the other and she likes both.>>

Actually, I don't think pop singing and MT singing are the same. To be an accomplished singer, one needs to have a versatile and flexible voice with very good range. A MT program will not concentrate on the voice alone. Dancing and acting will be equally studied along with other related things such as technical aspects of theater, make up, sets, costuming...which don't have significant relevance to ones pop singing. I would agree that you should be looking at schools with a contemporary music component. Keep in mind that if your daughter majors in any kind of music, she will have to study theory, music history and the like in addition to studying voice. If that is the route she chooses, to be honest studying piano would be the best choice. Has your daughter spoken to anyone about her specific interest in pop singing? Perhaps a voice teacher or music teacher or guidance person at an arts school would be a good choice.

By Mstee (Mstee) on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 07:29 pm: Edit

Read and ask questions on the MT thread, and maybe you can help your daughter figure out whether she enjoys it enough to major in it. An MT major sounds very demanding. Might as well know what she would be getting into, and what she should be doing now to prepare for such a program--then she can decide if it is something she wants to do, and whether or not such a course of study would support her desire to do contemporary music, allow her enough time to pursue the things she wants to do with contemporary music.

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 07:36 pm: Edit

Angstridden, I know we have had this conversation before. I noticed that others posted similarly to my post (did not see theirs when I wrote mine). I also think you might want to see what kinds of degrees are out there that are suitable to her interests if they keep in this pattern (though she is young still). I am not that up on BM degrees in voice and perhaps most of them ARE classical voice, am not sure as I never looked into those. I know a boy that just graduated our high school, who has taken voice with the same voice teacher my D has and has done the school musicals with her (those are the only shows he has done) and been a lead. He also plays guitar. His interest is in more of a contemporary/pop/rock type of sound, even though he did the school musicals. He is going to go to Berklee School of Music in Boston (but deferred a year). I know THAT school has what your D wants but I don't know what else out there does.

If her interest is truly truly pop singer stuff, I am not sure a MT program is the way to go. A MT program has voice as only ONE component. As I said, the field, as well as a college program, will have voice, acting and dance. If your D mostly wants voice, you really need to focus on programs where that is the MAIN thing. Look into NYU-Steinhardt perhaps. She may not be happy in a MT program. Also IF she truly WANTS to pursue MT in college, she really needs to train in voice, acting, and dance NOW AS WELL AS doing more musicals. I mean I know she was in Secret Garden and Sound of Music when younger but if she is someone who is going to pursue a MT degree, she will be expected to have done more shows than that, particularly in her high school years both in and out of school. A kid who LOVES MT, would be doing that. Your D would be at a disadvantage applying to a MT program if she did not have training and production experience in musical theater itself, as well as the components.

So, if pop is her direction, I would investigate what is out there in college for that. I know of Berklee but there might be others, or there might be music schools that allow both some classical training and some contemporary training.

As far as guitar, she should begin with acoustic. This is my daughter's third year and she is on acoustic. And she is not even a "newbie" when it comes to playing instruments (has played piano ten years and flute for six years), so your D definitely should begin with acoustic. If she were going for MT, piano is still better but not crucial.

I'm sorry that I cannot help specifically with the pop music direction and with colleges as my own child is immersed in Musical Theater. She has performed contemporary stuff a little bit (even recorded some) and also sings in a jazz band but otherwise, her repertoire and passion and career interest is heavier on musical theater. I guess your D can keep her options open but as others have said and I concur, ONLY go for a MT BFA degree IF that is what she wants to go into. It is not really the right program if the goal is to be a pop singer. IF she wants to do a MT program, she really needs to be doing theater stuff now in high school, not just singing. Otherwise, she might want to work torward vocal performance or music type degrees. Actually, as others have said, most pop singers do not even have a degree! Also consult with the voice teacher and the school music teacher who might give you some perspective on the options out there for college for your D's interests. I'm not sure a MT BFA program is the right one based on what you described, but if I am wrong and she really wants to pursue a MT degree, get going on auditioning for shows, etc. That is my advice. Sorry to not know enough about college programs for contemporary voice.


By Kidsmom (Kidsmom) on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 09:43 pm: Edit

I second looking into Berklee in Boston. It is more a performance driven school than a school deep into history and theory.

By Ken80 (Ken80) on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 09:51 pm: Edit

I've played guitar for 45 years - when starting I would start with a classical nylon string guitar - it doesn't hurt the fingertips as much as steel strings. The less it hurts the more she'll play (and learn) After the callouses are built up she can switch. Electric just adds variables that confuse the real understanding of the instrument.

By Angstridden (Angstridden) on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 10:29 pm: Edit

yes she is doing plays in HS ...

You know she mentioned to me the possibility of going to Hollywood and forgetting college. She said she has waited a long time and is ready.

However my hubby thinks she should have a backup plan. Talented yes she has a great voice etc..but it seems like today they can electronify the voice to sound halfway decent and its more WHO YOU KNOW..and we know noone.

But lets say we go the college route..I thought Syracruse would be could..she could get a back up degree in broadcasting.

She has told me in no uncertain terms that she is going to be a singer. Thats it and thats what she has always known. She enjoys acting and all..but singng is what she wants. So I guess if I follow these posts MT would not be right?

Other schools to look into for pop style vocals?

By Musictoad (Musictoad) on Thursday, September 09, 2004 - 07:58 am: Edit

most music schools train for classical singing which probably will save your child's voice. Many teachers discourage singing even MT due to the damage it can allegedly do.

if you do a google search for college/university music schools it should bring up a website listing all the various schools. I think Berklee is one of the few that provides for a pop program.

Remember the audition is the most important thing for music schools--other than Rice and Northwestern (which require a higher SAT than comparable music schools).

I think you may find yourself exhausted by the end of senior year so prepare both financially and emotionally. I'd also suggest making a tape for those times your kid's voice is shot or is sick. Bad auditions will sink any chance.

By Angstridden (Angstridden) on Thursday, September 09, 2004 - 12:37 pm: Edit

What types of jobs do MT students train for..would that be working in a show on Broadway or touring - what else?

By Thumper1 (Thumper1) on Thursday, September 09, 2004 - 06:54 pm: Edit

>>What types of jobs do MT students train for..would that be working in a show on Broadway or touring - what else? >>

Or doing MT in regional theaters. There are good regional theaters around the country...Goodspeed in CT, the Guthrie in Minneapolis, several in Chicago, the Playhouse in Cleveland. I'm sure there are others, but those are ones I am familiar with.

Has your daughter considered hooking up with a good agent? They would certainly have an opinion about her chances with auditions and the like. I know two young out of college and one right out of high school who were snatched up by agents in New York because they were VERY talented. The HS graduate just landed a Broadway role, and the college grad has been doing a lot of small movie and commercial spots.

By Angstridden (Angstridden) on Thursday, September 09, 2004 - 10:14 pm: Edit

You know she has told me she wants an agent. I had resisted up to this point as I wanted her to have a normal life ...But I would consider that now, however I am not able to drive to New York at a moments notice.
I talked to a gal whose daughter had an agent and she said you have to run to auditions at a moments notice. Due to my problems with driving..its just not something I can do.

By Reidmc (Reidmc) on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 01:38 am: Edit

Angstridden - Finally. . . a post that truly justifies your screen name .

The term "pop singer" covers an extremely wide variety of vocal types and musical sub-genres, but in most cases pop singers of any style succeed via some combination of unique vocal quality, visual appeal, assertive attitude and luck. Typically, college doesn't help you in these areas. A sturdy voice, some communication skills and music business knowledge can be of some help, though, and one of more of those items can be developed at a few schools. However, even with all of the above, chances of success, particularly long-term, are very, very slim.

I'd get an experienced club booker, record producer or music critic (or two) in your area to critique a recording or a live audition of your D. Both of you need to get some perspective on her talent and level of development. An agent, useful for an actor, model or MT-type singer, is going to be close to useless for your D unless she has an established group or unbelievable sound in the studio.

If you are okay with her interest, but don't want to have her living in your basement or working at KFC (or both) at age 30, I'd look at schools in urban areas with solid music departments. She should major in anything she likes and is good at, and find a voice teacher that works with pop singers. Her EC should be networking with songwriters and musicians both on and off-campus, which is much easier to do in an urban area (New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Nashville, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Seattle etc.) With some experience singing and a college degree in her pocket, a move to Hollywood may make some sense, but it doesn't make sense now. And don't let her drop out of college.

Good luck, and whatever you do, tell her not to sing like Celine Dion. The music world already has one of them, and some believe one too many.

By Angstridden (Angstridden) on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 06:09 am: Edit

She told me doing something else was not an option, Reidmc. She is 14 almost 15 the 10th grade.
Are you saying perhaps..not go to college but take advantage of her youth while she has it (not that college grads are old..but its more years)
I guess I need to know which way to encourage her.
..which locations that you mention would be most desired. You got me thinking now..I had thought that the school would be most I am thinking the location!
I am hearing Berklee school of Music but Mass. area doesnt seem to be a place to jumpstart a career..
Your thoughts are appreciated.

By Angstridden (Angstridden) on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 06:13 am: Edit

PS she doesnt want to sing like Celine Dion..she has her own style. I use Celines name to give you a feel for type of singing. She actually wants a Performance career where she sings, acts Britney. But I hesitate to use Britneys name because her singing does not appeal to me.
D. has a very beautiful voice since she was young and is very small sized and pretty, plus flexible and full of energy. (no not just cus I am her mom)

By Angstridden (Angstridden) on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 06:15 am: Edit

BTW where does one find a music producer or club booker to evaluate. Certainly none in my area. Am happy to travel to a larger area for that..but where do I start?

By Thumper1 (Thumper1) on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 06:40 pm: Edit

>>She told me doing something else was not an option>>

Please don't think I'm discouraging your own son is a performance major in college. BUT...I hate to say it but only the VERY MOST TALENTED performers have the option of not "doing something else". At the very least, DD should have some data entry skills or waitressing skills so she can make ends meet until she is "discovered" or hits it big.

Has she considered doing some singing in any clubs in your area...or with a band? She needs some experience and exposure to the type of performing she intends to do.

You could find a record studio and have a demo recording done. This could be used for agents, gigs, anyone who might be able to provide solid leads for your daughter.

DS is pursing a degree in performance. He knows he will also be doing something else...teaching private lessons, working at a restaurant, something. His own trumpet teacher, a principal trumpet player in a very well known orchestra teaches at the college level and does private lessons.

By Angstridden (Angstridden) on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 08:55 pm: Edit

what I mean is...she does not want to pursue a different career..she knows she may have to wait tables etc to support herself ..but she wants to pursue a vocal career , a different career ie a lawyer, or beautician etc is not an option she says..

By Reidmc (Reidmc) on Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 03:02 am: Edit

Another career may not be an option for her now, but based on her evolution or the judgement of the marketplace, another career will likely be an option for her in the future. That's why the bet-hedging strategy is one that gets her a degree (while she is still somewhat academically focused) and allows her to develop her talent.

If as a 17-year old she is judged to be extrordinarily talented and mature, and would be able to survive financially and emotionally in Los Angeles or New York, a case can be made for postponing college. But I would not make that case without knowing every possible detail of an individual situation.

Where do you live? Maybe someone on this board would know a trustworthy music person in your area that could evaluate your daughter and help lay out some options.

By Angstridden (Angstridden) on Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 09:35 am: Edit

We are considering moving as a family after she finishes HS. We are in a position to do that. No way would I let her go by herself. At least I cant see that now.
We also have saved substantially for her college so should she elect not to go to college for now she could use the money towards her goals.
She mentioned perhaps going to school in LA and working towards her goal. But I thought those schools were super hard to get into and want to plan for possibilities.
So is New York or LA the best place to go?

By Lamom (Lamom) on Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 12:00 pm: Edit

We live at least 2 hrs (w/o traffic) from the LA area. I cannot believe the # of families who are out here with the hope that their child will make it in LA. The long drives, time away from home and $$ spent amazes me-and these kids do have talent. Do lots of homework and best of luck.

By Angstridden (Angstridden) on Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 12:40 pm: Edit

Thats why we didnt do it when she was younger. We have our oldest daughter happy in college and we are financially in good shape.
We did not want to drop everything at a moments notice to go to auditions etc when she was younger.
Now that she is older and when she graduates we are considering a move because frankly I dont want her there by herself and because we would be fine moving. And she is determined that is what she wants to do.
So its not like uprooting our family.

By Mom60 (Mom60) on Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 12:47 pm: Edit

First off I have no expert advice but I know a few people whose kids had dreams that entailed lots of hard work plus alot of luck.
Youngest D's teachers son is in a band that in high school was a huge cut above your regular garage highschool band. They had success playing at local clubs and were approached by a known record company. They were paid to do a demo and actually put out a CD you can buy. They are now touring the country opening for other more known names. Will they make it big no one knows. But even with the success they have had it is still slim that they will make a living at this long term. But for now they are young and following a dream. They have all postponed college at this point.
My D's friend is also in a band that is quite good. They made a professional demo tape. They searched for the cheapest way to make it and the kids earned money to pay for the demo. They sent it out to lots of places. I am not sure how but they were approached and hired to play at a club in LA.
Another friends son has dreams of being a pro bike racer ala Lance Armstrong. After high school his parents gave him two years of their financial support to try to make it. They gave him a place to live and a small allowance. They did not provide him with any luxuries. If after 2 years he did not have a large enough sponsorship he would return to school and they would pay for it. He was all set to return to school full time and then had the honor of being named the top young rider in the tour de Georgia. I think college is off again for awhile.

I would hesitate to use any of her college money or at least not a significant portion. If she decides she wants to go to college at a later date she will be happy the money is there.

There are many more singers who have to have day jobs then those who support themselves through their music. She might think about what standard of living she is used to and how long she really would be happy waiting tables.

By Cyclingdad (Cyclingdad) on Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 02:41 pm: Edit

Angstridden: My sister-in-law is in the business. Please email me and let me know what part of the country you're in.

By Angstridden (Angstridden) on Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 03:56 pm: Edit

We are in Md...I have emailed you! Thanks!

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