It’s a classic tale: the precocious young artist or musician who struck out on their own. One famous example from classical music is that of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Mozart’s father was a musician himself and helped get his son a job as a church organist under an archbishop in Salzburg (the town where he grew up). Young Mozart, however, was interested in writing symphonies that challenged the status quo and in writing sumptuous operas in the Italian style. Eventually he struck out for Vienna against his father’s wishes, rolling the dice on a career as a freelance musician. While this must have been a scary move, history has shown that this boldness paid off – if Mozart hadn’t exercised independence he might have remained chained to the church organ and we wouldn’t have The Magic Flute to celebrate.
Bruce Springsteen is another example of a musician who struck out against his father’s wishes. Ironically, Springsteen spent his entire career idealizing the working class values that his father represented in song, but his father had a hard time accepting his son’s career choice, even when he found success.
Thus, we can see, that talented musicians are hungry for independence. They want to earn a living pursuing their dreams and they want to do it on their own terms. A lot of young musicians, even if they come from wealth, would rather work odd jobs in construction or waiting tables while they try and build their careers, rather than accepting money from their parents. There is a sense that they can make it without conforming to the expectations of society, or of their own parents.
By bringing an open mind to the situation and allowing your child to find their own voice, you can turn your tyke into a rockstar and give them the confidence they need to achieve an independent life.
On the other hand, if you are a little more straight-laced, hoping your child will work in law or medicine, try not to be too critical if they express an interest in pursuing music seriously. If you forbid them from pursuing a career as a musician, then they will almost certainly end up disobeying you. If you let their interest in music grow organically, it may end up being a hobby or a form of supplemental income while they are attending law school.
The bottom line is that music is an independent pursuit that encourages young people to find their voice. As a parent, it’s your job to support without stifling – a challenging balance, but a worthwhile one for certain.