Momhood

Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Recital Idol

There's nothing that combines a tug at the heartstrings and mind-numbing boredom more than a music recital. And no matter how hard the child, the parents and the music teacher try, it is one of the most stressful events there is. For the child, the reasons for the stress are obvious. For the teacher, it's to prove their worth and show off their teaching "chops," so to speak. For the parents, it's the stress of first worrying about your child's performance and then trying your best to stay awake while other children perform. Trust me, this is much harder than it sounds.

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to experience this parenting right of passage thanks to my daughter and her love of singing. Her voice teacher held a recital so that many of her students could prepare for state competitions and college auditions. Other children, like my daughter, were there to just get used to performing in public. Since we are recital veterans, thanks to years of piano lessons, my daughter wasn't really nervous. For us, it seemed like a nice diversion on a frigid Saturday in February.

What surprised me was how it felt like I was watching "American Idol" auditions in person. The only things missing were Simon, Paula and Randy, the infamous judges that are both loved and hated.

The singers in the recital ranged from about 10 years old up to 18. It was impressive to watch some and painful to watch others. Still, just when you wanted to grimace and comment on how "dreadful" they sounded, a la Simon, you watched them sulk back to their seat and collapse into a heap of tears in the arms of their parents.

Suddenly, it hit me: these kids, like all of the singers on American Idol, are somebody's children. Like millions of Americans, one of my favorite winter and spring pastimes is to sit on my couch and boldly criticize the American Idol wannabees that appear on my TV screen. Yet, there I was, hearing some gifted and not-so-gifted singers and watching them beam with pride or blush in disappointment. It made me wonder what kids are learning when they watch American Idol. Sure, the producers of the TV show give us a peek at the bruised egos and the rivers of tears, but we don't see them go home and deal with their very public soul-baring performance. How does it feel to have your dreams crushed on national TV?

Like most parents, my husband and I encourage our kids. Whether it's sports, music or academics, we are their biggest fans. We are not, however, their harshest critics and we carefully weigh our words when a negative message has to be delivered. The judges on American Idol aren't so kind. They're usually blunt and often cruel. It makes for great TV. The question is, what does it do to the person?

12 Comments:

At 8:48 AM , Blogger Melanie said...

Here via Michele's. Hi!
I agree completely and am also one of the droves that watch crtically as the Idol wanna-be's show off their stuff or in most cases lack there-of. With our kids though it is very different! :)

 
At 4:22 PM , Blogger kenju said...

I have wondered about that too. It obviously makes some of them work harder to prove Simon (mostly) wrong. But some are apparently devastated by his or Randy's nasty comments (Paula is almost never unkind).

 
At 6:53 AM , Blogger Linda said...

The difference between being the two is immense. As a parent, we can help our children with their self esteem issues. If they don't show a particular proclivity towards one thing, we can gently guide them to another. On AI, those people have ALREADY come into themselves. They should KNOW better.

There are a lot who do have good talent...not enough to be famous, but enough to sing in a local band, the church praise team, karaoke night (that would be me, lol), and I have to say that AI truly does exploit them to tear them down for "good viewing".

As parents, we can choose to help our children find their niches in life, or we can ignore the obvious in a misguided attempt to live vicariously through our children.

 
At 9:48 AM , Blogger Kimi said...

Michele sent me today!

On American Idol, they know what they are in for. The contestants know that they are going to be on TV and that they could possibly get humiliated by Simon. Although they know what's going to happen, apparently it's still a difficult pill to swallow when it does happen.

 
At 11:36 AM , Blogger Jess Riley said...

This is bringing back some painful memories of piano recitals from my youth. *involuntary shudder*

Hi Brew City! *waves*

 
At 6:16 AM , Blogger Star said...

I sat through many recitals and school shows. I was never so nervous as when my youngest did a solo dance to mark her 10th year of dance class. I am here from Michele's but I visit on my own.

 
At 8:09 AM , Anonymous Mo said...

I really wonder sometimes how some of those American Idol contestants think they really have a chance. Some of that is definitely staged. There are folks though, who sing better than average (and much better than I do) who get lambasted and you know it has to hurt.

 
At 2:10 PM , Blogger Juliabohemian said...

I think some of those people who go on the show are put there as a joke. And if not, they are adults (for the most part) and totally aware of what they are getting themselves into. I think I sing very well and I wouldn't even consider putting myself in a position to be ridiculed like that. Plus, I am pretty sure I am too fat to be an American Idol.

 
At 2:25 PM , Anonymous Claire said...

I couldn't do something like American Idol (or X-Factor and Pop Idol as we have here)despite the fact I love to sing in public and I even enter small contests, to go through the pain and possibly humiliation of losing on national TV.

I wouldn't cope and I have a LOT of respect for those who do it!

 
At 11:34 AM , Blogger angela marie said...

I think about that alot. I really don't get what makes a person get up there and sing. Good for them, I say, but someone in their family or circle of friends should be honest before they go and make sure they have SOME talent.

 
At 12:04 PM , Blogger jac said...

Hi! Michele sent me today!
Ohhhh recitals. What surreal moments for both the kids and the parents. I, too, wonder what fragile egos have been dashed at the oftentimes overboard criticism such as Simon's on "idol". Still, I think that those who have not only the talent to make it, but also the tenacity and the drive, use that criticism to fuel their determination and to improve themselves. I know I couldn't do it.

 
At 6:06 PM , Blogger KaraMia said...

Just when I start to feel sorry for those contestants though, they shoot to a shot of them mouthing off and I can feel all my sympathy drain. However, if it was my child..yea, would be differnt...

 

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