Is your child obsessed with guitar? “All he seems to be interested in is his guitar”

I received the following email from one of our teachers and I think it is one that is on the minds of many parents.

Hi David, I have an interesting teaching issue for you. I have heard the same concern from the parents of 13 – 15 year old boys. They say, “All he seems to be interested in is his guitar. He plays for hours, alone in his room. His teachers tell me he is not cutting it. Does my son have any smarts in guitar?” David, each one of these boys is a joy to teach. They play beautifully and do more than I ask each week. I understand that they love guitar, however, they need to stick with the grind of high school to graduate. I feel in a bit of a quandary when I speak with their worried parents. These lads have the talent to become professional musicians, still need to do the not-so-fun work to finish high school and further education. As far as I know, there does not exist an apprenticeship for budding guitarists. There are those rare few rock guitarists who have made it without formal education. Perhaps these boys are hoping for the same success. What are your thoughts?Parents with children who seem obsessed with guitar and who are avoiding school work no doubt have concerns. There is old saying that says ‘How do you get a horse to move in the direction you want? By first going in the direction the horse wants to go and gradually steering the horse around’ If your child wants to play guitar encourage and support them. This will build trust because you are showing an interest in what is important to them. As a result when you suggest they also focus on school they will listen.My advice is simple. If your child shows a strong interest in anything that has a positive outcome it should be encouraged. Some children will compromise their school work for music or sport but doing well in something usually raises their self esteem. A teenager’s self esteem in my opinion is the No.1 priority. As adults we think of career and security in financial terms. We want our children to get into university so they can get a good job which is only natural. But consider the real world for a minute. Would you prefer your Doctor to be someone who has a passion for medicine or someone who would rather be a guitarist? Doctors today are in the highest risk category for early death. Ironic really considering they are in the profession of health care. The reason is stress and in my view stress comes from doing something you really don’t want to be doing. Many of today’s Doctors were forced into the profession by parents who wanted their children to have good paying jobs.

A professional musician has many career choices and if they are good like in any profession they can earn great money. My suggestion to those who want to be professional guitarists is to do everything they can to make their career a success. Playing guitar is not enough in most cases. You have to learn stage performance, business, basic accounting, how to network and so on. Teaching is also a great profession and good teachers are always in demand.

I hope that answers your question.

David Hart – Program Director

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