micro managing the kid's band...
allright guys, thought i would throw this out here to see what you guys think, and you probably wont think much about this at all :-)
so i vicariously live my rock star fantasies through my son, and what is cool about this is at age 47, i can now play a little bit on the bass and i think it is great fun jamming with him and his friends in the basement, first musical instrument i have ever played.
our complete repertoire of songs consists of paranoid, parts of iron man, most of smells like teen spirit, parts of lucretia my reflection (easy bass line), working on day tripper now, mainly bits and pieces of songs, for what its worth.
he is pretty good on guitar but again limited repertoire. so last year, he and 3 of his friends and a girl singer (they were 12 then) did the talent show and did paranoid and did a good job and had a good time and like 900 people saw them.
fast forward to this year... not much practice took place by the whole band since last year, maybe 3 times at best. the drummer took up tuba in the school band and gave his drum kit away (we still have one at the house he can use), the guitar player only wants to play slow country songs and his mom won't drive him 30 miles one way to practice, the singer, due a lot to parental influence, only wants to do 80's songs, and i want junior to play the hives tick, tick boom and do a hives freeze in the middle. junior used to play bass and still can, but likes wailing on his fender strat better...
well first off there are too many parents involved, but the kids have to have rides to get anywhere to practice so we are definitlely stuck with some parental involvement.
the kids skills are fairly rudimentary, we need to find one song now and dial it in.
you can't "want" for the kids, the kids have to want to do it for themselves. but if they keep dilly dallying on song choice and getting froze out by guys that don't show up to practice, they have to wait another year to do it again.
so we are now 2 months out from this years tryouts... here are the questions for you guys:
The kids are playing the hives and that's final. Any questions? :-)
no the questions are, at what point do you cut off your current band and recruit new guys that want to do it? how do u cut your old guys (and good friends) off?
how much do you try to consultatively guide everyone to a common goal? or the flipside of that is enforce your will on them all?
there's probably more questions than that, but i will leave it at that.
thanks for any responses.
All honesty. Have them work on stage presence to get the crowd involved. Wins more than song choice or raw talent. Especially at their age, should be all about fun.
Well I don't have kids, but I think I would gradually draw back from the driver's seat, while also subtly suggesting to Jr. that *someone* needs to drive and it might as well be him. Ask him what song he wants to do for the talent show, and see if he can lobby the other band-members about it. Only jump in if Jr. finds himself trying to convince another parent, that's when he needs backup. Also, give up on the Hives. If you have a horse in the race it's going to be impossible to expect the other parents to step aside and let the kids learn how to be in a band. It's not easy!
No no no...this is bad. My guitarist's dad is involved, and he has been for years. The guitarist is now in his 20s and dad is still clinging on. Everyone else in the band has been chased away by now, because of the dad's attitude and over- involvement. He thinks he gets picks on song choices, band members, and other decisions, but to us, he's just some overbearing old dude who thinks he knows best. No offense, but there's no quicker way to put distance between you and your son and dissolve the band than to step in and try to direct.
While he may not mind now, eventually the resentment will start, and he may completely move away from music. Why not start your own band, and put it forth as an example and a source of motivation?
My cousin's son is 15 and recently left a band run by stage Daddies. None of these guys were musicians themselves but they picked out the songs, attended all the rehearsals, split the cost of common band expenses, booked the gigs and had the mentality that one day when the boys were famous rock stars they would be set for retirement themselves. These kids were a great band, played adult venues and sounded better than many of the adult cover bands I see. Problem was noone was having any fun, esp. my cousin who was constantly arguing with the other Dads for being too intense and controlling. My cousin has four boys and he is involved in all their sports and extra-curricular activities and felt like these guys were as bad as the worst sports parents he has encountered.
Whatever involvement you have, keep it minimal and DEFINITELY don't attempt to pick out their songs.
I'm almost 100% positive this will fall on deaf ears, but:
You should just leave them alone. Learn your instrunment (on your own) and make your own rock and roll fantasies if you're in need of that.
Your own thread title alone should tell you that you are just being a PITA. "Micromanaging" is never a good thing.
I get the impression they are pulling away from it due to your involvement.
I have 2 kids, ages 14 and 15, and both are in bands. They do it through a local music school, where they play ~4 shows a year of different genres at various local venues, never with the same exact band make-up.
There are bands where parents are all up in the kids' business, and those bands are usually the ones that sound the worst and are the ones that less likely to get booked elsewhere. Parents show up to set up and tune drum kits (though never guitars...), bitch about backlines, and numbers of people in the audience and basically get in the way. In addition to making people not want to book their band again, the kids are learning no life-lessons.
- Learning to compromise by mutually deciding which songs to do
- Making sure you have the right tools and skills for the job
- Being able to constantly adapt to and overcome last minute surprises and changes
- Figuring out when to help people progress (encouragement and practice), and when to cut your losses (asking them to leave and replacing them)
- Dealing with new and different people as band line-ups change
- Being part of a team, where you all succeed and fail together, based on the effort you put in.
The bands that are successful are the ones where the parents are cab drivers and bank accounts. Buy them the gear, drive them to rehearsal, go have a coffee somewhere. The kids have to want to do it and they will only want to if they enjoy it. When parents get too involved, they stop having fun and it all falls apart. Or worse, they sound awful and embarrass themselves in front of their friends and schoolmates.
As harsh as it seems, you might consider re-evaluating your approach. Do only what a parent must do: transportation, financial backing, moral/emotional support and, when appropriate, advice. Try and avoid any bands where any of the other parents are over-zealous as well. Bands will evolve, disappear and in some cases never even get off the ground. Trying to force a band to get or stay together is an exercise in frustration for everyone. The kids will hate it and stop playing.
I was around 12 when I started playing in a rock band, it started with us playing in our 6th grade talent show.
2 of us stayed together and formed various bands through High School and for a few years after that.
Were both still in the business.
We never had any help or direction ( besides transportation) from parents.
There's a band of young teens in Memphis right now that is dominantly ran by their parents. The kids are great at what they do, but their parents are a total nightmare. I happened to co-bill with them awhile back for a gig I was subbing on, and oh.my.god the parents were unbelievable considering how ego-driven, condescending, and rude they were. They thought their children were god's gift to music, and that mentality rubbed off on their kids as well. Like I said, the kids were good at what they did, but they were not in the slightest bit enjoyable to be around or talk to. I ended up talking to one of the bartenders that night and he let slip that they weren't ever planning on hire back that band ever again - not because their audience is dominantly too young to buy drinks or because they were bad performers (again, they were great), but because their parents were a major PITA to deal with. Last I heard, they weren't gigging around much anymore.
Dude, really? Let them figure it out on thier own and be supportive.
Whatever happenned to the days when you would join a band and play real loud just to piss-off your parents and make them leave you alone?
What the hell did I just read?
Good advice given. If I was to ever be in a band with my kids I would most certainly not try to run the show. Unless they wanted me around I would probably try to help them find someone to replace the geezer(me). Really young kids, unless they are very talented and mature should really just play with other kids. When I was a kid I played in a worship band and a high school rock band. I loved playing with the older musicians in worship band but I would have hated having a "parental" figure in the rock. Just my opinion and all.
My son began playing guitar around 12 when he broke is ankle. Fell in love and stsarted taking it really seriously. He is very talented and after a few years and some progressively better teachers (who were all working players) he was asked to accomapny his teacher on some professional shows locally for an Eric Clapton Tribute. He really shined ans made a name for himself this was around 15. He began a band of his own with friends from school playing some of the worst sounding heavy metal I ever heard. Of course they practiced out my house...LOL but they ended up playing a few gigs at some local venues and made a name for themselves. Just abbout the time he was graduating from HS he answered an ad for a guitar player and ended up joining a band that has released CD's, has management and is presently touring right now. THey are playing House of BLues all over the country along wiht some other big halls. THey are third on the bill but hey at least they are there.
Bottom line don't worry about what he is doing at 12, it will all change and evolve before he gets to the the point of really trying to "make it". A band is one of those things that you can't force.
My father bought me my first two basses (one was a mid-70s Precision which I wish I still had) but other than that he left me alone to find a band, pick songs, get gigs, etc. I will say that he did push me to practice, practice, practice and to continue to learn and get better.
My advise: give them the tools and the encouragement, let them do the rest.
This ain't Guitar Hero or Rock Band where you can just turn off the switch and put down the guitar.
You might find someone who knows something about being in a band to be a "teacher". All the families chip in a certain amount of money etc.
That's what the parents of my kid's band did. Each family pays this guy 75 dollars each per month. For that they get one guided rehearsal a week, and places to play.
They're out playing a couple of times a month and doing well.
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