My Young Prodigee-Make/Break Situation

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My Young Prodigee-Make/Break Situation

Post by stevehacker » Thu Jun 21, 2007 6:32 pm

I desperately need help from you EXPERIENCED singers out there. PLEASE...I am a music, voice, guitar and piano teacher as well as a producer and writer with actual signed deals to my credit. I have a great reputation and students who have gone on to make 7 figure incomes in the music business. I know my business VERY well, and I have a music degree, and have extensive training in the three instruments mentioned above, and many successful albums to my credit.I have a very talented 16 year old girl I've been working with for 4.5 years now, who is absolutely star material. I just took her to Nashville and helped her record her first big budget Nashville album, and it is turning a LOT of heads. BIG things could potentially happen for this young lady. She sings like no tomorrow, plays a mean guitar and piano and writes like the best of 'em....BUT...We have a BIG BIG problem. This young lady's PARENTS (mostly her mother) are about to do some SERIOUS DAMAGE to this girl's career/reputation. I formed a band for the girl with hand-picked musicians (myself included) just to be able to start touring and getting her more notice and it is going REALLY REALLY well. The girl's mother has grown to think that she is about to ruin her voice with all the performing (and she's actually singing LESS now than when she was doing karaoke parties every other night by herself). This mother with NO musical training is trying to now call all the shots about how long a performance can be, and how many dates the girl is playing all in the interest of avoiding voice damage. The girl is singing VERY VERY SAFELY, NEVER stresses her voice out, NEVER get's hoarse, ALWAYS uses proper technique and warm up, etc. etc., yet the mother has begun doing things like WAVING HER ARMS in front of the stage to get her daughter's (or my) attention to pull her off the stage for fear of vocal damage if a set seems to run too long...canceling ALREADY BOOKED GIGS or practices for the same irrational fear, etc. etc. etc. PLEASE TRUST MY TRAINING AND 30 YEARS MUSIC EXPERIENCE ON THIS: The girl is SINGING ABSOLUTELY CORRECTLY AND SAFELY because of my training, has two or three shows a week some times for as many as 1,000 people in local clubs (she has performed for as many as 8,000 people in a local civic center)...in short, things are going great, and the girl is "on her way". If I mentioned her name, it's possible some of you may have heard of her, so I will keep names out of this. She has shows coming up with a couple of the VERY BIGGEST names in country and rock music as well, so we are talking SERIOUS career potential here that stands to get wrecked. I actually need the girl to TOUGHEN UP a bit and build her voice up to longer shows, not backslide into a whimp-out situation.Long story short, I now need to EDUCATE the parents on how vocal damage comes about, and more importantly how it DOES NOT come about...e.g. singing 10 extra songs for a frenzied crowd who is DEMANDING IT, when the voice is in TIP TOP shape and not at all stressed is NOT going to hurt her.Can anyone direct me to Internet articles proving my case about how DISTANT the girl is from vocal damage, and or give me advice on how to talk to the parents (mostly the mother) to (1) keep the peace, and (2) educate her that her daughter is doing just fine?Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Please feel free to email me off-group if you want.Thanks!Stevestevejhacker@yahoo.com

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Re: My Young Prodigee-Make/Break Situation

Post by hummingbird » Thu Jun 21, 2007 7:30 pm

Hey Steve, sounds like this girls' career will take a nose dive if the mother's antics aren't dealt with pronto. I don't recommend any articles on the net as you can't always be sure the resource is legit & the mother's behaviour is out of hand, so reading articles may not work.My best suggestion would be to take matters to the next level and get the girl examined by an expert, an ENT (ear, nose & throat) specialist would be good, an otolaryngologist would be even better. Pay for the consultation (a laryngeal exam) yourself. Tell the mother you respect her concerns, and you are getting your prodigee examined to be sure no damage is being done. Tell her you will ensure that the girl gets regular check-ups (see an ENT every 6 months).After the singer gets a clean bill of health from the doc, perhaps you can enlist the mother's help another way. If she's willing to listen. Tell her you appreciate her concerns and one of the biggest problems with vocal health is *speech*. Typically singers don't have problems with their vocal apparatus because of singing, because they are supporting their voices with good technique, etc. It's talking that causes the damage. So you could suggest that she care for her daughter in other ways - watching the diet to avoid acidic foods, getting enough sleep (crucial for the voice), watching that she doesn't talk to much or raise her voice. I could be wrong but I suspect that her daughter's success is causing some issues with her in terms of feeling less important in her daughter's life. By listening to her concerns, gettting the girl examined so you indeed can be sure (and have evidence) that all is well, and asking the mom to help with other things, you will help her feel like she is still part of the team.In addition, perhaps you can get the doctor to help, after the first examination, to explain to the mother that good vocal technique means good vocal health.You might be able to find a specialist on this site:http://www.healthgrades.com/local-docto ... georgia-ga
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Re: My Young Prodigee-Make/Break Situation

Post by stevehacker » Thu Jun 21, 2007 8:22 pm

Thanks Vikki! That's outstanding advice, and I failed to mention some of that in my first post: Actually her mother has been religiously taking her to an ENT QUARTERLY for about 2 years now, with the full expectation of seeing rampant damage being done only to see a completely clean report from the doctor every time, with only the occasional exception of minor redness during our unmerciful pollen season down here in Georgia - just minor allergies that clear right up. She's pretty strict with her on diet and absolutely demands 9-10 hours of sleep from her each night too. The poor kid is just being squashed by her parents though. I guess I'm looking more for evidence of actual singers who have much more demanding performance/rehearsal/recording schedules who are perfectly healthy to show as an example. CHECK THIS OUT: When we went to Nashville, she SUNG THE ENTIRE ALBUM and all tracks including dozens of back up and harmony tracks, and GOT ALL THE VOCAL WORK FOR TEN SONGS DONE in JUST TWO DAYS (very unusual). Now I KNOW it's not terribly healthy, but just as proof of her endurance, she sang 9 hrs straight with only a lunch break on the first day, and then sung 12 hrs straight with only ONE lunch break the 2nd day, WITH NO ILL EFFECTS. Again, I KNOW that's bad, and it will be a LONG time before she does anything like that again, BUT, you'd think her mother would calm down a bit about the 2 hr shows a few times a week, once she saw her daughter pull off that bit of studio magic You bring up a great point though. I'm starting to see where this might actually be less about the girl's voice and MORE about a "Mama's need to be needed" - her need to feel like she's still in control, and that she still has a hand in her daughter's music career, instead of just "Evil bad-ole Steve" having all the control.Ah!!! Somebody kill me! Ha-ha Thanks again Vikki!Stevestevejhacker@yahoo.com

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Re: My Young Prodigee-Make/Break Situation

Post by edteja » Fri Jun 22, 2007 1:47 am

Also Steve, maybe there is some area of the daughters career where the mother's could be constructive. Perhaps putting her in charge of building a street team, or some other productive task would redirect her concerns and energy and make her feel an important part of the effort. It does sound like she is concerned about being cut out. You might be able to find her strengths and help her put them to work in a positive way, just as you have with the daughter.
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Re: My Young Prodigee-Make/Break Situation

Post by drcolossus02 » Fri Jun 22, 2007 2:16 am

Yeah I agree man. I think this issue is more psychological than physical if you get me.You say her mum is very strict on her diet and bedtimes this probably points to her being very protective and/ or controlling of her.I don't know anyone involved so I can't advise but think very carefully how you will sort this out.I'd say you have two options. Either to properly sort this out with her or to bind her so she can't act eg. somehow proving its a absolute fact its healthy to sing like that so she cannot say otherwise whatsoever though this will ultimately brew bad blood.Think very carefully what your move will be though and do not act rashly like I just saw you do in that other post.

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Re: My Young Prodigee-Make/Break Situation

Post by drcolossus02 » Fri Jun 22, 2007 2:18 am

Just to point out ones a shitty immoral temporary fix the others more permanent.If you want to go far with this prodigee you're going to need to eventually properly sort it.That said I've got this from what I've learnt in these little boxes. I could have it all wrong.

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Re: My Young Prodigee-Make/Break Situation

Post by jeffe » Fri Jun 22, 2007 3:50 am

With your training. Her mother probably has more of a chance spraining her arms from all that arm waving, then the voice being damaged.This is similar to situations I've heard many times. Controlling parents.Psychologically, this is attention seeking by the mother. Her daughter is receiving all the attention. That might sound bad, but it's very common. Some parents turn their children into hypochondriacs. Exhibiting over caring. Creating disorders that don't exist. What that does is bring more attention to the parent (my mother has a few degrees in psychology. This is a discussion I've had with her a few times).As the girl is 16, ahe will still be under control of the parents by law (certain countries differ). So you will have to address the mothers demand for attention.First of all you need to break the psychological association between the mothers desire for attention and the health of the daughters voice.Is there a room of yours that the mother frequently visits? Put some biological diagrams on the wall, showing the vocal chords etc. You see, she is putting the stress on a perceived medical condition. If you have diagrams on your wall, you will be perceived as more medical which will weaken her resolve on that side. Also display a few quotes near them too. Stuff like the diaphragm being a muscle. Regular exercise makes it stronger etc.This, in time will enforce a new association.Finally. You will need to address the mothers requirement for attention. Give her a position which seems very important. One that keep her busy. Perhaps you can get her involved in the media side of things. Also make sure she gets exposure as the proud mother (because you can be sure she is).This is just a rough guide. Ultimately, the issue breaks down attention seeking through something you are not officially qualified to rebuff.Of course the mother does have concerns for her own child. All parents do.Putting yourself in the same position might help you find an answer too. Imagine someone you love a lot, was joining a band. Destined for stardom. This was going to mean you spending a lot less time with them. What could they do to make you happy about it and accept it?Have a chat with a good psychologist about it. They might help provide the answers for you.I'm rambling now.Food for thought anyway.
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Re: My Young Prodigee-Make/Break Situation

Post by hummingbird » Fri Jun 22, 2007 4:46 am

Quote:Thanks Vikki! That's outstanding advice, and I failed to mention some of that in my first post: Actually her mother has been religiously taking her to an ENT QUARTERLY for about 2 years now, with the full expectation of seeing rampant damage being done only to see a completely clean report from the doctor every time, with only the occasional exception of minor redness during our unmerciful pollen season down here in Georgia - just minor allergies that clear right up. She's pretty strict with her on diet and absolutely demands 9-10 hours of sleep from her each night too. The poor kid is just being squashed by her parents though. I guess I'm looking more for evidence of actual singers who have much more demanding performance/rehearsal/recording schedules who are perfectly healthy to show as an example. CHECK THIS OUT: When we went to Nashville, she SUNG THE ENTIRE ALBUM and all tracks including dozens of back up and harmony tracks, and GOT ALL THE VOCAL WORK FOR TEN SONGS DONE in JUST TWO DAYS (very unusual). Now I KNOW it's not terribly healthy, but just as proof of her endurance, she sang 9 hrs straight with only a lunch break on the first day, and then sung 12 hrs straight with only ONE lunch break the 2nd day, WITH NO ILL EFFECTS. Again, I KNOW that's bad, and it will be a LONG time before she does anything like that again, BUT, you'd think her mother would calm down a bit about the 2 hr shows a few times a week, once she saw her daughter pull off that bit of studio magic You bring up a great point though. I'm starting to see where this might actually be less about the girl's voice and MORE about a "Mama's need to be needed" - her need to feel like she's still in control, and that she still has a hand in her daughter's music career, instead of just "Evil bad-ole Steve" having all the control.Ah!!! Somebody kill me! Ha-ha Thanks again Vikki!Stevestevejhacker@yahoo.comOkay, well I felt seeing the doctor would be good in terms of you acknowledging her concerns and creating a rapport between you. But that was all part of my assessment that the mother feels she is losing her position in her daughter's life and that you need to find a way to help her feel important. Since this is a psychological issue, I agree with the idea of consulting a psychologist. The psychologist will only be able to do so much without actually seeing the mother, but might help you see how you can make her more comfortable with the sitation. The mother may also feel you are taking advantage of her daughter by working her so hard, etc. I trust you've got all this down in writing etc.In addition, you might try to find a trained professional to mediate for you - someone objective who can listen to the parent's concerns and your concerns and help you communicate effectively so everyone calms down.Lastly, where is the girl in all this? Is she passionate and motivated? You may need to help her deal with her mother's behaviour by getting her to see the psychologist. Don't neglect the fact that she is affected by this situation and that could be a negative in terms of her healthy development as a human being as well as a performer. One more thought --- be really careful to not put the mother down to the daughter. She may be 16, but she still very young and you don't want to get in the middle between her and her mom. You need to be the adult here and get some counselling for the daughter, see if you can mediate with the mom, and maybe take the dad aside and express your concern that mom's worries are affecting girl's chances of a successful career.H
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Re: My Young Prodigee-Make/Break Situation

Post by handrick » Fri Jun 22, 2007 7:30 am

well I don't envy you.. if the mother is like that now... what would she be like when it comes to signing on the dotted line....sometimes the closer things get to actually happening the more control people try to get who may not have been the ones steering the ship...so to speak...I wish you the best with your situation....

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Re: My Young Prodigee-Make/Break Situation

Post by sgs4u » Fri Jun 22, 2007 9:36 am

Quote:I desperately need help from you EXPERIENCED singers out there. PLEASE...I have a very talented 16 year old girl I've been working with for 4.5 years now, who is absolutely star material. I just took her to Nashville and helped her record her first big budget Nashville album, and it is turning a LOT of heads. BIG things could potentially happen for this young lady. She sings like no tomorrow, plays a mean guitar and piano and writes like the best of 'em.This is not "your" girl. This is your student. At some point, like all teachers, you will have to let go. You playing in her band, appears to me like you are hanging on to your own dreams, a bit too much. I would replace myself in a situation like this, and become the band's non-performing musical director. You need to figure out what talents you have, that make you essential to the girl's career. I suspect the mother does not view your input as essential.The Mom's job is to look out for her daughter's best interests. She may be difficult, but you signed up. I would imagine this problem has been there since you started working with the daughter. It's not going to go away because you gather information to bolster your position.Interesting predicament. As a producer, I'd love to be in your shoes. Do you have a signed agreement with the parents? But are you the manager, or the bandleader? Those are very different roles, as far as the powers above you will see things. One is expendable.Quote:You bring up a great point though. I'm starting to see where this might actually be less about the girl's voice and MORE about a "Mama's need to be needed" - her need to feel like she's still in control, and that she still has a hand in her daughter's music career, instead of just "Evil bad-ole Steve" having all the control.My name is also Steve. I have been cast as evil bad-ole Steve before, in a very simlar kind of situation. I couldn't seem to earn the parent's trust, but "my" singer eventually did move to Nashville, and got a job at Tootsie's. "Your" singer's mom not only needs to feel in control, she must be encouraged to feel in control, until she thinks it's a safe time to move away from the situation. It is her child. The energy and language you are displaying to me, is actually about YOU, fearing your loss of control over what happens.You also "Need to be Needed." We all do, it's pretty common.Quote:This mother with NO musical training is trying to now call all the shots about how long a performance can be, and how many dates the girl is playing all in the interest of avoiding voice damage. The girl is singing VERY VERY SAFELY, NEVER stresses her voice out, NEVER get's hoarse...CHECK THIS OUT: When we went to Nashville, she SUNG THE ENTIRE ALBUM and all tracks including dozens of back up and harmony tracks, and GOT ALL THE VOCAL WORK FOR TEN SONGS DONE in JUST TWO DAYS (very unusual). Now I KNOW it's not terribly healthy, but just as proof of her endurance, she sang 9 hrs straight with only a lunch break on the first day, and then sung 12 hrs straight with only ONE lunch break the 2nd day...This is a very clear example of what the mother thinks will happen, if she doesn't maintain control over every situation. You may think that kind of rigorous schedule is necessary for recording, but it might not be. Those 2 days of her daughter getting worked that hard, feed the Mom's worst fears.So in short, I don't think you need more info on damaging vocal chords. You need more help with conflict resolution. Stop making the mother WRONG. If she doesn't believe in YOU, you have to let go. If you are willing to create a solid relationship with the MOM, you may have a chance to stay involved. Without your willingness to both put up with her challenging behaviors, and include her views every step of the way, I think you are doomed to be unhappy, constantly wishing things could be different. And eventually removed from the project. Stay completely focused on positive results. Praise the kid and the Mom together at every opportunity, Praise the Mom in front of her daughter, praise the daughter in front of the Mom(the same way the mom does, if possible). Flattery works on a deep subconcious level, and for almost anyone. It wil help you earn ALL of the mother's trust. And you have to keep being grateful in public that she's doing what's right for her child. Perspective changes quite easily by objectively looking at what has been accomplished thus far, and letting go of what you cannot control. You have to change how you have been, and what you allow to upset you. Again, you are a very lucky man, Steve. Many of us would love to be in your shoes. So go show us how to make this situation a winner, for everyone involved. Please keep us informed, but you might want to keep this Taxi thread away from the Mom.There are some great suggestions from other Taxi members for you to mull over, really good advice. I realize my opinions may not be what you are looking for, but if you decide you'd like to talk further with me, I welcome the opportunity to get to know you. best of luck,steve

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