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I Want My Kid to Be on 'American Idol'

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Guest blogger Christine Bartsch: Your kid belts it out in the shower, shines in choir, matches Miley Cyrus when they sing to the radio, but are they "American Idol" material?

girl singing

As a vocal coach, I can tell you I love "American Idol" season. Business booms as kids across America decide they are the next Idol and nag their parents into investing big bucks in their pop star futures. As tantalizing as quick cash is though, I usually turn away more students than I accept for one simple reason -- your kid can't sing.

Here's what's fooling you into thinking they can.

Shower acoustics lie.
If you've been evaluating your child's star potential through a closed bathroom door, think again. Sound reverberates off the tiles and steam absorbs the echoes so well your cat's meow could sound like a contender for Hollywood.

But they sound so good in choir... Your kid might be the star of their high school choir, but there is a huge difference between ensemble singing and becoming a solo artist. Choirs are all about muting individual voices to blend into a pure whole. Even if your kid has been singled out to sing a descant or a solo line, they're still performing as one of a group. A solo artist not only has to stand out, they have to carry the show.

They sound so good with the radio, they should be on it! Or maybe not. Turn the volume down while they're singing -- chances are they're blending with the performer so well, they sound better than they really are. But even if your kid is able to mimic great performances, they still may not be a gifted performer. If your kid did manage to score a yellow ticket, they'd probably fall apart during Hollywood Week where they have to quickly learn older, unfamiliar songs. Why? Because they only have time to memorize notes and lyrics, and your kid's "talent" relies on copying the original artist's performance.

So, what do you do if you still think they can sing?

Chances are you're listening to your child with a supportive parent's ear and not an unbiased audience's ear, so your best bet is to get a second opinion. You can ask for a private meeting with your kid's choir director to evaluate their voice for solo potential. Or you can request a single session from a private vocal coach to determine if your kid is the next singing sensation, an individual evaluation ensures an unbiased ear is listening and not one worried about losing a potential client.

Performing is not just singing, so ensure your kid has what it takes outside of the practice room. If they're leaning more towards Broadway, get them into musical theatre both through their school and community troupes. If they're dreaming of a sell-out at Madison Square Garden, sign them up for open mic nights or let them form a band.

Whichever route you go, make sure your kid can make it on the stage before you encourage them to stand in line for the next "AI" audition or your kid might end up on the joke reel.

Is it harder to recover from public humiliation than privately accepting you don't have what it takes? Tell us what you think!

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5 comments so far | Post a comment now
jw February 5, 2009, 5:33 PM

This sounds like sound advice!

henriettia martin March 28, 2009, 2:43 PM

my 11yr’s old daughter can sing and act
she sing all the time in church.she is the lead singer of the group and dont maind putting on a show for the would she is the sweetist little girl you ever seen.

massina June 1, 2009, 9:06 PM

HI.It`s massina walsh im a great singer dancer and actress iv been singing since i was 3,iv been danceing since i was 2 and iv been acting for as long as i can remember.I`v rote 4 songs just since 2 weeks ago and im only 10.

massina June 1, 2009, 9:13 PM

im massina walsh i can sing dance and act im going to be in a movie i am a singer and i can even make my mom beleve im crying when im not and think im only 10 years old, massina waslh.

Ueeumrdk June 26, 2009, 7:07 PM

27LRGQ comment1 ,

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