What you are about to read describes an entity that does not exist in nature. Such a creature has never been sighted or documented anywhere. Were such a being to present itself to mere humans, the world’s markets would shut down, schools would close and scientists would be forced to once again reconsider the Higgs Boson. Ours would become a topsy-turvy world where nothing made sense anymore.
This mythical beast, this statistical anomaly, this smasher of all natural laws, were it to exist, would be known simply as … the “responsible rock musician.”
When you find your eyes, pick them up off of the floor and reinsert them into your face, we will continue.
Ready? OK …
We are not suggesting that the world will experience this phenomenon anytime in the near, or even distant, future, but if there are any interested parties, those who might enjoy experimenting with their child as Dr. Frankenstein did with his monster, we are here to help. Herein you will find five steps to raising a responsible rock star. We must emphasize that this is not a job for the weak of heart, so do not engage this list without a firm commitment to following through. The clay you will mold (i.e. your precious child) is fragile, impressionable and probably already the least responsible person you know. You must be willing to fail and accept your failure in the name of science.
If you chose to proceed, neither Nerdy With Children nor its affiliates will be held liable for any damages, injuries or deaths incurred during the experiment. If you do succeed, however, you will have made history, having raised the very first responsible rock star — ever.
1. Emphasize the importance of practice.
Yes, despite rock’s reputation as the simplest of all musical forms, the child will still need to practice and rehearse — a lot if he or she wants to actually be good. Don’t be an ass about it — you know, like the Tiger Mother — but let your child know that music isn’t all fun and games. It will be, once they master their instrument (a lifelong pursuit, truth be told). But the early years should be spent learning everything a person can know about one’s chosen instrument specifically, and about music in general. The more styles and genres a child experiences, the better versed a musician he or she will be. (Bonus: Study upon study have shown that a music and arts education enhance a child’s critical thinking skills, focus and ability to grasp abstract concepts.)
2. Teach the child how to tell time.
So often, in the world of rock-and-roll, time is seen as malleable, as bendable as rubber pencil and as irrelevant as Sandra Bullock’s entire filmography. But time can be a rock star’s friend. Being on time for rehearsals and gigs is imperative, and will garner the respect of everyone other than the people in the band, because they are imbeciles. You see, business people, facility managers and fans (aka, the people who will pay the rock star’s salary) like to see the show happen on time. So many rock stars, from Sly Stone to Axl Rose to Madonna and the rest of the sorry lot, have been notoriously late for shows and never seem to give a rat’s hind quarters.
This is insulting to people who pay huge amounts of money for tickets to see you. So start early. Get the kid out of bed and to school on time. Finish homework early. Make play dates and keep them. Worst that can happen: The kid will know how to tell time.
3. Take the child to lots of rock concerts.
Not only should a kid see the good stuff — the great bands, the wonderful music, the theater and spectacle that makes us all want to be rock stars — but the bad stuff, too. This can be a fun yet educational experience all its own. Make a game of it. Count how many people vomit within a given amount of time. Come up with silly names for the band members’ (Drunkie the Drummer, Slurry McBassy, Singer St. Clone). And talk openly with your kid about what is really going on.
Look around. Are the people listening to the music or to themselves yammer about how cool they are? Talk to the band members and ask questions. How much will the band really get paid? Will they load out their own equipment and drive in a crappy van to the next town on three hours sleep? This is the reality of a career in rock, and the passion your child has for it will only benefit from a responsible, professional approach. It’s never too early to learn that simple yet evasive lesson.
4. Give your child an allowance, then, in four months, take it all back.
This may not make your kid happy, but even in the age of iTunes and Soundcloud, record companies still sign bands, still give bands advances for their first record and still force them to pay it all back, whether the record sells or not.
Knowing this will help your kid avoid blowing all of that cherished allowance and slipping into a life of alcoholism and depression. Instead, help your child invest that meager sum in an interest-bearing savings account. Talk to your child about how to save and spend money. Too many rock stars end up broke and miserable because they spent it all too fast on stuff that, in the long run, meant nothing. The short cut to this lesson is a 24-hour VH1 Behind the Music marathon.
5. Teach your kid to be passionate and committed.
Parents dread the thought of their kid trying to “make it” in music, but moms and dads that push fear aside and support their kids, no matter what, are the ones who watch their children grow up to be happy, responsible adults. This doesn’t mean buy them cocaine. This simply means that, if music is your child’s passion, then do everything you can to let that kid know you are totally into it.
Knowing mom and dad are behind you gives a child the power to pursue a dream, as silly as that dream may seem, and understand that sometimes the process is more rewarding than reaching the goal. Chance are your child isn’t going to become a rock star, but he or she might find a career writing music for a publishing company or penning tunes for a school musical or hosting a local open-mic night. Hell, tomorrow that kid’s guitar might end up in the Salvation Army pile. But right now, if your kid wants it, help that kid achieve it. Both of you will be glad you did.