This is a re-post from my blog dedicated to my music teaching: spinandstop.wordpress.com.
Dear Randy Jackson,
My children have convinced me that our family should watch this season of “American Idol,” since it’s such a hot topic of conversation with their friends at school. So far, we’ve watched the first four episodes of the Season 10 auditions, and there have been some knock-me-out moments (that 15-year-old boy who sang “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” — what a stunner!). And, sure, there have also been some wackadoo folks, as well (the blue man? come on). The one thing that really bugs me, Randy, is when you tell people to stop singing — as in: Don’t sing anymore, anywhere, ever. Really? Seriously?
We’ve got a HUGE problem in our culture — people are singing less and less with their children, and fewer and fewer children are growing up to be musical adults. Every child who’s born is musical — there’s research to prove it — but all adults aren’t, and that’s because parents are more likely to watch other people sing than sing themselves. It doesn’t matter how awful you think someone sounds — if she goes home to her baby and sings to that child, that almost guarantees that her child will grow up to be musical (and probably more musical than she is!).
When someone gets up to audition for Idol and sounds terrible, he definitely should not go further in the competition. And, telling him that his singing needs work, or that he isn’t “Idol material,” is the right thing to do (and Steven Tyler does it beautifully). But to advise that contestant never to sing again? The repercussions of that comment are potentially crippling — not just to him, but to the generations that follow him. And think of the people watching your show (like my children), who might just pull back from singing in fear that someone, somewhere will say something mean to them when they sing — if they stop singing, their kids won’t sing, and so on, and so on. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to have more people who can sing, more people who are Idol material, rather than fewer? What a country we would have if our land were populated coast to coast with amazing singers!
So, Randy, please don’t tell people to stop singing forever. Instead, tell them that Idol’s not their thing, dog, and that they’re better off saving their singing for their time at home with their families — that parents who sing with their kids raise kids who sing. Down the road, their kids could show up at the American Idol Season 25 auditions and knock your socks off with their singing chops. Hey, if nothing else, that’s some pretty good job security.
Sincerely, Miss Anne
Music Together Teacher