A couple of days ago my son sent us an email with a recording attached to it. He had written an arrangement of the old classic “My Girl” for a jazz ensemble or something. After he finished with the writing he sat down at his computer and the $300 fancy microphone he had insisted that we get him for Christmas and proceeded to record all 6 parts along with the percussion himself and then somehow mixed everything together. I know virtually nothing about how any of this is actually done but I console myself with the knowledge that all of the technical hardware that it was done with was paid for out of my generosity. When I hit the play button on my computer I was overwhelmed with a torrent of conflicting emotions. I heard my son’s voice doing a spot-on impression of David Ruffin , then his voice filled out all of the crisp harmonies of the other Temptations and all I could do was sit there and smile. The song was a musical feast , so beautiful that if Smokey Robinson heard it he would have picked up the phone to offer his congratulations. When it was over I pressed the play button again and again.
Whenever he sends us some new recording or some new video of a musical creation I am overcome with two competing emotions. On the one hand I am so proud of him and his freakish talent that I instantly want all of my friends to hear it and marvel with me. But then the other emotion rears its ugly head. I think to myself…How is this kid ever going to be happy and fulfilled in this life if he doesn’t end up in the music business? When you’re walking around with this sort of musical creativity bouncing around in your head 24/7, how can you be happy being a high school chorus teacher? Not that there’s anything wrong with that…some of my best friends are high school chorus teachers. But the problem for me as a parent is that I am afraid of the music business. It seems to be a dirty rotten collection of egomaniacs who live a life contrary to what most parents dream of for their children. Unless he is able to find some benign corner of the business unblemished by drug use, broken relationships and rehab, I’ll always be worried about him. But that’s just the way it goes as a parent I suppose.