I have been truly amazed at the incredible amount of hot young players there are in the world of guitar these days, and there never seems to be a gig or clinic I do where I end up meeting some Mom or Dad with their “child prodigy!” There’s no doubt there are lots of them out there, and the sad thing is that if they really don’t make it and make a “splash” at this young age, very soon they will end up being just another young player who is very good, and who is looking to make a real career out of this.
I suppose that even though there are many great young players, and being so young makes them seem so brilliant, it becomes important to differentiate even within this category so you can really see who are the true greats! I believe if you possess actual genius this will display itself at a very young age as well, and this is something that not only must be cultivated, it basically cannot be stopped! I personally have seen many young, great players who seemed to have an “overload” of accolades and success when they were too young, and then sure enough, they either lost interest soon after, could no longer “cut it”, or just basically “peaked” early, never to achieve that continued development and success that seemed so promising in the beginning.
Another problem, and it’s a big one, is the fact that the parents of my generation are often too infatuated with making their kids into “rock stars” even if the kid themselves is not that into it. There’s just something about this “rock star” generation that puts a lot of false hopes and too much pressure on the kids, and yes, even though it’s cool to be a guitar player, most of these parents are trying to live out their own Rock ‘n Roll fantasies through their children. In actuality, these parents mostly have no idea what it’s really like to be involved in the music scene, and what could be in store for their children in later years. It’s all a very big sacrifice, and in some cases, they are asking their kids to sacrifice their very youth, making a very big trade-off for their “career”!
I believe one has to be very careful how you handle these kids, and you must be sure to let them have a childhood first, and a career a distant second. In the end it will be their life “balance” that will be channeled through their guitar playing, and as always, it’s much better to make the guitar an extension of your life, as opposed to it being something so all-consuming that is literally runs your life!
But make no mistake about it; a young, up and comer must not be ignored, and must be encouraged in every way possible. The worst thing is to take a brilliant musician, and make them just “a tree falling in the woods” with no one to even hear the sound!