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Diary Of A Senior Performing Arts Mom

By Lisa Perez
By Lisa Perez

Dear Diary:

If I only knew then what I know now! I’ve realized the most valuable lessons are not taught, they’re experienced.  

This has been a crazy year full of ups and downs, highs and lows; now we are at the finish line. My son has made a commitment to his dream school and soon he will begin a new chapter.  When I look back over this past year, I ask myself, is there anything I would have done differently? The short answer is, yes. 

The long answer is, yes, many things.  Join me in my series of lessons learned throughout the theatre college audition process. I hope as the next group of talented performers and their parents start their own journey, my experiences can make your path a little easier.

The Myth:

Most students who aspire to go to college for performing arts train every day.  In fact, it’s where most of our money and focus are spent. As parents, we are convinced that training and being “perfect” gives our child a leg up during auditions. Training equals multiple offers from top college programs.

The Lesson:  Intense training does not always equal lots of offers. There is no secret recipe for success and sometimes life just doesn’t make sense!

Being the best at everything doesn’t make you the number one choice.  I can’t tell you how many parents I ran into over the last six months on this crazy ride whose children have trained for years.  Some of these kids even went to performing arts high schools and yet, they received very few offers. That didn’t compute to me!  I simply didn’t understand how some of these kids who trained in all three disciplines for years weren’t getting into programs. In contrast I heard story after story about the boy or girl who never took a dance class or only participated in theatre at their high school and was extended multiple offers.

How can this be? Is this fair???  Remember….life isn’t fair. The fact of the matter is that training and preparation for anything builds confidence and let’s face it, you need a lot of confidence to make it through this process.  Statistically, preparing for anything makes you more likely to be successful. While preparation builds confidence, a perfectly trained performer isn’t the only factor a college program considers and does NOT guarantee acceptance.

Programs extend offers based on a variety of factors and many of them are beyond the realm of personal control.

In short…. don’t get lost in the lessons, the training, and trying to be the perfect package.  Some students can’t afford private lessons and performing arts programs.  Do what you can….don’t mortgage your house and spend more than the first year of college trying to get into a program.

Focus on showing these programs who you are. They aren’t all looking for the “perfectly trained” student.  They are looking for your potential to learn, your desire to grow and if they want to spend the next four years training you.

If I could talk to my former self, I would say relax a little and be present. Enjoy these moments with your child.  Most parents of high school seniors don’t get to experience this.  I had 6 months of windshield and travel time to spend with my son.  I was there to love him and support his dreams along this path. I already know he is amazing….now it’s time for him to show the rest of the world.

Stay tuned for my next diary entry….I have a lot more to share on this journey!

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