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Open Mic - what about children?

Nemesis 10 May 01 - 11:44 AM
Bert 10 May 01 - 11:50 AM
MMario 10 May 01 - 11:52 AM
Clinton Hammond 10 May 01 - 11:59 AM
Dave the Gnome 10 May 01 - 12:00 PM
Nemesis 10 May 01 - 12:08 PM
Hollowfox 10 May 01 - 12:17 PM
Sorcha 10 May 01 - 12:19 PM
GUEST,JohnB 10 May 01 - 12:26 PM
KingBrilliant 10 May 01 - 12:29 PM
wysiwyg 10 May 01 - 12:35 PM
kendall 10 May 01 - 01:05 PM
GUEST,djh 10 May 01 - 01:13 PM
Kim C 10 May 01 - 01:21 PM
GUEST 10 May 01 - 01:22 PM
MMario 10 May 01 - 01:27 PM
sophocleese 10 May 01 - 01:29 PM
sophocleese 10 May 01 - 01:48 PM
Jim the Bart 10 May 01 - 01:51 PM
Nemesis 10 May 01 - 01:56 PM
UB Ed 10 May 01 - 01:59 PM
Ruthie A 10 May 01 - 02:34 PM
Nemesis 10 May 01 - 03:16 PM
Dave the Gnome 10 May 01 - 03:27 PM
UB Ed 10 May 01 - 03:34 PM
Nemesis 10 May 01 - 03:39 PM
GUEST,djh 10 May 01 - 04:07 PM
GUEST,Captain Swing 10 May 01 - 04:55 PM
Charley Noble 10 May 01 - 04:57 PM
SINSULL 10 May 01 - 05:08 PM
pattyClink 10 May 01 - 05:29 PM
Nemesis 10 May 01 - 06:00 PM
kendall 10 May 01 - 07:20 PM
Melani 10 May 01 - 10:45 PM
GUEST,kendall 10 May 01 - 11:05 PM
Nemesis 11 May 01 - 03:49 AM
KingBrilliant 11 May 01 - 05:51 AM
clansfolk 11 May 01 - 06:56 AM
Grab 11 May 01 - 07:54 AM
sian, west wales 11 May 01 - 08:12 AM
Jim the Bart 11 May 01 - 10:36 AM
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Subject: Open Mic - what about children?
From: Nemesis
Date: 10 May 01 - 11:44 AM

Dear Mudcatters,

We are a new (2 dates so far) club in Sussex, UK. Pleae give me your wisdom on this issue:

We have received a request from a guitarist for a slot with his 10 year old child who is to quote him "a seriously good singer" and sings songs like "'Over The Rainbow', 'Wind Beneath My Wings' and the recent Dido hit 'Here With Me'. Apparently, he (Dad) wants to get back into music after a break and "[child's name] gives (him)the perfect excuse!"

After a lot of discussion, we have declined and decided that we needed a policy of performers being over 14 to perform. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Replying thus: "One of our dilemmas is that, while we do bill "WtD!" as an anything-goes-club, until now we hadn't considered the issue of exactly what our "polices" are and thus whether that included children. ...Regrettably though we have decided that all performers must be over 14.

There are several reasons for this, ..we are creating a difficult precedent - we are concerned that if we have a policy of allowing children to perform then we could have a potential situation where every talented (and some not so talented!) child in Worthing wants to perform.

I realise that this might seem harsh, but we are striving to provide a venue for adult-orientated entertainment. Equally, being a pub environment plus some of the material that I know some of our performers have up their sleeve is not a combination that I, as a parent, would be happy for a child to be exposed to.

However, we realise that this puts you in an awkward situation for performing and understand you not wanting to perform alone. Part of our job as hosts is to try to smooth the way for performers and to this end if you need a singing partner then Jennifer is happy and extremely able to perform this function for you. Within 2 sessions we have already experienced some cross-fertilisation of musicians and projects and I am confident that this will be your experience too." ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Understandably, Dad is upset: "Sorry but I don't agree with you in the slightest. At the end of the day its all about music and if a 10 year old child can make music which people want to listen to, why not? Why are we so anti children in this country? If this was any other European country then children would be welcomed. I don't see your point about getting all the children in Worthing wanting to perform. You could set a mimimum for example, of only one child per session, to take first slot only. You could audition by asking people to send tapes in, and make it clear that children could perform by arrangement only. It would be so easy!!

Children are the future!! We all complain about them spending too long watching TV or playing computer games, then we bar them from 'adult' activities. It's a folk club, not a wife swapping session!" ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

What do you think?

SHould we allow children to perform at our club, if so from what (any)age? One of the reasons we were concerned is 1) the very young age (10), 2. is not one that a child can make informed decision about performing, 3. This child "gives (its parent) the perfect excuse!" 4. We think this potentially smacks of child exploitation, i.e. being trotted out every time "Dad" wants to perform and are not happy allowing this in the club.

What do you think? Please let me know your opinions - if there is census in favour then we will say yes to this, or no, or if a deafening silence from you all we'll take it to mean you don't mind either way! :)

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Look forward to hearing from you Cheers, Hille


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Subject: RE: Open Mic - what about children?
From: Bert
Date: 10 May 01 - 11:50 AM

I'm with Dad on this one. Children should be encouraged to sing from the earliest age. Should the situation get out of hand and you have too many children - That's wonderful - start a children's night.


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Subject: RE: Open Mic - what about children?
From: MMario
Date: 10 May 01 - 11:52 AM

?? Do I hear you saying that you think 10 is too young for a child to know whether or not they want to perform in public? Gad! you should meet some of the 4 year olds I know!

As far as exploitation - if the parent had been already performing , I could see occasionally bringing in a child - especially at the child's request. if he is insisting on the child as part of his performing, you may have a point there...or merely a lack of confidence on his part, or possibly extenuating circumstances such as inability to leave his child while he goes to a session.

on the other hand, you are in a pub. In the US this could be used to prevent youth up to the age of 21 from performing.


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Subject: RE: Open Mic - what about children?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 10 May 01 - 11:59 AM

ya... what bert said... have a kids session, if there's enough interest in such a beast...


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Subject: RE: Open Mic - what about children?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 10 May 01 - 12:00 PM

Hi Challis - Don't worry about it. Whatever the rights and wrongs it is your club. Someone has to lay down some rules. Not everyone agrees with some of the very few rules at ours (Like paying admission on a guest night believe it or not!). But it is our club. They are our rules. We don't loose any sleep over it.

Turn it on it's head. What if someone in the club objected strongly to having a child there? You cannot please both parties so, as the saying goes, please yourself. Harsh perhaps but realistic.

Cheers

Dave the Gnome

Advice given for for free doesn't have to be taken btw:-)


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Subject: RE: Open Mic - what about children?
From: Nemesis
Date: 10 May 01 - 12:08 PM

Hey, Dave the gnome - we have a gnome here too - she was very excited when I said there's one on Mudcat!!

Cheers, Hille


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Subject: RE: Open Mic - what about children?
From: Hollowfox
Date: 10 May 01 - 12:17 PM

My mother often remarked that one of the biggest things that killed vaudeville here in the USA was great herds of Shirley Temple wannabes tap dancing the audiences into a stupor. What kind of music do the rest of your singers do? If Over the Rainbow and Wind Under My Wings are typical, that's one thing. If that's not the usual style of choice (not that I'm against a bit of contrast/variety, but you're establishing the character of the club just now), perhaps there's another venue available somewhere else. Good luck with the club, Mary


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Subject: RE: Open Mic - what about children?
From: Sorcha
Date: 10 May 01 - 12:19 PM

Tough call. Emotionally and morally I'm with Dad on this one, but the Gnome is correct--it's your club and you can make the rules.

If the liscencing regulations have no problem with a child in the pub, I would be inclined to let her perform. Jimmy Giles and Mark O'Connor both won National Contests in the US when they were that young.....I can think of others, too--Tanya Tucker, Lee Ann Rimes--some kids ARE good. But you do have to be careful with them.

I have performed with 10 yr olds who were GOOD and wanted to do it; no pushing from parents. Our daughter Kate used to want to go with me and sing/dance and I was happy to allow that--when she stopped wanting to go, I let it go too. No pushing.

Ultimately, though, it should be your decision and Dad should abide by that.


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Subject: RE: Open Mic - what about children?
From: GUEST,JohnB
Date: 10 May 01 - 12:26 PM

You could always try a curfew, ie. no children after X o,clock. If you like kids come early, if you don't, come late. Would not like to have to follow one on though. JohnB


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Subject: RE: Open Mic - what about children?
From: KingBrilliant
Date: 10 May 01 - 12:29 PM

This is an interesting one, running at the same time as the thread about performing with family!
I can see it from both sides. Hammerite is also 10 years old and has been performing at singarounds on & off since she was 8. Sometimes with me & sometimes solo. She also performs with me at an open mic locally (only in the schl holidays as it is on wed night & ends very late).
She loves it and it gives her a lot of confidence. We don't pressure her & sometimes she just doesn't fancy it for a while. She's not an excuse to let me perform, so she's not being used. She has been going to festivals since in a pram, so she's a real folkie kid & has absorbed the etiquette & behaves like an angel at sessions(I would say that though...)
But that is us - and I can see why you would have reservations about the particular situation you describe. I sometimes worry that Hamm might be setting precedents that could cause problems in the future - but so far there has been no flood of other kids wanting to do the same - but it is a worry with an amplified session that might have a bit of a cool image. I've seen a few other kids performing and they are generally very much a part of their folk community and its always worked well. However it probably depends on your audience (and the child of course). The audience at the open mic is a local pub and Hamm is very much accepted & missed on schoolnights. Might not work everywhere though. As a parent I'd be very alert for whether we were imposing or causing any awkwardness & would not take her somewhere I thought she wasn't welcome. I also make sure I ask the publican first whether its OK for her to be there.
She is certainly better than some of the adult performers, so I don't think there's a quality issue there. Its a very informal all-welcome sort of session
As regards exposure to bawdy talk & material - that's really a parental issue I think. Hamm has been mixing with adults & folkies all her life, and I have always felt that because I take her to these places I shouldn't expect anyone to behave any different to if she wasn't there. It doesn't seem to do her any harm & she takes things in her stride. Nothing can be any worse than the trash you get on the TV these days - so I'd say that shouldn't be an issue.
I'm really glad and grateful that people have been so accepting of Hamm as a participant in music, and most people see kids like Hamm as being part of the future of folk.
How do you think your audience & other performers will feel about a kid performing? Have you tried asking some of your regulars what they think?
I think your only problem might be the setting of a precedent. But if there were a sudden flood of sons & daughters then perhaps you could deal with that by partitioning off a particular night or portion of the time for acts with kids in (eg only the first 3 spots could have kids, or before 9pm or something). If no flood then no problem. I think that if you did get a rush of less serious kid-performers then you would find it would tail off pretty quickly, as most kids would shudder at the thought anyway. Maybe you could give it a trial on the clear understanding that it was only a trial & reserve the right to revert to adult-only (or over-14s or whatever) if you wanted.
I don't think the auditioning idea would work particularly well. Sounds unweildy & open to arguments if you reject someone....
Personally I am in favour of giving them a chance, I'm sure it will be fun. Perhaps you could suggest that the bloke can include his son in just some of his performances & not all (to avoid the exploitation thing). It may be that that was just a figure of speech anyway.
Having cogitated whilst writing this - I've come to the strong conclusion that you should let him perform, but make sure you have sufficient control to avoid a flood if it threatens (but I really don't think it will).
Best of luck to you all.
And let us know how it goes...
Kris


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Subject: RE: Open Mic - what about children?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 10 May 01 - 12:35 PM

I am going to share a number of approaches and ideas because I have some experience in this area from a number of settings and times in my life, and you may find something from all this that will work for you.

First, I don't think it's black and white. You need what will work for YOU.

I think that if you treat child performers exactly as you treat adults, any problems will tend to correct themselves over time. A notice to parents that adult-oriented material should be expected addresses your concern about what they will be exposed to, and emphasizes that they as parents bear the responsibility for whether to bring a child into that setting.

BUT-- to carry this open policy off, you would need to believe in it, and be creative and diplomatic with many of the adults. Among them will be people who feel very strongly that children should not be there, and they may depart unless you are pretty quick and effective in setting the right tone. If you think this will not be manageable, because either you can't treat the kids as I've described or the adults as necessary, then you are within your rights to mold your club the way you can run it. I would suggest though, that if you make decisions to exclude children, or limit their participation, you will save a lot of bad feeling if you explain that you just are not equipped right now to handle having them mixed in, however much you might like to see them there.

We had this in microcosm at our recent MudGathering. I am pretty sure that the one child who needed to attend (because otherwise his dad could not have come) would have had a miserable time, and maybe the adults would have felt inhibited with him present, if we had not also made sure other kids would be here as well, and an adult to keep an eye out for them and let them be in and out of the song circle as their energy dictated. However much I might have wanted him to be here and to be accepted by all the adults, as hostess to all I did not feel I could dictate that they would happily share responsibility for his presence... so I made an arrangement to add some kids and their mom-- a good friend. She and the kids enjoyed their first brief visit to the Friday evening songcircle so much that they came back each succeeding day of the Gathering because they just wanted to be here. As the kids came and went the song topics shifted a bit. It never became a kids' concert either-- when they were present the material was just as bawdy I think-- but perhaps more with puns and implications, and less explicitly. Everyone just accommodated to the fact that there were children present and no one got their knickers in a twist.

You also have a great opportunity in the interest this dad has, and in his willingness to keep communicating about the policy. What if you ask him to help organize a family session earlier in the evening, before the main action gets underway? If the two sessions begin to overlap some, you have made a good thing. And if they do not, you have extended what your club can offer in the community. And the kids will start to want to do the more traditional folk material if you let them be there to hear it to whatever extent they wish to stay and their parents are comfortable with it.

You have another opportunity here too-- to try whatever you think will work, and adjust it as you go. Let people know you are going to make policy based on what occurs, not on what you think MAY occur... try letting the child come and THEN if it is a problem, make a policy that works. You can let the dad know your concerns and that you are willing to work with people to get things moving forward.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Open Mic - what about children?
From: kendall
Date: 10 May 01 - 01:05 PM

I've seen too many times that professional performers cant wait to get their kids up on stage when the little darlings are just not ready for it. Usually, children have very limited range, often unable to stay on key and very boring to the audience. If you bring them along too soon, you are apt to ruin them. Hell, I've seen ADULTS who stopped learning the day they took the stage for the first time. It reminds me of one of my little girls on her first day of school. She came home, and announced that she was not going back. I asked why, and she said "I learned all I need to know today." True story.


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Subject: RE: Open Mic - what about children?
From: GUEST,djh
Date: 10 May 01 - 01:13 PM

Challis don't listen to the parents, you are right. You should even set the cut off at 16 rather 14. Child acts are a novelty nothing more and any parent who is pushing the kid up there is suspect.Let them sing for the relatives.


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Subject: RE: Open Mic - what about children?
From: Kim C
Date: 10 May 01 - 01:21 PM

Well, Kendall, I was one of those knowitall kids... I was well into adulthood before I realized that learning is an ongoing process. ;-)

The one child will stick out like a sore thumb on a regular night. I like the idea of having a Kids Night, maybe before the regular music starts? Say if you normally start at 8, you could have the younguns on at 7. That way people who aren't interested won't be disturbed.

I do think kids should be encouraged to sing/play/perform, IF that's what THEY want to do, and not what Mom/Dad think they SHOULD do. But as much as I enjoy Other People's Children, I would probably not be interested in sitting through one's performance, unless it was an all-kids bill.

Cheers----- Kim


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Subject: RE: Open Mic - what about children?
From: GUEST
Date: 10 May 01 - 01:22 PM

To add one more thing to my last post: If it is in fact the child who wants to be up on stage, I bet the kid is a spoiled brat who thinks He/She is the center of the universe or wants to be. The stage will only reinforce that.


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Subject: RE: Open Mic - what about children?
From: MMario
Date: 10 May 01 - 01:27 PM

djh, you must know an entirely different sort of kid then I do.


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Subject: RE: Open Mic - what about children?
From: sophocleese
Date: 10 May 01 - 01:29 PM

I agree that this is your club and you set the rules where you are comfortable and if this upsets some then so be it.

I find the age thing a little interesting. I'll be listening this Saturday to a local children's choir and I know I will hear good singing there.I have heard a local ten year-old singing with her dad and she was good and accurate and enjoyed doing it. Then she grew older and decided it wasn't cool enough anymore. So now she doesn't when she would be of the age to sing in your club. Age alone doesn't not determine abilty to stay on pitch or sing well.

Personally if I were going to ban any age group I'd probably ban teenage boys with two chords, one sort of twiddly bit and their self-written incredibly deep rants against society that are all delivered in a half-groan half whisper to the guitar as they peer disdainfully out at what they consider the completely brainless audience.


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Subject: RE: Open Mic - what about children?
From: sophocleese
Date: 10 May 01 - 01:48 PM

Sorry I have not had enough sleep over the last two nights and my typos prove it. Please forgive errors.


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Subject: RE: Open Mic - what about children?
From: Jim the Bart
Date: 10 May 01 - 01:51 PM

I would never characterize all young performers as "novelty acts", or assume that they (or their parents) are just ego-feeding. Judge each case on its own merits. If you have an open mic, one set of rules should apply for everyone.

One question that I have is about accompaniment. Does the child sing without instrumental accompaniment, does he/she play or does the dad drag in some form of recorded accompaniment? I find the first two acceptable, but have employed a "NO KARAOKE" rule to eliminate people who use taped accompaniment.

Children are people, too, and deserve the same consideration (and should be measured on the same scale) as anyone else.

Bart


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Subject: RE: Open Mic - what about children?
From: Nemesis
Date: 10 May 01 - 01:56 PM

This made us wary of this situation 1. Dad "wants to get into playing" and daughter "gives the perfect excuse!"

Apart from that I think this is an excellent debate and I am very grateful for all the input from everyone! Cheers, Hille xx


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Subject: RE: Open Mic - what about children?
From: UB Ed
Date: 10 May 01 - 01:59 PM

Challis, I'd audition them and, if they cut the mustard, let them play. That way you could see if the child was truly interested (not being "exploited") and would not have a "bad" experience (if they were horrid). I'm assuming there is nothing in the UK that would make this illegal.

My 11 year old came home from school singing "The Water is Wide". After I convinced him it was the same song my band plays, he expressed his first interest in singing a song while I accompanied him on guitar. This was an ephiphany for him and has increased his interest in music immeasurably. During the afternoon St. Patrick's show at our local pub, he expressed an interest in performing and brought the house down (proud daddy). Very good for his confidence and one of the patrons even slipped him a twenty!

My point is, if managed well this could be a great opportunity for both the child and the Dad. As club owner, you can position yourself to influence the outcome.

Ed


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Subject: RE: Open Mic - what about children?
From: Ruthie A
Date: 10 May 01 - 02:34 PM

Oooooh, I'd say that setting the cut-off at 14 would be a bit harsh. I'm 13 and I've been playing and singing with varying amounts of piano as a resident at folk clubs for the last year - well, ever since I got into folk music. It's all part of the experience, and I can definitely see how it's improved me as a player. I want a career in music - why shouldn't I be learning stage technique and delivery now?

Myself and a couple of slightly older friends often put some material together as a three - we've had everything from jazz piano, sax and fiddle to songs in three-part harmony. We're all experienced and capable musicians, so we've generally found audiences very appreciative, especially as we consitute the entire young folkie population of South Shields.

Encourage the young singer, I'd say - I wish that somebody had introduced me to folk and performing when I was 4 instead of sitting me on a piano stool and making me play strict classical. If the child genuinely wants to sing (and isn't too apalling) then you'll probably find the listeners very receptive, and able to make compensations for age. Be very careful about the father though - don't let him use his kid as a gateway. That's wrong.

Ruthie


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Subject: RE: Open Mic - what about children?
From: Nemesis
Date: 10 May 01 - 03:16 PM

I think the idea is Pa plays guitar and accompanies 10 year old daughter along to songs such as "Over the Rainbow", "Wing beneath my wings", as he wants to get back into music and she "gives the perfect excuse!"

I'm taking everything everyone says on board here..lot of good useful stuff Thanks, Hille x


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Subject: RE: Open Mic - what about children?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 10 May 01 - 03:27 PM

Hey Hille! You have a Gnome at your club? You'll have to introduce us. How long's her beard btw and does she have her own fishsing rod;-)

Getting back to the serious. As I said, these are your rules. Stick by them and then no-one is accused of favouritism or otherwise. Some good points came up. I think if it were my call now I would go for the curfew idea.

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: Open Mic - what about children?
From: UB Ed
Date: 10 May 01 - 03:34 PM

Hey Challis, if you're posting this in the pub, why not take an informal vote among the patrons?


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Subject: RE: Open Mic - what about children?
From: Nemesis
Date: 10 May 01 - 03:39 PM

Yeah, have emailed as many today as pos and told em to drop into Mudcat (the "Eminen Rules" thread is cracking me up at the moment as well :):):):):) Hille x


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Subject: RE: Open Mic - what about children?
From: GUEST,djh
Date: 10 May 01 - 04:07 PM

Ok for those who felt my position harsh, Let me defend my position. I can only speak for myself, but, I never much cared for music purely as a vehicle for vocalists. Unless the kid is a prodigy this is what all kid acts do ."Somewhere over the Rainbow" and "wind beneath my wings" It just Smacks of ED Mcmann's Star Search. I feel that most vocalists 10 or 40 years old who don't play instruments, make fiddlers look modest, they put the ME in do-re-ME. I also remember being in teenage bands and agree with Sophocleese about the 16 year old boys. Yes there are bad adult acts too , of course, 2 wrongs don't make a right.


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Subject: RE: Open Mic - what about children?
From: GUEST,Captain Swing
Date: 10 May 01 - 04:55 PM

A night out with a bunch of kids! How dreadful. Keep them out, I say, until they are at least 16 and buy their own drinks.


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Subject: RE: Open Mic - what about children?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 10 May 01 - 04:57 PM

I attend several coffeehouse/open mikes and some have children participating and sometimes children are very rare. I think I favor an earlier set for children and adults, and a later set for adult children. I wouldn't recommend this for a pub, unless it was a "pub" in a "family restaurant."

I don't think children necessarily have larger egos than adults. In fact I wish there were some rules that could curb some of the adult "singer-songwriters" which I generally find boring, as they probably find nautical ballads and shanties.

I do think we older ones need to do more to encourage another generation to enjoy singing. I've recently been attending one pub sing (with no mike) where there are even active teenaged singers – amazing!


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Subject: RE: Open Mic - what about children?
From: SINSULL
Date: 10 May 01 - 05:08 PM

First. I love kids and do everything possible to offer opportunities to children in our co-op and neighborhood to perform, garden, party, whatever.
Second. The last thing I want to do on a night out is have someone's precocious (talented or not) brat inflicted on me. I cringed through the original stage production of "Annie". How much TOMOWOW TOMOWOW can a person reasonably be expected to endure?
Third. It is your place. Do you want children performing? It's simple - you make the rules. But if it's yes, leave the bottle of Jack Daniels on the table. I am going to need it.(PERKY NOW!)"It's a hard knock life for us..."


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Subject: RE: Open Mic - what about children?
From: pattyClink
Date: 10 May 01 - 05:29 PM

Sounds like it's not about the age so much as the material. Is this a folk session? Then why would you want WBMWings trotted out by anybody of whatever age? Tell Da to find some talent contests as an 'outlet' like most of them do

There are so many of these kids who want to sing around here (most with the hideous taped accompaniment)that the Mississippi State Fair sets aside a stage crawling with the little buggers for days belting out weird stuff only their parents want to hear, and it serves a good function.

Parents have no right to run pub regulars out of a nice venue for folk music. i wouldn't offer the early kids session, it might kill business. Bury the little darling in a normal session, ONE song, and move on...


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Subject: RE: Open Mic - what about children?
From: Nemesis
Date: 10 May 01 - 06:00 PM

Hey Dave the Gnome - our gnome's beard isn't very long but it IS very silky (and that's not the Seal People silky! - And are Middle Earth doing any good deals on fishing rods right now?


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Subject: RE: Open Mic - what about children?
From: kendall
Date: 10 May 01 - 07:20 PM

When I say kids, I think of those under 10 or so. Now, believe it or not, I support children getting into music. I do NOT support dragging them up onto the stage before they have something to share that non relatives want to hear. As for the 16 year olds, well, a certain Mudcatter whom I shall not name, put it just right. "I cant stand teenage philosophers wailing out their diary entries." Now, if a certain guy wants to admit being the father of this quote, he will have to identify himself.


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Subject: RE: Open Mic - what about children?
From: Melani
Date: 10 May 01 - 10:45 PM

Audition the kids. If they are up to your standards and the material is suitable for your place, let 'em perform. If not, tell'em no. Some kids are good, some are just cute. I once saw a self-taught 4-year-old playing perfect chord accompaniment on a keyboard during a jam session. She'd be in her early 20's now, and must have become a pretty good musician. I saw an 8-year-old who'd been playing hammered dulcimer for 6 months playing as well as the guy who taught her. My friend's son was backing up his mom on drums at age 10.

Our chantey sing is an open session where pretty much anybody of any age is welcome to sing, whether they can or not. In some cases this is a real act of charity. The fact that my daughter, who is a pretty decent singer (though she could use more volume) was allowed to sing there for the first time at age 11 changed her entire life. Next month she will be graduating from her high school's performing arts academy.

So audition the little monsters, and if they aren't up to your standards, tell them nicely that you think they need a little more practice before going public. If their material is wrong for your place, tell 'em that. If they really have any talent and are truly into performing, they will pursue it until they get it right. And if their parents don't like your decision, too bad.


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Subject: RE: Open Mic - what about children?
From: GUEST,kendall
Date: 10 May 01 - 11:05 PM

Only a mothers' certain knowledge that her children will be exceptional prevents her from drowning them at birth. (Lazarus Long) I love my kids as much as anyone ever loved theirs. However, the fact is, none of them could carry a note with a co-signer.


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Subject: RE: Open Mic - what about children?
From: Nemesis
Date: 11 May 01 - 03:49 AM

Well, this seems to be a pretty mixed bag of opinion - so, I'll take it back to the "committee". I'll let you know how we get on.

This infamous session takes place every first Friday of the month, i.e. June 1 7.30pm at Charles Dickens pub, Heene Road Worthing Sussex UK

The first two have been fabulous - from classical guitar maestro, one of the UKs up and coming young flautists, Blues harmonica, Jazzy bits, Rock and roll, Yodelling and calypso - oh, blimey, nearly forgot the folky bits - a pretty mixed bag of anything goes. Hence, our dilemma over where we should/want to stand on the age/child issue.

Thank you all for your input - it has been great. Hille xx


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Subject: RE: Open Mic - what about children?
From: KingBrilliant
Date: 11 May 01 - 05:51 AM

Surely folkie events are about sharing the music, not just about performing. Its about being part of something. Hamm has not stopped learning just because she gets up and does her spot - far from it. During the evening she is listening to all the other performers, enjoying the music & picking up songs & tips and ideas. When she performs she gets feedback which we all need if we are going to improve. There's a bit of a cute factor where people will praise her just for doing it, but she knows whether something really came over well or not and will learn from a bad performance (like the time we picked too long a song & everyone nearly died of boredom). Just like an adult beginner she improves each time she does a spot, and as Ruthie points out, its a good opportunity to learn performance techniques. I think some of these postings are focusing on the performance rather than on the whole night.

I don't see why children shouldn't get involved in the sessions so long as they understand and obey the unwritten etiquette. I don't go for the theory that all children will bore the audience and not be up to performing. Some will & some won't - same with adults. A lot of it boils down to what WYS said earlier about treating them in the same way as the adults are treated - very often kids' behaviour is defined by your expectations of them.

Folk should be inclusive not exclusive, and should encourage the idea that singing and playing are a natural part of social life. I like the idea of sessions that are participative, rather than concert-like where there is a seperation between the performers and the audience.

But like everything its a balancing act, and at the end of the day Challis must decide according to the individual nature of the club.

The concern about the father's motivations is still coming through very strongly. I expect that will need further investigation before this can be resolved. The attitude of the father is very important - is it in the spirit of giving a performance, or taking the spotlight?

Kris
Kris


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Subject: RE: Open Mic - what about children?
From: clansfolk
Date: 11 May 01 - 06:56 AM

Why 14???

Folk music is for all young and old - if "we" put off anyone who shows an interest in making music because of age or even our judgement of their ability! We stunt the growth of a live music future - too many years have passed with Folk Clubs hiding away in dark dingy rooms either upstairs or in a far corner of a pub - this alone stopped young performers finding their sea legs. Now Traditional music is "coming out" and back to the Folk to whom it belongs lets not put restrains on who can or can't perform - God Bless the Floor Singers. An "open Mike Session" should be just that - if you are worried that maybe some of the songs sung by other artist may offend the young person (or more likely upset his/her relations) put a warning on the door for Parental Guidance.

Festivals like The Fylde Folk Festival actively encourage young people and by doing so have brought a LOT of new and now highly respected artist into the scene.

The Falcon is happy to welcome young people my son started there at 12 and I have been singing in clubs since I was 10. The Falcon being a Public house can only allow young people in whilst meals are being served as it is held in an open bar area.

As I opened with Why 14 what happens on that magical birthday to make the performer better - ?

Take care and to all Young or Old - Sing Well.....

Pete


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Subject: RE: Open Mic - what about children?
From: Grab
Date: 11 May 01 - 07:54 AM

One idea is a policy of "no song two sessions running" (unless the song in question is some popular one done as a favour to the landlord or as a "rabble-rouser" at the end :-) If she can't learn new stuff for the session, she's probably not mature enough to be performing.

Also warn the father that the session is really for adults, so no-one will be restraining their language.

Incidentally, is the pub happy to have 10-year-old kids in there in the evening? cos many don't like kids in at night. As well, sessions round here don't start until 8 or 8:30, and that's getting late for kids to be out.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Open Mic - what about children?
From: sian, west wales
Date: 11 May 01 - 08:12 AM

I think there's a lot of sense in making the parent understand that a lot of responsibilities fall on his/her shoulders. That includes rejection - if the child can't hold an audience, and the audience uses the slot to get the drinks in ... well, Dad has to Deal.

Another question: I feel very uncomfortable seeing kids in any situation (I'm actually thinking of a Tim Horton's in my home town) which involves dense cigarette smoke. I can't sing in heavy smoke myself, and would never want to be responsible for putting a child in that position.

sian


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Subject: RE: Open Mic - what about children?
From: Jim the Bart
Date: 11 May 01 - 10:36 AM

A true story that may have some bearing on the issue at hand:

Many, many years ago me and my partner were making the rounds of every open mic in and around Chicago, playing our faux-bluegrass and Hank Williams tunes, desperate for paying gigs. We were both about 22 or 23. One night we did what I thought was a knockout set at the Blue Gargoyle, the well-renowned coffeehouse at the University of Chicago. Flushed with self-satisfaction, I saw a very young man (10 - 12, I think) getting ready to do his bit. He was there with his mother. I quickly sized him up: Here is a precocious kid, with a typical stage mom, who was going to either trample some great traditional song or "sing his diary". Either way, if I had been running the show he would have never been allowed on.

I listened to his set and, although he seemed nervous and was a bit ragged around the edges, I was surprisingly very impressed. His songs were simple and direct. There may have been some "pre-teen angst", but there was no naivete in them or him. I got the distinct impression that given time and direction this kid could be good.

I introduced myself, congratulated him on his set, and generally offered words of encouragement. I made a mental note of his name - Andrew Calhoun.

We ran into each other a few other times over the years, and I was always astounded at the leaps he made, while I seemed to be running in circles or (worse) standing still. Needless to say, my first impression - about him and his mom couldn't have been more cockeyed. I always thank jah I had that chance to see him first at that early point in his career.


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