Aubrey’s Got Talent!
Life is full of disappointments. As a parent, this is one of the more difficult lessons to teach our children. We want so much for them to succeed and our hearts hurt for them when they are let down. My daughter, Aubrey, has learned a lot about this over the past year as she is just beginning to pursue her passion in the performing arts.
A year ago, we decided to put her in private voice lessons after a couple years of her telling us that she wanted to sing. She had been singing primary songs since she was two years old and I knew she had a good voice, so we decided to see where this led her. Soon after she started voice lessons, she began asking for me to take her to acting auditions, insisting that she wanted to be in the movies. Chasing Hollywood isn’t really my dream for my family at this stage in the game, so I convinced her to try out for a local children’s theatre group instead. Last spring, she was cast as a choir member for the show “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” She was excited and loved her time in the show, but she was also disappointed that she didn’t get a bigger role. I reassured her that this is all for her learning; that she can’t expect to run before she can walk. The time will come where she will get her “big break” but it requires a lot of hard work and patience to get there. You can’t expect to rise to the top without starting from the bottom first.
Over the course of the past year, she has participated in talent shows, voice recitals, and as mentioned, musical theatre. This year, she started junior high at a school of the arts where she has many opportunities to refine her talents and get experience in the performing arts. She has had victories and she has had disappointments. She has auditioned for some roles and been turned down, and she has also been selected for exciting roles in upcoming productions. In February, she will be cast as Kelsi in “High School Musical”; this will be her first big role and she is thrilled with this opportunity! She also landed a main role with a couple of solos in her competitive theatre troupe group.
But, like I said, there have also been disappointments. She has been looked over at other auditions, either landing “just another” choir role or not being cast at all. It’s hard to see the disappointment when things don’t go as hoped for, but I believe that these disappointments make the victories that much sweeter and have valuable lessons to teach. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose, but if we give it our best, we really aren’t losing at all. She is learning to adopt the mentality that even if she doesn’t make it at an audition, it’s good experience to get up there in front of the judges. By doing so, she is learning how to conquer fears, how to be confident and comfortable performing and how to gain personality on stage. All of these things are a win!
Last week, Aubrey auditioned for our city’s version of America’s Got Talent. It is a big event, put on by a local charity group which attracts hundreds, if not thousands, of people. There is always media coverage at this show and the 1st place winner takes home a prize of $1,500! A lot of great talent shows up to audition and the competition is fierce. I signed her up to audition a couple of months ago, and then learned of a few very talented people that we know who did not make it in the show after their audition (in years past). I started to second guess myself for signing her up; am I setting her up for failure? Is Aubrey ready for something like this? Thoughts of backing out of the audition crossed my mind, but then, what would that teach her? I decided to see it through; there is nothing to gain by giving up, but there is always something to gain by trying.
There’s a delicate balance to be met between giving your child confidence and also preparing them for possible let down. I know Aubrey is a talented girl, and I want her to be confident going into an audition. At the same time, I don’t want her to expect that she will get what she’s auditioning for. Likewise, I don’t want her to be crushed if she’s rejected. We talked about her upcoming audition for the city talent show and I told her that we were going in there without high expectations, but just for the experience of trying.
“There are a lot of really talented people here to audition,” I told her. “If you make it in, that would be really awesome! But if you don’t, it doesn’t mean you aren’t talented or that they didn’t like you. It’s a good experience either way, even just to audition!”
Aubrey had a good attitude and agreed that no matter what happened, it was a good experience. She went in to that audition room and gave it her all. She wouldn’t let me go in with her (for some reason she gets nervous in front of me!) but I stood outside the door and listened and I can tell you that she sounded great! They told us it would be at least a week until we heard back on the results. This past week has been so busy that I kind of put it out of my mind; or, at least on the back burner.
Late last night, after Aubrey was already in bed, I checked my email and saw that there was a message with the auditions results. I figured that if she got in, they would probably call rather than email. It must be a rejection letter. With a pounding heart, and my husband anxiously peering over my shoulder, I clicked on the email.
“Dear Contestant,” it read. My heart skipped a beat.
I scrolled down and in all caps were the words “CONGRATULATIONS!”
Aubrey made it into the show!! It was all I could to contain my excitement and not wake her up right then and there. But I exercised my self control and I waited until this morning to deliver the news. Aubrey was ecstatic to find out that she made it in! I was fully expecting to write a post solely dedicated to disappointments; I am excited at the revisions I had to make! There’s always room for disappointment if she doesn’t win, but no matter what, she is a winner just for getting this far!
Stay tuned for the follow up post after the show, first week in November!