It is not unusual for parents to encourage their children to take up a musical instrument—to become a member of the church choir, the school band, or a youth orchestra. The benefits are many—individual growth and discipline, learning to work with others, general familiarity with musical arts and cultures. Often, when a youngster starts showing talent, the family responds by investing a significant amount of time, energy, and money in lessons, transportation, music, and instruments. There can be strong family pride in the results.
Then, somewhere along the line, the young musician begins to realize that music performance has become the primary focus of his or her life. The subject of going to a music school comes up, and one of two things happens: Either the family is immediately supportive, or there is a period of adjustment while the parents figure out what such a choice might mean for their children’s future (and for their own). After all, what is going to happen if their young musician graduates, and can’t make a living as a performer?