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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a ce
Old 04-18-2007, 02:36 PM   #41
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a ce

Quote:
Originally Posted by igsoy
I'd have to say your numbers are outdated. Top level stars playing Strads go from 1 to almost 4 million. There has been a great appreciation in the price of good instruments all the way down to high school level. I'd say it would be hard to get a job in a good orchestra with a $50k violin, it simply would not have the resonance to fit into the section. I have friends who are just jobbers making their living out of many small orchestras/weddings/teaching, and their instruments bought 25 years ago are now worth so much they got threatened that they would be sold in their divorce settlement proceedings.
That's why I was careful to use $50k+/$500k+, as in $50k/$500k would be on the lower end of costs. I'm aware of the multimillion dollar strads. And actually I know a member of the LA Phil who plays on an approx $50k violin. From my point of view good instruments haven't appreciated much more than inflation over the last 15 years - I've tried out many violins and violas in shops around LA, and you can still get a reasonable gig/teaching instrument for between $10-20k. My own are on the low side of that range, and do just fine playing gigs. Also, in many cases you can find cheaper instruments with good sound, or more expensive ones with worse sound, because sound isn't the only thing instruments are priced by (though for musicians, it's often the most important thing).

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Originally Posted by igsoy
Someone else posted about their pianist friend and remarked that there wasn't much to aspire to as far as a career in music. Well, as a pianist, that is probably true, but as a violinist, there is the orchestral avenue. Granted there is fierce competition, but the big 5 endowed orchestras (NY,Boston,Philly,Chicago,LA) pay very well, (plus those musicians are able to charge $250/hr for teaching lessons, or could book a 4 day recital tour and pull in a quick $20k.) And there are many other large cities (Atlanta, Cleveland,Houston,SF, Detroit,Montreal,Toronto, Pittsburgh,St.Louis, Indianapolis,Baltimore),that pay around double the national median and still offer an exeptional career making beautiful music. And then there are too many other cities to list where you can still earn the median wage doing what you love, and as long as you can manage to not get jaded about your coworkers, conductors, etc... you still get to make beautiful music for a living. Each of those numerous groups has about 24 violins, so there are opportunities, you just have to be the best one that day and persistent and lucky.
I think the above is a bit on the optimistic side. $250/hr is very expensive for lessons in LA, and only the very top teachers (not most players even in major orchestras) command that rate. Nor do I think most members of the Phil could regularly book a $20k 4day tour. The orchestra salaries are indeed not bad in the better orchestras, but there's so much competition for them that when a single spot opens up you'll have hundreds auditioning, and it's common to travel across the country for a promising audition.

Don't get me wrong, I think it can be a rewarding career and make a reasonable living (or for a very few, a spectacular living). As you say, if you're both skilled and lucky, it may work out.
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a cello)
Old 04-18-2007, 03:37 PM   #42
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a cello)

Again, I don't know much about "fiddles", except that my playing sounds like a sick cat. I do, however, know a bit about guitars, and at some point, maybe $5k-$10k, you're just buying a penile extension there's a rapidly diminishing return on your "investment". Heck, you can spend maybe three grand on a Martin or Taylor, and it would be hard to get more playability or better sound.

Anecdote: Eric Johnson, a noted guitarist from Texas, is said to be able to discern differences in batteries in his effect pedals, or if the "polarity" of his cables are reversed. (I'm not talking switched ground here; he claims one end is made to be connected to the guitar, the other to the amp...). Probably all urban legend, particularly since the guy has tinnitus from playing in front of Marshalls and Fender Twins cranked to 11 for years...

Probably not 1% of the audience could tell the difference, although the musician might. So they should probably wait until the child(ren) are grown, and are first violin in a major orchestra, before worrying about spending that kind of cash...
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a cello)
Old 04-18-2007, 03:46 PM   #43
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a cello)

These parents say that they're doing this because they love their kids & don't mind sacrificing for them. But I can't help wonder, if we put the shoe on the other foot (or other feet).

- If the parent's had found out that THEIR own parents had sacrificied like that to do something for them...would they want to live a certain way, knowing they caused their parents so much stress?

- If their 2 girls had kids (so, their grandkids) & those grandkids caused their girls to sacrifice like that, would they want their girls to have such a hard stressful life, just for the grandkids?

I hope that makes sense.
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a ce
Old 04-18-2007, 03:48 PM   #44
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a ce

Quote:
Originally Posted by igsoy
I don't think these folks are crazy with the music stuff, (it's no worse than the high investment doctors and lawyers have to make to get into their business), it's just the other things like horses and not having a job when you need more money coming in.
You are right except that doctors and lawyers don't have to audition for a run of the mill job against 250 other aspirants. I have a son who was an excellent violist. At age 14 he was playing not in a youth orchestra, but in the orchestra of a city of over 75,000 people. He was offered a scholarship to a conservatory in Belgium. I saw a lot of what these young people go through, and what it does to them. It is no bed of roses for people who do make either. Orchestra players keep an army of Alexander Technique, Pilates, Yoga, massage therapists, and Shiatsu practitioners etc. in business.

Not to mention how many asshat conductors they may have to sleep with along the way, something that likely isn't made clear to these fresh young ladies early on.

I was so happy when my boy saw the same things that I saw, and decided that software was for him. Not that software is an easy career; it isnít. But the rewards often are much greater. Even with great success in his field, he is still a bit nostalgic about letting go of the level of performance that daily 4 hour practices and frequent teaching by real experts produces and maintains. Playing classical music well must be an incredible high, because the extrinsic rewards in the huge majority of cases don't begin to make up for the money, pain and suffering that goes into it.

Ha
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a cello)
Old 04-19-2007, 08:24 AM   #45
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a cello)

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Originally Posted by Sandy
Seems like these parents , who both have musical talent in their background are living through their kids.
Indeed. The most telling passage in the article was the mother's reaction to the recommendation to purchase adequate term life insurance:

"Lea cringes at this advice, confessing a fatalistic distain for life insurance. 'If I'm alive, we're on track,' she says. 'I die, it's over. They better become waitresses.'"

Really sad. With an attitude like that, she has no business being a parent.
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a ce
Old 04-19-2007, 07:39 PM   #46
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a ce

Maybe it takes that kind of investment and sacrifice and obsession to produce a Tiger Woods or a Yo-Yo Ma. But for everyone of those successes there are a thousand other "losers" who never even come close to making it and end up having a very one-dimensional childhood. Of course we never hear about the "losers" so people just get caught up in the success stories and think they have the secret forumla for producing a genius or a champion.

Odds tell me that we're better off fuding my son's college fund and future IRAs (and our own!) than buying him a fancy violin. But then he's only 4 months old and so far his biggest talent is being able to roll over in both directions, so who knows?
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a ce
Old 04-19-2007, 07:44 PM   #47
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a ce

I'm all for supporting your kids, but not by jeopardizing my family's future. They are being irresponsible.
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a cello)
Old 04-20-2007, 12:30 AM   #48
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a cello)

Here we go again, doing what we do best: disapproving of how others choose to live their lives.

Ha
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a cello)
Old 04-20-2007, 01:29 AM   #49
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a cello)

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Here we go again, doing what we do best: disapproving of how others choose to live their lives.

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I approve of your disapproval of the way we disapprove.
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a cello)
Old 04-20-2007, 08:36 AM   #50
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a cello)

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Originally Posted by HaHa
Here we go again, doing what we do best: disapproving of how others choose to live their lives.

Ha
You're certainly entitled to your opinion, but if it differs from mine -- well, then, you're just wrong.
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a cello)
Old 04-20-2007, 09:53 AM   #51
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a cello)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Milton
Indeed. The most telling passage in the article was the mother's reaction to the recommendation to purchase adequate term life insurance:

"Lea cringes at this advice, confessing a fatalistic distain for life insurance. 'If I'm alive, we're on track,' she says. 'I die, it's over. They better become waitresses.'"

Really sad. With an attitude like that, she has no business being a parent.
He's an idiot! As a start, how about $1 million in term insurance for him, and $500,000 or so for her? At least they could maintain their lifestyle without having to get remarried for "economic reasons"........... :P
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a cello)
Old 04-20-2007, 03:36 PM   #52
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a cello)

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Originally Posted by HaHa
Here we go again, doing what we do best: disapproving of how others choose to live their lives.
I for one don't feel any guilt regarding my disapproval. After all, they are the ones who choose to be profiled in a widely-published magazine.
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a ce
Old 04-20-2007, 03:43 PM   #53
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a ce

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Originally Posted by Milton
I for one don't feel any guilt regarding my disapproval. After all, they are the ones who choose to be profiled in a widely-published magazine.
I would say I'm a bit surprised that anyone would choose to air that kind of thing in the national media, but I stopped being shocked by that type of exhibition around the time Jerry Springer became a hit.

Then again...they might be hoping they could use their tale to convince some schmoe to write them checks to support the gals' musical careers. *shrug*
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a ce
Old 04-20-2007, 04:45 PM   #54
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a ce

Quote:
Originally Posted by igsoy
I don't think these folks are crazy with the music stuff, (it's no worse than the high investment doctors and lawyers have to make to get into their business).
Not a very persuasive argument analogy, really.

The difference is that one can be a competent-but-mediocre doctor or lawyer and make quite a decent living. In music (or professional sports, acting, or other 'entertainment' occupations), there are a few highly-paid jobs for the very very best, and the bottom 98% starve. Technology has allowed such people to leverage their products ... it's not like it was 100+ years ago, when every small city supported its own professional orchestra, several vaudeville houses, etc.

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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a ce
Old 04-21-2007, 11:07 PM   #55
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a ce

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Originally Posted by Darryl
Makes the house sound great (glad he didn't like the drums).
We have a drummer! At about 4 years old he showed interest in the drums. His grandfather bought him a toy drum set (it's ok, he asked us first). Our son could actually make that plastic drum set sound a little like music. So at age 8 we started him with a drum teacher. They started with a practice pad and a set of sticks and a basic book. Three months later the teacher told us he was ready for a real drum set. We were pretty surprised, didn't think he'd progress that fast. We could see he was enjoying this and doing well, but I know how fast some kids lose interest so we looked around and found a used drum set for him. It's an old Rogers jazz kit from the 60's, if any of you are drummers. Having a real set of drums allowed him to really blossom as a drummer. I never minded the noise although we had to put an evening time limit on it to stay friendly with the neighbors.

By age 14 he felt he had outgrown his used drum set and wanted a new drum set. He had some savings so we split this with him, it was about $1500 and then anything else he needed he would buy on his own.

We continued with the drum lessons until he was about 16, when the music store closed and he just felt like he was done. He didn't need to be pushed to practice, he always played just because he loved it and would integrate the practices into whatever he was playing.

From being a drummer he branched out to doing recordings, buying professional mics and mixers and recording himself alone or with friends in a band. He had worked the sound board on his high school stage crew and from there got a job with the Ohio Ballet and worked as their sound operator for their summer tour (local) at age 18. Then he worked in a sound and lighting company.

He's now in college majoring in Technical Theatre (Sound, Lighting, Rigging) and he's also the Sound Chairman on the Production Board of a local community playhouse.

Back to what it costs.... In our area, his drum lessons were about $12 a week. When they raised the price I asked my son to help pay the cost. We could afford it, I just wanted him to have a bit of ownership in the process.

I don't know if he'll ever make any money playing the drums. He's very good, but he likes to play for himself, or with friends, not for an audience. He was not interested in any of the bands in high school.

For him it's just for the enjoyment of playing. It's a great creative outlet and stress reliever.

I believe that parents should support their child's activites. And kids should be able to try different things without having to make a long term commitment. Our drummer also played soccer, basketball, baseball and golf at different times. Some things he enjoyed and continued the following summer, sometimes he just wanted to play the drums.
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a ce
Old 04-22-2007, 08:24 AM   #56
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a ce

Sue,

Your son sounds a lot like my little bro (the piano prodigy i mentioned a few pages back) and it sounds like you did a lot of the same things my parents did with him. My brother played (about a half-dozen instruments) in high school band, and likes playing keyboards with jazz/funk bands locally, but has been known to quit groups because they're getting "too big to be fun". Definitely not an "I wanna be famous" guy--his big dream is to quit engineering, move to seattle and become a session musician for other groups once SIL finishes grad school and can support them. I doubt he much more than breaks even on his "hobby", but I also doubt he cares. :-)
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Old 02-08-2008, 03:40 PM   #57
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Related reading:

Money Magazine: What you owe your kids - Feb. 5, 2008
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Old 02-09-2008, 02:27 PM   #58
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[quote=Sue J;506421]I believe that parents should support their child's activites. And kids should be able to try different things without having to make a long term commitment. quote]

I agree, but at what cost? Would you have bought your son a real drum kit if it had cost thousands and thousands of dollars (vs. $1500) and at the detriment of your own savings/retirement?
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Old 02-09-2008, 03:41 PM   #59
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The two best things you can give your kids are (in order):
1) A work ethic
2) An education

The rest is redundant and may be counterproductive.
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Old 02-09-2008, 09:54 PM   #60
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I was reading thread about Arc struggling with the decision to allow her son to join the army early, Nords discussing his daughters creative idea of a chipping in on the family car, and a couple of other good examples of parenting on the board. (I am not a parent so I don't know jack)

I was starting to think "my there really are good parents out there", and it than I read this crazy article. I guess it isn't quite as a bad as Brittany's mom writing a book on parenting, but what are these parents thinking.

This isn't entirely of academic arguement for the rest of us. The "nothing but the best crowd" are the same ones who are going to demand expensive treatment at taxpayers expense if they get sick in the future and have no money having blown it on 100K instruments.
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