There is a lot of excitement surrounding our student, Isabel Gonzalez, and her recent audition on American Idol. She “wowed” the judges and received feedback that is equally as impressive as her audition. Nicki Minaj told Isabel that her audition was “effortless” and that she’s a “natural.” Keith Urban praised our 17 year old student for walking out with confidence to perform in front of them. And we all love Mariah Carey’s quote, “You are so adorable. People are going to fall in love with you, because you are a star.” These music industry heavy-hitters were instantly head-over-heels for Isabel. So, the question remains, what did she do to get there?
In our time working with Isabel, we have observed 4 distinct habits that will serve as encouragement for all students:
- Work Hard - Even When Life Gets Busy. Isabel has worked hard – for years. Learning to play an instrument or learning to sing doesn’t happen over the course of a few months. Our best students began learning their instruments at a young age and have continued all the way through high school. Even when life gets busy, as it does for all of us, students who stick with their practice will realize a successful outcome whether it’s being able to play well for self-enjoyment or perform for an audience of millions on national TV. Parents, remember that practice waxes and wanes for most students; it’s the longevity of continuing the learning process that matters most! “There are many talented individuals out there but Isabel works very hard at her craft … she exudes a confidence and poise that is well beyond her years.” – Amanda Smolek, vocal instructor who helped Isabel prepare for her American Idol audition.
- Accept New Challenges. Piano Instructor, Ann Von Uffel, has worked together with Isabel on several genres of piano music. Von Uffel says, “It’s so important to broaden your horizons musically, and Isabel always takes on a new challenge with a smile.” So many students stay within their comfort zone. At Metro Music Makers, we encourage our students to learn everything from Mozart to Mariah Carey. Even those pieces that we don’t love can help to increase the understanding and appreciation we have for a particular instrument.
- Be Creative. What better outlet for getting creative than with music? Like Isabel, many of our students are interested in performing with others and writing their own music. Learning to coordinate and work with others is a valuable experience that can benefit students in so many other areas of their lives. And writing music is a perfect way to express yourself no matter how you’re feeling! See Isabel perform her original song, One in a Million, on our YouTube Channel.
- Share and Perform Your Music . You know that saying, “You can’t win, if you don’t play.” That can definitely be applied to musicians of all levels. Getting on stage and sharing music with others is an essential part of the music learning process. Performing in front of others requires musicians to hone their skills. We want our students to be performing from the very start so that they understand that the art of performing is a skill unto itself. It’s okay to be nervous when performing. In fact, nerves can be a good thing, because they mean you care. Isabel admitted in her interview with Good Day Atlanta that she was nervous during her American Idol audition. What’s important to point out is that she has learned how to work through her nervousness by participating in recitals, gigs and auditions through the years. Isabel’s performance experience is what aided her with confidence before the American Idol judges.
Every student can learn from Isabel’s example as beautifully stated by Jeanette Simpson, Isabel’s former vocal instructor who helped her discover her talent: “Hard work fueled by passion and dedication is what brought Isabel to the success and talent level she’s at today. Every week she went above and beyond what I asked her to do. It helps that she has the unfailing support of her parents and family…but mostly hard work. Everyone has the potential for greatness but if we don’t seek it out ourselves, it simply cannot be attained. She ran after it with everything she had.”
by Allison J Boyd, President of Metro Music Makers