Is it immoral to exploit the talents of the young?

Bad Tempered Clavier

Silver Member
Somebody sent me a YouTube link to some kid, who was apparently 6 years old at the time, playing a cover of The Pretender by Foo Fighters. Apparently this video became enormously popular about a year ago and subsequently the kid was invited to perform on the NBC Today Show in New York City last July. This has led to widespread media attention in North America, Europe, and Japan. To be fair, the kid shows a lot of flair for drums and music in general - he ain't exactly the next Tony Royster Jr, but then that's asking a great deal of anyone.

The last thing I want to do is discourage anyone - especially one so young - but I find myself wondering whether thrusting a child of 6 into such a bright spot-light is a healthy thing to do. By all means, encourage our young to be creative, studious, enthusiastic, maybe even gregarious: but to bestow celebrity like that on a kid with - and let's be honest - a level of skill that is pretty good but not exceptional seems rather patronising. It's certainly exploitative.

I'm sure Blondie enjoys all the attention and that, but I question the kind of message this sends out to the world. No doubt he is deserving of praise and should be properly encouraged by his family and teachers etc within the context of home and school but is his talent really worthy of international fame? Put it this way - anyone billing this 6 year old as a prodigious musician is putting him on a par with Mozart and that's just crazy talk. Even if he were that good - he don't exactly get a say in any of this: how many 6 year olds can single-handedly stage-manage a public profile like the one he has now? Do we know if he is actually happy on his travelling sideshow? More to the point, does anyone particularly care if he is?

The whole thing just strikes me as dysfunctional - indicative of the kind of unprecedented attention that something like YouTube can bring. I mean, if he follows in the footsteps of young Tony Royster Jr or even just gets good enough to work as a jobbing drummer later in life then I guess a leg-up like this may serve him well. On the other hand, if his talent doesn't progress much further then he will most likely be left with the nasty truth that people are interested in stuff when it's small and cute but once he starts getting acne and needs braces on his teeth then the cameras will be pointing elsewhere.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I struggle to see how it could be immoral. As long as the kid isn't hating life as it is, I don't see much harm at all. When he gets pushed into doing something he's not into, that's a different matter.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
Seems fine to me, given that the fate of most musicians is to sink into obscurity and a day job. Might as well make hay while the sun shines. As with playing, it's not so much what you do but the way that you do it ... if the parents are grounded and aware, the kid will be fine. More than fine.

Also, bear in mind that the situation is far less risky than if the child sings and is the star of the show. As we all know, that can easily lead to serious hubris of the ego and delusions of grandeur.


... if his talent doesn't progress much further then he will most likely be left with the nasty truth that people are interested in stuff when it's small and cute but once he starts getting acne and needs braces on his teeth then the cameras will be pointing elsewhere.
I think this truth dawns on all of us once we hit our teens ... one minute we're cute and loveable and charming, the next we get almost universal disapproval from parents, teachers and police.

You only have to look at the news ... We must save the little children!! Throw those pesky teens in prison to teach them a lesson!!
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
On the other hand, if his talent doesn't progress much further then he will most likely be left with the nasty truth that people are interested in stuff when it's small and cute but once he starts getting acne and needs braces on his teeth then the cameras will be pointing elsewhere.
A cold, hard reality that has had a major impact on the lives of many a child star unfortunately. It's a tough dilemma and an absolute minefield to tread. Yeah, both Royster and " Traps the drum wonder" Rich did ok. But for every one of them, how many are sitting discarded on a scrap heap somewhere wondering why all the promises of their childhood didn't come to fruition?

I have no real answer to this BTC.....and I can think of a thousand different angles, arguments and counter-arguments from which to approach it that would swing my own thinking from one moment to the next. But suffice it to say, it's a pretty safe bet that if someone offered to drag my 6 year old off with promises of stardom and world domination, they'd have a hard argument to sell to a very sceptical father.
 

toddy

Platinum Member
i think i'd rather be a six year old drummer playing on NBC and end up being a massive failure in later life/end up in rehab after being a heroin addict living under a bridge in seattle/dead than never play drums on the NBC show at all. At least he gets to play drums with some cool people.

after all, as the guru formerly known as bon jovi says, "it's my life, and it's now or never, cause' i ain't gonna live forevvverrr".
 

SquadLeader

Gold Member
I believe a 6 year old's place is in a classroom learning about Maths, English, and Life.

I don't think being 'on the road' is any place for a 6 year old kid.

I'm with the OP..in fact I think it's bizarre.

I see a lot of programmes about kids, and fame, and all manner of absurd situations they are thrust into thanks to my fiance's bizarre taste in TV....and the one thing which SEEMS apparent through all this is that the child is rarely consulted on how they feel about things. Adults think something, and the child conforms.

In the UK we have a situation with youngsters being signed up by professional football teams on the mere suspicion that they may 'have something'. 95%+ of these kids are spat out of the football system at age 15 when they haven't made the grade. Invariably these kids are poorly educated, with no skills, no personal qualities, and no life knowledge because all they have known is FOOTBALL FOOTBALL FOOTBALL. Many of them can't even communicate. They can't speak in anything other than four letter words. They are mostly thick, and stupid, because they have not received even a basically normal education, and have been told from age 5,6,7 that they are great, and better than their peers.

I think this kind of thing sounds suspiciously like that...it's sick.

All this is my personal humble opinion.
 

SquadLeader

Gold Member
i think i'd rather be a six year old drummer playing on NBC and end up being a massive failure in later life/end up in rehab after being a heroin addict living under a bridge in seattle/dead than never play drums on the NBC show at all. At least he gets to play drums with some cool people.

after all, as the guru formerly known as bon jovi says, "it's my life, and it's now or never, cause' i ain't gonna live forevvverrr".
You'd rather have played drums, fairly averagely, at age 6 and ......

As opposed to having a fairly balanced life, a decent job, a decent family, and all the things most people are content with ??

Man, that's fucked up thinking pal
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
I believe a 6 year old's place is in a classroom learning about Maths, English, and Life.

I don't think being 'on the road' is any place for a 6 year old kid.
I don't believe that every 6 year old is better off in a classroom at all. Most yes, but one size does not fit all. Some kids are better off with another kind of life and you never know until you try. The boy is unusually talented.

If the kid enjoys showing off on the drums then this could be a far more enriching experience for him than school - and a more unique one. Let's say the boy doesn't like it and quits - then he's wiser for the experience (and most likely cool at school). It's not as though, if it doesn't work out, he'll spend a lifetime catching up first grade.

Worst case would be if he didn't like it but was forced to do it by his parents. But if his parents are that psycho, the kid's going to grow up with scar tissue no matter what.
 

SquadLeader

Gold Member
I don't believe that every 6 year old is better off in a classroom at all. Most yes, but one size does not fit all. Some kids are better off with another kind of life and you never know until you try. The boy is unusually talented.

If the kid enjoys showing off on the drums then this could be a far more enriching experience for him than school - and a more unique one. Let's say the boy doesn't like it and quits - then he's wiser for the experience (and most likely cool at school). It's not as though, if it doesn't work out, he'll spend a lifetime catching up first grade.

Worst case would be if he didn't like it but was forced to do it by his parents. But if his parents are that psycho, the kid's going to grow up with scar tissue no matter what.
He's 6, not 12

I would agree 100% with what you are saying in the case of an older child.

At 6 years of age kids are in the process of learning basic skills for life...not just English, Maths, Geography and the like. 6 is 'primary school' age over here.

EVERY kid should be in class learning these life skills and 'basics'.

Then, when those are established, sure develop in the direction you choose to.

But no, I vehemently disagree with any kid not being in school at that age. I believe it's a recipe for disaster.

Personally...and I strongly emphasise in my humble opinion only. I don't expect people, or indeed anyone, necessarily to agree.


Thinking on...

What happens when and if he DOESN'T actually make the grade on drums. What then, when he's never spent a proper day in school. How will he THEN be equipped for 80+ years of life.

It's IMMENSELY selfish for people who should be looking after him to completely ignore this.

It can't just be assumed that he'll 'make it'. Hell, it can't be assumed at 6 that it's something he'll be remotely arsed doing when he's 15.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
But no, I vehemently disagree with any kid not being in school at that age. I believe it's a recipe for disaster.

Personally...and I strongly emphasise in my humble opinion only. I don't expect people, or indeed anyone, necessarily to agree.
And I humbly disagree. I see no certainty of disaster but a departure from normal life. Fact is that both normal or unusual lives can be great, and they can really suck.


What happens when and if he DOESN'T actually make the grade on drums. What then, when he's never spent a proper day in school. How will he THEN be equipped for 80+ years of life.
There's no reason why a healthy kid who has been gigging as a hotshot drummer over a period of years would fail to get good gigs when they are older. He'll have the chops, nous and experience.

If he is enjoying the life and he has positive role models then why not? We usually only ever hear of the train wrecks. Child stars get tutored so he can pick up school if he decides he doesn't want to perform at that level any more. Like I said before, it depends on the parents and, if they're dodgy, he will suffer on the road or at school.

That's pretty well all I have to say on it, Squad. If we continue, chances are we'll go in circles.
 

toddy

Platinum Member
You'd rather have played drums, fairly averagely, at age 6 and ......

As opposed to having a fairly balanced life, a decent job, a decent family, and all the things most people are content with ??

Man, that's fucked up thinking pal
no where does it say that the kid dropped out of school and tried to pursue a professional career as a drummer. no where does it say that his parents don't want him to have a well rounded education and attend university when he's older to get a degree in ____ so he can have a decent job. maybe they're putting any money he's receiving towards that very thing? maybe he'll end up receiving a higher standard of education than your children?

playing a one off performance on tv is nothing like young footballers, trust me i know because some of my friends went to southampton/portsmouth youth academies. the amount of time invested is off the scale.
however, you already know that the big clubs nowadays have training facilities in the same location as their teaching facilities, which are actually higher quality than an everyday comprehensive school because they can afford higher quality teachers.

as to whether him playing drums on TV age six will have some sort of detrimental effect on him, who knows? maybe it will have a positive effect in terms of his self esteem? or maybe it will destroy him and he'll end up looking like Macaulay Caulkin. maybe he'll get knocked down by a drunk speeding driver and die? nobody knows i'm afraid, which was really my main point

anyway that aside, what exactly are all the things people are content with? an expensive car to increase their social status? a television so they can watch the news and feel depressed? a job that they don't want to do but can't leave because they have a morgtage to pay? getting obliterated every weekend and then being skint for the rest of the week because you spent all your money on vodka?

i'll tell you one thing, if i ever had a son i'd much rather he did something he found fun (even he was only a "thick" football player) rather than sitting in front of a TV like a zombie killing people on call of duty becoming more apathetic by the day

at the end of the day it really doesn't matter that much to me (as i don't tell six year old kids what they should or shouldn't do), i just thought your post was a steaming pile of shit.
 

SquadLeader

Gold Member
no where I just thought your post was a steaming pile of shit.
I think you should stop sitting on the fence so much.

The OP was talking more generally, mentioning 'dysfunction'.

I was addressing the OP post generally. I don't know any of the specifics of this kids situation. I'm just talking about what I generally feel should be the priorities for children around 6 years of age and their guardians/custodians. I don't believe anything good, long term, can come from being part of a media circus at that age.

There will be exceptions, I accept.

You talk of being happy to be a heroin addict and dying in the gutter for your moment on the TV.....makes you sound like a product of the X Factor generation of unbalanced, fame driven, live for the moment without giving a rats arse for anything and anyone else, thinking. In that regard I guess you and I will always have a differing opinion on a subject like this. I'd rather die peacefully, at an old age, having played local gigs with lifelong friends, had a decent career, and family who I've looked after my entire life.

Horses for courses and all that.
 
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SquadLeader

Gold Member
And I humbly disagree. I see no certainty of disaster but a departure from normal life. Fact is that both normal or unusual lives can be great, and they can really suck.




There's no reason why a healthy kid who has been gigging as a hotshot drummer over a period of years would fail to get good gigs when they are older. He'll have the chops, nous and experience.

If he is enjoying the life and he has positive role models then why not? We usually only ever hear of the train wrecks. Child stars get tutored so he can pick up school if he decides he doesn't want to perform at that level any more. Like I said before, it depends on the parents and, if they're dodgy, he will suffer on the road or at school.

That's pretty well all I have to say on it, Squad. If we continue, chances are we'll go in circles.
Fairly put.

Don't necessarily disagree entirely.
 

Bad Tempered Clavier

Silver Member
I don't see much harm at all. When he gets pushed into doing something he's not into, that's a different matter.
That's a fair point, but I think one needs to draw a distinction between a young boy playing music to have fun and please his parents and a young boy being dragged around the world like a performing seal. If the extent of his fame was limited to the several thousand hits the videos have had on YouTube and he occasionally got up on stage in front of his school and rocked out then I say hooray: but if you go to the official website the whole thing just reeks of a parent living vicariously through his child:

"[XXXXX] is a very opinionated kid, he knows what he likes and isn’t afraid to tell you. His favourite band BY FAR is RUSH. The fact that they are 60 made it a real possibility that [XXXXX] might not get the chance to see them in concert, but on September 30th he did. What a night! [XXXXX] had the pleasure of meeting Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson before the show."

I mean, come on . . .

i think i'd rather be a six year old drummer playing on NBC and end up being a massive failure in later life/end up in rehab after being a heroin addict living under a bridge in seattle/dead than never play drums on the NBC show at all. At least he gets to play drums with some cool people.
I can appreciate that point of view - but then to be fair that is the point of view of someone who has (presumably) been in the world for a few years and can fully understand the implications of that sentence. The fact that you have the ability to frame it as any kind of argument means you're capable of the kind of reasoning that a 6 year old child isn't.

Also I don't think this is necessarily an all-or-nothing situation - rather a question of balance in one's life - i.e.

a decent job, a decent family, and all the things most people are content with
That doesn't mean settling for obscurity or mediocrity - ironically, seeing as this kid's talent is hardly earth-shattering. On the other hand, being told that he's Drumming Jesus when he's 6 years old by a sizeable chunk of the world can only serve to fuel an ego that is barely getting over the fact that he's not actually The Centre of The Universe.

it's a pretty safe bet that if someone offered to drag my 6 year old off with promises of stardom and world domination, they'd have a hard argument to sell to a very sceptical father.
I don't think being 'on the road' is any place for a 6 year old kid.
Wise words. Unfortunately this is not the lesson that crap-witted parents the world over will take away from this kid's story. Rather - and we have seen the evidence already - there will be an ever-increasing slew of children with a so-so aptitude for something entertaining who are shoved on to stages and in front of cameras in order to fulfil a dream they have precious little hope of appreciating until they're actually old enough to have it.

if his parents are that psycho, the kid's going to grow up with scar tissue no matter what.
Sadly, this is exactly the point. What makes it worse for him and others like him is that everyone else in the world gets to watch.

What happens when [. . .] he DOESN'T actually make the grade on drums. What then, when he's never spent a proper day in school. How will he THEN be equipped for 80+ years of life [. . .] It's IMMENSELY selfish for people who should be looking after him to completely ignore this.
Yeah, as I have already alluded, I think the rot has probably set in by now. Presumably they'll carry on like this and give him a standing ovation every time he takes a dump.
 

SquadLeader

Gold Member
That's a fair point, but I think one needs to draw a distinction between a young boy playing music to have fun and please his parents and a young boy being dragged around the world like a performing seal. If the extent of his fame was limited to the several thousand hits the videos have had on YouTube and he occasionally got up on stage in front of his school and rocked out then I say hooray: but if you go to the official website the whole thing just reeks of a parent living vicariously through his child:

"[XXXXX] is a very opinionated kid, he knows what he likes and isn’t afraid to tell you. His favourite band BY FAR is RUSH. The fact that they are 60 made it a real possibility that [XXXXX] might not get the chance to see them in concert, but on September 30th he did. What a night! [XXXXX] had the pleasure of meeting Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson before the show."

I mean, come on . . .



I can appreciate that point of view - but then to be fair that is the point of view of someone who has (presumably) been in the world for a few years and can fully understand the implications of that sentence. The fact that you have the ability to frame it as any kind of argument means you're capable of the kind of reasoning that a 6 year old child isn't.

Also I don't think this is necessarily an all-or-nothing situation - rather a question of balance in one's life - i.e.



That doesn't mean settling for obscurity or mediocrity - ironically, seeing as this kid's talent is hardly earth-shattering. On the other hand, being told that he's Drumming Jesus when he's 6 years old by a sizeable chunk of the world can only serve to fuel an ego that is barely getting over the fact that he's not actually The Centre of The Universe.




Wise words. Unfortunately this is not the lesson that crap-witted parents the world over will take away from this kid's story. Rather - and we have seen the evidence already - there will be an ever-increasing slew of children with a so-so aptitude for something entertaining who are shoved on to stages and in front of cameras in order to fulfil a dream they have precious little hope of appreciating until they're actually old enough to have it.



Sadly, this is exactly the point. What makes it worse for him and others like him is that everyone else in the world gets to watch.



Yeah, as I have already alluded, I think the rot has probably set in by now. Presumably they'll carry on like this and give him a standing ovation every time he takes a dump.
Think I probably agree with everything you've said.

And again I agree, one doesn't need to settle for obscurity/mediocrity. I'm just talking about 'balance'.
 

toddy

Platinum Member
I can appreciate that point of view - but then to be fair that is the point of view of someone who has (presumably) been in the world for a few years and can fully understand the implications of that sentence. The fact that you have the ability to frame it as any kind of argument means you're capable of the kind of reasoning that a 6 year old child isn't.
now that is certainly a good point! i also read the bio, the parents do indeed seem pushy, but would it be any different than a girl who liked horse-riding? her parents naturally think she can become an olympic dressage competitor. i know parents like that myself.
i think it's usually a case of the parent wanting to try out something they could never achieve, living vicariously (if that's the right usage of the word?) through their child by enjoying any experiences the child may have.
there are various options for schooling of course, i remember the cast of harry potter commented that they had teachers on-set so that they could learn in between filming. now obviously his parents don't likely have a warner brothers budget, but i doubt they'd actually want their child to get bad grades, it would ruin his life! unless he got really good at playing drums of course, but it wouldn't be a wise gamble at all.

i apologise for my steaming pile of doo-doo comment, i'd just had a cigarette & i think my blood pressure was likely raised.
you are certainly right squadleader, i'm very much of the "life is for living" rather than "die at an old age gracefully" (not that i want to die like kurt cobain, which is what my heroin/bridge comment referenced), nor do i set out trying to bring about my own demise either.
i just remember my best friend as a child (we were eight), who went riding his bike one day and upon catching his wheel in a drain flew off, hit his head, and died. ever since then i've always taken the attitude that if there is anything i really want to do (i actually don't drink or take any illegal drugs, so that's out of the question) then i'd just do it!
better to give it a go when you don't have the responsibility of a family etc than when people are counting on you to provide for them. i mean this six year old has other people paying for him to travel to japan and stuff!
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
The kid is OK and all, but not good enough to warrant all this attention. There, I said it. I don't have a problem with the kid not being in school. People learn whether they are in school or not. If he gets a lucky break, more power to him. There's plenty of kids who won't have that chance. Let the ones that do get the chance ride it out. There's no lack of kids who are made to conform to the system. If some get the opportunity for a different path, if they want it, good for them. I don't think this particular kid deserves all this attention, but apparently enough people do. Live and let live.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
I don't believe that every 6 year old is better off in a classroom at all. Most yes, but one size does not fit all.
Right on, Grea. Tao once asked " dont tell me what all you have studied, tell me where all have you travelled".

I get a little nervous when we start to believe in cookie cutter solutions for society. I guess there's a false sense of comfort in uniformity. In principle, I agree kids should be learning at that age, but what is learning is a whole new bowl of wax. An underqualified and jaded teacher going through the motions in a disfunctional school system or a wild ride in the real world, where at the age of six you kinda control your own destiny? Its a no brainer. Even if the kid crash lands, he'll be much richer for the experience, I do believe.


...
 

SquadLeader

Gold Member
Right on, Grea. Tao once asked " dont tell me what all you have studied, tell me where all have you travelled".

I get a little nervous when we start to believe in cookie cutter solutions for society. I guess there's a false sense of comfort in uniformity. In principle, I agree kids should be learning at that age, but what is learning is a whole new bowl of wax. An underqualified and jaded teacher going through the motions in a disfunctional school system or a wild ride in the real world, where at the age of six you kinda control your own destiny? Its a no brainer. Even if the kid crash lands, he'll be much richer for the experience, I do believe.


...
The kid is 6 years old...

Kids going to school at 6 isn't about 'uniformity', it isn't about 'the system' knocking the stuffing out of you..

It's about learning how to count, how to spell, and how to function in society.

I've no problem with kids rebelling against the system when they are in their teens, (in fact, hell I've got no problem with any of this anyway, I'm just chewing the fat), but at least then they (mostly) can count, spell, and don't go round throwing other kids on railway lines because they've not been taught that it isn't acceptable.

At the end of the day I think this kids parents are basically abusing the kid, not in the worst way...almost abusing it with love. Of course we see the successful ones, the Williams Sisters, The Jacksons, etc. but we don't see the ones which have turned disastrous.
 

SquadLeader

Gold Member
now that is certainly a good point! i also read the bio, the parents do indeed seem pushy, but would it be any different than a girl who liked horse-riding? her parents naturally think she can become an olympic dressage competitor. i know parents like that myself.
i think it's usually a case of the parent wanting to try out something they could never achieve, living vicariously (if that's the right usage of the word?) through their child by enjoying any experiences the child may have.
there are various options for schooling of course, i remember the cast of harry potter commented that they had teachers on-set so that they could learn in between filming. now obviously his parents don't likely have a warner brothers budget, but i doubt they'd actually want their child to get bad grades, it would ruin his life! unless he got really good at playing drums of course, but it wouldn't be a wise gamble at all.

i apologise for my steaming pile of doo-doo comment, i'd just had a cigarette & i think my blood pressure was likely raised.
you are certainly right squadleader, i'm very much of the "life is for living" rather than "die at an old age gracefully" (not that i want to die like kurt cobain, which is what my heroin/bridge comment referenced), nor do i set out trying to bring about my own demise either.
i just remember my best friend as a child (we were eight), who went riding his bike one day and upon catching his wheel in a drain flew off, hit his head, and died. ever since then i've always taken the attitude that if there is anything i really want to do (i actually don't drink or take any illegal drugs, so that's out of the question) then i'd just do it!
better to give it a go when you don't have the responsibility of a family etc than when people are counting on you to provide for them. i mean this six year old has other people paying for him to travel to japan and stuff!
No apology necessary mate..,.my manner of posting is provocative some times. I'm not confrontational really. Most of the time I'm posting with a big round smile on my face. I enjoy a good internet ding dong like I enjoy a good, well natured, ding dong face to face with friends.

Bad break with your kid friend...I can understand how that would foment one's attitude to life.
 
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