Doug Snyder, lead singer of The Jellydots, is a veteran musician on the Austin Kiddie Limits stage at ACL. Austin City Limits 2010 marks his third year to perform at the festival. He got his start in the kid-music business about eight years ago after teaching guitar to kids and adults- his oldest student being sixty-four. A one time Austinite (he lived here for eleven years) who was an academic advisor at UT, Doug now resides in New Mexico where he is an electrician’s apprentice by day, Kindie Rock star by, well, whenever he is called on to perform for the little people in our lives.
New to me is the popularity of kiddie musicians out there. I had no clue that there is such a large market for musicians who appeal to the entire family- not just mom and dad. Way back when (when I was still cool), maybe 10 years ago, I went down to Corpus Christi for the Lollapalooza Festival. Back in the day it really was something for adults (and by adults I mean people over 18 years of age). Now, Lollapalooza, like Austin City Limits, has a kid-themed mini-festival called Kidzapalooza, happening in sync with the adult concerts. Why is that? Perhaps the people who put on these shows have finally realized that they can reach a much larger market share by making it possible for adults to bring along their children? Austin City Limits has spared no expense in this matter. But we will talk more about that in another post.
Let’s get back to Doug.
Doug has been singing since he was a little kid and was lucky enough to be able to take guitar in junior high and high school. As a guitar teacher and long-time musician, I took the opportunity to gain some insight into parenting my twelve year old son who is currently taking guitar lessons and talks about being a rock star. I asked Doug if he has any tips that he could share with us for our budding musicians. His response: “You will either have the bug or you don’t. Most people don’t. If they do, I am simultaneously happy for them and also worried about them. If you don’t have the bug, then you can get a job and make lots of money, which is a good thing. But if you have the bug, you’re going to go as far as you can with it. It will definitely be an adventure. You’ll learn about sacrifice and not making as much money. My advice would be to stay in school.”
I made Doug repeat that last part- the part about staying in school- again really loudly almost willing my son, who was fifteen miles away from where we were, to hear such sage advice.
In short, being a musician seems to be a tough gig. It takes a lot of work, especially nowadays when the record labels are not freely handing out as much money as they used to. So, tell your kids to stay in school, rock out in the garage and develop a good business sense if they really want to become a musician since that’s what it takes to be successful.
The Jellydots performed on Friday and Saturday at the Austin City Limits Music Festival. If you weren’t able to catch one of their shows, you can purchase or listen to their most recent album, Jelly Jukebox here– just in case you need your Kindie Rock music fix!