MIAGD: Role Models

MIAGD: Make it a great day

I had a student say, “Sutton Foster is my role model. I want to be just like her.”

“No, you don’t want to be just like Sutton Foster,” I said.

“Is she not a good person or do fellow performers not like her?” asked the perplexed student.

“Heavens, no! From friends and former students who’ve worked with her she’s absolutely adorable.”


“Let Sutton Foster inspire you to be the very best YOU but don’t copy her. You are you. She is Sutton Foster.”

Sometimes we skew our thinking or our paths by imitating others when we should be building ourselves on our own foundations. Heroes and role models are needed but we cannot risk finding our true selves by imitating others or doing everything they did.

Who wants to be a carbon copy?

As a teacher in the performing arts I see this all the time. Students want to be just like a popular artist or an older performer in their school or performing arts organization.

No. Be the best YOU; you cannot be the best THEM because they’ve already made that claim. Grow in your journey inspired by their journey.

Remember the British singer, Susan Boyle? Her role model was British musical star, Elaine Paige. Susan Boyle imitated Ms. Paige but never truly found her own voice and how brilliant she could be. Ms. Boyle achieved overnight fame that lasted but a few years.

I know of one individual who went to the same university as their Broadway “role model” only to discover professors, staff, and some remaining students hated the Broadway performer. The little follower was devastated. I learned they lasted about three complete semesters before dropping out of that university only to return to a community college where they eventually dropped out and began working full time for a local Target store.

I have a student who has looked up to an older student who has since moved on to college. The younger student has designs on the exact path of the older who is not doing so well currently, and making some poor choices. The college student is not well-liked by faculty and fellow students because of their elected attitude and personality.

I see this all the time: students getting awestruck or star struck and wanting to imitate the older performer. All too often I have to redirect students on not trying to sing/sound like their current favorite Broadway pop-star; while the star is obviously (for the most part) very good, they’re generally older and more experienced with training than my student whose voice is not mature enough to pull off the same caliber of technique nor style. Therefore, they attempt things out of Studio and often find themselves in a vocal bind. After several issues arise they eventually see the importance of PROCESS.

It’s imperative we have those who inspire us but we must never give up being ourselves.

So, go out and make it a great day – YOUR way!

About Wright Flyer Guy

Darin is a single adoptive father, a teacher, playwright, and musical theatre director from Kettering, Ohio.
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