Have you ever wondered how to help your child cultivate their love for the arts after they pass grade school? What if you had a chance to speak with a Broadway legend and ask him? I had that amazing opportunity with the one and only Adam Jacobs.
When my son was about six years old, he wanted to take singing lessons more than anything. While his two brothers wanted to learn an instrument, he wanted to sing. We encouraged him and signed him up for singing lessons once a week.
Our son’s music teacher was such an incredible Broadway fan, that she introduced us to the song, Proud of Your Boy. The piece was from the Broadway production of Aladdin, and it did not make it into the animated film. He performed this song at his music recital and had some moms in tears, and of course, I cried too!
That same summer, we took a trip to New Jersey to see a family member who was very ill. On our drive there, I took a chance to see if there were last-minute tickets to Aladdin.
We managed to get tickets to the performance and saw Adam Jacobs perform Proud of Your Boy live on stage. The song moved us all so much, it was a very special moment. After the show, we waited out back to see if any of the performers would come out for autographs, and Adam Jacobs came out! My son was over-the-moon excited. We chatted, took a picture and my son was forever changed.
To see a man performing on Broadway to a song he knew every word of was life-changing at a young age. Ever since then, he has excelled in the arts and this year, he performed in a lead role for his high school play.
If you have not had the pleasure of seeing the Aladdin Broadway musical, here is Adam Jacobs performing the song, Proud of Your Boy for a special Hollywood in Vienna last year. The song was composed by legendary composer Alan Menken, and that evening, he was honored with the Max Steiner Award.
I had the incredible opportunity to speak with Adam Jacobs recently to discuss the arts and how important we feel it is for children.
MM: Thank you so much for chatting with me today, Adam! I wanted to talk with you as a parent today about the importance of the arts. I know we all understand how art, music, and pretend play can help young children, but somewhere in the young adult years, many parents start to opt for more traditional extracurricular activities for future traditional careers. Right now as a parent, we are seeing this in high school, where teenagers need to choose between the sciences and the arts. What would be your suggestions for parents when it comes to offering the arts to their children?
AJ: For me, I saw the decision to choose between sports and the arts. But I don’t think it has to be one or the other. I think it is so important to reach outside of school hours/classes and find extracurricular classes in the arts. I joined community theatre and it was incredible.
MM: If these last few years have taught us anything, it is that the arts are invaluable for children and adults. We have seen that entertainment has given children an outlet in a stressful and uncontrollable time.
AJ: A lot of children have tried their hand at a new instrument during the pandemic, which is wonderful. Music is a great place to let off steam, to find your voice and it can be cathartic. At least it always was that way for me.
MM: Bring us back to your childhood. Tell us about your family life and how the arts were nurtured.
AJ: My parents were incredibly supportive of my love for the arts. My first passion was playing piano. I went straight through to the conservatory level and then my passion moved toward singing and performing. They took me to every audition, drove long distances to get me there, and always supported my dream of becoming a performer and singer.
The funny thing is my dad is tone-deaf! But from my mom and dad came two Broadway singers! My sister is an incredible performer (Arielle’s YouTube channel).
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MM: Have your children shown an interest in the arts and what are you doing as a parent to help them nurture that?
AJ: Right now, my twin boys are nine years old. For them, it’s all about soccer right now. And they are really good at it, playing at a higher level. They have incredible talent with music but it’s not of interest to them right now.
MM: Does it bother you to see them so talented but not interested in it right now?
AJ: Not at all! It doesn’t bother me. They see the arts and performance through me and my sister, and they know what it’s about. It’s just not what they are interested in now. I will support them if they show an interest. It’s funny, sometimes they ask me if I’m as famous as Sean Mendes.
MM: To some people, you are more famous than Sean Mendes!
On Social Media
MM: Social media plays a big role in imposter syndrome and conversely, confidence overload (such as an American Idol for example). What are your suggestions when it comes to social media and preparing / working on your skills?
AJ: Social media has been a great tool for promoting oneself and being seen as an artist, but yes, it also comes with the unfortunate side effects of constant comparison, living in a self-imposed bubble which is essentially a fantasized version of reality, and as such it can be incredibly addictive if you’re not careful. It’s important to set limits with it, remember that it’s not reality, and remind yourself that you don’t really need the “likes“. In the end, validation will always come from within.
MM: Did your family life play a great part in your confidence to take the path in the arts?
AJ: My parents were very instrumental in my later success. I was fortunate to have supportive, arts-loving parents that sacrificed a lot of time (and money) driving me to lessons and rehearsals and shows. Without a doubt I would not have done as well in my career without their unwavering support.
MM: What can parents do today, in traditional schooling, to help their children enjoy the arts beyond the younger years? If parents see a talent in their children that can be a potential career path, what can parents do to help their children?
AJ: If your child is serious about pursuing a career in the arts, seek out conservatory-based training programs that include singing/acting/dancing all in one place. Summer camps are always a great way to get started. Private voice lessons can give you an edge when it comes to auditioning. And try to build up experience performing as quickly as possible. I always found I learned the most while on the job by watching more experienced actors.
MM: What have you got in the works right now?
AJ: I’ll be performing this summer at the Goodman Theatre in their production of Tommy, directed by Des McAnuff, playing the role of Captain Walker. (link to Playbill announcement here)
MM: That’s wonderful news! Congratulations and thank you so much for your time, Adam. It was an absolute pleasure!
To learn more about Adam Jacobs’ incredible career and upcoming performances, visit his website: www.adamjacobs.net