Students and parents work together

THE nerves are building at the CMAA Academy of Country Music with the junior students graduating tonight.

Behind the scenes, keeping the young up-and-coming country artists calm, are their parents who have accompanied them through a week of intensive musical and business study.

Nicky Kennedy-Dryland and her son Liam have travelled from New Zealand and said she was learning so much by being at the academy.

“It’s a team effort between parents and their children,” she said. “We’ve learned about personality types, mostly about the hard work ahead and had our eyes fully opened.”

The parents have also been told about the support they need to offer their children in trying to make a career from music and how to make the right choices.

Townsville’s Ian Foster Griffith’s daughter, Phoebe Jay, is attending the academy for the first time and said it was an exploration.

“You have a daughter who people have said, and you believe, to be talented and all roads lead to Tamworth,” he said. “From here, they’ve opened our eyes to how everything works. One of the big things is the inspiration that my daughter is gaining and she can see where it can take her. 

“The amount of information we’ve been given is amazing and we’ve had lots of openness from people who are normally closed.”

The young students are at different stages of their careers with different levels of experience, but the parents said the course catered to that.

Karen O’Donoghue, from Charters Towers, is at the academy for the second time with her daughter Katelyn and her son, Liam, is a first-time student.

“I think I’m absorbing more this time,” she said. “There is a lot of negative information we’re given, and the biggest eye-opener has been how much work you have to put in. We need to hear this as parents.” 

Mrs O’Donoghue has three children who sing individually and as a group, but all three are at different levels.

“We have to decide whether they perform solo or as a group,” she said.

“I’ve found it really amazing how the artists are sharing their personal lives with us and are sharing the mistakes they’ve made.”

All three parents said they had been heartened by how supportive everyone was and were surprised by the calibre of artists who had dropped in and tutored at the academy to help their children’s dreams.

The junior students will take all that they have learned in the past week to the stage tonight from 8pm at Wests.

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