5 pieces of advice to parents of DIME students
Lea Wiercioch and Steven Showers once stood in the position that parents of prospective students at the Detroit Institute of Music Education now do, wondering what to expect from the one-of-a-kind specialty college.
As parents of students who will be part of DIME’s first graduating class, they recently reflected on their experience to give others perspective.
Trust the instructors: Lea’s daughter, Alison, is a folk music vocalist and songwriter, but early in her studies at DIME, her instructor had her singing tunes from Motown legend Stevie Wonder’s catalog. The purpose? Expose Alison to another genre and extend her ability to perform and improvise.
“You have to trust what they’re doing,” Lea said. “I admit wondering ‘Why Stevie Wonder?’ Everything is done for a reason and it helped her immensely.”
Embrace Detroit: The city’s resurgence is real, especially in the heart of downtown where DIME Detroit is located. There is energy and opportunity, according to Steven, the father of guitar student, Jimmy Showers. The elder Showers has lived in New York City and Chicago and says they have nothing on Michigan’s largest city.
“Watching what’s happening here and what’s available is incredible,” he said. “Detroit today is exciting. There are people everywhere. You can do anything. It’s a great, safe place to be. Come down and check out the music venues, the public spaces, the restaurants. There is a reason DIME works in Detroit and why Detroit works for DIME.”
Prepare for late-night jam sessions: Students, well after classes have ended for the day, often hang out with each other at their parents’ homes. They tend to play their instruments, sing and laugh together at all hours of the night. It was a comfort to Lea.
“It was actually a really cool part of the experience,” she said. “You could hear and see them forming relationships with each other. They love to be together, and then you saw the change in their talent and ability. They progressed so far so fast because of what they were learning.”
Step back to let them soar: The music industry is demanding. It’s unforgiving. It’s hard. And so is the instruction and guidance offered at DIME. But it’s also for the best, both Steven and Lea said. The professional musicians offer honest constructive criticism that sometimes requires a thick skin for students and parents.
“You have to let it go as a parent,” Lea said. “It’s for the best because every step is about learning, and ultimately, it’s not going to be easy. At some point in a career, there will be hurdles, rejection or heartache, but they’re prepared for it and know how to keep pushing forward.”
Enjoy the ride: Their personal and professional trajectories hit rocket speed during their time in the program. Attend the live performances. Be active in their education.
“It’s an adventure and you have laid the groundwork for your child to succeed,” Steven said. “Everything they’ve done, it’s not just to find a job. It’s taking that passion and talent to a rewarding career. My son has a future in the music industry and that’s exciting. It’s what he wanted and DIME has gotten him there.”