If you're talking about a career musician?
Well. My three kids have been exposed to this their whole lives. They've seen me perform. They've seen me teaching other peoples kids. For a start, only the youngest is musical, and the big two know exactly what it takes and it's not for them.
Encouragement has huge shades of grey.
Yes, a child should be taken seriously. But not after a passing comment. You need to see that they're serious. That the interest is manifesting at school, in their imaginative play. Preferably, before you do anything, you want to be seeing comments from their classroom teachers, reports or pre school directors.
At that point, go looking for specialist assessment. In music, you want to see an excellent sense of pitch and rhythm, whatever the instrument. You also want to see that basic rhythmic ability for young classical dancers. In artists you'd look for a heightened sense of colour and the ability to break apart what the child sees into sections of texture.
Many of the kids I teach virtually give up their childhoods for their music. Nobody can practice for them. They do it because they love it. The kids who do that are exceptional, and everyone around them can see it. I work 80 hour weeks because it's so rewarding to help encourage and teach them.
Not sure if it answers your question. This is my 'hot button topic', so I'm going to try to stay out of it and not get on my soapbox too much.
This post has been edited by Quill: 09/11/2012, 08:17 PM