Dylan Glanzer is a Musical Party Entertainer
From a very young age, Dylan Glanzer dreamed of being a performer. She followed her passion throughout her life, and after graduating from college with a major in Acting, found a career as a professional actress. As her passions continued to develop, she discovered that she loved to work with children. She earned her Masters in Childhood Education, and founded Parties by Dylan Company. Now, she specializes in providing musical party entertainment for children ages 1-5.Dylans story is a great example of the good things that can happen when a person follows their dreams. She graciously agreed to talk to me about the path shes taken, and we hope that it encourages you to chase your own dreams.
You started performing when you were really young. Have you always known that this is what you wanted to do with your life?
My mother tells a story about me: She remembers me standing on the fireplace, holding a hairbrush microphone and singing for a pretend audience; I was about 4 years old. Performing on stage was all I’ve ever wanted to do.
Just about every performer has had at least one awful audition or performance that makes them question the path they’re on. What was that for you, and how did you overcome it?
I really don’t know why I never gave up. There were tons of awful auditions, rejections, and mistakes made on stage that should have scared me, but I was already bit by the bug. When I am on stage or performing for people, I am really happy. There is an energy I feel that is so powerful and exciting. I was completely hooked. And I could think of no other choice for myself.
A lot of parents are terrified when their child tells them they want to be a performer. Were yours always supportive, or did they try to push you into a safe career?
This is a tricky question. My parents were always supportive. They were always in the front row, at all my shows, wearing huge smiles. But when it came to college, if they were going to pay, there was no way I could go to NYC or LA. I begged! I learned later in my life that they always thought that life was too hard and would not work for me. Most actors were unemployed and they just didn’t want to see me go through that. So I went to a safe school but still got to major in Acting. So that was a good thing. I think I shocked my parents when I actually moved into NYC right after I graduated! They were not happy; but they were there, in the front row, for all my shows, wearing huge smiles.
Your first job was delivering singing telegrams. What was that like?
I think I was 17 when I got this job. It was my first job and the first time I ever got paid to perform. I loved it! I wore silly costumes (A jester, pink gorilla, etc.) and sang songs for people as a surprise for their celebrations. It is funny how things come full circle. I am doing a similar job now in that I travel to parties and entertain. The difference now is that I really don’t like costumed characters and would never want to dress up; mainly because I think they are too strange and scary for the ages I specialize in.
You started out with dreams of working as an actress or a Broadway performer. Can you tell me a little bit about how your interests shifted, and how you became more interested in performing for children?
I had big dreams of being on Broadway, or TV or Movies, even commercials! I will always look back and know that I gave it a really good shot. I approached it like a business. I got headshots, did mailings to agents, got interviews, did 6AM Open Calls, took acting classes and voice lessons, and of course, waited on tables! I was living the actor’s dream life in NYC. I actually got some really good paying jobs as an actor and was building my resume.
The shift happened when I saw an audition in a trade publication called Backstage. There was a popular children’s play program looking for actors and singers. When I worked as a teacher for the play program, I actually felt the same surge of powerful energy that I always felt on stage, but this time it was while I was singing for babies and toddlers! It was so easy and natural. I felt a connection singing to those little happy faces. I was hooked. Id finally found something that could make me just as happy as being on stage!
After you learned that you loved to teach children, you went back to school to earn a Master’s in Early Childhood Education. How has that helped you with your career?
I loved going back to school. I really enjoyed learning about child development and education. But getting a job in NJ Public Schools was not so easy. And when I started the Masters program, I got married to my wonderful husband. By the time I graduated, I had my son. I really wanted to be home with him as much as I could. So I decided to get creative.
When I started school, my husband and I had moved to NJ. Since the play program was also in NJ, I got a job there while I went to school. That was when I got a loud knock on the door of opportunity. Moms began asking me if I did parties. After the third request, I just said yes! I began to ask myself how I could take this show on the road? What things could I add to it that would be fun to do at a party? What do I know about how children learn and play at very early ages that I could use to formulate fun and age-appropriate activities? And it just grew from there!
These days, you make a living by performing at birthday parties for children between the ages of 1-5. I know from experience that they can be a tough crowd.
Most people think that this is a tough age group. I don’t feel that way at all. I find them to be honest, curious, and excited about everything! You just have to know that young children see the world as wondrous, but confusing and overwhelming. Too many choices are very upsetting to them and they need to do things that they can feel successful at. If you keep the activities short, make your expectations clear, let them be themselves by accepting all their emotions, talk to them like the little human beings they are, and look them at their eye-level, you will make an instant friend.
What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?
The best advice I have ever gotten was given to me by my sensational business coach and friend, Melody Stevens (The Time Millionaire!). She told me that even though I am in business FOR myself, I do not have to be in business BY myself. I learned how to learn from others in business. I decided to build a team so I could do more parties. For years, I did this alone and I thought that made me strong. Now, I am really growing a company! It is the scariest time in my life, and the most thrilling!
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to be an entertainer, but couldn’t muster up the courage to get out there and try?
Being an entertainer is a job, like any other. Well, not like ANY other – it is actually YOU that you are selling. If you want success, you need to approach this as a business and get out there to sell yourself. You need to know what makes you unique, unlike anyone else. Also, find out what other people who are successful in the business have done to get there. LEARN from them. ASK them, because people love to talk about their success and they actually do want to help you. They were once in your shoes and remember what that was like. If you don’t see how this is a business, and you don’t like sales, then you just may have a big problem making it.
What qualities do you think are most important for someone who would like to work in this field?
When I am looking for the perfect person to hire and train to do my job, I ask for an outgoing, enthusiastic person who sings and plays guitar. They need to have a positive attitude and have patience with young children. Someone who has experience as a teacher is good for this type of work too because when I work with large groups of children, there are very subtle classroom management techniques that come into play. You also have to love music and love to have FUN!
Thanks so much for your time!
You are entirely welcome! And thank you for sharing my story!