August 10, 2011


We have all learned that winners are, well, winners. And obviously, everyone wants to win. Winning is one of the ways we define success – and we all want to be successful. Why wouldn’t we?

But we also know that it isn’t from winning that we learn. It is in failure that we take great lessons. That is where we begin to think faster on our feet, find out what we didn’t know before, learn the pitfalls we should avoid, determine how we should prepare next time.

This isn’t to lead you to believe that failure is good – it’s not. It is uncomfortable, embarrassing, and can be humiliating. But all those things also mean that it is very motivating! And it can really lead to making great strides. This is where you learn to innovate, be flexible, find your boundaries.

And like everything else, failure becomes easier to deal with – when you get practice. No one wants to go out and fail, but sometimes it just happens. You’re not as prepared as you should be for a performance. Or you get on stage and everything falls out of your head including well known things – like your own name. Or when you sit at your – that’s right, it’s a harp (– h-a-r-p, yes it is yours and yes, you do know how to operate it) your hands go everywhere except the strings you’re aiming for.

But these failures – the practice sessions, if you will, give you the tools you need to take the risks necessary to grow, to expand and to become more comfortable with the next time you set out – to succeed.

So, I encourage you to buck up your courage and try new things. Every piece can only be performed for an audience the first time once. After that, it’s just another piece in your repertoire! Take a chance, learn a new piece, write your own composition, develop your own arrangement, play a new style of music – take a chance.
What’s the worst that can happen? You might not perform your best?  You might bomb? You might fail – oh well, think of what you’ll learn from that! Failing - it's the only way to get ahead!

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