March 2, 2016

What are you afraid of?

It’s nearly spring which means that it will very soon be competition season!  Competitions are a great way to push yourself to learn, to grow, to be a little bit daring, to find out something about yourself.
I know a lot of people (especially adults) are very quick to say that competition is not for them.  And that is true for some people.  But for most people, it really is a great opportunity that shouldn’t be missed.

Really – where else will you have such a good chance to make great strides in your playing?  What holds you back?  There are plenty of reasons – some of them good.  Many people are afraid of the potential pain of stretching.  Some have a running list of questions - What will the other harp players think? What if I don’t play perfectly? How will I walk away without dying of embarrassment? 

But competitions are a great way to collect the answers to these questions!  What will others think?  Well the ones you’re competing against are typically focused on what they will play (or asking the same questions of themselves) to worry about what you’re thinking (and it's likely that the people who aren't playing are wondering "what if"  and how great you're doing).  What if you DO play perfectly?!?  Did you ever think of that?  And typically you cannot be too embarrassed to walk off the stage – and it’s hard to be embarrassed when all those people are applauding to show their appreciation and enjoyment of your performance!

It’s not about winning – in fact you learn so much more when you don’t take first place.  You learn more about yourself, you meet new people, you get great feedback and specific actions to make yourself better, you become better, and you know it.  So, I would strongly encourage you to push yourself, just a little, to get out there, to enter a competition, and enjoy answering your own questions!

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