March 8, 2017

Competition - Seven reasons it may be bad for you

In an effort to be fair and balanced, this week let’s talk about how competition can be bad for your harp playing. One reason is that people who don’t like to compete are very vocal about it! I’d like to thank Kate for sharing her thoughts on this – and her permission to incorporate those thoughts.

There are reasons to not compete and here are seven of them. I’m sure there are more – feel free to share your reasons.

  1. Not everyone finds it fun. And really, why play at all if it isn’t fun?
  2. It can be limiting (do you only learn things or practice in preparation for a comp?) There is so much music, why limit yourself to what adheres to the rules?
  3. It may highlight things you might not want to know about yourself - like the possible need to work on fear of failure or performance anxiety. Or a lack of preparation that might arise from not practicing enough.
  4. It might drive you away from needed hard work – if you think you can only be ready in time if you skip warm-ups, exercises, and etudes so you can focus on comp tunes, does that really serve you?
  5. It may make you focus on everyone else rather than on your performance (against a standard or against your own growth) – and that won’t serve you well.
  6. There are plenty of ways to share music without force fitting your music six minutes on stage! If you do need to work on performing you can play for your cat, at a local elementary school, at a library, for your church or civic group, for a bunch of friends - the list is long and the audiences are appreciative!
  7. It may divert your focus away from spending more time being creative, exploring your music and yourself.  Enjoy the time at your harp, and breathe.
So, don’t let anyone bully you into competing unless you want to! Work toward your own goals, your own growth areas, your own challenges. Popular online just now is the quote from Zenkei Shibayama, “The flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it, it just blooms." So don't compete, just bloom!

No comments: