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If You're Not Failing, You're Not Growing: Here's Why

Musicians who want to excel often feel daunted by failures. Exiting a stage in the wake of an embarrassing, or inferior solo performance is one of the worst emotions a budding student can experience. In fact, there’s only two responses to that occurrence, you either become so discouraged that you decide to pursue some other outlet, or the shame inspires you to overcome your failure.

Students who have a deep passion for performing music must understand that choosing music as a career doesn’t just involve practice. Learning to embrace your fiascos and change your thinking regarding disappointments is crucial. Successful people know that if you aren’t failing, you aren’t growing as a performer.

Changing Your Outlook

Experts agree that your attitude plays an important role in whether you succeed or fail. Failures, rather than being something to “get over,” should be viewed as a learning opportunity. According to Stanford professor Tina Seelig, you should look at complications as new ways to expand your ability, and view obstructions as chances to build your skills.

Professional (and aspiring professional) athletes understand the value of examination. They watch films of games not only to help predict what their opponents might do, but to also see what they did right and wrong. By investigating your failures, you can isolate and correct problems.

However, if you look at your failures as a humiliation, you'll create more obstacles in your learning process. When you consider them opportunities to learn, they will make you stronger.

Ego Needs to Go

A few reasons it’s so hard for performers to overcome really big mess ups is because of the nature of activity and an artist’s personality. Playing music in front of an audience takes a special sort of bravado. Yet, many musicians intertwine their ability to play music with their self-image. That creates major barriers to your learning process.

You need to be able to separate your music from who you are. View it as work. For example, how many teachers, writers, or retail attendants do you know who use their job to define them? Probably very few. However, artists often have a hard time detaching from their work. When you can do that though, you’re able to view successes and failures objectively. Both provide important information. The manner in which you are able to interpret any issues you have will go a long way towards accomplishing your goals.

Very few people are gifted with an extraordinary talent. The rest of us have to struggle to develop skills. If you think that you have God-given expertise, it's likely you’ll avoid failure at all costs. Failures prove otherwise. Don't be limited by a particular mindset.

Michael Jordan, one of the world’s finest basketball players, was cut from his high school team. When speaking of his rise to fame, he said that he “failed over, and over, and over again… and that’s why I succeed.” Understand that your abilities will only expand through perseverance and exertion. Once you’re able to let go of your ego, you’ll grow as a musician.

Don’t Scrap Your Judgement

Judgement is a big part of being a musician. When you preform, you are judged by yourself and others. The key to remember here is that you can either damage your skills or improve them by the way your judgement interprets your failures.

For example, if you are having difficulty learning a certain element or measure in a piece, it can make you more tense while playing. Tension creates more problems, and before you know it, you’ve shifted your focus from execution to yourself. That will cause more failure.

However, by using your judgement to fire your determination, it can produce positive results. If you’re having problems, they can be turned into motivation instead of discouragement.

Know You’re Going to Fail

If you want to become a master musician or develop a professional career, know that you must fail. If you don’t, you’ll never advance beyond the skill set you have right now.

Know that you’re going to fail and prepare yourself to analyze your disasters. Ask yourself what you did wrong and how you could have done it right. Look for examples from other musicians and see how they overcame their specific challenges.

When you follow the path of any worthwhile pursuit, you have fail to grow. In fact, failing just proves how determined you are to succeed. To ensure that you make progress, build and learn from the things you do wrong. In the same way you would use a textbook, write things down, search for solutions, and try again. Once you start messing up and can embrace your failures, you’ll know that you’re on the road to success.

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