Flute Punch

Failure, Part 2: Maintain Perspective

Posted on: September 28, 2012

Every musician has a performance pie. Every time you perform, that’s another slice of the pie. Let’s say a student is in 9th grade right now, and they started playing in 5th grade. That’s 4 years, with maybe 3 performances per year, which makes the pie 12 slices large. Now let’s say we have another more experienced player who has experienced 200 performances. That’s 200 slices in the pie.

If the student experiences a failure, it feels huge – it feels like 1/12th of their pie. If the more experienced player endures a failure, that’s only 1/200th of their performance pie.

Creating and experiencing success is important for our psyches. But as I mentioned in my last post, failure is essential for learning. We can be more resilient – that is, we can learn from failure without it destroying our psyches – by gaining more performance experience. Every time we perform, we add a slice to the pie, and we decrease the percentage that failure will occupy when it does occur. In my next post, I’ll suggest ways to do this.

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