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Tips & Tricks – The Road to Success is Paved with Frustration

Recently two students came to me with the same concern.  “One moment I can play the piece just fine, but when I try again, it is terrible!”  Welcome to life as a musician!  This is a normal part of progressing toward your end goal.



If you are on Facebook. I am sure that you have seen this meme:

This is true for learning an instrument as well.  Sadly, progress is not linear.  When you are learning a new skill, initially you might only get it right 2/10 times.  Then, as you practice more, you will progress getting it right 3 times out of 10; then 4 times out of 10.  Eventually, you will get it right 9/10 times, possibly even 10!

Even though it feels to you like you can do it one minute and not the next (which is really happening), you actually are getting better over time.   This is much easier for your teacher to see since they only hear you once a week, instead of every day.

This is also the very reason why when you play something right once, you should not walk away, but play it again.  Being able to play the same piece correctly several times in a row is more difficult than just getting it right once.  You need to be able to get it right every time to increase the chance of getting it right in performance or for your teacher.

I wish it were the case that every time you played something it got a little bit better, but sadly, it is not.  It will be good one time, and bad the next, you just have to trust that over time you really are improving.

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