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What Does “Success” Mean In Relation To Performing Music for a Hobbyist?

‘Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming’ Coach John Wooden

‘Never try to be better than someone else, learn from them but always try to be the best that you can become, because that is what is within your control’  Coach John Wooden

John Wooden was one of the most legendary coaches in the sport of basketball. What is so interesting about him is that many of his basketball teams were highly successful in the traditional sense of ‘winning’ multiple games and tournaments even though he hardly talked to them about winning. Instead his focus with each athlete was on what they needed to do to be as prepared as possible for each game. His thinking was that if a person had prepared their best and tried the hardest of which they were capable, then that was the definition of success because there is no more that you can ask a person to do than that.

We wanted to share his line of thinking with you as we know that sometime students measure their success in a Performance by the number of mistakes they do or don’t make.

In other words, they apply the standards of professional musicians onto their hobbyist shoulders. If you have been thinking this way, we recommend you change this as soon as you can.

What we would like you to gain from taking part in the Performance is so much more than whether you make mistakes or not. We want you to:

  • have an opportunity to challenge yourselves by taking to the stage
  • share what you do with your friends and family
  • have fun playing music with different people
  • learn to develop poise and perform even when you feel nervous
  • grow from the experience no matter what level your playing is at
  • learn from it no matter how your playing goes
  • develop in self confidence
  • focus on your own journey -what matters is where you are now compared to when you began
  • learn how to keep playing even when you make mistakes

On Performance day if you truly:

  • have done the best preparation you could for your pieces
  • tried your hardest on the day

then you have done everything within your control to be the best you could be on the day. You have achieved success and that is something to be proud of.  

We wish you all the best for a successful, enjoyable and fulfilling Performance!


Daniel Jacobson Ultimate School of Music www.ultimateschoolofmusic.ie