Thursday, February 19, 2009

To Error is to Learn....

I play the tuba. I’ve played the tuba since I was 13 years old and I’ve been in band for just as long. In Norway, playing in band is a much bigger hobby than it is here in the US. I’m not talking about rock bands, I’m talking about concert/marching/brass bands. In every city across Norway, there is at least 1 such band (usually more if you count the junior bands, school bands etc), and in the larger cities you find multiple adult bands as well as the ones for younger musicians.

People who aren’t familiar with bands tend to think that we only play once a year, which is on May 17th. May 17th is Norway’s equivalent of July 4th, all the marching bands play in parades across the country, big parades, small parades, it’s really a sight to be seen.
We do, however, perform a lot more than once a year. In between Christmas concerts and May 17th parades, a large portion of our time goes to rehearse and compete in regional as well as national band competitions. The big competition is the Norwegian Championship, where stakes are high, our nerves are on edge and we’ve practiced our pieces so much, we basically know them by heart.

I’m bringing up my background in band because after my accidental deletion of my blogs yesterday, I have been reminded of a very clever statement that one of my music conductors once told us prior to a competition.
It’s a statement I’ve carried with me ever since and that has been useful in so many situations, not only in music, but in life.
He said something along these lines:
“If you play a wrong note or make a mistake, don’t dwell on it! The mistake has already been made, it can’t be fixed, just think forward and concentrate on playing the rest of the piece.”

And he is right. What can you do? You can’t go back in time and fix it. And if your mind is stuck on that error you made, then the rest of your performance will also be a disaster. Instead of beating yourself up over the mistake you made, try learning from it.
You won’t move forward if you keep looking back.

Let’s say you’re visiting a friend who lives in an area you are unfamiliar with.
You miss the freeway exit that leads to your friend’s place. If you keep staring back at the freeway ramp you were supposed to be exiting, thinking of nothing but how you missed your exit, you will most likely end up in a car accident because you are unfocused and not looking ahead. Most likely, you will also pass the following freeway exit and maybe even the one after it, constantly moving further away from your intended destination and making things a lot worse than they could have been.

Instead of this chaos, you could stop thinking about the exit that has already passed and start looking ahead to the next one. In the process, you will familiarize yourself with a new geographical area that reaches beyond your intended destination. If this is the first time you’ve ever missed a freeway exit, it most likely will not be your last, so you are now learning how to handle that situation should it arise in the future. Once you focus forward, several possibilities to remedy the situation will appear before you. Will you drive on to the freeway leading in the opposite direction to catch the right exit? Will you try to parallel the freeway through side streets to find your way back? Either way, your mistake can be nothing but beneficial to you and in the end, I’m sure you’ll still manage to find your friend’s house. (Also, you’ll probably never miss that exit again!)

Over the past 24 hours or so, I’ve remembered several great blogs that I wrote & that were lost due to yesterday’s moment of blondness (I can say that, because I’m actually blonde….lol)
When I think of these posts, I groan and sigh and tear my hair out for awhile. But why do I go back there? It’s done! I’m in this situation right now, there’s no going back.
Can I rewrite the blogs that I remember the topic of? Sure! And who knows, they may even turn out better the second time around. And many of those blogs may not be worth rewriting, in which case they probably not have been posted in the first place.

When all is said and done, I blog because I love to write. Now I’ve created an opportunity for myself to start from scratch. That may not be a bad thing.

So why do I bring up freeway exits, band competitions and clever words of wisdom? I needed to attach a positive connotation to blogging, as opposed to the negative one that was currently overshadowing everything else. Several times today I’ve been staring at a blank page with a blank mind because all I could think of when the word “blog” came to mind was all the blogs that are gone and that’s not the way I wanted to proceed.

Now I’m back on the fabled horse. It’ll probably try to buck me off again, but the fall should be a lot softer next time.

And although I’ve vowed not to look back, there’s one back I definitely should be focusing on moving forward… and that would be the backup.

(Cheezy? I thought so…. ;-) )

1 comment:

Bliss said...

That's a great attitude to have in almost every situation. Thanks for that bit of motivation on this busiest day of my work week!