If music teachers were asked what they hear most often when a student plays less than "well," it is "I could do it at home, I don't know why I can't do it now." <Insert pouty-face here>

This is no mere excuse. Excuses come more in the form of "I can't do it; it's too hard; I didn't have time…" And that last one always causes me to roar with laughter, which tends to frighten the children, but if they think I'm that stupid, they deserve to be frightened. I then reel-off the schedules of the students who have made all-region, area and all-state, some will keeping a 4.0 GPA and working a part-time job, have a Black Belt, serve in their church, etc. etc.

The frustrated student who "got it right" at home (how many times? how many attempts were not right?) hasn't comprehended the "consistency" factor, or "persistent and unavoidable perfection."

Yes, I know, I know! OY! We've told them for years how to make it "perfect" every time and under every circumstance (I do, so I assume other teachers do, too.), but they really don't believe us. xBox and Wii are easy, playing an instrument must be just as easy, right?

Right. Now pull out the rest of those baby teeth and leave them under your pillow.

We're going to explore "persistent and unavoidable perfection" over the next several weeks. Stay tuned.


It's been about 12 hours now, and I am genuinely irritated. Do you realize how many times I've said the same words to each student, each week or each day, over and over and over, and nothing changes?!?

I've taught the SAME LESSON over and over, never getting to explore new territory with students because you must master one level before moving to the next. Key Words: YOU. MASTER. Not "my teacher tells me and I listen but don't make anything change, I just hope I can do better."

Hope and change. How's that workin' out for ya?

And what is it you have to master? Nope, that's not it.

It's "you." The horn remains the same. It's you that changes. Did you notice what navigation tab you're under? "Training." What athletes do. Well,  those that win do. And they do it daily. Research anyone who has achieved something great. You will find they worked at it every day, usually for hours and hours. Obsessively. Daily. Moving to higher levels of accomplishment and deeper levels of understanding.

The  factors in "success" come down to concepts that are not new:

Vince Lombardi:

The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender.

Bobby Knight

Winning is not a sometime thing; it's an all time thing. You don't win once in a while, you don't do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Most people have the will to win, few have the will to prepare to win.

The key is not the will to win… everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.

Babe Ruth:

Yesterday's home runs don't win today's games.

John Wooden:

Don't measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.

The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.

Calvin Coolidge:
Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.

Woody Hayes:

Paralyze resistance with persistence.
Napoleon Hill:
Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.
Persistence is to the character of man as carbon is to steel.
Denis Waitley:
Success is almost totally dependent upon drive and persistence. The extra energy required to make another effort or try another approach is the secret of winning.
Let me add something implied in all the above: It's every day. EVERY DAY! One very famous trumpet player told me years ago that the first thing he did each morning was warm-up and practice for about an hour, and then had breakfast. The last thing he did each night was warm-down. He slept about 6 hours each night (less than most if us need), so for 20+ years he never went for more than 6 hours without playing his trumpet.
Oh yea, but he was great player, right, so he could do that. No, he was a great player because he did that.
Up Next:
Rafael Mendez.

You think training for trumpet is tough….?

Download Call of Duty Black Ops now!

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