You Can’t Improve Without Taking Risks

As I mentioned in my last post, today, I attended an All State flute workshop at the University of Northern Iowa, led by professor Angeleita Floyd. After the master class portion, Dr. Floyd asked anyone who wanted some individual work done on their solo, to come up to the front where she would pair us off with one of her students. Initially, I was going to stay within my comfort-zone, which was staying glued to my seat in the back of the room. Why would I risk looking like a pathetic and crappy player in front of someone I knew would be so much better than me?

I’m the type of person who wants to do well, especially when it comes to playing the flute. During my private lessons, my goal was to always impress my teacher. I wanted her to think that I was a good player. Because of this, I was always playing it safe and I didn’t take risks. This really held me back as a player, and the moment I realized this, I knew how wrong I had been. I had no reason to feel embarrassed for messing up in front of my own teacher. After all, it’s the mistakes that we learn from the most!

In life, you’re never going to get better unless you risk making mistakes or looking stupid. Even if you crash and burn, you will learn from it! You’ll never grow as a player, or as a person for that matter, if you aren’t willing to risk embarrassing yourself. You have to go for it!

In case you’re wondering, I ended up leaving the comfort of my seat, and I was fortunate enough to get to work with Dr. Floyd. However, it was up to me  if I was going to make this opportunity worthwhile. The key to this, was going for it. I played with confidence and the mentality that I wouldn’t be perfect. I didn’t need to play perfect for someone who was going to critique me to improve my skills. What I did need to do though, was take a risk and play with confidence in myself. I did mess up a little bit, but it provided a great opportunity for her to give me new insight on technique that I wouldn’t have received otherwise. Embrace situations in which you could potentially fail, because chances are, you will learn and grow from them!




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