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Set the Bar High

June 11, 2014

One of the first questions I ask new students is this:

If it’s completely up to you, what will you be doing once you graduate?

Shockingly, some of the answers given begin with phrases like, “I guess it would be okay if….”, or, “I’d be fine with…”

Similarly, after a student plays something in a lesson, I will ask what he/she thought of the performance. Often the responses include, “okay”, or “pretty good”, and the students seem satisfied.

These are big problems.

If your goal is to be average, how will you ever achieve greatness?

It’s time to start thinking big.

First-your career. Ask yourself what you really want to be doing. Not what you’d be okay with, or even what you presently think is realistic. It can be a job that already exists, or something no one has ever done before. Now instead of following a career path that someone else has for you, or worse, having no plan and hoping for the best, you have a direction. Follow that direction. You’ll be amazed where you can end up.

Second-your playing. Remember this:

Good enough isn’t.

Whether you’re working on technique or music, the goal must be the same- playing great. Be completely honest with yourself in the practice room. Never let yourself off the hook. If you work intelligently and diligently on a daily basis, you can’t help but get better and better.

It can be simple…even comfortable to set your career and playing goals low enough to be able to reach them relatively easily. It’s much more difficult, and even painful, to be honest with yourself about what you really want out of your career and playing, and then hold yourself accountable.

I promise- it’s worth it.

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