Friday, November 9, 2012

Don't Fear Being Wrong

Hi gang,

This morning while waiting for the moka pot to finish my second cup of coffee, I got out my grandfather's fiddle, as I often do while the pot heats, and played a tune that I recently learned on the flute. Now, the fiddle is SO not my first instrument. It took me several times through before I was enjoying it at all. And that doesn't mean anyone else would be enjoying it even then. If you play music you know exactly what I mean. 

Thinking about what was going on - my inability to play the notes I wanted - I noticed that playing a note on the fiddle is WAY easier than playing a note on the flute. The problem with the fiddle is ALL the notes are equally easy to play. The problem is not playing A note. It's playing THE note. 

By contrast, once you can play notes on the flute, opening and closing a finger hole pretty much gets you into the ballpark. Not so with the fiddle. It will - and does - play any note within it's range quite happily, and your problem is not to play the right note, but to avoid playing the wrong notes. 

Fast forward a few hours into my day. I may have just sat down with the third cup of coffee, I don't remember. But following a few clicks around the web looking for something else, I stumbled upon this talk from the 2011 TED conference. I've always enjoyed these talks and encourage you to randomly sample some others from their web site. There are MANY! But I digress...

This particular one is entertaining and pertinent to just about any human endeavor, including playing music. So many people fear playing in public, especially at the early stage of their music. Why? Fear of failure. Fear of being wrong. You know what? It's not that bad. Of course, if you suck, keep learning until you don't suck. But really sucking is way different from being able to play a tune perfectly at any speed. You don't need to be error-free to have fun playing in a session or for relatives. You just need to share what music you do have. The act of sharing can never be wrong.

Here's the video, enjoy!  Carey