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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Accepting Your Limitations is the First Step Towards Improvement

Andrew Hitz

"The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change."
-Carl Rogers

This quote applies to all aspects of life and all aspects of being a musician.

My favorite definition of acceptance comes from Tara Brach. She says that acceptance requires two things: clear vision and compassion.

So first, you have to clearly recognize what you can and can not do as a musician. Second, you must not pass judgement on yourself for any shortcomings.

Identify your shortcomings and then make a plan towards improving them. Judging yourself for those shortcomings is simply ego and will not help you to reach any of your goals.

If you are a band director and struggle with speaking too much from the podium, simply recognize that fact without judging yourself and then see if you see any improvement after trying a few things.

If you are a string quartet who is having trouble getting gigs, simply recognize that it is an issue and then try some different things and see what works.

If you have a website that is not getting very much traffic, noticing that problem is the first step. Then simply try a few things and see what gets you the traffic you seek.

As Mr. Rogers said in the quote above, the curious paradox comes from having to accept (and notice!) things exactly how they are in order to know what to change.