Monday, October 06, 2014

I Completely Fell Apart

Another true-life lesson, shared in hopes it teaches you something that you don't need to learn the hard way, like I did.

I played trombone in my high school band and orchestra.

It never felt like I was all that talented as a musician, but since I moved up to first chair and eventually my band director encouraged me to enter a regional solo competition, I suppose I was good enough.

However, that Saturday morning in Canton, Ohio, in a school room when my piano accompanist got to the place where I was to come in, I cracked.

Suddenly, my memory was gone.  I had practiced.  I had rehearsed.  I had memorized, but when it was my turn to perform, I lost everything.  My embouchure collapsed.

I didn't play very much, and what I did play was terrible.  I had sounded better in my very first lesson many years before.

I wanted to run and hide as the pianist played her part perfectly.

What I learned:  it's not enough to "prepare." 

From then on, I vowed to always OVER-prepare.

Prepare beyond being ready, beyond knowing your part, past perfect execution.

How did it work out?  A few years later, auditioning for my university band and orchestra, I made the cut.  I've won more than my share of broadcast awards in the intervening years as well.

My hope:  you never have to go through the complete humiliation I had to experience as an adolescent in order to learn how crucial over-prep on everything is.

 I've always wondered what and who (click to read his parents' story if you're not aware of it) it took for the likes of Richard Sherman or Russell Wilson (another powerful tale) to learn that lesson at such a young age.

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