October 18, 2018
Tell me, 2 aka THAT note

February 11, 2017
Tell me, 2
aka That note

“… tell me the things that will, undoubtedly, disgust, disturb, frighten and sadden me.”

If any of you read last week’s blog, you might remember this statement.

It is a conversation that could take place in the practice room. Sure we all love to bask in the glory of accomplishment and should definitely celebrate and acknowledge our progress and achievements (YAY!!!!) but there is work to be done, growth to pursue, processes to develop, and progress to be made.

Growth Mindset-Fixed Mindset

Let’s go to the source for a deeper understanding.
Please read then continue with the blog if you so choose.


Now, back to those disgusting, frightening things I mentioned earlier.
Accomplishment, you are valuable to me, you are appreciated, I am grateful for you. You help me strive even when I feel discouraged. Accomplishment, you make me happy!

Challenges, not- yet- theres, oh, I have different feelings about you. You frustrate me, make me feel bad about myself, make me worry day and night that I’m not good enough, not talented enough, not smart enough.
Why can’t I get this? Why does my teacher keep telling me the same things (I’m paying good money for this lesson, lady!) But, I thought about it in my practice. But, I’m thinking about it now. But, I get it. But, I thought I was doing it.

But, I know this.
the know word (no?)

Pretend mini-lesson taught by mg, taught to mg
mg 1-I appreciate that you know. It is one of the reasons I was drawn to you-your keen intellect. You are smart and capable and grasp concepts quickly. I love your brain and admire it. You do know things.

mg 2 – But, why can’t I do it? I’M TRYING AS HARD AS I CAN.

the try word

mg 1- Set an accomplishable task and do it.

But, I am trying.

Then you’re not doing.
But I’m am trying so hard.

trying doing trying doing trying doing trying doing-AGHHHHHH

STOP this mania.

Please read this article and then continue with blog if you so choose.


These days I downsize Yoda’s advice, “Do or do not. There is no try” to the one essential thing –


Think, understand, try,


This might be the most fun part of practicing-looking at things close up yet objectively, then rolling up the sleeves and diving into the trenches.
Yet barrier emotions can get into the trenches, too.

Good work, mg, nice crescendo. Egads, mg, what happened on that note though? Mg might be soooo freaked out by that note that she could choose to look the other way-nothing to see here- and keep pouring in air for that crescendo. There, there, there, me- I am good-whew…starting to get a little freaked out there. Did you hear my crescendo? Wasn’t it good? Wasn’t it loud? Wasn’t it a crescendo?

Or, you can honor your crescendo then look closer at that note. Get up to the mirror of that note and examine it. Does it have bumps, does it have hiccups, does it sound sour or shrill, does it have a screechy quality or a quality that sounds like overcooked noodles? Better get to the bottom of this- I will feel relieved if I can make at least a little alteration to that note, have a thought that affects my practice so I can form an effective practice strategy. I had better get on that note since I am going to eventually take that note on stage and present it to you. If I serve it soggy you’re going to want your ‘that note’ served al dente and might send it back to the kitchen.

Why not look as closely as possible at the things that we are challenged by in the practice room, take the time, take the time, take the time, take the time, take the time, take the time, take the time (ooh, that was fun to type) and then take the time;) and step up to the challenges. Maybe not ten challenges at a time- how about one? Make a vow to grow that note, learn about that note, learn about that note’s back story (notes that came before) and the future of that note (notes that come afterward) and most especially while getting to know that note, what it stands for in the actual moment it is heard-the now. If I fret too much about the past in performance or practice I am not in the doing phase-I’m usually in the regret phase-it’s not very often that while on stage I am spending time thinking about how awesome the last phrase was-ok, actually that never, ever happens. I have spent time, though, fretting over what is coming. Of course while I fretted I screwed up the note I was supposed to be with.
Oh, why did I spend time dreading something that wasn’t even real (lived in my future fear mind)-like the monsters that lived under my bed as a child that had spectacular abilities to flee the moment light entered the room. If only I had popped on a light in the middle of the night and bravely peered under the bed my brain may have developed a lot more. Now I’m stuck with this brain that was sure my dolls were watching me (they weren’t watching me, right????) I recommend this light tactic, by the way. Flip on your light in practice and take a look under the bed. Dust up those bunnies, discover lost ear buds, find a scarf you thought you had lost long ago and hope not to find a Texas size hideous insect.


Instead of all that regret or fear, how about focusing on the now – the present, yes the present as in gift.

The one thing we can actually do is what we are actually doing.

The joy in the present is that when we are doing we are making modifications, having micro realizations or macro breakthroughs and we enable our growth. We don’t have to chant to the growth mindset fairies in hopes of developing, or try so hard to get better, or think we’re doing, or wish we were better, or make excuses because we’re actually rather busy getting work done to waste all that energy and time thinking that we’re trying or thinking that we already know or thinking that we’re thinking or, well you get it, right?

If I stay with that note, flip it around, get to the bottom of the challenge and for me, the most important part, is figure out the whys of the challenge then maybe I’ll get a little wise and work smarter. If I work smarter I just may develop that note into something that lives in the moment it was played (be gone you petty regret and dread.) If I work with that note I will make progress (maybe two steps forward one back or two back but progress can look like a wreck-it camouflages in the darndest ways). So, trying and frustration could you please get out of my practice? I’m busy doing.

All that pasta talk made me hungry. I’m thinking about pasta. That sounds good to me. Oops, almost got caught up in my web of pasta thoughts. Right now, I’m off to the kitchen to start the actual act of boiling water-one step closer to the Aglio E Olio of my dreams.