Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Life lessons from learning the bagpipes

I recently sent a note to the parents of one of my young piping students describing some of the many life lessons a person can learn from learning the pipes.

1. the ability to learn to perform under pressure (defined as any situation where your actions can directly affect the outcome)
2. the ability to take criticism without taking it personally (despite our focus on the positives, much of learning music is about what not working so well)
3. learning to meet deadlines, so you have to work hard even when you don't feel like it
4. learning to take disappointments in stride (when the outcome is determined by stranger, i.e., competition judge, you learn that some things in life are arbitrary)
5. learning to get back up once you've feel knocked down, instead of letting it keep you down.
6. learning to set long term goals and managing your practice schedule to meet those goals by finding more immediate short term goals.
7. learning to focus on many different things at one time (there's so many things involved in playing an instrument: timing, hand position, expression, unison, dynamics).
8. learning that positive thinking often leads to positive results; negative thoughts can have a self-fulfilling element to them.
9. learning that progress is not linear; sometimes you learn a lot of things quickly, othertimes you go through plateaus where things feel stagnant.
10. you learn to be good at something!

I've added to this list over the years, some are my own ideas, some are gathered from others. A great book to help stay motivated to practice is Not Until You've Done Your Practice by Philip Johnston. It's geared toward kids, but there are great tips for pipers of any age.


Sam said...

There's probably also one that says something about the value of investing time and effort in an activity that can/will become a life-long source of enjoyment and satisfaction.

Jori Chisholm said...