Lighting Your Fire to Play

This week I go recruiting for our private lesson program at Homewood Flossmoor High School. For years, speaking in front of anyone was very difficult. However, just doing it again and again, has helped me get over it.

Because it is not about me.

I am on a mission to help each one of these students realize that the most important thing they can do right now is develop themselves. Develop curiosity. Develop passion. Develop skill. Develop sensitivity. Develop their love of music.

When I go to the high school, students sit staring at me. Some look happy, some look bored, some look distracted.

But I hope that something I will say to them will make them want to pick up their violin, viola, cello or bass more frequently (every day they eat would be preferable J ) and work at playing.

I love that phrase.

Work at playing! It sounds like fun, because it is! Our playing, yes even PRACTICING, gives us time by ourselves to develop skill, express ourselves and even have fun!

When I speak to them, I look into their eyes and give them what I have found to be some of the “secret steps” to succeed, to grow, to progress.


1.Decide to do it.

2. Get rid of excuses such as “I am not talented,”” I am not smart”,” I don’t have time.””” I might fail”. ”The end of the sentence “I am” should never be about anything except the good you are and hope to be.

3. Work with teachers/mentors who can help you acquire the skill and develop habits you need.

4.Practice : refer to #1 and find a way to incorporate practice into your life.

5.Let go of perfection and beating yourself up. Get resilient. If you fail, so what? Try again!  This process of acquiring skill can take a LONG time. For high schoolers, some of the very best years for developing and acquiring skill are the next 10. And every day matters. And every day and every minute offers the opportunity to begin again.

6.Be a good friend and you’ll make good friends. (You can even practice music together!)

7.Let go of negativity and awfulizing.

8.Don’t give up. If you don’t make an A, if you don’t get the audition, so what? If you have a song to sing, keep singing. Don’t just hope and dream. Get going!

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