"You miss 100% of the shots you never take." --Wayne Gretzky
A month or so ago, my 11 year old son had an audition. He is in his first year of learning to play the Tuba and wanted to try out for the Middle School Honor Band in our area. This is a feat not often attempted by 6th graders because they are so new to their instruments. But with the help of the world’s greatest private instructor, my son set the goal and worked hard to achieve it by faithfully practicing for an hour every night.
There were many hard days, but when he’d hit a wall, I wouldn’t let him quit. I’d encourage him to go to his room for a scream and a cry and come back to it in a few hours. This went on for 2 or 3 months as he learned all his scales and audition literature.
The week of the audition, he doubled his practice to 2 hours a night and was starting to feel confident.
Then it happened.
Then it happened.
On the eve of audition, his mouthpiece broke. He practiced on his backup mouthpiece, but it was slightly different and seemed to erase weeks of work in his tone and ability to reach the high notes. He was understandably frustrated and had to go to his room to blow off steam many times that night.
On the morning of the audition, after a few unsuccessful attempts at a 2 octave scale, he set the Tuba down and informed me that he wasn’t going to audition. “It’s just too much,” he said. “Why bother auditioning if I’m just going to fail? I’m not going to make it with this stupid mouthpiece; I’m not!”
I panicked and regret to say that I was a little too blunt in my reply at first. But after a few harsh words about quitters and losers, I rallied and started talking to him about overcoming trials.
No one has ever achieved their goals without a severe trial that tempted them to quit. But winners don’t quit! Trials are God’s way of weeding out the morons. If you really want it, you’ll just show up and do your best, regardless of the result.
We went anyway, and he played an excellent audition. It was enough for first chair in the top band. He is the Principal Middle School Tubist in the county, and he almost didn’t even show up to claim his prize!
Never let a trial defeat you! It is just that…a TRIAL to prove how much you want it. Don’t fail the test. Don’t despair. Just show up and play on any old mouthpiece!