Mistakes are Opportunities

Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.
Bruce Lee


I’ve written often about how important mistakes are in the learning process. Not just mistakes, but what you do with them once you discover them. That “discover them” part is the most important. If you discover them in the practice room, you’ve just stumbled on a place that needs attention and focused effort for improvement. All of the professional musicians I’ve been interviewing for my next book say that they do not let mistakes pass by without being fixed. Some stop immediately, some stop after the run or passage is over, but all of them fix what is wrong, even if it’s a tiny mistake and only they will notice it.

If you discover them in your jazz combo during a performance, they’re not mistakes any more, they’re opportunities for communication. Here’s a wonderful video by jazz vibraphonist Stefon Harris explaining and demonstrating this idea. Happy winter celebrations everyone!

Want to learn more about the best ways to practice? Get an e-mail with a discount code when The Practice of Practice is published (June, 2014). To learn more about the book, check out a sample from The Practice of Practice.

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