The Virtues of Stage Fright

Stage fright isn't reserved for the big shows. It happens in the jam, at the open mic, and even during the lesson. Whenever you're putting yourself out there or on the line, butterflies, cold sweats, and that sinking feeling in your gut are very likely to pay a visit.

How do you overcome stage fright?

I don't think that's the right question, and even if there was a cure-all solution, I'd assert it wouldn't be wise to apply it.

The problem isn't stage fright, the problem is your relationship with it.

The arrival of stage fright lets you know that you're about to do something that matters and is worth it. It's a tap on the shoulder that says, "Hey. Pay attention. This is important."

So, the first thing to change about your relationship with stage fright is to stop resisting it and start thanking it. "Oh. Thanks for the reminder. Yeah. This is important. I do need to pay attention!"

Acknowledging stage fright's purpose and contribution helps to make it a welcome friend rather...

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Want to Improve? Embrace Failure!

guitar playing Aug 13, 2018

Maybe you've seen the Will Smith video, Fail Early, Fail Often, Fail Forward?

As an advancing musician or teacher (or any other artistic or creative practitioner), you must always reach just beyond your abilities and experience. Seeking the edges and pushing the envelope is equally exciting and terrifying. And it is the only way to improve.

Failing and mistakes must be not only an accepted part of the process, but invited and welcomed. Failure and mistakes are opportunities. Chances to identify and improve. And failures and mistakes lead to further discoveries.

Don't shy away from challenges, embrace them. Recognize your failures. Name your mistakes. Identify the source, improve your skills and keep pushing.

The path to progress is not easy, but it's worth it!

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Those Who Think Others Can Too

guitar teaching Aug 11, 2018

I found this phrase on the tag of a teabag while enjoying a cup that Lisa prepared for me. It has become the foundation of my teaching philosophy and practice, not to mention my response to those who believe that those who can, do while those who can’t, teach (usually credited to George Bernard Shaw).

Unfortunately, there are teachers who validate the later claim. I know, I’ve inherited many of their causalities. Students who experienced incompetent instructors or, more frightening, badgering, bullying and worse by teachers describing themselves as “demanding.” I myself have been on the receiving end of both ends of the bad teacher spectrum. Fortunately, I’ve also had some really great teachers who were knowledgeable, competent, patient and encouraging. They are my role models.

Teachers leave a lasting legacy in the students they teach and communities they serve. Good teachers honor and respect not only their craft but...

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10 Essentials for Thriving as a Guitar Player or Teacher

The life of a guitarist is fraught with challenges. Are you ready to stress less as a guitar player or teacher? Here are ten essential principles to help you cultivate well-being and prosperity at any stage or level of your guitar playing or teaching journey!