The perfection of pursuit

In the education world, we teachers are so focused on results and I just wanted to share a message I recently sent to my studio:

Early on in my music education, I believed that doing well in recitals and competitions mattered most. Great performances made my mother proud, my teacher proud and it felt amazing to hear from other parents or judges that I was a ‘promising musician’. “The pursuit of perfection” – this was the maxim that I held as a child, but as I approached the professional level, it became my worst enemy.

Sometimes I would perform below average and I’d win that competition and then other competitions I would play incredibly, and lose. I still remember the day I finally understood that competitions, recitals and tests were really about, “the perfection of pursuit” instead of my previous belief of, “the pursuit of perfection”. That changed my life and pushed me to a higher level of artistry.

Our studio focuses on continual improvement which I call “the perfection of pursuit”. We are a process-driven and socially connected studio as opposed to a music studio focusing on performance perfection and test results. While those are important, what is exponentially more valuable is developing a passion for the process of continual improvement, not the achievement of perfection. Even if perfection were achievable, it would leave us feeling empty.

I would like to congratulate the six students in our studio who are participating in the competition this weekend. Your time, your focus, your hard work in and out of lessons, and your insatiable desire to always improve have made me so proud as your teacher. You already are winning because you love music and piano as much as you do. I hope you use this weekend as a chance to share your love of music with the audience. That’s the purpose of music – to share your emotions and ideas through it.

For those who may do this competition in the future, I really look forward to the journey of getting you there. If you’re not able to attend the Sunday evening competition please keep positive thoughts for our students sharing their passion for music.

Until next time,

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