As a child I had years of piano lessons. I learned to read music, and although certainly not becoming a concert pianist, I could, with practice, play most anything on the piano. As a young adult I became infatuated with the flute after hearing a wonderful flutist playing O Holy Night. It seemed to me that if I took a few lessons, I would be able to transfer my skills as a piano player to playing the flute. After all, reading music was reading music and I could certainly read very complex music. Also, playing a flute was consistent with playing the piano because both require that you use both hands and press the appropriate “keys” to get the sound you want. I purchased a flute, found a music teacher and expected to be playing O Holy Night in a month. Unfortunately, the music teacher did nothing to help me understand that while my comparisons between the piano and the flute were correct, there is a huge, huge difference. The flute requires that you learn how to blow into the instrument correctly and to control your breathing in such a way that you can phrase the music correctly. So after several months of practicing and trying to play music that I could read, but had not skill to play, I lost confidence. As I lost confidence, I also lost interest. It seemed like an impossible task, and so, I purchased a tape full of beautiful flute solos and have become an avid listener.
I learned much from this experience. One of the most important lessons learned had to do with building confidence and that it is done by helping set benchmarks along the road to achieving the goal. It also taught me the importance of not equating confidence with success, but with following through and continuing to be resilient and work through to the end. When it came to playing the flute, I was unwilling to follow the words of wisdom from Roslyn Carter, “You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through.” Helping young people understand their unique abilities and then to help them be resilient enough to keep moving on, is possible when we have confidence in ourselves, even when we haven’t accomplished the end result (yet!)
Following are some great quotes that address confidence. Consider them as you reflect on your own performance in 2010.
- Confidence comes not from always being right, but from not fearing to be wrong." Peter T. Mcintyre
- "Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy." Norman Vincent Peale
- "Confidence is preparation. Everything else is beyond your control." Richard Kline
- "The best way to gain self-confidence is to do what you are afraid to do." Author Unknown