Springing forward to meet a challenge.

Today marks the spring equinox, so many people are spreading hopeful messages of green growth and warmer weather.

I’ve been contemplating ways to meet difficulties as they have been cropping up.  Some are personal challenges, and others deal with the troubles students have making the connection with doing the work of practicing in order to improve.  Many of them have to do with abandoning the comfortable for the unknown (hence the image with “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”). In other words, rather than doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results (which is a possible definition for insanity), real steps must be taken to take divergent actions and react as best as we can.

This means I have to approach networking with others in different ways, students need to try out the various methods I offer regarding practicing, and I can better serve them by customizing my lessons, classes, and assignments differently for them.

Sometimes, our attempts will work, and other times, they will fail.  It’s better to find out what doesn’t work and move on to what we can do.

Once again, we may use a gardening metaphor.  Consider a seed or a bean.  It is possible for it to sit, intact, in an envelope, allowing all of its genetic information to remain contained in its little walls. A perfect little container, the seed has so much potential in it, but it must give up being a seed in order to really flourish.  It pushes through the stages of seed to seedling to plant to fruit- or vegetable-bearing plant, and it is through this process that we get to see the capacity that was once within the little seed.

Sometimes the seeds don’t make it to seedling or plant or bearing stages.  That is why gardeners plant more than one. And it’s never too late to plant the seeds (literal or metaphorical) that you have.  See the Judean date palm, thought to have been extinct in 150 CE, only to have been sprouted in 2005 from a 2,000-year-old seed. It’s never too late to bloom, or, at least, to attempt growth.

Consider what you could try doing differently that might change your life for the better, whether it’s in your music practice routine or some other area in your life.  Even if it doesn’t improve something the way you expected or hoped, you will have learned something through the experience, and you will be better for it.

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