Baby Steps

We all go through times when we feel overwhelmed. Learning a challenging new piece (or pieces) of music, overcoming a challenging technical deficiency in our playing, preparing an audition list, or balancing all of the aspects of our careers and life. It can be hard to know where to start.

What about Bob? is a classic comedy. In it, Dr. Leo Marvin (Richard Dreyfuss) advises Bob Wiley (Bill Murray) to use baby steps to over come his fears. Watch for yourself:

We would be good to use the same approach to our fears, challenges, and difficulties. “[Set] small, reasonable goals for yourself one day at a time. One tiny step at a time.”

This applies to us in many ways. For example, trying to increase the speed of one’s multiple tonguing. The baby step approach would be performing an exercise three times correctly at a specific metronome marking and then going to a tempo 1-2 clicks faster. Each set is a baby step. It takes patience, but the cumulative effect is a positive repetition done dozens and dozens of times. This is effectively training our brains to execute this correctly – consistently. The same pattern applies to learning new music, preparing excerpts, etc.

In the future, don’t allow yourself to feel overwhelmed. Chose to act. Take baby steps to get through it.

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