Musical Musings

Sharing musical thoughts and ideas.

Grit Series - The Unapologetic Unicorn

Tuesday, October 12, 2021 by Paula Augustine | Parent Article

What is the Unapologetic Unicorn?

Our growth mindset focus will be the Unapologetic Unicorn. Stay with me on this! 

Have you every run across this at your house?

They go to start playing a piece, moving their hands across the keys play a wrong note and say “sorry, sorry!” Once they find their starting spot, they play a few bars before you hear “ugh”, then “oh, no…” and then a sigh and then another “sorry” at the end.

The Flagrant Unicorn doesn't apologize for getting glitter all over when practicing their magic doesn't work right. 

Children learn from a very early age to say 'sorry' when they do something wrong, but making a mishap when practicing their magical powers of playing their instrument is not the same thing!  There’s nothing to excuse when you play a wrong note. It’s part of the magical learning process and part of the performance process.

There are no mistakes, only happy little accidents. - Bob Ross

Your student will make many mistakes while learning a piece and this is nothing to apologize for. For some students practice can develop a negative association and putting on the cloak of apologizing for mistakes may contribute to this negative association.  Constant apologizing for practicing may also lead to a low self-esteem.

While students get their glitter all over when practicing we will be learning how to enjoy the process. With joy students can laugh at their mishaps. We may take a wrong note and make something new out of it. We may simply point out the fact that the composer did an awesome job choosing the notes in the piece, they sound really good. But, most important, we will learn practice is never perfect. Practice is a journey and there will always be something to improve.

Let your students unapoligetically make mistakes. This is all part of growing as a musician.