Back in November, I wrote a blog post entitled “How to Have a Confident Audition”. This post was inspired by the fact that four of my best students were preparing for auditions at popular magnet schools in our area. All four of the kids went through the audition. Each worked really hard and felt that they did very well (no major mishaps). I honestly feel that all of them are good enough to be able to “cut it” in these programs, but the statistics say that only one in five students will be accepted.
Why am I writing this today? Because today is the day the emails go out. I certainly hope all four of my students will get accepted to the school of their choice, but if they don’t, I have to help them recover and carry on with their musical studies. Because they are too good to quit. I need to help them shake it off and carry on. It won’t be easy. I tried hard to lay the groundwork for a successful audition experience regardless of the outcome.
I know this will certainly help if any of my students receive an email saying they did not make it into their choice school. But nothing can take away the stinging blow of rejection. Especially since this whole process is so “hyped” in Palm Beach County. All of the students will receive the emails today and they will all be texting, calling, and even SM-ing the results. Four out of five kids are going to be publicly crushed and very disappointed today. I wish it were not so but it’s something we have to deal with here. I know teachers in other areas also have to deal type of thing.
If there is a silver lining to this cloud, every year I have students that go through this process. I have even been through disappointing audition outcomes with my own boys. So I know it’s going to be OK, and this is what I share with my students who are not chosen for the art schools.
Disappointment is not the end of the world.
First of all, I tell them that I am so proud of them for trying. They are already winners because they had the nerve to try. This, in and of itself, sets them apart. After that, I share with them my own experiences of disappointments and encourage them not to give up. I have been doing this for so long that I have several students who did not make it into an art program but have gone on to major in music and have successful careers. I share fact this with my students as well. I do whatever I can to try and help them through the feeling of disappointment.
After that, I drop it. We choose some new pieces and get down to work. I have never had a student completely fall apart because of the results of an art school audition. For that I am thankful. I must say that am not crazy about this whole process. The art schools in Palm Beach County are excellent, but there’s a lot of pressure for children trying to get in and stay in them once they have been accepted. Luckily, children are resilient. If the adults around them handle the situation in a calm and supportive manner, it has been my experience that they bounce back and do just fine.
Recitals and Performances
Just as auditions don’t always turn out well sometimes recitals don’t either. As a teacher, I do my best to prepare my students to have a great experience but sometimes nerves or other things get in the way. I remember my first performance, I was trying to accompany my Girl Scout troop and I totally messed up.
If a student has an upsetting performance I remind them that it’s all part of the game. I tell them that now they are part of the ‘club’ because all of us musicians have had some bloopers along the way.
I remind them jokingly that we are musicians, not physicians we may make mistakes but no one ever gets hurt. I tell them they are awesome for getting up there and trying. A lot of adults would be afraid to do even that.
And then I drop it.
Onward and upward.
What I really want my piano students to know.
I am so proud of all of my students and their families. I am blessed to have such a great job and work with such great students and families!
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