Sunday, December 7, 2014

Am I Good Enough ?

Here's another chapter from my book, "Quiet Determination, unlocking the gates to unlimited success!"

It was early December,on a Tuesday afternoon,Emmanuel was seated at the piano,during his weekly lesson with Miss Jameson. He had been taking lessons for about six months now an due was starting to really enjoy it.
Miss Jameson looked at him and said,
"You know Emmanuel, I see that you're turning out to be quite a good little pianist already. You're not child prodigy, but you do show much promise as a musician. I think I'm going to have you perform at my annual student recital this spring. I usually wait until my students have had at least two or three years experience under their belt, but you've progressed so quickly,I think you're up for the challenge."

"What's a recital,"asked Emmanuel?

"That's where you,and all of my other students play in front your parents, and all of the parents of my other students. Of course your friends and relatives are all invited to attend as well."

Unknown to Emmanuel at the time, the one thing you can always count on,when it comes to piano lessons -any lessons involving the performing arts for that matter- is that there is always going to be some kind of public performance at sometime during the year. It's usually in spring or around Christmas time.

Recitals serve four different purposes.
1. The main purpose of recitals is to spotlight the student.It acknowledges their hard work,talent,and dedication. Most of all it builds their self-confidence and self esteem, all of which are invaluable qualities necessary to help their character as they mature into adulthood.
2. Recitals show parents that their money was well spent
3. Recitals are the teacher's proof to the parents,by way of their child's performance,that he/she is in fact a fantastic teacher.
4. In that goals number 2 and 3 above are met,recitals preserve the teacher's cash flow.

"Oh,I don't know if I can do that Miss Jameson? I've never performed in public before". Do you really think I'm good enough?

Miss Jameson beamed with pride and encouragement,as she rested her hand gently on his shoulder," I think that you are a remarkable young man. I have every confidence that you will perform magnificently! I know that you can do it.I also know that your parents will be extremely proud of you!"

The praises she had given,coupled with the faith that Miss Jameson's had in him, filled Emmanuel with excitement and confidence. He didn't want to disappoint his teacher nor his parents,so he set about practicing even more diligently everyday, not worrying that this was the first time that he was ever going to be playing in public; on a big stage;in a big auditorium; on a huge twelve foot grand piano… with people watching!

Before you know it the recital came and went. Emmanuel was a great hit. While taking his bows, while acknowledging the standing ovation from the audience, he felt so elated. He realized that all his hard work had paid off handsomely.He was brimming with pride, and a sense of great accomplishment. His spirits soared like a mighty Alaskan eagle, gliding so smoothly, so effortlessly above the mountain tops, surveying his domain spread out endlessly below.

He surprised himself at how well he had performed,realizing that he had progressed from a state of self-doubt,when he asked his teacher, "Am I good enough?",to basking in the praise and adoration, in a concert mostly filed with complete strangers, all of who confirmed Emmanuel's talents and ability.

The Take Away
To understand how Emmanuel prepared himself for such unexpected success we have to examine a physiological phenomena that scientists are only just now beginning to understand. During his daily piano practice, Manny's body was busy producing a very special substance,that every human being produces in varying amounts. This special substance is called myelin.

In his book,The Talent Code, Daniel Coyle talks about the days of old, before scientists discovered air-born germs.People often got ill for no apparent reason. Doctors couldn't attribute the cause to a definite source,so they blamed it on something they called "ether". It was something invisible that they couldn't see,taste,touch or feel. They only saw the results. You can't see,feel,touch or taste myelin either. You can only sense it's effects. Myelin enables us to carry out both mental and physical skills to varying degrees of ability.

Scientists use myelin as a model to help us understand what skill really is.
As humans, our mental and physical skills are created by chains of nerve fibres carrying electrical impulses.
Myelin wraps around those nerve fibres, in much the same way that rubber insulates electrical wiring in our homes, making it faster and more powerful by blocking electrical impulses from leaking out, or short circuiting. As we "practice" a new layer of myelin wraps around the neural circuit, adding more insulation, and thereby adding more skill, more speed.

Dr. G. Bartzokis, a UCLA neurologist researcher  backs up Coyles research. He says that, "All skill, all languages, all music, all movements are made of living circuits, and all circuits grow according to certain rules."

According to another book written by Daniel Coyle,The Little Book of Talent, there are two more elements that must accompany talent.
1.Ignition: This is the desire, or dream of learn something." I want to be the next…."!
2.Coaching: These are the talent whisperers,who, because of their deep knowledge and experience in certain areas, know how to expertly guide their students.

Emmanuel had both of these things in his corner.
He had a burning desire to use his talents to make his parents proud of him.
He also pictured himself performing on stage, in front of hundreds of people. He pictured himself taking a bow, perhaps receiving a bouquet of flowers. He dreamt he would be a star. He was ignited. "Houston, we're ready for lift-off"!

Miss Jameson, knew that Emmanuel had great potential as a pianist. She was confident that he would be good enough to perform in the recital, because she was confident in her own skills as a coach. She was a coach who knew how to prepare her student mentally an physically for unlimited success.

Of course,both of these elements open the door for what's commonly known as practice. Emmanuel dedicated himself to regular,daily practice. Each day he got better and better. Everyday he wrapped his nerve fibres with another layer of myelin. With every layer of myelin he added another layer of skill. He was on the road to success.

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