In teaching people to play this great instrument, I deal with a lot of “perfectionists”. I used to be one myself, but it made my stomach hurt, messed up my digestion and gave me a headache. I decided a while back that I would do the best I could. I tell all of these uptight students to relax as “the only thing perfect in life is an egg until you drop it” and then it isn’t perfect any more.

Think of the egg. It’s perfect in every way, however, if you leave it perfect you never get the result of what the egg could make. That’s just like studying music. The question is this: What are your fears in regards to playing the instrument? If you make a mistake, you learn from that mistake.

In my 20 years of teaching private students on a full time basis, I am amazed at how fearful and uptight many students are, even though they are attempting to do something that they’ve always wanted to do. Voice lessons are probably the worst. A teenage girl who wants to be a singer comes in only to squeak out a little voice after yelling and projecting a big voice at her younger brother. Bagpipe students who miss finger a movement get all upset. I just tell them to take a deep breath and get over it. The first person that you need to please is yourself. If you do that, you’ll please me and the others who are watching your endeavour.

Break the egg and relax!