No music student should be ashamed of failure

January 24, 2017

Failure can be an essential step on the road to success, argues Northwestern University viola professor Helen Callus

No one enjoys walking off stage with the awful sense that things couldn’t have gone any worse. You only need to experience that feeling once, before something in you either clicks into battle-station mode and you become a practice machine, or you jump on the emotional roller coaster of fear and doubt – and, in some cases, turn your back on a performing career altogether. But is it all just about finding better ways to practise?

Not everyone has to stand on a stage and perform in order to love and cherish music, but those with a deep desire to be performing musicians understand there is work to do that is not just about practising, but also includes changing one’s thinking about what failure is.