Play like you have nothing to lose

Irish Band in Vermont

Green Corduroy playing in a tree-house in Moretown, VT

You just learned a new tune and you play it over and over in your living room when no one is home. Each time you play it, it gets better and better. At some point it sounds so good that you think of quitting your day job and taking it on the road. You envision yourself touring with your favorite band.

The tune is that good. And your playing of it, is that superb.

You then hit the session that week and decide to start that very same tune. You gather up your courage and step up into the silence to play the first note. Suddenly you can’t remember the rest of the tune. That tune you just quit your job for and became a rock star with suddenly is lost in the abyss of your brain and you start to panic.

After the freak-out passes, you eventually do get through the tune though it doesn’t sound anything like the monumental piece you practiced in your living room all week. (Thank God you didn’t really quit your day job).

This does happen to you, right?

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How practicing is like training for the olympics

by Katrina VanTyne

olympicsI love watching the Olympics. It doesn’t matter who wins the gold, it always brings tears to my eyes when an athlete gets awarded their medal on the podium.

Though I can’t claim to be anything close to an Olympic athlete (though I did mountain bike race in my youth),  I can attest to knowing what goes into the training it takes to be good at something you love.

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Crossing that threshold


courtesy of

The other day I went to a karate class for the first time. I almost bagged it because…well…it’s scary starting something new, something you’ve never done before. And seriously, people who do karate are a bit intimidating.

So I drove by the dojo a few times and came very close to turning around and going home. But when it came right down to it, I couldn’t let my fear dictate my fate.

So I walked in and everyone was dressed in their whites and their colored belts and here’s me in my black work-out clothes (what can I say, black is slimming). The sensei greeted me and told me to get in the back row so I could watch everyone else and follow along. I had no idea what I was doing and as you can imagine, I was downright scared.

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Lessons learned

wedding music


Imagine you’re asked to play the processional tune for a friend’s wedding. You’re honored and excited to do it. You diligently spend an entire week playing only that tune over and over until every note is perfect. After all, this is the most important ceremony of their lives.

The wedding day arrives and you play a couple of tunes before the ceremony while guests are arriving. And then you see the bride and groom and that’s your cue to start playing that special tune that will join them together in holy matrimony. The crowd gets silent and everyone is waiting for the music to start so the bride and groom can begin their walk down the aisle.

All of a sudden…you can’t remember how the darn tune starts. Even worse you can’t remember how any tune starts. You find yourself standing there with this foreign instrument in your hands wondering what the hell you’re going do with it and why everyone is looking at you.

No, this was not a nightmare. This is exactly what happened to me at  a wedding I played at yesterday and it was one of the scariest moments of my life.

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