Archive for the ‘Band News’ Category
Today (25 April 2015) is Anzac Day – a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand, originally commemorated by both countries every year to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli in the Ottoman Empire during World War I. It now more broadly commemorates all those who served and died in military operations for their countries. To our comrades in in Australia and New Zealand our thoughts are with you and all those lost at war.
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.
We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream.
It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.
– Ronald Reagan
In 1915, Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of an Allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula, according to a plan by Winston Churchill to open the way to the Black Sea for the Allied navies. The objective was to capture Constantinople, the capital of the Ottoman Empire, which was an ally of Germany during the war. The ANZAC force landed at Gallipoli on 25 April, meeting fierce resistance from the Ottoman Army commanded by Mustafa Kemal (later known as Atatürk). What had been planned as a bold strike to knock the Ottomans out of the war quickly became a stalemate, and the campaign dragged on for eight months. At the end of 1915, the Allied forces were evacuated after both sides had suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships. The Allied casualties included 21,255 from the United Kingdom, an estimated 10,000 dead soldiers from France, 8,709 from Australia, 2,721 from New Zealand, and 1,358 from British India. News of the landing at Gallipoli made a profound impact on Australians and New Zealanders at home and 25 April quickly became the day on which they remembered the sacrifice of those who had died in war.
Though the Gallipoli campaign failed to achieve its military objectives of capturing Constantinople and knocking the Ottoman Empire out of the war, the actions of the Australian and New Zealander troops during the campaign bequeathed an intangible but powerful legacy. The creation of what became known as an “Anzac legend” became an important part of the national identity in both countries. This has shaped the way their citizens have viewed both their past and their understanding of the present.
The 2015 Loch Norman games are officially closed. What a terrific weekend for competing members of the EUSPBA. The “from the field” results are as follows Grade 5 – 1st Knoxville, 2nd North Atlanta, 3rd Richmond — Grade 4 – 1st Charleston Police, 2nd Loch Norman, 3rd NCSU– Grade 3 – (three way tie for 1st) 1st Saint Andrews, 2nd Carnige Mellon, 3rd Atlanta Pipe Band.
While none of our bands landed on the boards — several members of the band competed in solos and did VERY well. Congrats to Johnny Lovett, Amateur Bass Drummer of the Day, and to Christina Raig, G4 Senior Snare Drummer of the Day. Other “winning” Wake and District members included Steve Turnbull, Martina Murphy, Jacob Egen and Garrett Justice.
Thank you to the folks at Rural Hill for allowing competitions, to the Hahn family for orchestrating all of the pipers and drummers, the judges for their comments and critiques — and all of the wonderful pipers and drummers (old and new faces) seen throughout the weekend.
The Loch Norman Games were the debut of 3 brand new bands for Wake & District — competing for the first time in grade 3,4 and 5. While we didn’t land on the boards – we played well, had a good time and enjoyed the bandsmanship. John Churton Collins said, “In prosperity, our friends know us; in adversity, we know our friends.”
Even in good times, there’s enough difficulty to go around for everyone. Every season, every competition — poses problems. In times of great stress or adversity, it’s always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive. We are grateful to all our friends and mates no matter the kilt they wear.
6 Strategies to Overcome Adversity: by David Heenan
By every conventional measure, J. K. Rowling was mired in her darkest hour. Her exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded. She had been sacked and was as poor as it was possible to be in modern Britain without being homeless. “By every usual standard,” she admits, “I was the biggest failure I knew.”
Against all odds, the spunky single mother poured her energies into finishing the only work that mattered to her—a book about a boy wizard. However, the publishing world hadn’t caught up with her genius. Twelve publishers rejected her manuscript before a small London house picked up Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. And the rest is history.
Like Rowling, members of our bands are all confronted with their own dark hours: equally traumatic, life-altering events. Some of us are unshakable in our belief that anything is possible if we find the courage to forge ahead. Others, however, can’t seem to escape the jaws of defeat.
For the past several years, we have been scrutinizing dozens of dark hours—precarious situations, as well as individual lives, spiraling out of control—and how talented people like Rowling refused to be trapped by them. Because personal stories are a lively and effective way to illustrate important points, we chose to examine a wide range of extraordinary individuals from history and contemporary life who overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Our heroes are as different as chalk and cheese. Chancellor Joel Klein took on the monumental challenge of trying to overhaul New York City’s long-embattled public schools. Coach Bill Snyder descended on another Manhattan—Kansas—to turn around college football’s losingest team. Spunky Joanne Boyle not only survived a life-threatening cerebral hemorrhage, but elevated her California women’s basketball team from oblivion to national prominence. Similarly, world-renowned scientist and trailblazer Shirley Ann Jackson broke down racial barriers as the first African-American woman to receive a doctorate from M.I.T. and to lead a major research university, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Former Hewlett-Packard chair and cancer patient Pattie Dunn beat the odds to restore her reputation—and her health. Legendary Marine Gen. Chesty Puller, surrounded by overwhelming hoards of Red Chinese regulars, escaped the deadly fog of war at Korea’s Chosin Reservoir, so his troops could fight another day. Sacagawea was the lone Indian, the lone teenager, the lone mother on the Lewis and Clark expedition, one of the most foreboding journeys ever undertaken. Equally adventurous, Gary Guller became the first one-armed man to scale Mount Everest, while also leading the largest cross-disability group to its base camp, at 17,500 feet. Retired Navy Commander Scott Waddle fought to remove the stain of the USS Greeneville, which accidentally sank the Japanese fishing vessel Ehime Maru, killing nine people. Tarnished Time Warner ex-chairman Steve Case plotted his own miraculous comeback through an eclectic array of New Age businesses.
Whatever their route to success, these courageous and inspiring men and women prove taking on a truly hellish situation is not necessarily a death sentence. Bright Triumphs From Dark Hours celebrates those who are able to face adversity—and transform near-defeat into a bright triumph. And let’s face it, individually and collectively we all face some very difficult times. So, what wedid learn from these relentless bravehearts? Here are six lessons…
1. Learn From Adversity: “Success is going from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm,” said Winston Churchill, whose life was littered with disappointments. The Last Lion, as William Manchester called him, was the dominant personality of the last century. He understood that setbacks are inevitable when we pursue a bright triumph. What set him apart was his incredible grit. To Churchill, anything was possible. Victory was always at hand. Remember his words at Harrow: “Never give in!” he told students. “Never give in, never, never, never never!” Like Churchill, refuse to equate the occasional setback with defeat. Expect some dry spells along the way. Dark hours—let’s face it all are inevitable, and we can learn from them. Expect some dry spells—and move on.
2. Fashion a New Dream: Oftentimes, it’s necessary to recalibrate your goals. Corporate titans, for example, inevitably make mistakes, new competitors emerge, new technologies and consumer habits disrupt established practices in unseen ways. When things begin to spiral downward, successful folks make the appropriate corrections. The alternative to grime-encrusted lenses isn’t rose-tinted glasses: It’s a healthy dose of reality.
3. Sell Your Vision: “A leader must be a dealer in hope,” Confucius wrote. Those who can illuminate the darkness are experts at restoring people’s faith in the future, especially the faith of talented people who have run into brick walls. Even if you’re the only person running your business, you have customers and clients, vendors and sub-contractors who need to see your vision. The golden core of leadership is the ability to raise aspirations. Transition is an ideal time to do so. Our intrepid adventurers are unflagging optimists. In many respects, this special species of leaders is “delusional,” according to veteran executive coach Marshall Goldsmith. “They are not as good as they think they are, but they have the confidence to pursue big things.” So tune out the cynics and second-guessers who say you can’t beat the odds. Don’t let pouting pessimists rob you from pursuing—and capturing—your dreams.
4. Share Your Dream: “We can do as partners what we cannot do as singles,” Daniel Webster observed. Therefore, build alliances. For example, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s recruitment of outsider Joel Klein as the head of the city’s schools succeeded where a long line of predecessors had failed. The talented twosome—working together—used their close links to affluent New Yorkers to lure much-needed funds to their reform effort. These powerful allies, in turn, have been invaluable in helping turn around the Big Apple’s long-troubled school system. So keep good company. Create a brain trust of people you can call on in tough times in dark hours. Share your dreams!
5. Focus, Focus, Focus: Make life as simple as possible. Focus on what you know you can do. Know what you’re capable of on any given day, what you can count on. Do the simple things well, and then use that confidence to forge your own bright triumph. Learn to differentiate between what is truly important and what can be dealt with at another time. Technology giant Steve Case, now getting his second wind at Revolution, refuses to get sidetracked. He believes zeroing in on the endgame has led to his success in business and beyond. “Anything is possible,” he says, “but it all starts with having a dream and sticking with it through thick and thin.” People like Case possess a tenacity that eludes those who wilt in the face of adversity. They don’t let a few potholes in the road erode their confidence. They share a steadfast determination to secure a bright triumph.
6. Start Now: As Teddy Roosevelt said, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing. Let new ideas take root. Explore. Rattle hidebound thinking. Chuck yesterday’s assumptions. Don’t rely on what made you successful, but no longer works. The worst baggage we can carry is the baggage from a successful past. Set goals that are specific and attainable, then break them down into manageable pieces—one step at a time. In the process, passing each milestone builds confidence and creates momentum. Self-confidence, in turn, develops much like a coral reef—layer on layer compresses into a solid base.
Don’t lose sight of your main goal by focusing on intermediate objectives. Take a wide-angle view of the challenge. As Gary Guller slogged his way up Mount Everest one painful step at a time, he never forgot the endgame: shattering stereotypes of the disabled. Summiting the top of the world was simply part of the process.
But don’t dillydally. “A degenerative disease will not be cured by procrastination,” said management guru Peter Drucker. “It requires decisive action.” Unlike sports, you can’t call for a time-out when things get rough. You must get out of the blocks quickly.
Remember the U.S. Navy Seals’ favorite slogan: “The only easy day was yesterday.” Properly scripted, tomorrow can become better than today.
It’s after April 15th — taxes are in the mail, and now it’s time to tackle the real challenge of Spring — pipe band competitions. Well, not exactly, but all around the world, bands of all sizes are gearing up for the new season of piping and drumming from G5 to G1. As we approach this rite of passage with a combination of excitement and dread, we ponder the impending vicissitudes: the thrill of success, and the agony of defeat—not the euphemism, the real deal— registering in every fiber of our being and right there for everyone to see.
Folks may start out with the best intentions and grip on their emotions picture— the tuning to Scotland the Brave, flam after flam — but with the first error (or perceived error) things degenerate quickly and it’s Jackson Pollock on a bad day. There’s the pre-game freak out, the post-game melt down, the throwing down of the pipes, drumsticks, or whatever the case may be, followed by the “I hate everything, everything stinks, I quit” self-recrimination rant that occurs once the doors auto-shut on the mini-van.
Why is it that some players can’t lose? Is it their über focus on getting being the “champion”, the pressure to accept anything else but beyond the best? While there is no doubt that those success-crazed folks gone wild don’t help and need to be benched themselves, usually they only broadcast in stereo the message going through a player’s own mind: winning is everything; losing is the end of the world as we know it.
It’s also clear that our culture is out of whack, witness the 5:00 am sports practices, travel tournaments for 2nd graders, and cut-throat competition for all. While rectifying these variables will certainly improve the outcome, it will not eliminate the problem of folks who fall apart in the face of defeat. Especially since many of these folks fall apart even with just the anticipation of defeat. So losing isn’t the real disaster for these people, their relationship to losing, is the disaster.
We have all been witness to the poor sportsmanship and in those moments we thank goodness it’s somebody else’s band freaking out this time and not ours. But if you’re a player, chances are your number will come up, and you will be that band too. Until you can help your fellow players change the news feed in their mind about what just happened, no reassurance or tough love will be a match for the wrath or despair of your miserable player in ghilless.
What’s it all about? Are we being bratty sore losers, or is there call for compassion?
No one likes to lose, but for some folks losing isn’t a superficial scratch on the ego, it goes deep. In fact the reason why some have trouble losing is that they can’t hold on to who they were before the loss; instead, no matter how many successes they had under their belt, the loss transforms them irrevocably into a loser. It’s as if each game is a gamble where they put all their chips on the table, and if they lose, they’re cleaned out of all of their assets. If this is starting to sound like some people you know, including yourself, read on, the solutions are pretty much one size fits all.
The secret to a successful season isn’t just taping up the chanter, getting your tempos right, roll and repeat… it’s building up your muscle to lift yourself out of disappointment, and quickly. Even if your putting in hours everyday practicing, the way you ares going to succeed in piping and drumming (and in life) is to make friends with, or at least not be mortal enemies with, losing.
In sports more than any other arena, losing is a built-in. Sometimes it’s you, sometimes it’s the other team, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise. And yet, for many, it’s like they never saw it coming and it knocks them flat on the ground. The more who can re-think what it means to lose, the more they will be resilient people—not only bouncing back from disappointments, but coming back stronger, because they’ve made use of what went wrong to improve— for the next time— what they can do right.
These strategies will help maintain perspective when there are those disturbances on the field and put the bounce back in your spirit:
- Empathize, Empathize, Empathize! Though it’s tempting to rush in and reassure or correct your thoughts and feelings (by saying, don’t feel that way, don’t say that, that’s not true!), this will only get folks more upset because rightfully so, they feel you haven’t heard them. Instead reflect what they are saying, “this feels like the worst day of your life,” or, “you feel like you’re the worst player.” Empathizing doesn’t mean agreeing with their conclusions, it means accepting that this state at this moment. By hearing your thoughts played backwe are often able to move beyond the feelings and recognize how we are different from the facts, “I feel that way, but I know it’s not true.”
- Lower the Stakes not the Standards: Separate your Values from the Outcome of the Game.Your values as a human being are not at stake every time he steps on the field (it only feels that way), your value is a permanent possession. Don’t dispense with the importance of playing well, but dispense with the inaccurate interpretation of what it means to lose: ask what it means to if we lose, and then ask to think what it really means in life. What is the interpretation that the coach has? The other players? Even MVPs lose games and strike out—lots of games, lots of strike outs. It doesn’t mean you are a loser or even a bad player, it’s one moment in time. The outcome of the game is temporary and changeable, your value, permanent and only will improve with effort.
- Find the Wins within the Losses and Learn from the Mistakes: While every game or event has winners and losers, the real loss is when you don’t give credit where credit is due. Ask your what went well. Don’t dispense with the credit just because it is easy. While you are critical of the one things we did wrong, we will be dismissing and devaluing the things we did well, because in the all or none game, if you can’t do it all, you lose. Not so. Look at professional athletes, the best hitters have the most errors, the best basketball players can’t master the free shots. Help make the crisis an opportunity for learning how to improve: analyze like a detective what went wrong and see if there are things to make it happen differently next time (practicing a particular skill, staying focused on the game).
- Separate the Feelings from the Facts and Ditch the Absolutes: When we’re upset our feelings are extreme, fortunately the facts are not. Best way to point this out is to simply reflect back what we say and remind ourselves that feelings are strong at first, but they pass; they don’t last forever. So, if someone says: “Everyone is better!” you say, “It feels like everyone is better than you—is that what you really think is true, or just how you are feeling right now?” Listen and help your mates correct the absolutes: “everyone is better” becomes “some people play better, some don’t”, “I never do anything right,” becomes, “I usually play well, this was a tough game.” “I stink at everything” becomes I am strong in pitching, I need to practice my fielding more.
- Identify the Outlier: When perfectionist players make a mistake they assume that error redefines their life, starts a new trend for them as a loser. Help them see that exceptions here and there do not make a new rule, separate their baseline playing from the outliers or exceptions that are going to occur.
- Identify Where We are On the Learning Curve: Ask when we started to learn how to _______. Think through about how long it will take to learn a new skill and how she will know when they have mastered it. Ask to draw a curve and make an X to denote your current position.
- Control What You Can: Set Your Own Personal Goal: Help go into a game with one or two ideas about what we want to do differently in this game, that way regardless of the outcome of the game, we can circle back to the goals and see how we did with the part we could control.
- Bring in the Pros: How Would Your Favorite Player Narrate the Story? Identify with your band one or several players who they look up to and “ask” (imagine) what they would say about a tough game. Imagine or research how they have dealt with their own challenging games. Every sport has examples of winners who also lose, this is the norm. Take Ryan Howard, first basemen of the Phillies, who won MVP in 2006. In that year he had more home runs and RBIs than any other player in major league baseball, AND, had 199 strikeouts in 2007, the all time strikeout mark for a hitter in a season! If Ryan were telling the story, he’d probably say, don’t let those losses get in the way of your success!
We all want to protect our mates from disappointment, but the more we can see that disappointments are survivable, ordinary moments of life, the less we will stumble and get stuck. We will not only be more resilient and more willing to get in there and play, we will probably play better because we’re are not doing battle with ourselves on the field (let alone how much more pleasant the rides home will be).
#Grit — firmness of mind or spirit
‘Sacrifice’ Motivational Statements :: with Les Brown, Eric Thomas & Ray Lewis – invest a few minutes in these words…
There will never be a point in your in your life — where it’s the right time to do a great thing. If you’re waiting for that perfect perfect moment, that perfect timing, it’s not going to happen. You know what you have to do? You have to create the perfect time, and the perfect opportunity, and the perfect situation.
So a lot of people become comfortable. They stop growing, they stop wanting anything, they become satisfied.
People getting ready to go to jobs that they don’t like, jobs that are making them sick. You see when you are not pursuing your goal, you are literally committing spiritual suicide.When you have some goal out here that you are stretching for and reaching for that takes you out of your comfort zone, you’ll find out some talents and abilities you have that you didn’t know you have.
When the messenger of misery visits you, what are you going to do? What will keep you in the game.
There are things that you think you’ll never need to know. That you may only need to know one time in your life, but that could save your life because you had that knowledge.
Unless you attempt to do something beyond that, which you’ve already mastered, you will never grow. What is it that you looked at, at some point in time and you decided that you couldn’t do it, that you talk yourself out of it.
You’re waiting on your next door neighbor to make it happen for you, it may not happen. If you’re waiting on your mother, or your father, they may be so ancient in their thinking, that they don’t understand this opportunity that you have. And if you’re waiting on them it may never get done.
You don’t beg average people to be phenomenal. You don’t beg good people to be phenomenal. You just are phenomenal, and you will attract phenomenal.
What reason can you remember, that you can call on, that you can reach on, that can make you get back up. Find that reason.
If you’re not where you are. If you’re not where you want to be. If you don’t have what you want, want to have. If you’re not where you think you should be at this particular place. It has nothing to do with the system, but it has everything to do with the fact that you’re not making the sacrifice.
I want you to make that dream become a reality, because if you don’t, you will be working for somebody else to make their dreams become a reality.
And everybody is against you, or don’t believe in you no more. And let me tell you something, that’s a lonely feeling. That’s a lonely feeling. Particularly people that you are doing it for.
Most people take their greatness, take their ideas to the graveyard with them.
Listen to me, if it was easy, everybody would do it. There are people right now who are working who don’t want to work. There are people who hate their jobs, but they keep getting up to do it.
The wealthiest place on the planet, is the graveyard. Because in the graveyard we will find inventions that we never ever were exposed to. Ideas, dreams, that never became reality. Hopes and aspirations that were never acted upon.
The question is what are you going to do with your time?
What drives you?
Greatness is a lot of small things done well.
Day, after day. Workout after workout.
Obedience after obedience.
When things don’t work out for you. When things happen that you could not anticipate. What are the reasons that you can think of that can keep you strong.
You will never ever be successful, until you turn your pain into greatness, until you allow your pain to push you from where you are to push you to where you need to be. Stop running from your pain and embrace your pain. Your pain is going to be a part of your prize, a part of your product. I challenge you to push yourself.
See it’s easy to be on the bottom,
it doesn’t take any effort to be a loser.
It doesn’t take any motivation and any drive
in order to stay down there on a low level.
But it calls on everything in you.
You have to harness your will to say
I’m going to challenge myself.
I mean that what you did last week don’t count. Today today is the only important day. There are eighty-six thousand, four hundred seconds in a day and how you use those are critical. You got eighty-six thousand, four hundred today and what you do today is going to cement who you are. Nobody gonna talk about what you did last week.
Yet the biggest enemy that you have to deal with is yourself. There’s an old African proverb that says “If there’s no enemy within, the enemy outside can do us no harm.”
You have this opportunity of a lifetime. It means absolutely nothing if you don’t take advantage of it in the lifetime of this opportunity.
I got a saying that when life knocks you down, try to land on your back, because if you can look up, you can get up. If you want a thing bad enough to go out and fight for it, to work day and night for it, to give up your time and your peace and your sleep for it. If all that you dream and scheme is about it. And life seems useless and worthless without it.
See it’s time now. If you want to make this your decade, you’ve to start saying yes to your life. You’ve got to start saying yes to your dreams. Yes to your unfolding future. Yes to your potential. As opposed to saying no.
When you die, die on E. Leave no dream left behind guys. Leave no opportunity left behind. When you leave this earth, accomplish every single thing you can accomplish.
Listen to me, you’re going to be here one day, but you’ll never get here if you give up, if you give in, if you quit. And finally guys, you gotta wanna succeed, as bad, as you wanna, breath.
It’s okay to have down days. – Expecting life to be wonderful all the time is wanting to swim in an ocean in which waves only rise up and never come crashing down. However, when you recognize the rising and crashing waves are part of the exact same ocean, you are able to let go and be at peace with the reality of these ups and downs. It becomes clear that life’s ups require life’s downs.
The work is worth it. – Lose the expectation everything in life should be easy. It rarely is. In fact, there are no shortcuts to any place worth going. Enjoy the challenge of your achievements. See the value in your efforts and be patient with yourself. And realize patience is not about waiting; it’s the ability to keep a good attitude while working hard. It’s knowing deep down the work is well worth it in the end.
This is not the time to lay low and play dumb.
You can even – don’t hold back. Decide what you want, decide what you are willing to exchange for it. Establish your priorities and go to work.
When we outgrow individual performance and learn team confidence — excellence becomes a reality…
Summers span decades. Winters can last a lifetime. And the struggle of the Throne has begun. It will stretch from the south, where heat burdens reeds, tempos and attitudes; to the vast and savage eastern lands; all the way to the frozen north, where an 800-foot wall of kudzu protects the field from the dark forces which lie beyond (Canadians). Pipers and Drummers, knights and renegades, liars, lords and larpers…all will play the Game of Thrones.
The new competition season for the G5, G4 and G3 members of the Wake and District Public Safety Pipes and Drums begins in Loch Norman on Saturday, 18 April 2015. #FoF #TakeTheThrone
Here is some info on Wake and District and what motivates us…
Hard work. Members of Wake and District preach a lot about hard work. Always posting about it and writing about. A lot of people work hard. But they don’t get where they want to go. We fall into the trap of sometimes life isn’t fair – and the reality hard work won’t turn us into the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band.
Since we stepped onto the EUSPBA competition field for the first time at Loch Norman in 2008 — we’ve realized we have two options: work hard – systematically go after the things you want – or – complain and hope things change. We all realize “hope” is a really bad plan. So, don’t confuse success with winning. Set the tone for success. Help your band go after things you want and push no matter the circumstances.
Hard work is the currency of success — HARD WORK IS never-ending. The harder we have to work, the greater the stakes, and the scarier it all becomes; exciting, but scary. Don’t get caught up in “we’re only as good as our last run” or “we won”.
We need to work hard to continue to deliver. The second you’re not hungry or hustling – you don’t matter. Play or do not play. Hard work keeps us good, it is our competitive advantage. We rehearse to be the best – we hustle, we work. We don’t walk in with instant success. Have goals and keep the mission on the horizon — the advantage is to never lose this mindset.
Systematically cut-away and move forward with the understanding expectations are not always met. When goals are not met we have two additional choices:
- Systematically, aggressively, go after your goal through hard work and hustle.
- Blame the judges, other bands, players in your band, the weather, the rules, your gear, the other band’s honey badger and it’s feisty attitude, whatever.
- There are no “secrets” to success. Success is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.
As a boy growing up in New Orleans,remembers his father, Ellis, a pianist, and his friends talking about “sheddin’.” When they got together, theyʼd say, “Man, you need to go shed,” or “I’ve been sheddin’ hard.” When he was around 11, he realized that sheddin’ meant getting to the woodshed – practicing. By the age of 16, Wyston understood what the shed was really about – hard, concentrated work.
When his brother Branford and he auditioned for their high school band, the instructor, who knew their father, was excited about Ellisʼ sons coming to the band. But his audition was so pitiful he said, “Are you sure youʼre Ellis’ son?”
At the time, his comment didn’t bother Wynton because he was more interested in basketball than band. Over the next several years, however, he began practicing seriously. Practice is essential to learning music – and anything else, for that matter. Wynton likes to say that the time spent practicing is the true sign of virtue in a musician. When you practice, it means you are willing to sacrifice to sound good.
Even if practice is so important, kids find it very hard to do because there are so many distractions. Thatʼs why he always encouraged them to practice and explain how to do it. Wynton developed what he calls “Wynton’s 12 Ways to Practice.” These will work for almost every activity – from music to schoolwork to sports.
Wyntonʼs Twelve Ways to Practice: From Music to Schoolwork
Published in the Education Digest | Sept 1996
1. Seek out instruction: Find an experienced teacher who knows what you should be doing. A good teacher will help you understand the purpose of practicing and can teach you ways to make practicing easier and more productive.
2. Write out a schedule: A schedule helps you organize your time. Be sure to allow time to review the fundamentals because they are the foundation of all the complicated things that come later. If you are practicing basketball, for example, be sure to put time in your schedule to practice free throws.
3. Set goals: Like a schedule, goals help you organize your time and chart your progress. Goals also act as a challenge: something to strive for in a specific period of time. If a certain task turns out to be really difficult, relax your goals: practice doesnʼt have to be painful to achieve results.
4. Concentrate: You can do more in 10 minutes of focused practice than in an hour of sighing and moaning. This means no video games, no television, no radio, just sitting still and working. Start by concentrating for a few minutes at a time and work up to longer periods gradually. Concentrated effort takes practice too, especially for young people.
5. Relax and practice slowly: Take your time; donʼt rush through things. Whenever you set out to learn something new – practicing scales, multiplication tables, verb tenses in Spanish – you need to start slowly and build up speed.
6. Practice hard things longer: Donʼt be afraid of confronting your inadequacies; spend more time practicing what you canʼt do. Adjust your schedule to reflect your strengths and weaknesses. Donʼt spend too much time doing what comes easily. Successful practice means coming face to face with your shortcomings. Donʼt be discouraged; youʼll get it eventually.
7. Practice with expression: Every day you walk around making yourself into “you,” so do everything with the proper attitude. Put all of yourself into participating and try to do your best, no matter how insignificant the task may seem. Express your “style” through how you do what you do.
8. Learn from your mistakes: None of us are perfect, but donʼt be too hard on yourself. If you drop a touchdown pass, or strike out to end the game, itʼs not the end of the world. Pick yourself up, analyze what went wrong and keep going. Most people work in groups or as part of teams. If you focus on your contributions to the overall effort, your personal mistakes wonʼt seem so terrible.
9. Donʼt show off: Itʼs hard to resist showing off when you can do something well. In high school, I learned a breathing technique so I could play a continuous trumpet solo for 10 minutes without stopping for a breath. But my father told me, “Son, those who play for applause, thatʼs all they get.” When you get caught up in doing the tricky stuff, youʼre just cheating yourself and your audience.
10. Think for yourself: Your success or failure at anything ultimately depends on your ability to solve problems, so donʼt become a robot. Think about Dick Fosbury, who invented the Fosbury Flop for the high jump. Everyone used to run up to the bar and jump over it forwards. Then Fosbury came along and jumped over the bar backwards, because he could go higher that way. Thinking for yourself helps develop your powers of judgment. Sometimes you may judge wrong and pay the price; but when you judge right you reap the rewards.
11. Be optimistic: How you feel about the world expresses who you are. When you are optimistic, things are either wonderful or becoming wonderful. Optimism helps you get over your mistakes and go on to do better. It also gives you endurance because having a positive attitude makes you feel that something great is always about to happen.
12. Look for connections: No matter what you practice, youʼll find that practicing itself relates to everything else. It takes practice to learn a language, cook good meals or get along well with people. If you develop the discipline it takes to become good at something, that discipline will help you in whatever else you do. Itʼs important to understand that kind of connection. The more you discover the relationships between things that at first seem different, the larger your world becomes.
In other words,
the woodshed can open up a whole world of possibilities.
We’ve heard it said that people don’t leave organizations, they leave managers. If this is true, then what is it about these particular managers that cause people to bail? What poor behaviors are being displaying that drive talent away and risk the success of their organizations?
If you are in a leadership role, now is the time to pay attention. Here is my list of eight bad leadership behaviors you must eliminate if you want to keep top talent and set the stage for your organization to prosper and thrive.
1. FAILING TO LISTEN TO THOSE YOU LEAD :: Do you listen to your team members when they share information with you? Are you listening to what they tell you in meetings and appointments? And, do you care about what they are telling you? Because you are working with many people, personalities and work styles, it is imperative that you pay attention to the issues, concerns, successes, and challenges of each of your team members. Good leaders know what their team members are doing, take the time to listen when they need mentoring and go to bat for them whenever necessary. Failing to listen will result in frustrated team members who lose faith in their leader and their organization.
2. FAILING TO EMBRACE AND UTILIZE THE TALENTS OF THOSE YOU LEAD :: Each of your team members has a unique gift that brings value to your organization. Do you know what these unique gifts are for each of your team members? Have you taken the time to discuss with each team member how you want to embrace and utilize their gifts? Have you consulted with each team member on the knowledge they have regarding your industry and how they can help you improve your organization because of their gifts?
Good leaders actively embrace and engage their team members in work that compliments their unique gifts and brings value to their organizations. Failing to engage your team will result in discouragement, lack of motivation, and low productivity for your organization.
3. FAILING TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE WORK OF THOSE YOU LEAD :: When is the last time you thanked your team members for the work they do? How often do you acknowledge their efforts, address their successes, and identify how each member has contributed to making your organization a success? Good leaders take the time to acknowledge efforts and success and they end with a charge that motivates future effort and success. Acknowledging good work will build loyalty and empowerment in your team members and they will be determined to do their best work for you. Failing to acknowledge your team will drive down performance and effort eventually harming the progress of your organization.
4. WITHHOLDING INFORMATION FROM THOSE YOU LEAD :: What are you doing to keep your team informed of issues in their departments? Are you sharing positive feedback as well as negative? If a complaint is made regarding a team member, do you address it with that person immediately? Do you collect all the facts before you make a judgment or a decision on how you should proceed? Good leaders are loyal to their team members and make every effort to address and correct performance issues with them. Failing to communicate crucial performance information will destroy loyalty to both you and your organization.
5. BEING A SPIN DOCTOR :: Do you avoid giving your team members straight answers to their questions? When your team members need answers, are you denying them direct, clear and specific information? If you are unwilling to provide a straight answer, you are withholding information and cutting off valuable communication to your team. Good leaders answer directly and are not afraid of communicating positive or negative information to their team members. Failing to provide answers when needed will result in mistrust from your team. And, mistrust will result in poor performance that harms your organization.
6. BEING A BOUNCER :: Do you demand that all information, content, ideas, suggestions, proposals, and so on, end with you? Do you refuse your team members access to higher level management, or deny them the privilege of assisting you in presenting their ideas and/or information to higher level management?
If so, you are a bouncer keeping your team behind that proverbial white line. Good leaders provide their team members the honor of sharing their unique gifts and value to the entire organization. This builds enthusiasm, trust, and loyalty and failing to remove the white line will result in discouragement, reduction in performance and potential for harming your organization.
7. HOLDING GRUDGES AGAINST THOSE YOU LEAD :: Perhaps a team member disagreed with a decision you made. Or, you were criticized by a team member and you took it personally. Do you turn these conflicts into grudges? If so, this is not leadership behavior and, if you are not able to grow a thick skin, you have no business leading. Good leaders welcome feedback from their team members knowing the importance of allowing everyone a voice. Organizations run at their best when everyone holds one another accountable. Failing to allow your team members to have a voice will destroy trust and critical feedback necessary for the organization to run at its best.
8. BULLYING THOSE YOU LEAD :: Maybe you don’t physically push, punch or trip up your team members, but are you doing it emotionally? Do you talk down to your team members or use a condescending tone? Perhaps you disrespect your team members or shame them in public. If so, you are a bully and your team members will do everything possible to avoid you. And, avoidance will result in poor communication, lack of motivation, loss of productivity, and an organization heading for ruin. Good leaders make it a point to be approachable and respected by their team members. You must be the go to person for their issues and concerns in order to maintain a strong, successful organization.
So, how did you do?
Are you guilty of any of these?
Remember, it only takes one of these behaviors
to begin blazing a trail of destruction through your organization.
However, there is hope for you. Identifying what you are doing wrong is the first step.
Remember. You have the power to change and it is never too late to become a leader who will bring your organization to the top.
On April 1, 2015 — the Wake and District Public Safety Pipes and Drums and the City of Atlanta Pipe Band put out a fake (April Fools’) press release: “The premier pipe bands of the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association Southern Branch (the City of Atlanta Pipe Band and Raleigh’s Wake and District Pipe Band) are pleased to announce the merger of their two organizations into one — the “RalAnta” Spirit of the South Pipe Band (#SoS) – competing in Grades 5, 4, 3 and 2 in the Southern EUSPBA branch and beyond…”
We felt we should leverage the interest and hype by actually creating the Spirit of the South t-shirt mentioned in the full (fake) press release — and direct all funds raised to to help young and aspiring pipers and drummers from our EUSPBA Southern Branch — further their pipe/drum educations.
The Wake and District Pipe Band will match every dollar raised – creating a scholarship for young EUSPBA Southern Branch pipers/drummers.
The premier pipe bands of the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association Southern Branch (the City of Atlanta Pipe Band and Raleigh’s Wake and District Pipe Band) are pleased to announce the merger of their two organizations into one — the “RalAnta” Spirit of the South Pipe Band (#SoS) – competing in Grades 5,4,3 and 2 in the Southern EUSPBA branch and beyond...
This announcement comes not at a time of reduced numbers or the loss of members. To the contrary, both bands currently have more members than ever before, continue to see growth, and are increasing the positive impact felt by those with ties to the organizations. This announcement comes as Atlanta Pipe Band celebrates its 45th anniversary, and on the eve of Wake & District’s 10th anniversary.
Over the past several months the memberships of both organizations have held joint rehearsals, discussed organizational structure, and agreed on band leadership as well as equipment and uniforms for the family of bands. The merged organization will conduct full band rehearsals each month in Bennettsville, SC – a location convenient to both cities. Additionally, the leadership will continue with two Pipe Majors: Robert Minnear (of Atlanta) and Kenneth McKeveny (of Raleigh). Each, with support of their current NCOs, will hold weekly practices in their respective home cities in order to maximize effectiveness of monthly rehearsals. J. Michael Brady (W&D) has been appointed Band Manager (leading fund raising, logistics, social media, and balance).
When asked about how the PM’s felt about the merger they could not have been more motivated. “I cannot say what a great opportunity this is for our new group to really show what the South has to offer for piping and drumming. The combination of two bands that have grown the RIGHT way is going to be stellar,” said PM Minnear. PM McKeveny had very similar remarks “rules are usually just suggestions and barriers are to be taken down. Our two teams can finally enjoy the talents of both organizations, helping us to grow each other.”
Jerry Finegan, a longtime friend of Minnear and McKeveny (having all played together in the City of Washington Pipe Band) related “I am really pleased about this merger because both bands are coming in from a position of strength, and this merger will allow us to combine the best players from the entire region.”
Brady, the founder of Wake & District, was beyond pleased about the new venture. “After 10 great years of growth we now have the ability to partner with another like-minded program. Our passion for the pipes and drums has melded our organizations together – and the gilded Spirit of the South will arise from the flames.”
Concerns about how traveling organizations will function, and the pitfalls encountered by them over the years have been considered in this merger, the Spirit of the South Pipe Band (SoS) has a clear path where such issues will be avoided. One major worry was determining funding, but thanks to ten corporations in Raleigh and Atlanta, there will be no shortage of funding. SoS has been blessed with a large endowment of $525,600 per year for the next 11 years! This will allow for the band to have matching instruments and uniforms, as well as other operating expenses including lodging, food, airfare, and rental vehicles. There will also be four fulltime instructors for the band running daily Skype lessons (further announcements to follow).
A spokesman for the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association advised they have reviewed and approved the petition for the merger.
For more information please visit the band’s new website @ www.SpiritoftheSouthPB.com
Their first contest together will be the Loch Norman Highland games on 18 April 2015 where the RalAnta: Spirit of the South will field bands in Grades 3, 4 and 5. The band will have t-shirts available for sale for $15.