The big band (at least most of it) got together this past weekend preparing for the high holy season of all things St. Patrick (among other things). We come together to get good together. Spending a weekend with our band mates…we would have it no other way.
We love the book by Geoff Colvin called “Talent is Overrated.” In that book, he suggests that talent is a combination of many factors. It’s our innate skills plus practice and the development of some intuitive abilities. One example he gives is wide receiver Jerry Rice. He said that Rice would practice the things that he needed for his particular position in addition to the normal team practices. As a result, he developed very specific skills and is considered by many to be one of the greatest players of all time.
Part of the challenge is that we’re not good at evaluating our own skills. We tend to overestimate our abilities – that’s why we all think we’re good pipers and drummers! But if we’re willing to gather data from our own work and get feedback from others, we can see where we need to improve. Once we understand what needs improvement, there are mentors, coaches, and other resources to help us get better. We all have some natural abilities but that doesn’t mean we can’t also develop our skills. Some of us have natural ability and some don’t — and just because someone doesn’t have natural abilities doesn’t mean they can’t get better at something.
Part of being a good band member is a digging deep inside ourselves and finding the time, energy and strength most people just don’t have or care to give. What we do is not easy – and it is beyond “band ready” or “by the right, quick, march”. No matter how many times you have to dig for it – find it. Your band mates are counting on you. If you don’t push yourself at home and at rehearsal every day and week after week – will you be able to play when it matters? It’s not personal. In the circle, we constantly press on. Demanding more and more of ourselves. Because we would have it no other way.
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