It is through mistakes, through falling down, that you are given the opportunity to get back up and do it again, but differently, and with more intention. Then, when you fall again, you get another chance. You get as many chances as you need in order to succeed.
As my best friend says, “you have to collect your no’s before the yes’ come.”
If your goal is to become a skier, you start with lessons on the small slope learning the plow - the position you and your skies must be in, to go down a hill. After you learn the plow, you get to ski down the mountain. Your only choice becomes how hard you want the slope to be. Some skiers choose to spend the rest of their lives practicing skiing down mountains of various terrain, aiming for the Olympics,
It is no different for songwriters.
"Practice is everything. This is often misquoted as practice makes perfect" - Periander
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Have you ever been in a crowded airport and watched as someone passes you by with a ‘style/outfit’ that makes you wonder, “Did that person look in a mirror before they left?”
As an artist and creator, having a mirror reflect another perspective back can save you from a “bad hair day”, or encourage you to wear a certain style that looks good on you, but for your music.
A mirror is someone who can look at your work and pinpoint its strengths and weaknesses. It’s a person you trust and someone who you can handle their honesty.
Everyone knows that in order to become great, it takes practice, self motivation, routine, and discipline. However, mentors and friends who can act as mirrors are essential as well. They will help you iron out your flaws, cultivate your strengths and, in doing so, help you achieve your goals.
“It takes a village to raise a child”
My husband was one of my best mirrors. I came to rely heavily on how he saw me. Brian spoke to me with love and always had the best intentions for me. For the most part, I liked what I saw in his eyes, so when he pointed out ways that I could improve - as a person, as a businesswoman, or a wife - then I knew it was for the best for me, and often times, I set out to do so.
With Brian, I knew I could trust him to tell me the truth about myself, so when he brought something to my attention, I wouldn’t blame him for bringing “flaws” to my attention, but instead would shift things in my practice to better myself.
If your goal is to become a great songwriter, then get yourself mirrors who will tell you the truth. Some mirrors will have a mastery over language and be able to tell you if your story makes sense. Others will have greater musical sensibilities and be able to aid you in understanding chord structure and theory.
Great artists have great mirrors for everything from the song itself to performance, styling hair and makeup and beyond. Sometimes one person will house all these traits and be able to guide you single-handedly. Other times, you’ll need a team of mirrors with specialties in different areas.
"The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows". Sydney J. Harris
Next, practice, practice, practice!
Practice until your hands bleed, your joints hurt and your head aches from the struggle, from beating your head against the wall..
Practice until you laugh uncontrollably at the silliest things, are having fun in all your co-writes, and until the words flow out of your mouth like water and your connections are deeper.
It’s practice that leads us to our dreams of supporting ourselves with music.
That is the number one wish I hear from all of you. You want to support yourself by doing the thing that gives you the most joy.
My advice…practice. And get yourself a good mirror to practice in front of a mirror.