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#103: 4 Lessons From a Reformed Control Freak

It used to be somewhat fashionable to be a control freak, or at least to declare that you were. 

It didn’t start out that way. According to Merriam-Webster, the term was first used in the 1970’s. It was the epithet of choice used to label those who belonged to the “Establishment” rather than to the free love “do your own thing” hippie generation. Then in the 1980’s, trends like power dressing and the rise of conservatism made controlling behavior look like something desirable, something to aspire to. 

Today we understand the danger of controlling behaviors. So why do we still work so hard to control ourselves and the music we make?

I didn’t recognize some of my own control issues with regard to my music for a long time. Maybe you don’t see yours either, so let’s start with a few possibly revealing questions. See if you identify with any of these.

  • Is your biggest goal in your practice usually to eliminate mistakes?
  • How frustrating is it for you when you don’t play your piece as well as you think you should, or as well as it went at home?
  • Does your fear of making mistakes or not playing well enough stop you from playing for others?
  • Do you practice a piece or passage over and over again to try to make it perfect?

If any of those sound even slightly familiar to you, you will want to learn the things I have discovered in my harp journey about what you can control and what you can’t. Learning to let go of the impossible and work only on the possible is a big step on the path to harp happiness. 

Links to things I think you might be interested in that were mentioned in the podcast episode: 

Get involved in the show! Send your questions and suggestions for future podcast episodes to me at [email protected] 


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