Have you ever had a bad performance? One in which you aren’t sure whether to keep hacking through or to stop and start over? I find that performers often feel crushed by such an experience and then wonder if they can ever move past it.
If you know me well, you know that I have a strange and intense obsession with Cat Stevens (and not just because I was born on his 17th birthday!). I grew up with his music and was too young to understand why he walked away from his musical career (my mom told me that he had joined a cult). I have been enjoying his new music as Yusuf Islam and have been thrilled to learn the truth behind his career change and the beautiful life he has been living.
So, you can imagine how thrilled I was to hear that Cat Stevens will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014. To celebrate, I wanted to recommend a video for students and families at my music school to enjoy. One of my favorite songs of his is Bitterblue, so I looked for a video to recommend. Although I have seen them all a million times (seriously), I had somehow forgotten about the amazing lesson contained in one of the videos.
Follow this link to see the video – I strongly recommend that you do so with the volume cranked up. And, while you’re at it, give yourself plenty of room for dancing (even if you pretty much just flail about like I do. . .).
This performance is perfect for all of us (performers, students, teachers, music fans, ALL OF US) to watch in its entirety. It is a live performance, but Cat had to restart the piece because he “messed up” – twice! We performers and students of the art form often feel like failures after a less-than-perfect performance, and as audience members we are often quick to pass judgement on a musician who has a bad day (or bad moment!). While watching this Cat Stevens video, keep two things in mind – he never gives up (and the final try is fabulous), and he went on to be chosen for induction into THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME.
Remember: a bad performance or lousy audition is not your defining moment. Put it behind you and move on.