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Instilling Courage to Fail/Learn

From 6th grade until my sophomore year in undergrad, failing didn't feel like failing. It felt like learning... Learning with sounds, experimenting with what worked and what didn't, practicing trusting myself.

It wasn't until one of my friends in college told me that I'm a risk-taker did I realize that I was. There was an inherent knowing and belief that I would do well. And if I didn't, that I would learn the lesson(s) to do better in the future.

What happened after my sophomore year in undergrad? That'll be another blog post!

Everyday for the past 18 years, I have witnessed students' relationships with the fear of failure or as the more successful students demonstrate: trial and learning.

The longer I teach the more I try to make the learning environment free and open to hearing our mistakes. To the point of challenging my students to see how many times they can "fail" and learn from the mistake. Not in a haphazard way, but a thoughtful, slow, non-judgmental way.

I even try to not use the word "mistake" in an attempt to take negative feelings like shame, frustration, or embarrassment out of the learning process.I ask them to use adjectives like bright, airy, fuzzy, thin, harsh because the descriptive word will lead us to possible solutions. Instilling the fact and truth that no sound is shameful and that each sound has something to teach us.

I naturally bet on myself, but how many of our students don't? How many won't even try because they are afraid of hearing themselves mess up or having others hear them?

How do YOU instill the courage to fail/the courage to learn?

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