The Inevitability of Failure

Failure is a part of life.

Now, I know that sounds bleak and discouraging, but it’s true. Whether it’s in the practice room, the classroom, on stage, or in daily life, it’s a part of our being.

I see it with my students every day and I also see it within myself: we are afraid to fail. We live in a society that praises success and shuns failure–failure is seen as something that we should avoid at all costs. But the truth of the matter is, we all fail at some point.

Failure is a great learning tool. Overcoming failure is what allows us to succeed. Take this as an example: we are preparing for a performance and there’s a passage in the music that we are not comfortable with. We practice it, over and over again, until we think we have learned it correctly. Then, in actual performance, when we come to this passage, we don’t play it correctly and make some mistake. This is a type of failure, albeit, a very small form of it. It teaches us to try a different strategy next time, to avoid the pitfalls that we stepped into.

The same is true of teaching. We don’t prepare well for a lesson and it shows in our performance. So the next time we prepare more intelligently, more diligently, to avoid these mishaps.

Failure is our way of learning how to become more successful, in whatever endeavors we pursue. Perhaps we shouldn’t be so afraid to fail–after all, it will make us stronger in the end.




New Article!

My latest article about composer Stephen Dankner and his saxophone music is now available from I am posting a link to it here on my blog page for viewers to have access to it. It was a great experience getting to know Steve and perform some of his music. Saxophonists, if you haven’t looked into Steve’s music, you’re really missing out!