If You Always Do Your Best, No One Can Fault You

As a composer (including my 34 years as a band director), I know what it is like to juggle schedules, teach music, music theory, critical listening, plan yearly budgets, adjust the spending, plan various types of trips, attend regional and national conventions, plan recording sessions, plan programs for concerts, and the list goes on and on and on. Frustration and sometimes the necessary 180 degree change of plans or change in the music composition/arrangement in order to deal with the unexpected can make life seem like its overwhelming.

All this also requires juggling with personal and social commitments, as well as family commitments and priorities. As my dad would remind me from time-to-time, it’s all about doing your best. He would say, “Have you done your best? Did you make your best effort? If the answer is yes, then no one can fault you. If you didn’t do your best, figure out what you need to do to get better and do it.”

One of my college band directors taught all of his students by his words and deeds using the most calm mannerisms I’ve ever been around. His mantra was, “Be kind to each other. It’s important.” Sometimes that may be difficult for you, but try to avoid negative reactions that can wreak havoc on your health and your personal and professional relationships. You may be surprised by the unexpected results that give you more positive feelings than you could ever realize.

Music people live in a world of continual learning, risk-taking, and riding on a roller coaster of highs and lows that are amplified by their self-expectation of perfection or attainment. Always do your best and try to enjoy the smiles from friends, colleagues, and associates when the effort or a plan produces positive results. Balance that with family as a priority and you will be a success. If you did your best, no one can fault you for any outcome. Ever.

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