Hi. I’m Buddy Deshler, and I have failed many times during my musical career, but you know what?
That’s totally ok.
It’s worth mentioning that I have had successful moments as well, but lets focus on my failures because that’s something we can all relate to and struggle dealing with. So cancel the invites to your pity party and lets
That Failing Moment
In order to achieve the things we set out and gain the rewards we desire, we are put through some variety of obstacles whether it’s an audition, an application, or an interview. The problem is that 99.999999999% of the time you are not the only one competing for the same thing. Fast forward to the moment you’ve been waiting for. You’ve prepared, you’ve practiced, studied, sacrificed, stressed just to hear phrases like “Next” or “We regret to inform you….” or “And the winner is (insert opponents name here ______).
In that moment, the devastation creeps in and then smacks us in the face. Sometimes we see it coming a mile away, other times it’s an utter surprise. In the end, we all face this moment and get thoughts like, “I failed”, I’m a failure”, “I’m terrible”. Pretty dark right? Maybe, but it’s because I’m not ignoring the fact that these things happen and that people feel like this. The truth is that somebody had to get the reward and it just so happens, it wasn’t you……THIS TIME.
So it’s done, it’s over, what now? I’ll tell you what now.
WE MOVE FORWARD!
Period of Rest
If you’re upset about not getting what you set out for, that’s fine. The objective is not to be the happiest person on the planet immediately after not winning an audition. It doesn’t work like that. Telling someone to not be upset after something like this is like telling someone to calm down when they are stressed or to be happy when they’re depressed.
The objective is not to ignore the issue or turn it away like it didn’t happen rather to digest the process, learn from it, and minimize the grieving process to as short of a time period as possible. Give yourself a period of rest so you can think objectively, not take it personally and move forward. For me, it’s becoming after a good night’s sleep.
Now that the rest is over, it’s time to analyze and prepare for the next obstacle.
So What Happened And What Can We Do Next Time?
Now is when we take a look at what happened. What elements were involved in this application process? Was it playing? A resume? Bio? Interview? Perhaps it was a combination of all that and more. Do not take things personally. The committee is doing their job to find the best candidate and unfortunately that wasn’t you……THIS TIME.
You were not turned down because they hate you or because they didn’t like your face. They based their decision off the same criteria that everyone else showcased as well. If you took an audition, listen to the recording. (Side note, record all auditions you take. How else will you learn?).
In the moment you have too much anxiety and adrenaline to realistically recap what actually transpired on that stage. After listening to the recording, try to think objectively as if you were on a panel yourself. You can also ask for feedback or notes that they took during your audition. They won’t always provide them because there may have been too many candidates but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Now if you had a job interview, you can’t exactly set up a video camera in the room but you can still get audio. If your dream job contained some sort of writing, application, or bio, gloss over to see if any edits can be made to clean it up. When you are in a clear mindset, it’s easier to think objectively and point out the errors. What if you still can’t tell? Find good models to base your components off of. If you took an audition, compare recordings. If it’s an interview, check out ways in which to communicate things effectively and do “trial interviews”. For your documents, have others read it over including other professional organizations.
Why I’m Glad I’ve Failed
We all know those people who get everything they’ve wanted and what type of people they turn out to be. “Failing” makes us humble and down to earth. “Failing” also makes us grateful for our rewards. The struggles we go through makes us more relatable to people and fashions us into better teachers. It’s a process and you get used to it, but more importantly, you get used to dealing with it and seeing the advantages you can gain from them.
I often think about how FredBrass started and how it’s growing. The amount of times Austin and I heard the word “No” is mind blowing but we didn’t let it stop us. It caused us to think creatively and outside the box to achieve our goals. Often times, we ended up changing our first objective and gained an entirely new, unexpected result. So if you think about it, “failing” is not really failing…..if you allow it.
It happened, it’s over, but what did you learn? What can you learn? How can you prepare differently? We are all getting better. Don’t quit.
Buddy Deshler is a Co-founder and the Artistic Director of the Fredericksburg Brass Institute. He works in many exciting facets in the field of music including education, entrepreneurship, producing, and collaboration on top of an already active and rising performance career which has taken him to over half the country and across three continents. Whenever Buddy is not soloing, performing world premiers, being a clinician at the middle school through university level, teaching, practicing, or traveling, he is most likely sitting down with a strong cup of coffee, hatching his next collaborative venture.