Yes, it is. Whether tinkering with the glitches in the software I used to build my newly updated web site or the guitarist playing publicly, imperfection is humbling.
Of course I want my web site to reflect the personal standard of excellence to which I hold myself, and that I hope I instill in my students. When a software glitch prevents me from editing a random graphic or closing up space that shouldn't be between paragraphs, it frustrates me no end. So, if you have visited the new GuitarTechniqueTutor.Com web site, and have seen those flaws, i know about them and will eliminate them as soon as I can.
Depending on someone else - in this case, a software developer, who has created a very functional, quite good html editor - is such a challenge. I'm hoping I will have a resolution today, but it may be next week. And the whole time, in the back of my mind I will be wondering how many eyes saw the web site and think I am less competent than I am, because of it.
It's the same thing with playing guitar. I'm getting a particular group of young, inexperienced students ready to perform in the spring. Some of them have performed before and others don't realize what adrenalin will do to them, when they sit on stage to play. Some of them are playing with other people and in addition to the adrenalin challenge, will finally understand why I have been constantly reminding them to count and become a human metronome - even playing by themselves, but especially when playing with others.
I'm encouraging them not to be concerned about anyone else's preparation, and just to be well practiced, themselves. I'd like them over-practiced, so muscle memory will take over when nerves distract them. It won't be anyone else's fault when they miss a chord change, or "invent alternate" music on the spot. (read: "miss notes")
I am virtually certain that every one of them will make some "mistake" in their performances. It may anything from playing a wrong note, to not playing at the same tempo as others are playing or singing, to totally blanking out and freezing. It may sound callous, but they'll live.
It will embarrass them, and they will feel like the time they are on stage is the longest minutes they have ever spent. But they will not only live through it, but most importantly they will learn.
So, the next time your web site doesn't look exactly right, or the next time you play less well than you did during practice and are filled with remorse/regret/frustration/embarrassment etc., learn from it. That's how we grow as people and musicians.
~ D A Arlaus, "doing my part to spread the excellence, one guitarist at a time."