general music

Letting Go of Cracked Notes

Photo by Sean Nolan
Photo by Sean Nolan
Though I’ve been on a hiatus from performing for a few years now, I’ve probably played hundreds of concerts/gigs in my life as a trumpet player—and I’ve probably played millions of notes—yet I still remember all the major times I cracked a note. Of course what this expands to is how I dwell on mistakes in general. I have a tendency to hang on to not just these cracked notes, but mistakes as a husband, parent, or friend; mistakes at work; and even past seasons of baseball where my batting average or ERA was less than desirable.

In my head I can reason out all kinds of things:

  • I’m only human and humans make mistakes.
  • Nobody’s perfect.
  • Mistakes happen for a reason, learn from them.
  • If you hold onto mistakes, you can’t move forward.
  • The good I’ve done outweighs the bad. Focus on the positive.

I do really believe all these things, but still, old behaviors and ways of thinking creep back in.

What used to happen is that my mistakes would derail me for a day or even sometimes longer. Today I try and focus on the present moment and not dwell on the past. No regrets (at least that’s the goal). That being said, I’ve also been working on acknowledging my mistakes when they happen and dealing with them the best I can. That way I know I’ve done what I can and can then move on to letting the rest go.

I have a long way to go (like I said, I still remember and cringe at those cracked notes from years ago). But the progress I’ve made in dealing with my mistakes today gives me hope for tomorrow. I know I’ll always make mistakes, but if I can keep working on how I handle them and stay in the present moment, then I know I’m making progress and that I’m working towards a more peaceful and happy existence.