Patience in the performing arts.

Recently I found this article on

It is a great article on the power of persistence. So often I have been frustrated making music but I come back to it, because I love it and I feel it is my calling. I feel it in my heart. So I disregard the money I could be making because it nourishes my soul.

The article really summarises everything I have been saying about learning any skill. It takes many hours of practise and obsessive learning. The ability to delay gratification and deal with frustration and disappointment. It’s not easy.

But what I remember as I get older is a few things:

What do I want to be remembered for at my life’s end?
What makes me happy?
What gives me energy?

I am a firm believer that you need the right energy to deal with a major goal. Doing things you are not passionate about, just for a paycheque, depletes energy. Pursue that which energises you.

Shiona, who I have spoken to a couple of times, does this very well. See her article below.
You can find more at

I want it now! Patience and the Performing Arts
You can read this newsletter on the blog

I want a ball, I want a party
Pink macaroons and million balloons
And performing baboons and
Give it to me, Rrhh rhhh

Veruca Salt from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

I love Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and believe Veruca Salt got exactly what she deserved when she ended up in the garbage chute!

While I appreciate the value of hard work and am known for my persistence, sometimes I am guilty of acting like Veruca. Patience is certainly not one of my virtues! There is a two year old within me that is more than capable of stamping her feet screaming – I want it now!

Can you identify with that?

We live in an instant gratification society.

Hungry? Call into a fast food outlet!
Cash poor? There is always the credit card!
Need information? Google it!
Want to speak to a friend? Why send a letter when we have mobile phones, email, Facebook, Instagram, Skype! And we get annoyed when they don’t respond straight away.

No wonder we hate waiting for things. We have forgotten the art!

Observing students in my music classes, I am dismayed at how quickly they give up. If the song doesn’t instantly sound like it does on the radio, they disengage or demand something easier.

Students who dance or learn an instrument are instantly recognizable. They have something that other students don’t – they know how to persist. They appreciate that rewards come from effort, self- discipline and passion!

Artistry takes time, focus and dedication.

To make art appear effortless, takes hours, years!! of practice, classes, sacrifice. Every performer will appreciate this. As much as we would love to believe there is such a thing as an overnight success, this is rarely the case. We don’t SEE the effort that has come before.

So next time you find yourself wishing it were easier, or that big break was here already, remember your capacity to ‘delay gratification’ is what sets you apart from the majority of the population!

You have these gifts in abundance. Time to notice them.

You know what is important to you, what gives you joy.
You know how to work at a skill until you master it. That creates magic!
You can deal with rejection, negative feedback and have the courage to keep doing what you love.
You are in touch with your feelings and can channel these to move an audience to laughter or tears.
You have the inner resources to deal with any challenge life throws your way!

If you are struggling, beating yourself up, or feeling like a failure, remember these five key points. Start creating your own list of all the wonderful things that make you YOU!

Another important thing to remember…

Love each moment of the creation of your art.

Love the practice, the wrong notes, the tightness in your muscles at the end of the day, the joy of being on stage, the tears when the show ends and the blessing of being with people who get it!

This is true instant gratification…

Doing what you love, loving what you do and feeling alive every step of the way. Certainly beats a goose that lays golden eggs!

With warmth,
Shiona Long

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