Higher Standards

In the last 6 months or so I’ve been much harder on my private students. I was hard on my drumline students this season too.

I said things like “that’s not good enough,” and “is that the best you can do?”

I also said “I’m disappointed,” and “don’t come back to a lesson with that kind of preparation again.”

Harsh right? Maybe. But maybe in general we all could use a harsh kick in the pants to start excelling instead of being mediocre. Maybe that sentence was harsh too. But I’m ok with that.

I didn’t just start pushing my students harder out of nowhere. They were “warned” if you will. I spent a lot of time talking with them about what my expectations were going to be and why my expectations for them had suddenly risen.

It was because my expectations for myself had risen. Dramatically.

I’m not sure where it came from, but I started seeing greatness in areas of my life that aren’t music. Example: Gordon Ramsay cooking a steak.

I began realizing that I had no excuse to not be as awesome as this girl doing a Karate saber demo.

And of course greatness in music too.

As a drummer and as an educator, I need to be striving for that level of greatness. Shoot, as a person I need to be striving for that level of greatness.

It’s my mission to share these kinds of things with my students when I get a chance so that’s what I did. Its not that I haven’t always dealt exclusively in high standards — I think and hope that I have. Just recent exposures to greatness have pushed me to more.

The results have been pretty outstanding to put it simply. They’ve worked a lot harder for me, thus forcing me to work harder for them. Higher standards rub off.

No one has complained either. I like how Gordon Ramsay cooks a steak, not so much how he terrorizes his chefs into doing it. While I’ve enforced high standards and accepted nothing less, I haven’t been mean or condescending. Just simply reporting the facts.

“This is not good enough,” isn’t mean. It’s honest. I think we could all do with a bit more honesty with ourselves, with others and especially others with us.

Being forward with my students has made all of us have better experiences. No one has complained, everyone has improved.

The more I experience greatness the more it rubs off on me. Hopefully it has the same effect on you. So go experience some greatness and then get to being great.

Don’t accept less than that, less than that is not good enough.