If you know me, you know I love to stay in! The fact that everyone has moved online to things like Zoom meetings was a great win in my productivity kit each day, and I only go out for really important meetings and events.
Typically, even my violin lessons are online.
But this week was different. My instructor and I are working on the pieces for the Grow Retreat, and I know I want them to be perfect. So I actually went down to her studio to have our first in-person lesson.
As usual, we started the lesson by playing through the whole piece that is the focal point of my keynote. But here’s where it got interesting!
I was completely dissatisfied with a specific portion of the piece.
After I finished playing through, I mentioned that this section has eluded my work to represent it’s heart and I felt like I was just rushing through it to get it over with in an attempt to “get it over with” and hope the audience would forget about it by the end of the piece.
One of the challenges I’ve had is that we took a composition that was originally fairly simple and really elevated the piece through additions of chords and grace notes, mordents, adjusted dynamics, and more. It’s more interesting, fun and ear-catching.
But rushing through it was just making the whole thing discordant and distracting.
A note for my non-musically-inclined readers!
In music, a “grace note” is not really a full note. It’s that note that you hear for a split second before you hear the note that is actually written for that beat of music.
When I told my instructor that I was rushing the section of music, she smiled, as she does, and had me start with that note. But not the next note. Just that first note with the grace note attached.
It took a moment for me to realize that she didn’t want me to play the actual note, JUST the grace note. Again. And again. And Again.
When the grace note was perfectly in-tune and resonating, then we added the full note. It was almost painstaking and looking at an entire line of music to try and play, I almost quailed with discouragement.
What I learned…
After the lesson was finished and we’d not only gotten through that section but the two other sections that were causing me problems is that I need to slow down and take the whole section of music apart piece by piece to polish every little bit of it individually. Once those tiny pieces are polished, I can put them back together in a way that not just resonates, but is emotionally evocative.
In truth, I was so focused on trying to fix the whole piece that I missed the importance of fixing the handful of notes that were out of place.
Let’s get this into business!
Unfortunately, I realized that I do this in business a LOT too!
I’m often so busy trying to fix the whole business that I don’t realize that maybe the whole business doesn’t need fixing. Maybe I just need to fine-tune some specific components until they all work in harmony with each other.
And as we worked, I mentioned it to her. This particular section of the piece is repeated a few times, and we’ve adjusted it from the original composition to make it more interesting, fun, and ear-catching. But as we worked, I realized and mentioned that the section just sounds bad to me and so I continually rush through it.
I was hoping that people wouldn’t catch the bad section and would forget it.
Here’s where I have to do a bit of explaining…
In music, a “grace note” is kind of not really a full note. It’s that note that you hear for a split second before you hear the note that is actually written for that beat of music.
When I told my instructor that I was rushing the section of music, she said “Ok, let’s start going through it. Start on this note.”
Of course, when she pointed out the note with the grace note, I tried to play the note with the gracenote. But she got more specific, and had me literally play JUST the gracenote. The note that is barely even there. And we spent time ensuring that grace note was perfectly in tune before we moved to the next note.
What I learned…
Is that I needed to take the whole section of music apart piece by piece to polish every little bit of it and ensure that it’s perfect. Because once I’ve polished those tiny little pieces of the section, I can put them back together in a section that isn’t just good but is astounding.
In truth, the whole piece didn’t need fixing. I was trying to fix the whole thing, but I just needed to take it one little bit at a time…
Let’s get this into business!
The lesson I learned on the violin this week is something that I see business owners deal with on a regular basis.
We’re so busy trying to fix the whole business, that we don’t realize that maybe the whole business doesn’t need fixing. Maybe we just need to fine-tune some specific components until they all work in harmony with each other.
As you’re going into the New Year, don’t try to fix every single thing in your business. Hone in on one thing at a time and perfect it, then move on to the next bit. (E. G., instead of trying to fix ALL of your company culture, focus on fixing one little aspect of it and then move on to the next aspect of it. Don’t try to fix the whole company culture at once.)
Get granular and connect the little pieces of your business that will make it work together beautifully.
Want to know how to get every part of your business to connect and work together like a well-oiled machine? Make sure you’re at the Grow Retreat next month, where our theme of Connection takes us from Sponsorship to Internal Divisions!