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Endless Becoming — The Process of Lifelong Learning in Music amid a Landscape of Expectations, Goals, and Perceived Success


In the world of music, the adage “process over product” often clashes with the pervasive desire for immediate success and recognition. As artists, particularly horn players, grapple with the pressures of perfection and expectations, a paradigm shift is essential. This article explores the transformative power of embracing one’s entire career as a continuous process, challenging conventional wisdom and shedding light on the interconnectedness of mindset, mistakes, and success in the journey of artistic development.

To bring the concept of process into the realm of horn practice, the article advocates for a shift in attitude towards daily practice sessions. The author recommends an organized approach, emphasizing shorter, multiple sessions spread throughout the day. The use of a timer is proposed to enhance focus and prevent burnout. Drawing from personal experience in audition preparation, the article introduces a structured practice plan involving listening to professional recordings, recording one’s performance, and iterative refinement. The importance of a practice journal in fostering a process-oriented mindset is highlighted.

Lowering the bar strategically is presented as a means of managing expectations in the practice room. The article illustrates this concept through personal anecdotes, demonstrating how setting achievable goals contributes to a positive improvement mindset. Real-world examples, such as leading an online music festival during the COVID-19 pandemic, emphasize the practical application of process-oriented learning. The article introduces the idea of parsing goals into intentions and aspirations, encouraging performers to focus on the “how” of a goal, turning it into an ongoing process rather than a fixed outcome.

In the pursuit of success in the musical realm, the article advocates for a profound shift in perspective—from a results-based mindset to one centered on the process. It emphasizes the importance of daily practice as a continuous experiment, structured yet flexible audition preparation, and the need to perform more frequently. By redefining success as an ongoing journey rather than a distant achievement, the article underscores the liberating potential of process-oriented learning. In the chaos of expectations, the true essence lies in enjoying the present, adapting to unforeseen circumstances, and finding contentment in the ever-evolving musical journey.

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ISSN: 2792-8349

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International Journal of Music