What I Learned From Mandolin Lessons
A few years ago, I decided that I was going to learn how to play the mandolin. I bought a mandolin. I bought a book and DVD. Then I quickly realized that I had no ability to put all of this together and actually learn how to play the instrument.
So I signed up for lessons.
I began taking lessons from a world-class mandolin player named Roscoe Morgan. Our thirty minutes together every week were spent learning the mandolin and discussing everything from family to faith to politics and everything in between.
I didn’t become very good and after a couple of years I gave up it. After several years of reflection, I have figured out the main reason I didn’t become good (besides the fact that I don’t have much musical ability).
I was afraid to fail. I was afraid to make a mistake.
I was so concerned with being precise and hitting every note that I held back. I didn’t go for it.
I haven’t discussed this with anyone, but I don’t think really good musicians worry about whether they hit the notes. They do most of the time, but if they miss one they don’t care. They just keep going. They move on. And let’s be honest. Most of us wouldn’t notice if one note is missed.
What they do is simply deliver the music.
Dave Johnson and Jeff Austin, now of Yonder Mountain String Band, met in college. Dave invited Jeff to join his band at the time, The Bluegrassholes. Austin replied that he did not play an instrument, but that he did own a mandolin. Johnson told him to come on and “play anything, just play fast and loud.” So he did.
Did you see that? Jeff Austin didn’t fear it. He just did it. Now he is in a progressive bluegrass group that has a huge tribe.
Fear did not hold Jeff Austin back.
That is where we need to be in our lives. That is where we need to be in our faith.
It may as simple as getting outside of our comfort zones.
It may be lifting up a hand in praise in a church service.
It may be giving up a week of vacation at the beach for a week on a mission trip.
I can’t decide that for you.
You have to decide that for yourself.
Figure out what fear is holding you back from where you want to go and what you want to be. And go for it.
What is fear holding you back from doing that you really want to do?