Monday, March 26, 2012


Image: Stuart Miles /

A few months back I took a piano certification exam from an international music school. I was very very nervous about the exam as they are very strict in evaluation and months of your hard work and practice is evaluated in how you play in the 12 to 13 minutes during the exams. Also, it is not like a written exam where you can be at peace and take it cool. Any single slip of your fingers will make you lose marks and will add more pressure.

Even when I play the piano in front of my teacher, I use to get very nervous and play it all very wrongly. If I play alone I can do it well, but in front of anyone, the self consciousness or pressure would make my fingers fuzzy. When such is the case, and when the exam was around the corner, I nervously asked my teacher, "Is it possible that anyone fails in this exam?" She positively and assertively answered, "Yes! A lot of people fail."

Now, my hunch is that, most of you, if not all of you, might think that she is a bad teacher and does not know how to handle students. The perfect textbook guru, whether it is your teacher or your parents is one who encourages at all the times, who, no matter what happens keep telling that 'You can win', who will never say 'You can fail', who will always keep reminding you that they believe in you.

Well, strangely, my father, who is my guru in most of the things in my life, is also the exact opposite of the perfect textbook guru. He would always say that I will never pass (funny, my father told me that I would fail in my tenth exam even when I was not a very bad student.). When I filled my B.E. application, I made a mistake in filling it and he said, 'you can never come up well from college'.

When my piano guru said that 'failing in the exam is very common', it actually eased my nervousness. My main worry was that I shouldn't be the only one who would fail in the exam :) and when I came to know that many can also fail, I got relieved and it helped me to play better. I don't know whether my guru knew this psychology and told me that or she simply said that and it worked for me.

But what I want to convey is, if your parents or teachers or guru seemed different than others' gurus, it may be because they know what works the best for you. They being a little hard on you or indifferent to you may be part of their plan. If you are in a good position in your life [or in your exams :)], you should stop whining about your gurus' attitude and thank them for their valuable teachings.


Dobby Severus Salazar said...

Yes, the clever gurus might plot something to help you. But it is very rare to meet such intelligent gurus.

Sinduja said...

Hmmm. This is a very new line of thought to me. Maybe it differs from person to person.

If someone told me such things as, "Many fail" or "you will fail", I would hate them for days after ward. The truth is, somewhere within, as individuals with some amount of common-sense, we know how tough or easy it is to ace a certain exam. So, for e.g, if I am going to write my UPSC exam, I know very well (since I have read a lot on it) that pass rate is 1 in 100. So when someone tells me before the exam "It is going to be very easy. You can pass easily", I don't take their word but it comforts nevertheless. It is a psychological relaxant. I am grateful to them for it.

Maybe you on the other hand, feel better, when you have imagined the worst; when you have no expectations. Understandable. I think though that you are quite a strong person within. Good for you ! :)

Amudhan said...

I am feeling lucky :)

I only partially told what happened for the blog to make sense :)... The same piano guru asked me to attempt Grade 2 when I wanted to attempt Grade 1... She said I can easily get through Grade 2... and all the times she would say 'you can get Distinction'. My father, despite having said 'you wont pass 10th', didn't even bother to get the news paper to check whether I passed because he was damn sure that I would have got good marks...

Of course, the gurus will motivate you but NOT to an extent that you get comfortable and settle for what you got. They know when to hit the iron and when to drip it inside water...