What to do when you're not good enough
I recently attended a practice with a big band. I usually don't play that kind of music, but I figured it was a great chance for me to get to brush up on my sight-reading chops and meet some new musicians.
From the first moment, it was a complete disaster. All the players were exceptional sight-readers, and we were going over crazy-difficult music at about 310 bpm (I don't exaggerate).
After blowing three or four solos and thoroughly humiliating myself, I packed up and headed home.
What a miserable waste of time.
Or was it?
As I drove home, I realized I had learned more than many of the practices I'd be in that went great. Here's some of the stuff I learned in that painful 2 hours:
I am a rock musician. That's what I'm good at, and what I love.
I'm not good at some stuff. And that's okay.
Rather than try to fix weaknesses in myself, I need to focus on landing gigs that allow me to do what I'm best at. I will never be a classical sight-reading guru, and I don't ever want to be. I want to be good at being me.
Of course, I'm not saying I'm never going to try to improve my weak areas. But we all have to realize no matter how good we are at some things, we are never going to be great at all things.
So relax. Focus on being really good at being you. It's the only choice we have anyway.