Post Mortem Jukebox
I know what you’re thinking…Did I read that correctly? Did he mean Postmodern Jukebox, the YouTube sensation that creates swing and jazz versions of popular songs? Has Chris lost his mind? No, my mind is intact, at least as far as I can tell.
My wife is a branded content producer, and in production, she often uses the term “Post-Mortem.” In her world, it refers to the period after a production when the whole team sits down to discuss what went right, what went wrong, and what could be done better. I've never really liked the term, for obvious reasons, but I've always liked the idea.
On Sunday, May 21, 2017 our students took to the stage at our annual Spring Student Showcase. There is no question that all of our performers were brave, determined, hardworking, and talented. Taking that stage isn’t easy. A significant amount of preparation goes into each performance, and when the moment comes, they only get one chance. Doesn’t that sound terrifying? Sometimes things go perfectly, sometimes they don’t, and sometimes we think they’ve gone perfectly, but in retrospect, we find mistakes.
Part of the post-mortem process is having the right frame of mind to be critical without being overly critical. Parents can help their children with this. The first step is accepting that no performance is flawless. In accepting this, we must also accept that flawless is not our goal and that a performance with flaws is not inherently bad. I can pull out classic records filled with mistakes that are beautiful and perfect in their imperfection. The second step is to focus on the attitude, the fun, the fear, the progress, the process, the preparation, and the anticipation...even on the fun of picking out an outfit for the stage. These emotions and experiences are what create a successful performance. More than anything else, our mindset will separate success from perceived failure. No one will ever appreciate or value us enough. If we rely on praise, competition, or accolades to give us validation, we will wind up disappointed. These things are far too temporary. Instead, we must know deep inside our own journey and be proud of ourselves.
After every concert that SoundLife Music Academy does, my wife, who put things together for a living, will always tell me little ways we can improve the organization of our event. Then our team will get together and go through the post-mortem process and talk about how to make the next concert even better. At first, because these events are so close to my heart, I am defensive, mainly because I don’t want to be faced with what could be better. I’m sure many of our students can relate to this feeling. It’s okay, as long as we push past this defensiveness to understand that we can always learn and improve.
In the next few weeks, we will share video footage and photographs from our Student Showcase with students and their families. In weekly lessons, we will view these videos and think about what went right and what could be better. Those moments, the good and bad, cannot be changed, but the future...well, that is yet to be written.