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No pain, no gain. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. These and other similar phrases represent attitudes most teachers hope will inspire their students. Surrounded by walls adorned with such inspirational quotes, we music teachers walk a fine line between identifying students’ musical mistakes and encouraging them to keep trying. We may wonder during this process why some students seem to crumble under criticism while others never quit, despite constant difficulty. What can we do to encourage students to learn from their mistakes? What roles do talent and hard work play in the music learning process? And what is the relationship between struggle, failure, and learning that lasts?

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Southwestern Musician

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