“We have something that is unique. We have our craft. We have our art. We have our desire.”*
–Branford Marsalis, saxophonist
Craft, art, desire. Add persistent hard work, and what do you get? Artistic and professional success.
Why is it, then, that some students who are passionate about making music and have opportunities to refine their skills will practice intently yet others won’t?
There can be many reasons, but Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University and author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, offers one compelling explanation.
Dr. Dweck identifies two basic mindsets: growth and fixed.
The Growth Mindset
People with growth mindsets recognize that knowledge and skills arise from effort – they view intelligence and talent as products of work. They realize that our creative powers aren’t genetically preset because the neurons in our brains can continually make fresh connections.
Dr. Dweck finds that growth-mindset individuals tend to:
1. Enjoy challenges
2. Be undaunted, even motivated by setbacks
3. Seek advice and criticism
4. Regard errors as instructive
5. Employ diverse learning strategies
6. Bounce back from disappointments
7. Draw inspiration from the successes of others