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Eloise Ristad

  • Music lessons — or lessons in anything — can be dangerous to us, for the weekly guilt can become addictive. We can come to believe that we deserve scorn, and that we really can profit from being told repeatedly how to do it, from being given 'right' answers. Gradually we lose our child-like enthusiasm for music or tennis or roller-skating or tightrope walking and substitute an intense yearning to do it 'right' for the teacher.

  • ... the sheer rebelliousness in giving ourselves permission to fail frees a childlike awareness and clarity. ... When we give ourselves permission to fail, we at the same time give ourselves permission to excel.

  • Problems, unfortunately, can be addicting. Like it or not, we take a certain amount of pride in the very problems that distress us.

  • It is in performance that the sudden panic hits, that we beg for release from our destiny and at the same time court the very experience that terrifies us. ... A well-meaning friend says, 'There's nothing to get nervous about,' and it almost helps, because the desire to strangle distracts us for the moment.

Eloise Ristad, U.S. musicologist

(1925 - 1985)