I find I feel the most miserable when I look around to get value cues from comparing myself to others. I will always see strengths in others that I don't have. And I will never see their weaknesses or the things they struggle with. But even if I did, that should not be my measuring stick for myself. I love the reminder of keeping an eye single to the glory of God we find in the scriptures. I keep my focus on Him- His love and my identity as His child determine my worth, rather than determining my worth by looking around me. I also get my instructions from Him, not those around me. He holds the measuring stick for my life rather than measuring myself against others. Look to Him for His love, His mercy, and His counsel. -Erin Bailey

I had a vocalist friend who one day realized that no matter how much he practiced or developed his voice and musicality, his voice would never sound like so-and-so's voice.  It was impossible.  He struggled for a few months with that realization.  He finally decided that he should be grateful for his gift from Heavenly Father, and that developing his skills the best he could was his mission--no one else's.  I believe he found this understanding by increasing his spiritual connections and prayer.  Once his focus changed from wanting to be as good as someone else to becoming the best musician he could, his life changed.  He was able to celebrate other's gifts and progress, just as he was able to do for himself.  And he prayed for doors to open for him to bless the lives of others.  He has had a successful music career as a soloist and choral director.  

It's almost impossible to look back and objectively see if you are progressing.  Keeping evidence will help you see that you make progress.  Recording yourself during each semester at the beginning, middle and end, for example.  You can keep recordings of a piece from when you first sing/play it, and steps along the way until you are performance ready.  Keeping a few recordings from every semester will allow you to go back and listen for yourself to judge your progression.  I have found this invaluable, particularly for those times that I can hear non-progress or even sliding back--that realization helped me get back on top of what was important and keeping focused. -Rob Dunn

Can’t you celebrate their success without it defining your own? A true friend celebrates others’ victories. Support them and encourage them. Chances are they’ll do the same for you. Your self worth isn’t defined by someone else’s success or failures. It’s never a loss to be kind. If you genuinely show interest in them and focus on them, you’ll find your way to a healthy relationship. -Jason Bergman

One thing I love about working at BYU is that my faculty colleagues are so tremendously supportive of each other. I of course notice when one of my colleagues seems to be having more success than me. Or maybe they get opportunities I wish I had. But I have made an effort to attend their events and to express my genuine joy in their successes. I make sure to take time to compliment their work and to share anything about their performance that especially touched my heart. In the end, I feel much better celebrating my friends' successes with them. -Neil Thornock

You are doing an amazing job as a Freshman. You're here in the School of Music. You are succeeding. You are growing. One day you will be the senior that new freshmen look up to. I promise you'll get there. Ask those Seniors for feedback and advice. Don't be afraid to ask them what potential they see in you.

Ask your studio teacher to help you recognize the progress you've made. Ask him or her which former students have played the same pieces you're learning. Reach out to them and ask them for feedback on your performance. You'll be developing friendships that will be a strength through your whole career.

And when you become a Senior, look out for the new Freshmen. Be their friend. Reach out to them and tell them what you admire about their music. The friendships in our studios and across the School of Music uplift us all. -Bailey Jorgensen Frame

If you find yourself comparing your musicianship or other skills against others, you’re not alone! Things like orchestra seating, performance opportunities, and hearing others play at masterclass can make it hard not to. Here’s a few suggestions:

- when you notice yourself comparing to another, feel joy for them! Express it to them, too- “wow, congrats on winning that solo, you really deserve it!” Music is not a zero-sum world- someone winning does not mean that we lose. Let’s all try to encourage each other more.

- take some way at the beginning, middle, and end of the year to track YOUR progress! It can be specific music goals, a recording of your playing, a list of pieces you want to go after, the skies the limit! But some physical way to track your progress can help you see the progress you ARE making and keep you more focused on your own self-improvement. I know that I for one am more motivated and excited to practice when I have goals I’m working towards!

- If you’re envying other’s opportunities, make some for yourself! Perform at Concerts at Noon. Join the Student Advisory Council and find ways to help other musicians more included. Gather your music friends and put on a benefit concert. Arrange some of your own sacred music to play in church and post a recording on Facebook! A little bit of creativity can go a long way in creating fun opportunities to share your talents with others and making music more meaningful for you. -Brooke Baird

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