on closed doors


Hello again, dear readers! I’m back to posting after taking a month off to focus on auditions, and I know many of you have just finished the same process. Admissions decisions will be rolling in within the next few weeks, determining where we will be for the next 2-4 years–but unfortunately, for many of us, there will inevitably be some rejection letters in the mix. That’s why I wanted to re-share this article, published almost a year ago exactly, in which Frank Bruni raises some excellent points on the benefits of taking second-choice paths.

People bloom at various stages of life, and different individuals flourish in different climates….For every person whose contentment comes from faithfully executing a predetermined script, there are at least 10 if not 100 who had to rearrange the pages and play a part they hadn’t expected to, in a theater they hadn’t envisioned. Besides, life is defined by setbacks, and success is determined by the ability to rebound from them. And there’s no single juncture, no one crossroads, on which everything hinges.

This goes far beyond easing disappointment with “sour grapes” excuses. Personally, I think rejection has been one of the most strengthening elements in my life. Sure, it sucks in the moment–but it teaches you resilience; it gives you the assurance that you are pursuing your passion for the right reasons, and not because of any external validation; it trains you to face reality and accept all its good and bad parts with open arms.

Best of luck to all of us. Read the full article here.

“Can’t act. Balding. Can dance a little.”

Bob Landry, Fred Astaire in “Puttin’ on the Ritz” (1945) (source)

The quote in the title of this post is probably one you’ve heard before–it was supposedly said about Fred Astaire in one of his early screen tests for RKO Radio Pictures. Little did RKO know at the time that Astaire’s career as a Hollywood star would soon skyrocket.

Music is like any other art: if you’re putting yourself out there, you will likely face rejection and elimination far more often than you will face acceptance letters and first prizes. But this list of rejection letters–to artists, musicians, and writers whose works are now known worldwide–may boost your morale by providing behind-the-scenes perspective to modern success stories. This isn’t an unrealistic, feel-good, overblown motivational speech with the message of, “Keep trying! You could be the next Evgeny Kissin/Meryl Streep/Joshua Bell/Jackson Pollock!” But it should encourage you to know that even the best of the best face rejection and failure. It should motivate you to know that, despite the fact that some people may not appreciate what you have to offer, you can make it work for yourself in your field, with enough determination, creativity, and flexibility.

Fall seven times, get up eight.