You are getting so much right.

I was desperately late to pick up my 1-year old from his nursery. 

Alice, his caregiver,  had been waiting for me to arrive for quite a while now —and in doing so I was breaking their Main Rule— the one that I even had to sign a form aboutAvoid Being Late to Pick Up Your Child!!!

To make it all seem much harder, I had been stuck in heavy downpours and slow traffic 100 miles away while trying to get my flute fixed— before 4 upcoming recitals. Despite my 3 hour return trip there, it still hadn’t been fully sorted.  

One of my students was having a drama with their music director, and wanted my advice to go forward— but yesterday.  My recital venue was hounding for my final programme. I was due to leave for France the next day.
We had no proper food in for meals as I had neglected the shopping because the flute issue took longer than anticipated. Our old roof had 4 new leaks from the rain. I had meant to call a friend who was given a devastating health diagnosis- major guilt that I still hadn’t.

To make it all feel much worse, I had spilled light brown tea all down my shirt from trying to drink it in the car while driving. It looked dodgy as heck. I felt like a hot mess. 

“I am so so so so sorry”, I stammered, as I swung the nursery door open, wet from the downpour—despite running from my car.  My little boy started crying hysterically as soon as he saw me because it was his nap time.  

I hate being late as it makes me feel like such a failure, so I added a few more ‘I am sorry’s’ to the mix, very ashamed of breaking The Main Rule.

As I carried my shrieking son toward the door, I tried to hide my tears. It was one of those moments where everything felt too much. Too busy. Too crazy. Too out of control. Too everything. 

Later on, when my son was finally asleep, I scrolled through Facebook having a sulky moment of self-pity. I was caught off-guard by an illustration that appeared in my feed by one of my favourite Cornish illustrators, Sketchy Muma. It was this one:

I had a sense of peace as it was the exact balm I was ready to receive.  I felt the power of these 6 powerful words wash over me. 

You are getting so much right. 

You are getting so much right. 

You are getting so much right. 

You are getting so much right.

You are getting so much right.

Since this little sketch appeared perfectly into my life, YAGSMR has become one of my favourite mantras. I use it when I am feeling the weight of my roles, and busy-ness and drama that arrives sometimes. It’s my latest go-to when I am feeling overwhelm or that I am not doing enough. Or when I am feeling like I am failing at keeping any of it together: parenthood, family life, flute playing, teaching, writing newsletters…

I adore it because it puts me in the headspace to focus on what’s thriving. And… encourages me to give up control of all the stuff I can’t do anything about. 


YAGSMR has also become the exact words I remind my lovely flute clients, especially when their flute playing feels tough, going nowhere, or when they aren’t feeling ‘good enough’.

It’s also my reminder to you today, too, that you are getting so much right in your own playing: Even though you have fallen off the horse of your own playing and can’t seem to find a way back to it— yet

Even if you decide you aren’t quite ready to perform a piece by memory at your upcoming recital

When you just taught a  passable, ‘so-so’ lesson that you knew you could have delivered so much better

When you neglected your tone work for months/ years/ decades and now have to start ALL OVER with the basics

When you sign up to do a music course and when you arrive, you’re the least advanced player in the room

When you put on a local recital and there were only 12 people in the audience– 2 of them were your parents

When your practice has had to take a bit of backseat while you are on maternity leave this year because you want to spend time with your daughter instead

When you’re just about to take an audition for the London Phil and you still are trying to nail the ‘Carnival of the Animals’ excerpt like it’s no one’s business

Even when your left hand still tends to fly away to another galaxy when playing and you still need more mirror work to keep it in check

Even when you’re preparing for the BBC Young Musician audition and you are still deciding how you want to spin your slow phrases 

When your Royal Academy audition looms and you still need to work on making your vibrato sparkle like a diamond in the sun

When you’re a beginner and making soft high notes seems impossible

(all true stories from my recent work with clients this week!)


To all of this: you are getting so much right. Really, you are.

Hold that thought. Hold it close. Hold it tight.

5 things I no longer believe about flute playing.
“Help, I am sooo flippin’ busy!!! How can I possibly find time to practice?”

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