Chess & Loss

Do you play chess? I have never played competitively, but I’ve found myself playing more as my sons are able to understand it. Already this break, we’ve played dozens of games.

A photo posted by Jed Scott (@jedscottmusic) on Dec 12, 2014 at 4:55am PST

Chess teaches strategic thinking, the ability to see the big picture to think ahead, and of course the skill of losing gracefully. All great skills to build.

It also teaches a really important lesson in loss.

You will never win a game of chess with all sixteen pieces. To play, you have to accept the loss of some pieces. And if you try to protect every piece, you’ll find yourself quickly losing games.

Lately, I’ve been applying this lesson to how I approach students. For me, winning is having my students passionate about singing music well, knowledgable in how music works, and continuing to make music after they leave my group.

But I can’t win for everyone. My approach won’t work for everyone, and some may walk in with challenges I can’t help them overcome.

If I try to save every piece, I might end up losing them all. Better to protect as many as I can, play my game, and accept the losses as a part of playing the game.

(I’ll still try to protect every piece I can, though…)


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