The theater at The Fitzgerald Performing Arts Center is filled with student performers on stage. We look forward to these end-of-the-year concerts and celebrations. A student show or a concert is a mountaintop experience! It is the time when hard work is shared with parents, administrators and community members. 

I am reminded of a favorite book for motivation and inspiration for working on long-term group projects: It has helped me as an individual and in guiding students through rehearsals and performances. It is a short book with tremendous lessons and illustrations: “The Dip- A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)” by Seth Goodin.

For young performers, the path to excellence is rarely smooth sailing. It's a journey filled with countless hours of practice, moments of self-doubt and inevitable setbacks. Here's how the principles of "The Dip" can offer valuable insights and guidance to both parents and their aspiring artists:

  1. Recognizing the Dip: In any pursuit, there comes a point where progress seems to plateau, and the initial enthusiasm starts to wane. Parents and children must recognize when they've hit this dip, whether it's a challenging dance routine, a difficult musical piece or mastering a complex character in theater. Understanding that this phase is a natural part of the journey can help alleviate feelings of frustration and doubt.

  2. Commitment to Mastery: "The Dip" emphasizes the importance of knowing when to push through the tough times. Encourage your child to stay focused on their long-term goals, reminding them that their struggles are temporary roadblocks to excellence. Help them understand that it's okay to take breaks and recharge, but ultimately, perseverance is key.

  3. Embracing Feedback and Growth: Feedback is an essential aspect of growth for any artist. Whether it's from teachers, peers or audience members, constructive criticism can provide valuable insights and opportunities for improvement. Encourage your child to embrace feedback with an open mind, viewing it as a catalyst for growth rather than a reflection of their worth as an artist. Help them understand that even the most successful performers faced their fair share of setbacks and criticism on their journey to success.

  4. Celebrating Milestones: Finally, it's essential to celebrate milestones along the way, no matter how small they may seem. Whether mastering a tricky dance move, nailing a difficult musical passage or delivering a standout performance in theater, take the time to acknowledge and celebrate your child's achievements. These moments of celebration not only boost morale but also serve as reminders of how far they've come on their journey.

By recognizing the dip, committing to mastery, embracing feedback, finding support systems and celebrating milestones, we can help our children navigate the challenges of preparing for a dance, music or theater performance with confidence, resilience and determination. As they say, the journey may be tough, but perseverance's rewards are priceless. These lessons can be carried into all phases of life, from business to personal growth. 

Amelia Fulmer is the executive director of the Fitzgerald Performing Arts Center. The Fitzgerald Performing Arts Center Flagler Auditorium is Flagler County’s premier performing arts center for the community! Offering the latest technology and design, the Auditorium educates, enlightens, enriches, and exposes children and adults to the thrill of quality, live performances.