What Can Music Students Learn from Tom Brady?

tom brady throwing football

The incredible football career of Tom Brady has come to an end with the announcement of his retirement after 22 seasons in the NFL. His accomplishments – 7 Super Bowls wins, 10 Super Bowl appearances, the most games started and won of any quarterback in the history of the NFL – are all the more remarkable in light of the fact that Brady was the 199th pick in the 2000 NFL draft. Every team in the NFL passed over him several times before he was eventually drafted by the New England Patriots. Based on his record as a college football player, no one predicted what a great competitor he would become.

The lesson that young musicians can learn from Brady’s career is to not let others define your potential. Musicians often must put themselves in situations where they are judged by others. You may work very hard on an audition, a competition, or a recital performance and have a disappointing result. Many aspiring performers get discouraged when their efforts fall short.

When this happens it is helpful to remember that those who are judging you in an audition or competition only see what you are capable of on that day, not what you can do in the future.

Tom Brady did not play like a 6th round draft pick. He took the opportunity he was given and went farther with it than anyone could have imagined. If you take early setbacks as a challenge and an opportunity to grow, then there are no limits to your potential.

Author: Christopher Laughlin

Christopher Laughlin is the Program Director and guitar instructor at the Christopher Laughlin School of Music in Northbrook, IL. He earned his M.M in guitar performance at Yale University, and a B.M. in guitar performance from the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University. 

Christopher has performed extensively across North America and around the world. He has toured in 25 countries on five continents, performing in Portugal, Greece, Morocco, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, India, Nepal, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Austria, Yugoslavia, Romania, The Czech Republic, Ghana, Cameroon, Bolivia, and many others. He has made two recordings for Peregrine Records, Danza!, and Simplicio.

After finishing his graduate studies Christopher was awarded a Fulbright Grant for study in Paris with Uruguayan guitarist Betho Davezac, continuing his studies for a second year with a grant from the French government. Christopher has won prizes in two international competitions, the Concours International de Guitar in Sable-sur-Sarthe, France, and the Concours International de l’U.F.A.M. in Paris.

Drummer and teacher Nick Bolchoz