The Patience and Persistence Principle

Jim Snyder

You may recall from my Nov/Dec 2019 Sectionals column that I suffered a hemorrhagic stroke, making me paralyzed on my left side for a while. In that earlier missive, I compared my recovery process to learning a musical instrument, such as the clarinet.

What I didn’t consider at the time is what I now call the “patience and persistence principle.” And I gotta say, this lesson has been the hardest thing of all to learn and accept. But it’s by far the most important part.

Reframe the Situation

Having trouble meeting a goal you set? Be patient; you’ll find a way.

Bored with repeating the same thing over and over? Deep breath! Okay, now keep going.

Really frustrated with a setback? Chill. Get up, take a little break, and get right back at it.

Patience is in you. Persistence is too.

Look Within

In the case of my stroke, the physical therapists constantly remind me that this recovery process would be verrry sloooow. For one who acts as impatiently as I often do, this concept seems foreign.

However, you’d think that by now I would have recognized my capacity for patience and persistence. I’ve been clarinetting for 57 years as of this writing (I know, right?), and I’ve just recently changed my mouthpiece/reed combination, my embouchure, and my playing posture—all of which helped me reach some goals that I’d set for myself back in the 1970s regarding sound, tone quality, and control. Spending more than a half century improving something is the epitome of patience and persistence, but I never really saw those traits in myself.


Both the recovery from this stroke and continual growth with the clarinet have revealed my patience and persistence to me in ways I hadn’t anticipated.


Look into yourself. With your own patience and persistence, you will see success, which then builds your confidence. The principle is working for me … verrry slooowly.

About author

Jim Snyder

Jim Snyder is a clarinetist from Orlando, Fla. Though primarily known as a jazz musician, his extensive career has put him in every musical place you’d expect to hear a clarinet—and in some you wouldn’t! Jim played for many years in New Orleans with trumpet virtuoso Al Hirt and is currently a staff musician at Walt Disney World. A Yamaha Performing Artist, he travels the United States as a soloist and clinician. Visit his website at

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