A more humane study conducted by one of my favorite authors and researchers, Carol Dweck, demonstrated learned helplessness on 5th grade children - without electric shock, of course! Dweck and fellow researcher N. Repucci found that children who were originally given an unsolvable puzzle were less likely to succeed at a solvable puzzle given immediately after, even if they had successfully solved a puzzle earlier on in the experiment.
These studies show us that children, and dogs, react very negatively to failure, showing a form of helplessness. A common side effect when facing failure is to just give up completely, which was the topic of the AuditionsPlus blog. John Boyd provides a list of ways to get you back on your feet after dealing with failure and rejection. All of which are great for musicians, or anyone who is facing tough times - which we all do at some point!
What's missing from Boyd's article is the reason I decided to become a vocal instructor: building confidence. The only way a musician will be able to face failure and rejection - and it's inevitable in this business - is to keep learning their craft, practicing, building the confidence they need to go after the next big audition, even if the last one was a bust. Your voice cracked on stage? Don't consider it a failure, learn what caused it and how to overcome it. The only way to get back up and brush yourself off is to get better. And everyone's capable of that with practice.