Fellow musicians: How many times have people criticized you? Told you that you lacked talent? Made you feel down about your skill?
Let me tell you something: Every person telling you those things isn’t perfect and doesn’t know everything.
You are special, and you deserve to know it.
Today’s blog is designed to give you strategies which will help you find your true musician’s voice.
Learning music has so many levels – learning to read music, learning how to play your instrument, learning to capture nuances, and even learning how to maintain your instrument. Most importantly, you need to learn how to improve your abilities so that you can make your instrument sing with the love in your soul for the music that you make.
And that takes time, perseverance, and belief in yourself.
Where is the bridge from novice to expert, from frustration at your lack of mastery to becoming immersed in the wonderful music you and your instrument can produce? When you have penetrated its mystery and can, at last, experience its majesty and become a team?
That bridge is your fantastic band directors, private lesson instructors, and your teachers; people who know how to talk to you without harshness, who use kindness and clarity; people who listen to you and care about your questions and your efforts; ones who can teach and guide you without belittling you or discouraging your efforts.
Students of any subject don’t need negativity – it deflates their self-esteem; it riles those with more self-confidence and makes them resistant to critique. Others can become bored or discouraged, feeling they’ll never succeed.
Never let anyone dim your passion. The world is full of judgment, bitter people, people who are threatened by those with more skill, and naysayers. While their critiques might come out of a truth, those lessons can and should be taught with patience, kindness and encouragement.
You must take the responsibility of being dedicated to your work and take the responsibility to center yourself. Only then can you hear what is of value in improving your skills and let the rest go without rancor. Everyone in the arts can always be better, so strive every day to be so. Be forgiving of yourself when you feel you fall short; no one is infallible or perfect. But remember - be strong, be committed to your craft, and be confident in your ability to succeed and overcome your deficits.
Learn to listen to critiques, take what you can use at the moment from your lessons, know what you still need to understand and say so. Disappointment is going to rear its head, but learn how to give it a moment, then let it go. You won’t win every prize. You won’t please everyone. Don’t let it defeat you or stop you. Learn how to ignore the negative by replacing it with the positive. Don’t let anything extinguish your inner light.
With all the advice and teaching in the world, if you don’t take your work seriously, you’ll open yourself to letting yourself down. Rise above and be the player you dream to be.
Your teachers want you to succeed. They believe in you.
Believe in yourself by doing the work that will help you succeed and be a better human being, with practice, strength, imagination, love, kindness and forgiveness – for yourself and others.
You can do it!
I believe in you!