The voice of the critic echoes long after the words are said. Sometimes years. And sometimes they are never forgotten. Words of criticism in response to our own creations seem to cut deeper than the usual remarks of reproof.
As a professional musician I had ample opportunities for criticism, no matter how elegantly it may have been disguised.
Here are my two favorites over the years:
1. (At my end of the term summary lesson with my opera extraordinaire voice teacher)
“Oh Brooke! You have clearly mastered your breathing, your enunciation, your vowels!… I think all we need to focus on in the future is producing a more… hmmm. ‘beautiful sound’! “
2. (From my Jazz Piano Professor during a private lesson—-keep in mind I was classically trained for 13 years prior)
“Brooke… Listening to you play Jazz, is like listening to me speak French…
It’s NOT MY NATIVE LANGUAGE!”
Both comments came from experts in the field, and although not forthrightly discouraging, they clearly allude to my lack of ability.
I treated each comment differently, and the results are apparent.
1. That was my last voice lesson. Ever. Despite finding myself in choirs and a small singing group where I obediently confined myself to the label of “choir participant…no solo quality voice whatsoever”, thirteen years have passed and I still allow her comment to limit me from ever progressing beyond where I was back then. “I’m not good enough”, I tell myself. And there I stay.
2. As far as the Jazz music goes… Dr. Smith was right. I wasn’t a native speaker! BUT! I challenged myself to become more educated. I listened to more jazz music, I continued to take lessons, and four years later I found myself as the primary jazz pianist for the University Jazz orchestra. (I’m still not fluent in the language of Jazz… But I can certainly carry on a delightful musical conversation at the piano that would probably even make Dr. Smith slightly crack a smile into his stoic straight face 😉
Sometimes the battle lies more with the critic within ourselves (which I believe often stems from experiences from an external critic somewhere in our life), but regardless, we have a choice.
We can choose to allow the words to paralyze our progress, or treat it like a challenge.
We all have room for improvement in whatever our creative aspirations.
What ever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.
Believe in Yourself! This is your year! Choose to conquer the critics voice and find yourself further along the path in 2011.
How are you going to get there? What do you have planned to help you progress?
Brooke Snow is a Lifestyle photographer in Cache Valley, Utah. Brooke specializes as a Utah Senior photographer, Logan Senior photographer, Utah Family Photographer, Logan Family Photographer, Logan childrens photographer , Utah Childrens Photographer and is a photography teacher who enjoys teaching private photography lessons as well as monthly photography classes in Logan, Utah.