Monday, October 12, 2015

Question Everything: What if it really was about you?

How many times have you been in a class where the instructor made a blanket comment that you ignored?

It could have been something like, "be careful not to speed up when you play xyz," or "don't tighten the shoulder on this move here," or whatever, really.  When we hear comments like these that aren't aimed as us directly, many of us think "well I wasn't doing that, so they weren't talking about me."

But what if you took every blanket comment and assumed they WERE talking about you?  What would happen?

Would you get overwhelmed with all the comments you now had to consider?  That's possible, in which case maybe take every other comment.  Being overloaded isn't going to help!

Maybe you'd start feeling like you're not very good, but you know you'd be doing this as an exercise, so that's not too likely.

Or maybe, just maybe, you'd start thinking about some of the things you figured didn't need to be worked on, things you took for granted.  You might find that you're doing things correctly, but in the process, find other things to think about or work on.  You might find new ways to explain/describe how you're doing things correctly, for when you have to teach it to someone else.

Of course, you don't have to do any of this, you can dismiss the comment even when you know it doesn't apply to you.  But does it make you any better?  Are you sure that you can't improve on the technique mentioned?  By repeatedly thinking "that comment's not about me," does it start to develop a mindset that sabotages you down the line?

It's pretty common for a person giving a comment to not single out the one or two people that the comment is meant for.  It's less harsh that way, but also means there's a good chance the person/people who need the comment the most don't "hear" it.  Is that person you?

So try taking all the comments you hear for a practice or two.  Or a month, whatever works for you.  Even just the act of processing what you hear differently can make you a better artist!

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