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A criticism, or “critique” as it is also called, refers to any kind of oral or written opinion, whether negative or positive, communicated to a perfomer by an instructor, judge, mentor, other musician or even non-musician. It is an evaluation of a performance that is shared to the performer by the evaluator. It is sometimes also shared with the public, such as in media, where, in this case, it is more commonly known as a “review” . You, as a musician, can become adversely affected in your morale and possibly even discouraged if you do not know how to properly deal with it. Any art, including music, is so close to the persons very essence that any criticism about it can hit home like a ton of bricks, even devastating an individual, believe it or not.

But criticism for the musician is inevitable. It comes with the territory of learning and performing music, from instructors, other musicians, admirers, fans, from all sorts of sectors. It is an inherent aspect of conservatories and music competetitions.

Technically speaking, every person has the right to express his/her opinion on anything. Oftentimes, people feel the need to express their feelings regarding anything in the arts. You hear it a lot with film and music. These can come off as either complimentary or critical.

If one receives a praiseful comment, such as how wonderful or moving their performance was, they should accept it, thank the originator and be genuinely proud that they could capture anothers heart with their aesthetic power. It is encouraging to hear such words, and rightfully so.

  1. However, ANY criticism or advice, either negative or even positive, from a non-professional (non-musician) should be entirely and utterly ignored.
  2. Regardless of whatever personal impact you created upon the listener, they are not the correct source for technical advice.
  3. Example: A pianist is performing a Bach piece and gets carried away with the dynamics (loudness and softness of various notes).
  4. After the performance, his friend, a non-musician whos dabbled in studying some music theory, praises him and advises him on how great the intensity on the dynamics was during the performance.
  5. The pianist makes the mistake of taking this as technical advice (instead of just differentiating between that and praise).
  6. He then enters a music competition where he performs the piece by getting carried away again on the dynamics.
  7. He promptly gets flunked and loses the competition because this piece he was performing, of the Baroque era, does not feature any sort of extremity in dynamics.

When a musician receives professional criticism, however, it can oftentimes be contradictory. For instance, one authority may say how excellent ones pedaling is while another comments on how muddy it sounds. This can leave a musician with uncertainty and unnecessary confusion. A thing to realize is that profesional technical critiquing can sometimes be opinion-oriented. But, it can also very well be corrective. There is a way to deal with this.

A musician always truly knows his or her own areas of weakness. These become more prominent and the individual becomes more tuned and aware of them as time and progress goes on. One should always be able to take such criticism without becoming introverted or feeling harmed. When one gets any such critiquing, the first thing to do is take it into consideration and evaluate it for themselves. If one feels that criticism was incorrect, then they have a right to evaluate that accordingly. A musician should always maintain his/her integrity. Though, at the same time, they should be open-minded and willing to learn more and become better and better. There is a fine line between not going the effect of poor criticism and being stubborn and never learning anything.

Lastly, there are always those individuals in society who seek to squash and put down creative minds, whether out of jealousy, insanity or their own failures. This occurs in any of the arts. As a musician, NEVER allow anyone to do this to you, for their “criticism” is merely an effort to overtly and openly put you down, or to slowly and insidiously suppress you by sounding “helpful” . Disregard it and continue being creative and making music!

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