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Oops, thanks and… self meeting self: a different way of viewing criticism

Christian Vachon

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Published: March 20, 2014 at 10:44 AM [UTC]

First off, oops! – I accidentally erased my recent top page post with the videos while trying to correct a mistake in the post by pressing the wrong button.

Second, thanks! – to all those who took time to read and especially to listen/watch the videos. Very appreciated.

Laurie very graciously offered the opportunity to redo the post, and instead of posting the same thing again, I thought I would tackle what was probably the idea behind the first post, which is the concept of self meeting self.

It is always interesting to see yourself play. And, as with many things, it always brings up the idea of trying to live up to the advice that one gives in terms of applying it in one’s own playing. But, it also brought up the idea of criticism in general, both towards one’s own playing, and what we see outside of ourselves.

I think that true constructive criticism lies in the idea of self meeting self. I recently read something very wisely said: “what you see in others and you like or dislike, you like or dislike in yourself. If it was not a part of you, you could not see it.” I think that this is a good way of looking at things, using the desire to criticize as a tool for self-improvement and self-awareness rather than something we give out to someone else. It is becomes much more constructive, while making us more tolerant as well. Also, conversely, by praising what other musicians are doing well, we tend to orient our minds on the things that we wish to do well ourselves, and therefore progress and find the answers to our own problems and difficulties. Being aware of this also helps us in having respect for other people and musicians around us, as it tends to create a more constructive atmosphere and loving frame of mind in general.

Using this is one of the hardest things to do, but a great idea for self-improvement!

From Yixi Zhang
Posted on March 20, 2014 at 5:24 PM
It is very true that we see and dislike what is/was in us. Things I tend to dislike the most, music-related or otherwise, are something I either used to do or something I try very hard to avoid doing. This is why sometimes my comments/criticism of others appear to be the harshest. It may be part of a reaction to an issue motivated by my own regret or shame of a similar mistake I made in the past. Being mindful of this, I should try to link my own current and past imperfections when criticise others, and in return, to view my own imperfection in the context of human condition à propos of a specific issue.

Thank you for your very wise and inspiring blog, Christian!

From Rosita Hopper
Posted on March 21, 2014 at 7:12 AM
I always appreciate when any musician conflates pursuit of technique and artistry with "having a loving frame of mind," a concept I also associate with the Suzuki Method and which I consider to be a deeply important element of the finest learning. Pain, self-doubt, criticism... we learn from these as well but what we learn is often ultimately destructive rather than constructive. I bless you and all who emphasize the humanitarian philosophy that should be at the core of any musical goal.
From Christian Vachon
Posted on March 22, 2014 at 10:49 AM

Yixi and Rosita, thanks for your comments and kind words! I am glad you enjoyed this blog!


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