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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: What is your reaction to feedback?

Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.fiddlehangout.com/archive/54590/2

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finn mcc - Posted - 01/26/2021:  07:46:30

Diane your post struck a chord with me. My reaction to criticism made me way too ouchy and affected my playing-- I'd get angry and tense up -- started woodshedding in another house. Seems you mentioned some problems with your fiddle though. A month ago I got a fiddle for my granddaughter off the marketplace here from luthier65. Maybe give him a call. Started playing it and lo and behold everything got better -- overnight successes after 17 years. Wife actually likes it. So a combination of a luthier setup old fiddle that was very affordable and just getting away from people to practice has helped. Hope all gets better soon but I can't emphasize enough the value of a forgiving instrument set up by a real pro. beyond just the music -- more harmony on the home front as well. It has been great retail fiddle therapy. Spending money on fiddles is better than counseling sometimes.

sbhikes2 - Posted - 01/26/2021:  10:51:32

I was thinking about something you wrote above, Peggy. "So back to the question...how does anybody's music become affected by whoever might hear it? Are we looking for approval? Or do we maybe find it interesting to see why we get criticism? How does it affect our playing?"

Music is a human thing. There is no human culture on earth through all of history where music wasn't part of it. It is something we do as a species. It is something we usually do together. It's like talking. You can be a hermit and talk to yourself and be happy and there is nothing wrong with that. But generally talking is something you do with other people. Music is a form of talking in a way. It's a way to express joy, to pull a prank on someone, to be aggressive toward others, to preen like a peacock to others, to seek approval from others, to change the mood in the room, to spread joy, to spur others to dance or to weep or to swell with patriotic pride.

Of course it hurts to be misunderstood. Of course it feels good to be understood and appreciated and to feel like you belong. When your self-expression leads to pain, it hurts as much with music as it does with other forms of communication.

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 01/26/2021:  15:26:30

Good points, Diane.

I heard some scientist one time say that he thought the actual advantage people have over other critters of the earth is language...we think through speaking, whether aloud to somebody, or inside our head...without the use of language in one way or another, our thinking is impaired.

True or not, I don't know...does sound like a reasonable idea though. After reading your post, I'm wondering if music is another language we use...we can speak it to others, or we can just speak it to ourselves, but either way, maybe it just helps us think or feel or know or whatever, maybe it just helps us. Yes, it's always a cool thing to think somebody who heard understood what your music was saying. But if it's just noise to some others, it doesn't stop us from continuing to "say" it. Lol...maybe anyway. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

farmerjones - Posted - 01/26/2021:  16:38:54

Music is indeed a language.
Ladies, (you know who you are) I feel privileged to just read your posts. Your ups and downs. Nuff said. Wait! Thank you. Thank you both.

Flat_the_3rd_n7th - Posted - 01/26/2021:  19:13:30

Proper reaction to feedback/criticism is a practiced skill, seems like. I know people who just don't GAS what one says to them even if the suggestion would help--so they just continue sucking. That's one end of it. The other is taking a vile comment and filtering it thru your personal BS-O-Meter and profiting from of it, in spite of a jerk's intent.

Consider this--I bet everybody in this thread can do SOMETHING way better than a critic you've encountered that rubbed wrong. You're better than anyone else at astrology, flying aircraft, raising livestock, canning, coding, woodworking, yodeling, whatever, than the insensitive critic. Next time, visualize how bad the clown would be attempting to do what you are a master at, and take the high road by just grinning back.

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 01/26/2021:  20:16:48

I also have trouble accepting compliments. For years I just reddened up and turned away if someone said they liked my music...then I watched when this sorta halfway famous concert pianist, professional musican guy came to town...people were complimenting him after his concert and he just smiled and said he was so glad they enjoyed it, etc. It finally hit me...as embarrassed as I always was to get a compliment, it's really rude to just turn away when someone gives that to you...the polite thing to do is look them in the eye and tell them thank you and all that stuff. I finally learned to do that, but it was hard.

Earworm - Posted - 01/27/2021:  07:28:50

I know what you mean, though groundhogpeggy . Obligatory "social" compliments often mean little, but still require the expected response. I am also working on this. There are other compliments you really work for, you know you've earned, and you keep them in a frame (so to speak) for the rest of your life. Whether a critique is positive or negative though, relationship building is key. One person's brilliant knowledge of how fix another person can't just come out of nowhere.

Edited by - Earworm on 01/27/2021 07:35:19

gapbob - Posted - 01/27/2021:  08:32:20

The way I figure it, is we are all on different parts of the "I am could do it better path" and any shortcuts I get from others who know something different is always helpful.

sbhikes2 - Posted - 01/27/2021:  08:52:41

Yes, Peggy. 'Tis better to give than receive, and in the case of compliments, just turn it around to an opportunity to give right back by thanking them for being there.

Black - Posted - 01/27/2021:  09:17:55

I like criticism, I dont see the point of being told you are great if you are not, as long as people give advice on how to improve and are not downright nasty I think its a good thing, my missus for instance , god love her, will never tell me I am bad, I know I am not terrible, but I also know I am not great, but I am learning and its the hardest instrument arguable to learn

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 01/27/2021:  09:34:19

I heard a story one time about Earl Scruggs. True or not, I have no idea...lol...I'm not much into that style, but for sure he was one genius for coming up with it. Anyhow, the story I heard was that he was home, as a teenager, picking on the banjo, hearing in his head what would become his world-famous style of picking...but his mother was hearing the audible mess that it actually was to anyone within earshot who had no way of knowing what his mind was conjuring up. She told him it was awful and wanted him to stop. How he was personally affected by that, i couldn't guess...I feel that we've all sorta been there/done that in our own ways. We play what's in our heart and soul...maybe it doesn't quite come out that way, but some can hear what we are trying to say...they might give us a thumbs up...others might here the audible noises and not be able to see through to what we mean by it...they might criticize and tell us to please stop. I don't know.

Like language, I guess, maybe...maybe sometimes our words can be misconstrued...other times people might know exactly what we mean. I've always had that with sarcasm...by nature I'm just so sarcastic all the time...lol...I can't help it...my mom was an expert at sarcasm and almost always said things just opposite to what she meant. We understood, but a lot of people didn't know and misconstrued her. I've had that too...I gotta be careful online because you can write something...meaning something else, and people reading it might not get it.

Could music be like that? I mean...I don't know of a sarcasm inherent in a fiddling style, but is it possible, that like Scruggs...people might not hear what it is we are trying to say at times? Scruggs didn't listen to his mom, assuming that story is true...and thank goodness, because he revolutionized banjo playing...took it a step out of old time and into the popular and lucrative world of bluegrass...from there it went into melodic styles, jazz, etc. I mean...none of that is for me, but look what he did...because he knew what he meant when he sat down and played the doggone thing.

So...I don't know...maybe I just think aloud too much...lol.  Maybe I should just ponder such trivialites as I hoe the corn...hey?  Except, well it's wintertime and I ain't got nothin' to hoe.

Edited by - groundhogpeggy on 01/27/2021 09:36:47

WyoBob - Posted - 01/27/2021:  15:34:03

This was sent to me by someone I used to consider a friend as a "joke".  I always thought I had a pretty good sense of humor but evidently, in this case, that sense of humor let me down.

He showed up at a jam that I'd been going to for several years and joined as a regular with an attitude that seemed to be, "finally, they have a good musician who can get these folks straightened out and learn how to really play music".

"What do you call a banjo player who will only play old time music?

1. Tasteless

2. Stubborn

3. Boring

4. Limited

5. Pain in the ass

6. Bob

7. All of the above"

He really felt like he was the only real musician there.  His timing was the worst I've ever encountered.   Even the 2-3 really good musicians in our group couldn't figure out how to play along with him.  He played the same 4 or 5 tunes every jam, his favorites being 40 verses of "On the Wings of a Snow White Dove" sung at half the speed of a funeral dirge with many dramatic pauses and glances skyward, to "Me and Bobby Magee".  (IMO, a strictly Janis Joplin song).

Anyway, my sense of humor dashed against the rocks, I just quit going to that jam.   Thankfully, I got invited to play old time tunes with a small group of outstanding musicians.  I've not played with these folks since Covid started and really miss them.  Besides being "world class" O.T. players, they are great fun to be around.  I haven't laughed as hard, ever, as much as I do when I'm around these people. 

Thankfully, I recorded many sessions of me playing banjo with these folks.  I mainly recorded the sessions to make sure my banjo playing wasn't too bad and negatively affecting the group.   I now play my fiddle along with these recordings on the 20 or so tunes I know.   I'm thankful for that but sure do miss the camaraderie. sad




groundhogpeggy - Posted - 01/27/2021:  16:38:03

Yeah, some jams are overrun by one overwhelmingly arrogant person...I've seen that before...they can ruin it for everybody. Glad you found a good one you like...but...well the doggone never-ending pandemic messes all that up...one day, hopefully before too much longer ... we'll find normal again.

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 01/28/2021:  10:57:35

...and then...sometimes I think about how people back in the woods, or out on the prairie or on some island or wherever, how many, through the ages, would play a beautiful tune, and then just let it sift out through the trees, fading into silence, along the hollers, or mountains, prairies, over the ocean or to wherever, a tune dissolving itself into the clouds and who knows where from there, like some ghost of a floating testimony...a tune that stilled, but traveled on to eternity...and nobody ever heard it except the person who played it and whatever critters or birds were within earshot during those few seconds in time. And maybe that's just the way music is.  Technology not needed.

Edited by - groundhogpeggy on 01/28/2021 11:00:24

bf - Posted - 02/02/2021:  15:18:08

My fiddle experience has been mostly playing with others or solo. Very little in the way of performing for others, unless you count playing for my children and the like. In most cases any comment offered to me is likely to come from another player, and I hope I’m able to find something beneficial from such an exchange.

Winston Churchill is attributed to the quote, “Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”

While I may not initially agree with a critical comment, I try to be open to it being intended as helpful.

I hope to take advantage of observations of others, even if provided with a lack of nuance or tact.

I also struggle with taking compliments. I do like the idea of making a point of acknowledging the offering of compliments and will try to remember that as it comes up.

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