We have all been there. “You know, if you could just play it this way instead of your own way, that would be great.” Every musician hears this and other seemingly annoying phrases at some point. The trick in these types of situations is to not loose one’s cool and to decide how to take the critique. Also, not everything has to be annoying and in most cases, you can grow from critiques. So, how do you differentiate between the good and the bad and still maintain your cool?
First, you need to assess whether or not it is really something that warrants your attention. This may sound like blowing someone off, but it is very situation specific. I have had critiques come from someone within the band who has no control over the final product and is trying to step on the musical director’s toes. At that point, it might be best to disregard and move along. Keep in mind every situation is different. There is NOT a single solution to every situation but keeping your cool is absolutely essential. Always consider the source. And speaking of the source . . .
Secondly, if it does warrant your attention, who is it coming from? How is the critique delivered? Is it something that is legitimately directed to help the end product? Stepping outside of yourself is absolutely critical when assessing these kinds of situations. Ego, personal bias, and all sorts of things can get in the way of personal growth and product growth in a band setting. Self-awareness and on-the-fly analysis of a situation is the key to survival. Know your situational tendencies and curb them if they could hinder you. The questions mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph can help to calm yourself and focus on understanding the critique and utilizing the information given to further the overall product. In the end, you might want to do it your way, but it’s better if you have the willingness to do it any way necessary.
This post is only scratching the surface of dealing with critiques so please feel free to continue the discussion in the comment section below!