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How do Musicians Handle Criticism?

You’re in a band.  You recorded a couple songs that you think are absolutely incredible.  You can’t wait to play it for your friends.  So you and your drummer get them in a room, pop your CD into the player and watch their faces as the first note of your masterpiece fills the room. Your psyched. Your playing some air guitar. Your drummer is keeping time on his knees.  Your friends are looking mostly at the wall right behind you. 

Less than 1 minute into the song, they have already decided it they like it are not and are spending the rest of the time thinking how they’ll tell you what they think. Has anyone in that room ever told you anything except they thought it was great?

Of course not!  Somewhere along the line they have learned that they can not honestly criticize a musician, only praise them or fabricate some neutral statement, like ‘it was hard for me to hear some of the vocals’ instead of saying ‘the vocalist sounded like a cat in heat’.

First off, the artist/ fan/ industry relationship is built on lies.  It always has been and it always will be.  Musicians have always lied to fans because they want you to think they’re always doing so well, and they really want to believe that themselves.  The recording industry became an industry because early on they realized they can take advantage of the artists right brained only thinking. 

the musician fan industry relationship is built on lies. Loyalty is conditional

Some 'fans' spend exorbitant amounts of time to broadcast their close-mindedness.

And the fans?  Well…we’ve never wanted to accept that fan loyalty is completely conditional on doing what they want us to do.  It has nothing to do with us as people. We’re just providing a service for them.

musicians and artists take criticism as a personal judgement and attack

Subliminally, Musicians usually interpret negative criticism of their work as a judgement of them personally.

Why do us artists take criticism as a personal attack? If you happen to find a mistake that your accountant made on your tax return, they would still be able to look you in the eye…  But not a musician! Cold shoulder, pout the lower lip, very few words and slag you later over a couple drinks.

 
artists are sensitive, and can't let go of negative criticism

The dog gets over it quick. In either case they usually get a Milk-Bone and go outside. We just feel like the tree.

Artists are ridiculously sensitive. We thrive on flattery and love having our ego stroked like a dog loves to have his belly scratched, but are devastated by negative criticism of which we can never seem to let go of: we put our heads down, our tail between our legs, hold on to it forever and never seem to forget it.

You see, when you judge our art, we interpret it as you are judging us, not pointing out an accounting mistake.  But if you did, we would still be insulted.  And accountants we’re not!  If we were, simple arithmetic would have told us how suicidal our contracts were…

So how can we find any rationale and peace of mind in this circus full of hypersensitive liars?  How can we be honest if no one will be honest with us?  Brace yourselves, all will be revealed …

THERE IS AT LEAST ONE MUSICIAN IN OVER 55% OF U.S. HOUSEHOLDS.

“Artists and writers experience two to three times the rate of psychosis, suicide attempts, mood disorders, and substance abuse than do comparably successful people in business, science, and public life.”

Study by Dr. Arnold M. Ludwig, a psychiatrist at the University of Kentucky Medical

THERE IS A SOLUTION.

Please help make it happen.

PROBLEMS CAN’T BE SOLVED WHEN YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND THE PROBLEM.


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2 Comments

  1. Alice Axe says:

    Its hard for artists, creating art tends to be such a personal thing for the artist, when you sell your art its like prostituting your soul. In an interview I recently saw of Janie Lane , he described his songs as being like his ‘children’. And no one will love your children as much as you do and you cant expect them to.. One needs to have persepcive. teh world is full of individuals with differnt tastes and experiences and will like and dislike certain types of art.And thats a good thing that gives us a wonder variety of music and art. It should not be taken to personal. but should be a learnign experience. If your goal is to make money then you need to perfect your art to apealing to a wide audience. If you goal is personal forfilment only then you have to accept that is what you are doing it for and it may not appeal to everyone. No art or product ever will though. A lot of it is just the luck of the draw and if you hit on something and are able to reach the right audience that connects with it. People are ‘liars’ because they care, they dont want to upset others or make them feel bad. I dont think being tactful and being careful how you phase a critisism, is a bad thing either. it does no one any good to slag people and tell them they suck. Because everyone has soemthing meaningful to say in thei world and their expression matters. Thats why youtube has become what it has. Its not lying IMO.

    • Skates says:

      Artists NEED to expect and understand REJECTION, and take it for what it is; an OPINION. Fundamental things like singing out-of-key, playing off-time, etc, are entirely different. Personal satisfaction of your art should be the validation that matters…no one else can dictate your worth.

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