Self Criticism

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Jasonp, Jan 1, 2007.

  1. Jasonp

    Jasonp Member

    Just like 'memnoch 2487' I’m also studying for the master’s degree at Salford University.
    I have a presentation to put together on Self Criticism.
    What are your thoughts on self criticism?
    Is it a good or bad thing?
    Do you suffer as a player due to self criticism?
    Any thoughts on the subject would be gratfuly recieved.
  2. fairy_princess_90

    fairy_princess_90 Member

    erm well i certainly suffer from self critism! lol! i just dont think im good at all! and as a result have no self confidence! but i must be doing something right becuase im principle cornet but in my head bad outweighs the good!
  3. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    It's one of the most important traits everybody should have. Self criticism honestly and realistically used exposes limitations and areas for development. That creates sensible goals and targets and allows help from others to move toward them.
  4. JohnnyEuph

    JohnnyEuph Member

    Doncaster, South Yorks
    Self criticism and personal pride. Essential.
  5. ComeBlowMyHorn

    ComeBlowMyHorn Member

    I have to agree with Brassneck.

    I find self criticism much easier to do if it's called self evaluation for a start! Think it must be a frame of mind thing!

    But realistically I feel that self 'evaluation' can only be of benefit to your playing if it is done constructively, and you set realistic goals from those criticisms. Because self criticism involves your own ideas you will generally try to convince yourself or believe them to be 100% true, even if others will tell you otherwise, so constantly putting a negative spin on your 'problems' can have really damaging effects on your playing, and the more you reinforce these ideas the more they become implanted into your mind, which in the end might actually be the only reason why you cannot achieve what you set out to........if that makes sense?!
  6. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    Be realistic, pragmatic and set yourself SMART objectives.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 1, 2007
  7. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    - here is where the essay has to be a little more clearly defined. Is it about self perception and adjustment? Self evaluation also includes considering what others think of you as well ... a fine balancing act indeed with discrepancies that require consolidation and resolution (i.e., cognitive dissonance). If someone misinterprets something along the way this 'self criticism' can be damaging to the individual at both extremes. If it is scaled within a learning environment with support and information it can be used advantageously as problem solving exercises!
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2007
  8. euphfanhan

    euphfanhan Member

    And the prize for the longest sentance goes to...;)

    I agree with that comment and also with Brassneck's, I find that when I consciously criticise my playing, I improve. If I'm too critical, I end up with a complete lack of self-confidence and shy away from playing my part loud enough for others to hear, which results in the MD/ others in the band unable to to suggest improvements, which leads to my playing getting worse!

    To sum up the basic point of my garbled post, I think that constructively criticising your own playing (ie setting goals or targets) can make you strive to improve, but criticising without any ideas for development just holds you back.

    TIMBONE Active Member

    I think that however good you become at something, you should always be constructively critical about what you do. The day someone thinks they are perfect is the day that they lose their edge.
  10. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Double edged sword here ... what of the person who is always doubtful of their ability? Part of the commercial field of cognitive therapy is to simply think positively about one's self then constructively break down the barriers that block learning which can be imagined or based in reality. It's really a maze of research with many aspects of personality theory thrown in as well. Attribution theory is another popular way of explaining how we create constructs of the world. It can go on and on!
  11. Glehany

    Glehany Member

    Hmmm.... not sure about that, there's probably a 3000 word essay in this!

    Self criticism is fine, and as you did say "based in reality" is an important point. Strong self criticism is important in developing as a player, and the best musicians often have insatiable self criticism. There's nothing wrong in understanding your limitations as a player, you can then resolve to address those limitations or continue to strive to address them.

    Problems come when either you can't see your limitations, you are unrealistic as to how far you can progress as a player, or your self criticism is over zealous and this results in lack of self confidence.

    As with many things, a good teacher will help with a lot of these issues

  12. stephenmrry

    stephenmrry Member

    I think the ability to accept criticism is very important but been able to be critical of ur own performance is a quality that everyone should have. Im studying music here in Ireland and im am a very critical person when it comes down to performance both listening and myself. I firmly believe that everybody should learn something from each performance and be critical! I think for me it is a motivation to be critical of myself cause it keeps u constantly trying to improve and learn which is very important.

    I come down on myself very hard after performances! Im principal cornet so naturally enough i do alot of solo playing in concerts! After a concert i review it in my head going over corner stones of the pieces which i knew where tough and see how i did. Its a good thing to have cause i feel it acts as a driving force for self improvement!!
  13. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    - more, actually ;) It depends which school of thought you support as an academic. An overview of the processes involved severely overlaps certain thoughts in Moral Philosophy as well. A big ouch!
  14. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    I'm playing with semantics a bit (for which I apologise) but I'd prefer to call it self assessment. We've all self-criticised - come off stage thinking we've had a bit of a 'mare, only for others to tell us we played well - and while it can be a driver to improve, it can also be a bit unhelpful. It's fine to say "I didn't play very well" but that won't help you improve unless you can say "I didn't play well because ....." . I've also found that most bands have at least one "drama queen" who will denigrate their own performances, particularly at contests, virtually every time they play. This sort of self-criticism is, imho, not only unhelpful, but becomes a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy where the player starts believing that they are in fact worse than they are. They then expect to perform badly, fulfill their expectations and continue the cycle by telling everyone how badly they played - resulting in the self confidence issues that Gordon mentioned.

    In other words, I feel "self-criticism" in itself cannot promote better playing (or improvement in any area of life), but good "self-assessment" can. I feel it is much more useful if you don't just criticise yourself, but assess (as objectively as you can) how you performed, which areas could be improved, which areas are in need of most improvement and which areas you can improve on your own without outside help (by the sound of it this is what Stephen is doing on a regular basis). Then if there are things which can only be improved by getting outside help - in the case of brass playing, by getting a few lessons with a good teacher - you can decide for yourself whether the improvement you want to make is worth the investment of time and money.

    I've often found that the difference between two naturally talented people in any field is the ability to accurately and objectively assess their own performance.
  15. Di B

    Di B Member

    Dudley UK
    I am very self-critical. It can be a good thing as everything I do that I consider important tends to be of a high standard and is the best I can do.

    On the flip side, no one can be perfect. Trying to be perfect all the time can put stress on individuals which can then cause ill health.

    So, I think Music Man has summed it up. If you can use SMART techniques (inparticular REALISTIC!!) then it is a good thing, otherwise, you are only trying for the near impossible that you will rarely achieve - not good for your confidence or you stress levels!
  16. yonhee

    yonhee Active Member

    My horn teacher says I criticise myself too much... Er but I don't really know I don't think I do and I think it can be useful andit means I make myself play things better if I actually know whats wrong.
  17. Ffion Flugel

    Ffion Flugel Member

    Being realistic about your current and long term goals is essential - but too much criticism (of yourself or anyone else for that matter) is habit-forming, and takes away some of the pleasure of listening to music:redface:

    It's much easier to criticise than to find good points to develop.
  18. i find myself in therapy (as a counsellor myself) pulling everything I do to pieces. i scrutinize the minutest little things and analise everything. but at the end of the day im ok with who i am and everything i do. I am so blunt and to the point that in it aint worth getting upset at anything anymore. life is too short to have a complex about anything. or is it? I strive to be the best at what i do and will pull myself to pieces to reach my goals in life.
  19. HorniKaz

    HorniKaz Supporting Member

    Bracknell, Berkshire
    But what about when people are too self critical. What effect does that have on your performance? If any?? Has anyone not pushed themselves because they are afraid of failure?
  20. SteveT

    SteveT Member

    Northern England

    Interesting this! It's important to be "objective" when being critical of either yourself or others. If being critical means just looking for faults, then it leaves much out of the assesment process. I would recommend that you get a book called the "inner game of music". Also have a look at Howard Snell's "The Trumpet"!

    The inner game explores the skills required in "coaching" and of course this can be applied as "self coaching"! The basis of the book and technique is that even though you may not be the greatest player in the world, you can improve with good coaching. Not all the best coaches are or have been the best players. Critcal and objective analysis is a very important part of the theory behind this book. Essenstially it asks, "What could I have done better", rather than, what did I do badly. A subtle but improtant difference. I have been on a course with psycholgical associates using this theory and it really does work. The point is, use of recordings of your playing and combining your natural talent and ability to be objective, can take you a long way!

    Howards book actually spends time looking at the psycholgical approach to playing in a more practical way, and is interesting and insightful! If you want to chat about this, just say!

    Anything for a Gren!
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