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Self criticism...

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ballybiker
(@ballybiker)
Honorable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 493
Topic starter  

so we all have targets,aspirations and inspirations,we all want to make music..for ourselves firstly..but surely for others.

myself.......I find myself increasingly self critical...this leads to increasing disapointment to the point where I leave my guitar(s) for days sometimes.

point being.....

2 years ago I couldn't even hold a guitar comfortably let alone strum something resembling music...now I can start playing (sure open chords) and anyone listening will know what I'm trying to play...sometimes i can 'zone' and even surprise myself....HOWEVER....because all i have to compare is the work of (a)the original artist or (b)an experienced player/teacher....both of whom have years of experience....well I get disheartened to say the least.

only posting this in the hope that it will encourage the total noobies not to give up...the frustration is ongoing and hopefully more experienced players will confirm

what did the drummer get on his I.Q. test?....

Drool

http://www.myspace.com/ballybiker


   
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bloos66
(@bloos66)
Reputable Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 334
 

Hi, look, I think we all feel the same way one time or another, and there have been quite a few other threads along the same lines.

I am adult beginner and have only decided over a year ago to learn playing guitar 'properly', after giving up many times whenever I had to learn barre chords - which I still haven't mastered but I am getting closer. I recently completely embarrassed myself in a guitar shop when I couldn't even play the simplest chords properly, and I was trying out the most expensive guitars.

I am completely with you and feel the same as well. What I am doing now to overcome this is to start playing simple songs and learning them properly - some old Beatles & Stones tunes, standard blues songs (Bright Lights Big City) - all very simple, but they still - for a beginner - take time to perfect, keeping the beat, chord changes etc. Being able to play a couple of songs properply gives me a lot of pleasure and satisfaction, and even my very young son thinks it's great.

And after having tried to learn guitar for over 20 years (you know, played for 6 months, gave up because of barre chords or slow progress), this time round I told myself that I will persist and master it, even if it takes 5 years. So far so good, and in moments or periods of doubt, I remind myself of this promise.

BTW, try and find some local people who you can play with, put an ad in the paper, or even here on the forum. It's great fun and you'll pick up lots of stuff. All the best - rock on!


   
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XylemBassGuitar
(@xylembassguitar)
Trusted Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 66
 

Yep, there's definitely a lot of self-loathing while learning to play an instrument...especially if you are trying to come up with you own material...

Like ballybiker says " the frustration is ongoing," it never stops. You will always find times, even when you are really good, that you just think you suck. Some days things just won't gel when you pick up the 'ol axe.

But that's part of the experience, and part of what motivates you to get better. If you never felt critical about how or what you played, you'd would'nt try as hard to get better.

Xylem Handmade Basses and Guitars


   
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Vic Lewis VL
(@vic-lewis-vl)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 10264
 

I'm finding the better I get, the more self-critical I am....

About 5 years ago, I knew about half a dozen chords and used various permutations of them in every song I wrote. Then I joined GN. Joined the SSG - started writing, or trying to write, every week about the designated assignment. I'd write a song, record it straight away. Couple of bum notes, couple of bad chords - so what? It's only a rough demo.

As I've improved, both as a guitarist and as a writer, I've noticed my recorded output has dropped considerably - I'm no longer willing to release a song for general listening unless it's pretty well close on perfect. Or as close as I can get, anyway.

Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

Hmmmm - bit of both, really. On the debit side, the fact that I won't release a demo until it's mistake free - and they seldom are! - means I'm missing out on feedback I could be getting as to how to improve my songs. The fact that I'm more self-critical these days means that I'm more aware of any shortcomings in my songs - and if I can see/hear them, I'm pretty sure everyone else can!

On the upside.... the fact that I'm more self-critical does tend to spur me on to greater heights (not that I've actually passed the foothills yet, metaphorically speaking...) and strive to get even better....and it's also made me more aware of other people's criticisms of my songs and my playing. Fortunately, around these parts, the criticism's pretty friendly - not a "YOU SUCK!" in sight. That helps a lot....constructive, as opposed, to destructive, criticism.

I'm reminded of those old cartoons where the hero's got a devil on one shoulder, whispering bad advice, and an angel on the other shoulder, giving good advice....yes, listen to your inner voice, by all means....but maybe you're being too hard on yourself at times? If you're your own worst critic, maybe you should start looking for a better critic.....someone who can take an objective, detached point of view.

It's no good looking to beat yourself up all the time - there's plenty of people out there who'll do it for you, and for free. On the other hand, advice - given freely - from people whose opinions you respect is worth its weight in gold....maybe it's time we stopped paying too much heed to the inner voices and looking further afield?

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


   
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dogbite
(@dogbite)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 6348
 

I agree with what I have read. the love, the hate, the ups, and downs. the rewards, however make up for all the bad times, the estrangements with the darn instrument. the right moment comes when you are playing and you feel yourself being transported. you are almost watching yourself play. you are in aural bliss.
I like keeping that thought in my head whenever I come down hard on my playing ability.
playing as long as I have, I understand now that our guitar relationship is a journey. we will be together for a long time. there can be spaces and rest stops along the way. and more.
we can all think back when we first 'walked'. the pain in the finger tips, ie. our next steps were cool revelations.
then months of boring same old same old.
then the moment comes. transport.
I never feel bad about my guitar and myself now. the guitar will be there when I want it. and visa versa.

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=644552
http://www.soundclick.com/couleerockinvaders


   
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Vic Lewis VL
(@vic-lewis-vl)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 10264
 

I never feel bad about my guitar and myself now. the guitar will be there when I want it. and visa versa.

I never feel bad about the guitar any more - it isn't the guitar's fault if I hit a bum note, it's mine. And oh yes, the guitar's always there for me.....

Soothes my anger with a mellow lick or chord...
Pumps me up with a power chord....
Sends my spirits soaring with some screaming bends high up the neck (occasionally, I'll get them right!)
And chills me out with a 12-bar blues.

All I have to do is put my fingers in the right places........

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


   
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rparker
(@rparker)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5480
 

......It's no good looking to beat yourself up all the time.....
.....I never feel bad about my guitar and myself now.....

These two quotes are key for me. I need to seperate critisism from emotion in order for self critisism to yield productive results. I learned that about myself playing golf. That's not to say you won't hear me say a curse word when I play, but I'm pretty much over it by the time the sound waves hit your ears.

Critism is a lot of information that's best used in logical, not emotional form. Well, for me anyhow. Everyone is different. I'm a geek, so I think differently.

The other night I didn't have it at all. No rhythm....worse than normal even. No biggie. I put it down, hit the sack and did some reading. If it had been earlier in the day, I would have played on. Anyone can sound decent on a good day. Sounding decent on a bad day is important too. If I ever play out in public, I can't get up there, try a couple songs and then say, "Sorry folks, I don't have it tonight", and then pack up and go home.

Right now, If I hit the record button in Audacity, my playing turns to all heck. I don't get frustrated. I just decided to play with the record button on more to get used to it.

BUT, that is just me and how I roll. Like I said, everyone is different.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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jase36
(@jase36)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 247
 

I think the mind plays tricks on us and fools us into believing we are better or wose than we are. Our ability to play pieces that we are capable of shouldn't waver too much should it ? So what is it that changes when I like Roy try and record.

I wonder are Rock stars self critical or is that self belief and arrogance that sets them out from the crowd.

http://www.youtube.com/user/jase67electric


   
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KR2
 KR2
(@kr2)
Famed Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 2717
 

Self criticism ? . . . .
who needs it? . . .
I get enough criticism from the wife . . . it's not necessary to add my own.

KR2

It's the rock that gives the stream its music . . . and the stream that gives the rock its roll.


   
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boxboy
(@boxboy)
Noble Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1221
 

I wonder are Rock stars self critical or is that self belief and arrogance that sets them out from the crowd.

They're self critical if they're successful I think.
Here's a clip from the documentary, Runnin' Down a Dream, about Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. They've been at it for 30+ years. Warning; adult language.

:)

Don


   
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Anonymous
(@anonymous)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 8184
 

if you're not good enough for yourself, keep working at it. noone got better by stopping.


   
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Rum Runner
(@rum-runner)
Reputable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 424
 

Personally speaking, I find myself to be my own biggest critic. I recognize mistakes that I've made on my playing that nothers never see. Also, quite often when I would compliment someone on his/her performance in a song circle or open mike, they may acknowledge that they mades some mistakes, but I never notice them.

Self criticism can be positive in that you recognize your weaknesses and thus you know what to work on. It can become defeating if you let it get you down.

So, in my case I have come to realize that I probably sound better to others than I do to myself, but I keep working on those things I notice that need improvement.

Barre chords were also a barrier to me for many years until I finally decided almost 5 years ago to stick with it, and over the course of a summer I got the barre chords down. Since then I have moved onto other challenges.

Regards,

Mike

"Growing Older But Not UP!"


   
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rparker
(@rparker)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5480
 

Perhaps a word with less emotional baggage, but basically the same thing. Call it "Self Analysis".

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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Sin City Sid
(@sin-city-sid)
Prominent Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 735
 

I'm my own worse critic. If you think just recording yourself is bad, video tape it. Surely to hit home. I just did a video of me playing for another site in a lesson learning thread called "pentatonic boot camp". I made the video at least 15 times. I thought they all were terrible and said so. I'm getting responses like, sounded good to me, missed a few notes but it was still cool.

So quit worrying about it and play your guitar :P


   
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Steve-0
(@steve-0)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 1162
 

I think you need a good balance of both self-criticism and self confidence to be a great guitar player (and no, I don't consider myself a great guitar player, but I think I can hold my own). Without self-criticism it'll be hard to better without someone pointing out your mistakes like a guitar teacher or something. Without self-confidence it'll be hard to get better as well, since we all surely have goals that we haven't acheived yet, without confidence you might give up on your goals and practicing because you might think that you just can't do it.

I think comparing yourself to your favorite musicians is a bad thing to do, the thing that really matters is whether or not you are improving as player to acheive your goals. If you keep improving a little bit every day you may eventually be as good as those musicians, maybe better.

Steve-0


   
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