Which Part Of His Her Music Belongs To The Singer-Songwriter Criticism in Music

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Criticism in Music

Criticism, or “criticism” as it is also known, refers to any type of oral or written opinion, whether negative or positive, given to a performer by an instructor, judge, mentor, other musician, or even a non-musician. It is an evaluation of performance shared with the performer by the appraiser. Sometimes it is also shared with the public, as in the media, where, in this case, it is more commonly referred to as “criticism”. You, as a musician, can be negatively affected in your morale and maybe even discouraged if you don’t know how to deal with it properly. Any art, including music, is so close to the essence of man that any criticism of it can hit like a ton of bricks, even destroy a person, believe it or not.

But criticism of the musician is inevitable. It comes with the territory of learning and performing music, instructors, other musicians, fans, admirers, from all kinds of sectors. This is an inherent aspect of music conservatories and competitions.

Technically, everyone has the right to express their opinion about anything. Often, people feel the need to express their feelings about anything in the arts. You hear it a lot with cinema and music. These can be seen as complementary or critical.

If someone receives a complimentary comment, such as how wonderful or moving their performance was, they should accept it, thank the creator and be genuinely proud that they were able to win another’s heart with their aesthetic power. It is encouraging to hear such words, and rightly so.

However, any criticism or advice, negative or even positive, from a non-professional (non-musician) should be completely ignored. Regardless of the personal impact you have made on the listener, they are not the right source of technical advice. Example: A pianist performs a Bach composition and gets carried away with the dynamics (the intensity and softness of different notes). After the performance, his friend, a non-musician who studied music theory, praises him and advises him how great the dynamics were during the performance. The pianist makes the mistake of taking it as technical advice (rather than just differentiating it from praise). He then enters a music competition where he performs the piece by getting swept up in the dynamics again. He is immediately killed and loses the competition because this work he performed, from the Baroque period, does not show any kind of extreme in dynamics.

When a musician receives professional criticism, however, it can often be contradictory. For example, one authority may say how excellent one’s pedaling is, while another comments on how muddy it sounds. This can leave a musician with unnecessary uncertainty and confusion. One thing to understand is that professional technical criticism can sometimes be opinionated. But, it can also very well be corrective. There is a way to deal with it.

A musician always really knows his areas of weakness. These become more prominent and the individual becomes more directed and aware of them as time and progress pass. One should always be able to accept such criticism without being introverted or feeling hurt. When a person receives such criticism, the first thing to do is take it into account and evaluate it yourself. If someone feels that the review was incorrect, then they have a right to evaluate it accordingly. A musician should always maintain his integrity. Although, at the same time, they should be open-minded and willing to learn more and be better and better. There is a fine line between not being affected by a bad review and being stubborn and never learning anything.

Finally, there are always those individuals in society who seek to crush and bring down creative minds, whether out of jealousy, insanity, or their own failings. It happens in any of the arts. As a musician, don’t ever let anyone do that to you, because their “criticism” is just an effort to overtly and openly put you down, or slowly and insidiously put you down by hearing “helpful”. Ignore it and keep being creative and making music!

by Evelyn Simonian

© 2011. Evelyn Simonian

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