Monthly Archives: September 2012

Put Yourself Out There!

Hello again!

I have been taking a vacation from all things flute for about a month now. After the stress of running my summer flute camp… I needed it! of course… I have still been busy practicing…. but other than setting up a new facebook page(visit to sell my cd on-line in yet another place…. I have been enjoying a wonderful summer of relaxing!

Well… now it is time to get back to work! Teaching starts up this week again… have an orchestra gig next weekend…. starting to work on a November recital and  a January Concerto performance(another World Premiere of a Brody piece for Flute and Orchestra) …… well you know ……that is life as a flute player and flute teacher. So…… bottom line… here goes my first Blog Post of the new academic year.

It has to do with putting yourself out there….and  on the line..

For many years I didn’t. I was truly scared of what other flutists miught say in public about me and my playing. OMG I thought….. what if someone cricized me or my playing  in writing in a review or something else……  how could I stand that????….. well… believe it or not… that has actually come to pass. And you know what? It has gotten me thinking about this  subject. Here are some of  my thoughts.

First of all.

We musicians have to have a pretty thick skin if we want to survive in this field. It actually strikes me as being similiar to having as thick a skin as President Obama or Mitt Romney have to have. Yes, it has occurred to me that being a muscian has allot of similarities to running for a political office. You have to develop a very strong sense of self and self belief. It has to come from the core of your being. You have to heed that inner voice that says “I am worthy” “I can do this”  ” I truly believe that I have something to offer the world”. And you have to trust that feeling….. but not in a narcissitic way. It cannot develop into some kind of narcissistic grandeur where you portray the idea or impression  that you are simply the Best Flutist in the world or that everything you do is “perfect”. And you need to be ok with people saying unpleasant things about you or your playing  but you  also have to keep your cool. (That is one thing I really admire about President Obama…. he really gets this aspect of public life… Even if I don’t always agree with what  he says, I LOVE how he takes the time to consider his words carefully BEFORE he opens his mouth)

Another important point: The fear of being criticised shouldn’t affect your decisions to….. as I say in my title” put yourself out there”.

Well….. it took me (and maybe some of you out there too?) a very long time to listen to that inner voice of confidence and to overide that other voice that told me repeatedly that I simply “wasn’t good enoough to audition for an orchestral job,” or “to play a recital in that Hall” or more to the point……  “run a flute camp” …. to “record a commercial CD”  and  to “put someof my  performance videos up on youtube”. And until last night…. I was feeling ok with my late comer decision to do all that. And then at 11PM last night I received an email from my Youtube Channel that someone had posted a comment on my Handel G Major Sonata Video.

Looking at it was painful. Although whoever posted it did end with some positive comments…. the first part was pretty awful. And I was mortified! This would be read by people all over the world I thought!!! OMG!!! What should I do NOW!!!!

Having spent quite a bit of time on Youtube myself ( not commenting  btw unless I made positive comments) I knew that all kinds of famous flutists had negative comments on their postings. Someone perhaps would not like a certain player’s vibrato, or his tempi or whatever…..and simply put it out there to all that that was how they felt……  but NO ONE HAD EVER DONE THAT TO ME BEFORE!!!!!

Well…. I took a big breath and thought before Iopened my mouth ( see…I  learned from the president!) and so I decided to go to bed and not  post a response to  it right away  until  I had  a chance to think about it before shooting from the hip. But at 3AM I woke up with a start and simply could not get it out of my mind. All kinds of rebuttals were floating in my brain. As I said before I felt that I HAD to RESPOND and that I COULDN”T just LEAVE it ALONE… but at the same time I didn’t want to appear too defensive. WHAT TO DO???

WEll… around 6AM after tossing and turning for three hours… I sat down to write a  response. Aterwards…..I finally fell asleep  but  woke again with a start feeling  a little later feeling that my response was incomplete and therefore added something else to it.(BTW… you can check all this out on my Youtube Channel…. the Video is the second one posted there the Handel Sonata in G Major)

And after I posted a response I got to thinking about doing this Blog entry. Because you know we ALL face this in our professional careers as flutists.

Yes! Even students!!

We are all now back into our Fall schedules of performing and teaching ( if we are adults) or taking lessons if  you are  a Kid or college student etc. And if  you  are taking lessons EACH week  you  put  yourselves  “out there” and on the line… for me or for your teachers …..  or in concerts ….if  you are a professional  and  are performing for the public. It really is the same as running for High Office.  President Obama has to “put himself out there and on the line” every time he says anything in public and so does Mitt Ronmey  while  he is challenging Mr. Obama. (Then we get to decide  essentially who does it better.)

Well…. it is really the same for musicians. If we don’t take the risks and allow ourselves the possibility of being criticised … we can’t get  applauded either ….  and we lose the possibility of  learning   nothing at all  about ourselves  or our playing. But More importantly, we never grow.

For students it is the same. If you don’t audition for Districts or All-State or that Youth Orchestra or that Flute  Choir opening…. you will never learn what you need to do to get better …….we all  need to have that feedback. Even if it is negative. Even Famous  Performing Artists  need it too.

(Perhaps Mr. Pahud or  Sir James Galway   don’t  ever look at the comments posted on the Videos on Youtube on which  they  are  playing …. but perhaps even someome as fantastic  as these justly famous players are  can  still could benefit from a stray negative comment or two? It would be interesting to me to find out how these two players feel about this……oh well ….THAT will NEVER happen….)

So my Blog thought for this entry is simple:

Take those risks! Put yourself out there!  For  in doing so…. you  can  get many rewards. EVEN if someone is citical of you. It can only help you grow. So…. if you like ……you can check  the relevant  Youtube Video out and see if you agree with the criticism or not. I know that I am taking it seriously because I want to grow as a flutist as long as I can still play the flute. And more importantly because I am no longer afraid that someone might say  something negative about me. I have finally come to heed my inner voice that says I have something to offer the world as  flute player and that I am still ok even if someone criticizes me. 

I think we all can come to that place too.

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