Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Compliment Sandwich- Be Real, but Nice, to Yourself.

Man I beat myself up a lot.

   I think most musicians do. There's this level of self doubt that we acquire over time because we want to be It's this desire that causes a great deal of self criticism and demeaning remarks about our own playing. I do it and from my experience the vast majority of anyone who tries to make a career in this field does as well. It's counterproductive, causes nothing but headaches, and actually impedes progress. The time you spend beating yourself up is time that could be spent improving. Easier said than done, right? Oh I know. My last two teachers have dealt with the psychology of Andy as much as they have the technique of Andy. I'm VERY VERY hard on myself and dwell on each little mistake; which, of course, causes more mistakes. It's something I'm fighting and I'm sure many of you do as well. What I propose is a trick I heard from a really fine flutist named Charles Lewis. Charles isn't a household name in the flute world but man he should be. He is a MONSTER player, a good teacher, and an all around decent human being. What he mentioned to me at one point is a great way to address students and I believe it's something we can learn to use on ourselves when analyzing our performance.

It's the compliment sandwich.

  Yeah, this is a pretty common thing in performance evaluation in several fields. You give a compliment (slice of bread), constructive criticism(the meat), and then another compliment(the other slice of bread). Voila', you've made a compliment sandwich.

This is something I'm going to try to add to my own practice habits and I think it's worth a try for most students.

It is important for us to be real with ourselves in the practice room but remember this really important point-


You can be 'real' with yourself and still see the positives in your playing.

Be Real
See the Good
Get it done!

1 comment:

  1. When the "self-critical" voice in my head gets too loud, lately I've been reminding myself that there are people who don't play any instrument, but would love to, and I do. That seems to help :-)