Every time I share that I’m an active musician, someone responds to me by saying, “Oh, I can’t sing…can’t carry a tune in a bucket…I’m not musical at all…I’m terrible; I’m awful…etc, etc…” and you know what?
I’m sick of hearing it.
If you’re in a conversation where you share your heart with someone, how would you like it if someone responded by disparaging themselves? Maybe they think their self-criticism sounds like a compliment to you; like, “I acknowledge your greatness by telling you how horrible I am.”
You know what, it’s not flattering! It shuts down the conversation. It makes the person sharing feel ostracized for having a niche interest that nobody else can relate to. And the idea that no average person can relate to music on some level is a lie.
Has music education done such a horrible job at misunderstanding the underdeveloped student that so many adults shut themselves off when any discussion of musical aptitude comes up in conversation? Maybe we haven’t looked hard enough for a sound perspective on the underdeveloped musician, like this blogger has. I, for one, believe that anyone can sing, dammit, with the right amount of time and effort and a sound teaching method.
Or maybe we misunderstand ourselves, thinking that a lack of artistic ability means we’re somehow deficient as people, which is another lie.
Stop the self-disparaging stuff! And this goes for conversations about architecture and quantum physics as much as music. If someone shares an interest in something that you don’t specialize in, the way to respond is to ask questions. (Even if that person sounds like a snob–you may discover that you can disarm snobbery by just being authentic in the conversation.) Say, “tell me about that.” Don’t verbally slit your wrists in front of a person who is authentically sharing with you.