School = Psycological Negatives

Anything that's nothing to do with music.
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Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2007 10:35 am

School = Psycological Negatives

Post by cjhealey » Thu Aug 02, 2007 1:33 am

Most people know that we all learn differently, and all have different requirements when it comes to being succesful.

For example, I recently had a "Career Profile" done, part of which included the Myer-Briggs Personality Test.
Several things in particular stood out for me in this test:

You are frustrated by:
->'your own inner standards of perfection'

You function best when you:
->Recieve support for your ideas and encouragement and respect for your unique contibution.

etc etc

Today, while attempting to compose some music (which I am good at) I found the above extremely evident.
Nothing I wrote felt good enough unless it wasn't mine (hence, was something already socially accepted as 'great').

However, more so than this is the problem which is created from the schooling environment: extreme frustration.
After having been the 'runner up' music student for five years, there is a lot of self-doubt which is fostered.
You can never seem to do something well enough and that self-doubt digs you a grave to lie in. Eventually, you can't even function because although your work is good, it is never good enough either for myself or the person who must decide who is 'worthy of being rewarded'.

This continual up-hill battle, especially for someone with my personality type (INFP), is emotionally and psychologically destructive. It never gives the student the confidence to liberate themselves from the past and find their own voice.

Yet at the same time, it give the student who recieves the award motive to CONTINUE to recieve it.

Although it is nice to award students for their efforts, and i do recieve numerous awards myself, it does nothing but create further and further distance between the 'competeing students'. In essence, it is even giving one a HUGE advantage albeit a psychological one.

And at some point, the non-awarded students will find that they simple can't be bothered to try when they know that there is nothing waiting for them. At some point they will loose all hope and self-assurance. At some point, they will find that there is now a huge baggage upon their back which will drastically effect the remainder of their life.

I love music, and I am good at composing, but at some point along the line I've started subconciously wondering whether I am really good enough to pursue it. I mean, if I can't best a fellow student, how can I be succesful when in competition with hundreds and thousands of professional composers?

In essence, schools and similiar institutions are the biggest 'bullies' or the most potent source of personal degredation in existence. So much for all the 'anti-bullying' campaigns, they need to look more closely at the effects of their own practices.

Thanks for reading,
Chris :-)

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Post by paul-donnelly » Fri Aug 03, 2007 12:18 am

I don't have personal experience with music schooling, beyond grade school and high school band (in which almost everyone was pretty bad), but I must say that serious music schooling has always looked pretty bizarre to me.

However, I think that any time you're playing with or listening to other musicians who are better than you, you'll feel inadequate. Awarding some students may make it worse, but when you don't measure up, you don't measure up, and you know it. You've just got to practice to get where you want to be, and learn to do more with less in the meantime. Some people won't do that, and some will, awards or no.

In short, all musicians frustrate themselves to no end, and sometimes you wonder why you're even walking out on stage. But you deal with it, because of the times when you play something you just love and when you put on a great show. Musical schools may make it more stressful, but there are a heck of a lot more teenage guitar players than lifelong guitarists.

And, of course, part of it is just a matter of finding your own compositional voice. I've felt many times like I'm just going through the motions, with absolutely no clue how write a part that's more than adequate, but as I go on I start to catch ahold of things that are me. And I find, anyway, that those things are what take me from okay to excellent. All I'm after is to write music that's recognizably mine (and do it well).

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Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2007 10:35 am

Post by cjhealey » Mon Aug 06, 2007 2:25 am

I'm currently reading a book called 'be bold' which talks about the importance of praise in reaching your goals. As well as the importance of honestly and openly praising other's work.

It is interesting as it looks at the absolute opposite to what I previously expressed: the requirement of real praise for all people.

I think she is correct as well.

Often the feelings and emotions etc that we experience when someone does better are the result of envy and probably frustration. However, the denial of the nature of these feelings leads you to be unable to honestly and openly praise and critic your own work.

Realise how and why someone else's work is better, express your apreciation for their work and then return to your own work knowing that with dedication you could do even better if you so choose.

Or at least that is how we'd like it to work.

The problem then is not so much that their work is better, but that I recieve less support and motive to continue my own. But there is enough to see me through.

Chris :-)

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