Sunday, October 21, 2007

Perspective.

Stewart has a great post up about hope being the key to horror (and suspense). I never connected those dots before. Don’t you love those a-ha moments?

I have a student who is amazing. He can just play like you wouldn’t believe, and turn out these note-perfect, expressive performances. It’s just astonishing, how much talent and ability and smart work ethic he has.

However, if you’d ask him how good he’s at piano, he’d say "bad."

It’s really perplexing.

I have no other students who can come close. Out of hundreds of student pianists, he’d probably be in the top ten in Ohio. I rank him a little higher, because I don’t spoon feed him. He comes to his expression and understanding of music through the foundation he received and his own inherent ability, rather than having him copycat me or drill a certain nuance or phrasing over and over.

(And I can think of no other blog to write today, because I’m usually worried and thinking about him all day before his lesson, LOL.)

I have a friend who used to write fabulous stories. It became a very clear indicator that the worse she thought a story was, the better and more popular it would be. She said that the stories she liked best were her least popular. (I’ll have to take her word on that; I loved all of them.)

Something good comes out of this insecurity: it pushes my student to a very high level. At some point, however, it’s killing his enthusiasm. What’s the point of demanding such a high standard of yourself if you don’t have some fun? If you don’t reward yourself?

But what if, no matter what other people say to you, you just can’t see that you’re any good? (Even if the evidence makes that statement wildly preposterous?)

Anyway. I lose perspective all the time, too, especially about teaching. What about you? And how do you get yourself to see things as they are--rather than how they feel--when your perspective is off?

8 bonus scribbles:

Kate S 10/21/2007 04:22:00 PM  

Oh, lord, I wish I knew. Inevitably, if I like something, people hate it and vice versa.

Stewart Sternberg 10/21/2007 10:20:00 PM  

I love AHA moments. Sometimes I enjoy Petshop Boy moments and even WHAM and INXS moments.

By the way, after you've read Prescot's Cobra Effect please let me know what you thought of it.

Edie 10/21/2007 11:09:00 PM  

I'm having fun with my wip and it's going so easily. I'm not holding back, and maybe that's why, but it's kind of scary. Every once in a while I think, What if it's crap? I'm trying to think positive and not worry about it. Right now I'm just writing that first draft. That's what I need to focus on.

spyscribbler 10/21/2007 11:09:00 PM  

Ohmigod! I forgot about A-ha. And I had a great fondness for the Petshop Boys. Could never stand INXS, but I had a seven year old student who had an INXS birthday party, back whenever.

I will, Stewart! I'm banned from buying books until January, but ... I manage to slip a few in, anyway. :-)

spyscribbler 10/21/2007 11:11:00 PM  

That's awesome, Edie! I love it when it flows like that. I think the stars are aligned, too. Yay for your courage! I'm going to remind myself of what you said when I go write tomorrow. :-)

Angie 10/22/2007 08:57:00 AM  

And how do you get yourself to see things as they are--rather than how they feel--when your perspective is off?

I've kind of given up on trying to figure out whether one of my stories will be popular. Only not, because one can't help wondering (or at least worrying) about that, but let's say I've given up on guessing. Things I thought were wonderfully crafted with everything coming together seamlessly in a virtuoso performance of... well, things I thought didn't suck too badly at least [duck] have gotten a few comments, maybe some very nice ones, but hardly the thunderous ovation I dreamt of. [cough] While things I just banged out on a whim have gotten that thunderous applause (relatively speaking). And the same with things I struggled with and agonized over and was sure were clunky trash because I could see all the seams and awkward spots and derivative whatever, but then a lot of readers were very enthusiastic, so....

Yeah. I've given up trying to guess. [wry smile] When it comes to resetting my own perspective, all I can do is give it a bit of distance and then read a story over and decide for myself. Some of my own favorites have never been terribly popular, and vice versa, but that's fine. All that means is that my taste isn't very popular :P but I don't share work I think is truly awful, so no matter what anyone else might think, I'm exercising my own personal and demonstrably weird taste as an initial censor. Because all I have to go on is my own judgement when you get right down to it.

Angie

spyscribbler 10/22/2007 02:22:00 PM  

That's true, Angie. I'm not sure I trust my judgment, but like you said, it's all we have, LOL. It's all a mystery, it seems.