I you know me or you’ve been reading my blog, you have heard this from me before. Being a musician, there’s probably nothing I’m afraid of more than appearing cocky. I guess I have this reputation set up, and I would hate it if it seemed like I was becoming full of myself since I also detest it in other people. It’s actually not difficult to find people like this in all of my classes, but I suppose it is because they see a need to get ahead in the world. It does make sense; after all, we are just starting out college and want to make the best of life in this cold world.
Last night my clarinet professor asked me, “So you are a composer?” This is a relatively common and simple question, isn’t it? I suppose the correct answer would have been just to say “Yes.” But suddenly there was that whisper, that preoccupation of pride that swelled up in me and I answered something like “I guess.” I now see that this answer could also be taken the wrong way, as if I were trying to be manipulative of their way of thinking. But that is exactly what I was trying to avoid in the first place.
If I were to give a reply to “Do you play the clarinet?” I would definitely say yes. Why? Because I have the credentials. I have recordings of my performances and the general feedback is that I have a competitive edge. But suppose there is a young lady who is asked if she sings and she answers “Yes.” There’s a ton of subjectivity there, so there’s really not much to go on. As the asker I would still have my doubts about anything she could do until I heard it for myself. Also in effect, the notion that first impressions are usually wrong isn’t much help either. So I’d rather have that if you wanted to know something, you would not trust my judgment of myself , but you be the judge. I’ll gladly take feedback on my music, just not from me.