If by now, you've read my book "Secrets to Efficient Brass Playing", you've read my story about how I started off as a very talented child on cornet, developed into a teenager who discovered cars, girls and high notes, eventually quit after my 2nd year of college because I had gotten enough negative feedback, misguided advice, been teased, picked on, and made to feel generally bad about myself.
After an almost 3 year hiatus from playing I decided to start again (as a hobby) because I wasn't "good" enough to be professional. I had taken quite a few more "ego" blows and felt VERY insecure about me, my playing, who I was, and basically everything that involved - ME. I held other people's opinion of me (and my playing) higher than I did my own. This went on for years! I managed to land the Maynard gig in 2004, still feeling that others opinion was more important... so dealing with some of the criticism and less than kind words was VERY tough!
After leaving the Maynard tour and going through a few more knocks, I started dating my wife. With her gentle persuasion and undying love and support, I started to learn that what I felt about myself was THE most important thing... above EVERYONE / ANYTHING else! This turnaround has been slow and often painful as I've had to revisit some things that I had buried so deep in my memory that I could barely recall them... until I gave myself permission to.
I have not 100% mastered this skill, but I am MUCH better at it as I don't ask what others think about my performance anymore... I no longer feel that need. I have had run-in's with "critics" of my playing, me as a person, etc. in recent times (see a post below) and no longer feel threatened or intimidated. What I've also found is that my playing has improved 10 fold because of 1 very important opinion... MY OWN! In a way, I've given myself permission to release all that is unimportant and practice for myself, my music, and to compete / impress no one but myself.
It was said to me "I am superior to no one but my former self"... this has had THE greatest impact on me as a person AND as a musician!
So do yourself THE biggest favor that you can... fall in love with yourself, who you are, and where you are right now in playing, life, etc. You can't better yourself until you've found out who you are!
All the best -
Brass Player Solution