Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Catching the Fever

Music is not an Olympic sport....thank goodness!  Yet some people turn it into a competition, falling into the trap of "compare, compete".

This week, I've watched young men and women telling themselves that they are failures because they didn't win "gold" at the Olympic Games.  Yet they've already proved they are 'winners' [whatever that means] by simply being good enough to be selected to participate in a world games.

How often do I see musicians telling themselves that they are 'hopeless' because they don't play or sing as well as another musician?!  How often do I hear musicians expressing destructive envy because someone else got the gig and they didn't?! (it goes something like this ...."oh listen to THAT, I could run rings around him/her, how come THEY're getting payed to play here, I should be playing not them, he/she is crap, I'm better than that). 

Perhaps its simply a human trait to measure ourselves against others....then again, maybe it's something we learn from a competitive society.  Either way, when it comes to music comparison with others is demeaning to ourself as well as diminishing them.  Engaging in competition with other musicians is purely useless - what does it prove?  Compare and Compete is fruitless exercise, it's highly negative, and it doesn't uplift either party. 

And isn't that what music is supposed to do?.......uplift us all?

Celebrate the uniqueness in each one of us I say! Admire the skill of other musicians, aspire to do better if you must, but recognise that you don't have to sound the same as anyone else. Enjoy and appreciate the skill that you have.  Because those who have the ability to play an instrument or to sing are blessed with a gift. Such a gift is compounded when it is shared with others.  The more you give it away, the more rewarded you feel.
So don't catch the disease of compare/compete.....but catch the fever of uplifting each other through music.


  1. What an excellent article, Maureen! And you certainly do your best to encourage self-appreciation among all of us....even those who can't catch a ball!!

  2. Finally someone telling it like it is! Bravo! I agree with you that everyone is different. Competitions are useless, who is to say who is better? Here in Italy (and I think elsewhere) they think that the more a singer shouts the better a singer he/she is, so those are the ones who win competitions. But it's changing. People are getting smart and are not joining competitions anymore. I am a new follower from Rome and I am looking forward to your posts.

    1. Welcome Francesca! I love to hear how other musicians across the world are dealing with the common issues. Please keep in touch! Maureen