I wanted to cover the importance of resilience within your chosen art form. Over the years of teaching, I have seen students become despondent and discouraged when they receive feedback which isn’t positive. We all receive negative feedback from time to time - no matter who we are or what industry we work in.
Steve Jobs was fired from his own company but threw himself into his work, returning to Apple in 1997, leading it to its greatest successes. The Beatles auditioned for Decca Records in 1962 and were rejected, only to be signed by EMI – and went on to become perhaps the most famous band ever. They could have looked at the rejection and split up, but passion, resilience and belief kept them focused and united.
We all learn to cope with the setbacks if we wish to keep striving forward.
I personally don’t like to like the term failure – my experience from speaking to professionals is that they believe, “We learn more from failure than success”.Don’t get me wrong, when something goes well it feels great and when it goes wrong, we feel down. However, it is a journey with ups and downs and not a sprint race. The key is how we deal with negatives.
Alongside my teaching I write music for TV and media. In writing for a potential client, you have to pitch it, which is fraught with risk and resulting highs and lows.When companies respond to a pitch they can be very to the point. I’ve had comments such as “Not Feeling it” or simply “No”.
I used to think of rejection, or what some people see as failure, with massive disappointment. I would look back on all the hours I put in and feel rejected, let down, disappointed and upset. But now I try and channel this. I contact the company again and ask what it was they didn’t like. I ask how they feel I could improve my chances and can I pitch again in the future. This often helps.
The business is still a people-oriented, human industry and, although some may not get back to you, most will give valid advice. At the same time, opening a dialogue with them allows you to keep the door open for future opportunities. Film composer Harry Lighfoot recently said in our Podcast “we all work with people we get along with and we want to be around”.
Personal opinion and views
Sometimes it’s easy to forget we all like different things, sports, art, music, food. If someone doesn’t like something there’s a high possibility others will love it. With so many social media platforms and genres within the arts these different views are even more evident, with people being more vocal and outspoken than they ever were in the past.
Consider the feedback
When someone says something negative it’s very easy to take this to heart and let it dwell on our minds. I feel if you can channel this into something positive – try and view it objectively and ask yourself, do they have a point? Is it something I can improve on? Are they just voicing their opinion, which may not even be correct? Some people like to antagonise and thrive of being controversial and negative. With social media today, such views are more rife than ever. As an artist it is imperative to take a step back, see if there is anything to learn and keep striving concentrating on positives.
However, sometimes we simply get it wrong. We are all human and make mistakes. If the criticism has merit – we can learn from it.
Consistency and persistence
I think the most important lesson I have learned over the years is consistency. This requires practice, rehearsing and working – by doing so we keep learning. Things rarely happen over-night and everyone is on a journey.Learning is like rowing upstream to gain knowledge; stop rowing and you go backwards.
How many timeshave you seen someone on social media/YouTube, showing a mastery of their chosen skill, in a fantastically furnished and lit room, making it look effortless, not showing the hundreds of hours that have gone into practicing. If you post a song or upload a track that doesn’t gain much traction, it’s easy to think you should take it down or it isn’t good enough. But by posting and showing your journey you are engaging with others and showing your personality. I personally feel this is much more interesting than an artist that just keeps what’s popular or is only willing to show the final polished product.