Constructive Criticism – No Negative Thinking.

I bumped into this great video a few days ago:

Great stuff. Those that have read my instructional blues book know how I advocate constructive criticism, where you try to fix problems without putting a negative spin on what you are playing. I was lucky enough to read the Inner Game of Tennis early on and focus on the process of improving rather than getting demoralized by how  many mistakes I was making. A version of the book geared towards music has been since published (see end of post), but I still prefer the original book as really well written and to-the-point.

To improve in every aspect of music making, we have to go through the process of criticising what we play to remove mistakes and try to find ‘our sound’. This unfortunately makes us over-critical, especially in the early stages when we have a hero to emulate and the end result seems unreachable.

A good exercise (always suggested by guitar guru Mick Goodrick) is to record yourself playing and, after a few days, listen back to the recording making note of what to fix and what you liked. Take action.

Some other good thoughts on practice, goals and focusing on the positive can be found in this great video from a Steve Vai masterclass:

Suggested Reading:

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