Reading My Way Around the World

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Kindness Challenge Reflection Week 3 - Self Acceptance

If you're following along with Niki's Kindness Challenge, you'll know that for the first three weeks Niki has prompted us to look at kindness to ourselves in various ways.   And this week it was the oh so important Self Acceptance.   You can check out some of the other participants here.  That is a particularly hard one for artists of all kinds and for musicians in particular...

So if you're a musician or have one in the family, this is for you.

I read an article recently from research done at an English University, that depression is very high in musicians - more than 65% out of the study group of 2200 said they'd suffered from depression as opposed to 11-15% in the general population.
And one of the reasons they came up with was doing a job that other people considered not to be a proper job and the lack of support therein.  Oh boy - I know that one well.   And as co-host of the local folk club I hear the same phrase from nearly every musician who plays there, no matter how successful they have been in their career or what age they are, they still talk about their mother or a well meaning friend asking when are you going to get a real job?!!

If you're interested you can read more on the research here and also read some excellent expansions on the theme and suggestions both for musicians and for their families and friends to combat this - especially useful for young musicians starting out.  Cari Cole Music Ltd

I've always struggled with accepting my voice and my own musical ability.  These short essays have come along at the right time, in the middle of a new recording and I'm learning to practice what I preach - spend more time doing the work and less time beating yourself up about the bits you can't do.  And I'm finally learning to accept the voice I've been given.

I tell everyone of my students how wonderful they are and how much they have improved each week.  And for  the people in my singing group - who all collectively and individually think they can't sing - my role, as I see it, is to encourage, to praise and to honestly tell them how wonderful they sound together.  I never ever give a negative comment ( or try my best not to anyway).

But until now I am guilty of never telling myself well done for finding the right songs to make the group sound like that, or for the results of the hours of guitar, piano and voice practice that have allowed me to easily enjoy playing on this recording, or for accepting my own musical  knowledge which has come from 50 years of constant work and which enthrals and thrills me more and more with each passing year - when I allow myself the time to nurture it and not constantly beat myself up about what I don't know or can't do.

So after three weeks of focussing on self care and self kindness I have learned a lot.   As Brene Brown said in the excellent video Niki posted as part of the blog announcing this week's theme, this is a daily practice, something you have to be aware of all the time, daily, even hourly at times.   So, no, it's not fixed, but it's been a good start.

Now we're moving on for the next few weeks from self kindness


  1. Oh I HEAR you! If I hear another person call music a 'soft' subject (had a conversation with someone yesterday about it), I will scream! They who have never trained to be a musician have NO idea about the amount of practice needed, the auditions where you don't succeed and there are a million others, when strangers expect you to play for free just because 'it's music and it's a bit of fun for you surely' or the kids that don't turn up to rehearsals and how you burn your finger badly on the iron hours before an important gig or how in your most important recital, you are so nervous that your lip shakes as you attempt to play the flute. Or you lose your voice before an important solo! I understand and value what you do Fil!!x

  2. Very interesting, and i would never have considered that depression among musicians would be higher. I would have thought that they would get much pleasure from being creative and artistic. Self kindness is such an important and often difficult thing to achieve.


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