Maybe this isn’t a problem for all you other beginners out there, but for me it really is. I just simply feel less than other cellists. Or other musicians in general, really. Almost like I know they’re already so much better than I am and so thinking about that I make it true. Does this make sense to you guy?
I’m thinking of a couple cases right now, the first being playing in my class tonight. I was the only one who got to really play and I played a short duet with my professor, who plays professionally with SacPhil and conducts one of the Sacramento Youth Symphony orchestras. Now here’s the thing: had she been a nobody or even someone less awesome I don’t think I would have made such idiotic mistakes. I mean, I failed to notice that she was indicating we were starting. It was really ridiculous. Somehow I’ve convinced myself that the universe would implode, or at least the moon would come crashing back to earth, if I didn’t screw up in the presence of a musician so much better than I am. An invisible rule that says I have to fail because this person is good. Not because I’m not capable, but because it would destroy my own idea about myself: that I’m not capable of playing with good musicians. I’ve internalized the thought that I can’t be any good — I started when I was 26, after all — even though it’s the very thing I fight against every day.
The second thing is regarding blogging. I feel horribly uncomfortable commenting on people’s blogs who aren’t fellow beginners. It’s not a problem when these people comment on my blog first, but I often read blogs belonging to some rather awesome musicians and teachers and feel like it would be inappropriate for me to say anything. I can’t imagine any of them thinking I have anything remotely important to say, which for once I don’t think is a fear based on me being neurotic. A lot of people in the classical world don’t take adult beginners seriously and I’ve been the recipient of some really unfortunate attitude. This makes me very hesitant to involve myself in discussions happening on people’s blogs who haven’t shown me, by way of commenting on my blog, that they think adult beginners are actually fellow human beings. Even though I think people like me can provide a really important perspective on many things, music education in particular.
Part of me thinks this is just my own problem — stop feeling this way and if they’re mean, that’s their problem. Just because I’m a beginner doesn’t make me like the child they seem to think I am and I know this, so what’s the problem? But I also feel like I shouldn’t be putting this all on myself either. I just don’t know. I’m tired of feeling this way, like I’m not supposed to be taken seriously.