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'Sensitive' creative people . . .

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by jhan, May 10, 2010.

  1. jhan

    jhan Guest

    We've all heard of the legendary 'sensitivity' of creative people. Luckily, I don't suffer from that affliction. While I'm not a caveman about it, I have no problem with telling the truth in a straightforward manner when I see it, and I have no problem hearing the truth from others, especially when it comes to my playing and my songs. I have no interests other than becoming a better musician and raising quality of whatever situation I'm in. I welcome criticism - even when it hurts, because that's what helps me improve as an artist. If I just needed to feel good about myself, I'd go get a hug from mommy.

    That said; my personal experience has shown me a lot of 'sensitive' creative people out there are actually the least talented people, while the people with the 'thickest skin' are usually the most talented. The former are very insecure about their own abilities, and the later are able to put their feelings aside occasionally so that they can become better musicians.

    It's like the over-sensitive types are too immature to let valuable information in. The end result is that they don't improve and make YOUR band sound worse. The thicker-skinned types are open to learning and trying new things, and make your band sound BETTER.

    I don't know, it's just my experience. Maybe bass players have more of a reason to develop a thicker skin about things. Might be related to having to take a more global look at things from the perspective of being bass players.
  2. :ninja:
    It's *latter*
    THAT said, IME, yup.
  3. Rob Lewis

    Rob Lewis

    Feb 23, 2006
    Spot on. I think that "sensitive" people are like that because they have been allowed to get their own way too often. Here's a big +1 for deliberate tactlessness!
  4. I think it's a development thing.

    When people feel insecure, unaccomplished, doubt their talents, unsure how their creativity is perceived by others, they seem very sensitive to criticism.

    When those sensitive people have developed into more accomplished, experienced, veteran artists, they do not wrap up their entire self worth into every single artistic expression. They will be far less sensitive to reasonable criticism.

    When I first started writing music, I was very shy about sharing them and was devastated when people weren't blown away by each of my precious few creations. A few years later, I'm confident in my abilities, have written music that are legitimate hits (among my friends, hehe), and have created music that I am objectively proud of regardless what the whole world thinks. If I share a song with someone and they don't like, oh well, big deal, I have 50 others. And if you don't like any of them, oh well, big deal, I know plenty of people who do like them.

    Also, I find this perspective helps immensely when dealing with the overly sensitive artist types. Try not to criticize what they're sharing - instead try to motivate them to create something new (and incorporate the criticism). That is, don't say, "Nice song but change the lyrics." Instead say, "Nice song. Let's take that idea and transform it a little and make another song."
  5. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    There's a point where you have to get over your sensitivity in order to accomplish something and put yourself out there. No-one really enjoys criticism or commands, but sometimes you need to deal with it for improvement.

    If you can't deal with a little criticism from your bandmates, how are you going to deal with negative comments on your band in someone's blog, craigslist, newspaper, etc. Critics are a part of music, enough so that there are people who do it professionally. Learn to deal with it if you want to make it a business, or keep it a hobby where you are shielded from public comment.
  6. Jon Moody

    Jon Moody Commercial User

    Sep 9, 2007
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Manager of Digital Brand Development and Product Development at GHS Strings
    Dealing with criticism is a life skill that everyone needs to learn, not just our sensitive musicians. However, with that, comes the diplomacy of knowing how to tell someone it's not working and not sounding like a complete dick. For example, if something isn't working in a band setting, telling someone "That's not working, fix it because it sucks" really doesn't accomplish anything except to attack the individual. Rather, saying "That's not working, because of ________. Can we try this instead?" is going to make even the sensitive people open to trying something.
  7. This. Criticism is a part of every aspect of life. Yea we should respect each other musically but NO one is perfect and there's always gonna be someone who dislikes your music.
  8. NickRich


    Oct 13, 2008
    Quebec, Canada
    From what I've seen, it's usually the other way around.
  9. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    I agree fully with diplomacy, but one needs to draw a boundary. There's being a d!ck when you deliver criticism, but there's also being so thin skinned that you can't get anything accomplished. If you need to have a few band meetings to discuss a strategy to tell the singer that they are singing out of key, but you're afraid of their reaction, you're wasting time that could be used for other things when you can just politely tell the singer they are singing off key at practice and ask them to get it right for the next time.

    That's why I like people with thick skin, you get more accomplished while wasting less time. Thin skin is an impediment in the brutal industry known as music.
  10. nic salsus

    nic salsus

    Mar 16, 2010
    Let's not vilify the idea of being sensitive, it's an essential part of being an artist and very different from being a whiny little dweeb which is not.
  11. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    actual "sensitivity" is the ability to be aware of other people's feelings and of what's going on around you (like if you're sucking or not).

    thin-skinned people are usually not that.
  12. skywalkersurfs


    Sep 11, 2008
    This is getting philosophical/psychological, I love it! Playing in a group definitely is a lot easier when everyone is honest, forthcoming, and clear with their intentions. Mutual respect goes a long ways as well. Being aware of sensitivities(insecurities) in others can do wonders for the further progress of a band, but some people can only go so far depending on where they are at in life. Personally, I get frustrated if I'm sensitive to another person's hang-ups but they still can't see the greater picture of the band progressing. It leaves me feeling like it's a one way relationship.
  13. nic salsus

    nic salsus

    Mar 16, 2010
    Can I split a hair and suggest this instead?
    "Being sensitive to insecurities in others can do wonders for the further progress of a band"
  14. skywalkersurfs


    Sep 11, 2008
    I'm all for it brother! Split it!
  15. Korladis

    Korladis Banned Supporting Member

    I can be sensitive about my music, but I've always had some confidence issues. While ones with performing have gone away over time, the issues with writing remain.
  16. jhan

    jhan Guest

    Being sensitive to others? Well . . . there's often a thin line between this and dancing around someone's feelings just to avoid confrontation.
  17. nic salsus

    nic salsus

    Mar 16, 2010
    I disagree. Being sensitive doesn't mean being a pussy.
    If you aren't sensitive then you're insensitive and I can't think of any positive spin to put on insensitivity.
  18. jhan

    jhan Guest

    Where does my statement promote being insensitive? It promotes having the gumption to deal with people who are overly sensitive. There's a difference.

  19. Here is my train on thought on this

    Don't offend people
    and don't be easily offended.

    It's simple.
  20. ForSix


    Jul 22, 2008
    If he came to a rehearsal where the band wasn't cutting it, Frank Sinatra would say, "Fix those horns or fire 'em. I'll be in the bar."

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