Sean Jones

Trumpeter-Bandleader-Composer-Educator

Tip Tuesday: Having Strong Opinions

Tip Tuesday tip: On having strong opinions... I often hear folks say "I don't like this type of music or this type of jazz... this style vs. this style... etc. Be careful to not form too strong of an opinion about certain things early on in your development ... or, period... for that matter. 
As you're exposed to many things in your development, something may not hit you right away or may jar you. Just give it a chance. Don't discredit it right away... you may be able to take something from it. A couple of brief points regarding opinions:
1. What is your opinion based on? Are you able to clearly state why you like or dislike something? "I just don't like it" in my opinion, is not the best answer. If you don't prefer a style, be able to explain why you don't prefer it. By studying what you don't like and being able to explain why through a clear understanding of its idiosyncrasies, it may help you solidify the sound that you want to make.
2. Did you form your opinion from hearsay?: Too often we allow our mentors, peers, or friends to either discount or force us into a style that we aren't necessarily drawn to because THEY believe that their style or preference is THE only way. I'm sure most of us have encountered the "jazz, classical, funk... (name a genre) police", and we've heard them say "THIS is where it's at ... or, this music is sad"... or, "why are you listening to THAT?" Respectfully hear their point of view while taking what's useful and discarding what isn't. Take knowledge in like sifter... keep the good stuff and discard the BS.
3. When you express your opinion, are you discrediting other genres, styles, etc?: Remember, music of all types all over the world exist because MUSIC wanted to be heard and that music spoke through another human being which makes it valid. It may not be your thing or your preference, but that does not invalidate its existence and purpose! If I style wasn't meant to exist because it was "bad, sucked, not hip",etc... it wouldn't have been heard, cultivated and introduced to the world. 
I have been guilty of this in the past and I truly regret it for two reasons. 1. I may have stunted someone's growth due to my own inability to see or hear beyond myself. 2. I stunted my own growth by not being able to open up to the world around me and learn from it. 
In a nutshell, have preferences but be open to learning from things that you don't really like, understand or care for. I remember a day when I HATED cognac... well, I eventually ended up at a bar that only had cognacs and scotches... guess who became a cognac drinker that night? 
Hendrix said it best "I used to live in a room full of mirrors; all I could see was me. I take my spirit and I crash my mirrors, now the whole world is here for me to see"
#shed #doyojob