05. March 2010 · 4 comments · Categories: Ramble

I was thinking about insecurity earlier today. Because I had had another episode of vertigo and nausea my Romeo & Juliet colleagues have been asking how I’m feeling, and how my ear is doing. That’s to be expected, I’m sure. BUT … well, you know me! … this morning I was thinking, “What if they are asking me because my playing is so bad they are wondering if they should blame the ear? What if my intonation is horrendous and I don’t even know it?!” Years ago one of my colleagues (also a friend) and I agreed that we would be honest and tell the other when it was time to let it go and retire. But would she really tell me? What if it’s past time and I simply don’t know?!

I was thinking all that, and thinking, “Should I blog this?” I love to be honest here. I don’t mind sharing my fears and foibles. I think it’s helpful for others to see that, even after over thirty years in the business, I have fears and insecurities. But is this too much? Is sharing this during a sort of rotten time with my noisy, tinnitus trouble ear a bad idea.

Too late now, eh?

And then I ran across this article about much better artists who struggled with insecurity and self doubt.

The choreographer Jerome Robbins, in public the most arrogantly cocksure of men, left behind a journal in which he set down on numerous occasions his belief that the world would someday realize that “I’m not talented.” Even rave reviews left him full of anxiety: “I just did my work—another ballet. Now I am forced to ignore [the] reviews & go ahead & just do another, & another, & not notice that they said that the last was the capstone of my career. Great words . . . ‘capstone’—’career.’ Ugh.””

And this is funny: — funny, to me anyway — I didn’t even realize this article was written by Terry Teachout until after writing the majority of this blog. (Okay, Terry, do you suffer from insecurity? Do tell!)


  1. Terry Teachout

    I have my moments–both ways. But I think I tend to be more secure than otherwise. On the other hand, I’m not a great artist!

  2. Well, “great writer” could also fit into this, yes? And isn’t an writer an artist? I would think so!

    (Btw, really enjoyed the jury tweets! That’s the closest I’ll probably ever get, I think, since they like to reject me. I’ve been told that the prosecution often assumes a professional musician is too liberal.)

  3. patti with an i

    Patty, Patty, Patty…

    If I weren’t afraid it would do nasty things to your ear, and therefore possibly deprive me of the pleasure of listening to you in the pit for the rest of the weekend, I would just grab you and shake you when you get like this!! I so wish you could find a way to enjoy/appreciate your own playing as much as the rest of us do.

  4. You are too darn nice, patti with an i!

    BUT … here’s the “mess of me”: I fear I’m no good. I think I’m good. Both at the same time. How insane is that?

    Yep. THAT insane!