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Home LJS Podcast Jazz Tips and Advice LJS 202: How to Overcome Negative Self-Criticism and Start Loving Your Playing

LJS 202: How to Overcome Negative Self-Criticism and Start Loving Your Playing

Welcome to episode 202 of the LJS Podcast where today I talk about improving your mental health as a jazz musician. All of us have felt those bad feelings of self-consciousness, insecurity, and self-loathing of our playing. We struggle with comparing ourselves to others and are constantly unsatisfied with our music. In this episode, I go over 6 tips for overcoming these negative mindsets so we can grow as jazz musicians and have fun at the same time.

Listen to episode 202

It’s the beginning of the year and if there’s one thing that I know is going to hold us back from improving our jazz skills this year, it’s a negative mindset.

That self-loathing, self-criticizing, self-conscious behavior that we experience when we go up to play in a jam or a gig or even listen back to ourselves on a recording and feel absolutely disgusted with what we are hearing.

We feel embarrassed for the way we play, we compare ourselves to other musicians and we leave feeling absolutely horrible.

Now, it goes without saying, this is a complete waste of our time. This is not really going to help us move forward. It’s only helping us stay right where we are right now. We need to move past that.

So in today’s episode, I will be going over 6 things that we can do to start overcoming this negative mindset, start succeeding, start getting into a better place with our mental game and start enjoying music more.

In this episode:

1. Establish your “why”

2. Develop a growth mindset

3. Listen back and give positive affirmation

4. Practice positive self talk

5. Practice things that help you reach a “flow state”

6. Accept your current skill level

Thanks for listening to this episode of the Learn Jazz Standards Podcast. If you aren’t already, make sure you are subscribed on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

I look forward to having you join me in the next episode!

Important Links

LJS 98: How to Beat the Brain Game for Musical Freedom (feat. Matt Vaartstra)

LJS 178: Becoming Your Own Jazz Teacher by Recording Yourself (feat. Jens Larsen)

LJS 131: The Neuroscience Behind Radical Musical Improvement (feat. Marc Gelfo)

Brent Vaartstra
Brent Vaartstra is a professional jazz guitarist and educator living in New York City. He is the head blogger and podcast host for which he owns and operates. He actively performs around the New York metropolitan area and is the author of the Hal Leonard publication "Visual Improvisation for Jazz Guitar." He's also the host of the music entrepreneurship podcast "Passive Income Musician."


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