The Critic

Whether you're at the point of where your music is being reviewed and those reviews are being published or not, there is a lesson here to learn. Where did the profession of the critic originate from? Does this help or only harm the artist? This is a topic that is very much up for debate. 

There are so many avenues and nicknames to this particular profession. The critic, the journalist, the blogger, in slightly more subtle influencer… where do we even start?

The Oxford Companion to Music defines music criticism as "the intellectual activity of formulating judgments on the value and degree of excellence of individual works of music, or whole groups or genres".[1">musical aesthetics. With the concurrent expansion of interest in music and information media over the past century, the term has come to acquire the conventional meaning of journalistic reporting on musical performances” states Wikipedia. 

The issue arises when negativity and questionable intention come into play. Ultimately, honesty is the most important element in any written pieces of the music critic. Although we aren’t here to say who is right on the ethical reasons surrounding this practice, we do say that it can’t hurt to wish that all journalists embrace both constructive criticism and just a dash of rose-colored glasses. Sometimes it’s most difficult to find the beauty in things, rather than the problem. This is not to say that a journalist is always negative. Many writers love to soak up the art and share its moving messages with the world around them. The most revered music journalists have almost become figures themselves, artists who paint with people, flaws, beauty and all.

Is this something new within the overly critical, modern day societal structure? It turns out that this is layers back within our nature. “According to Richard Taruskin, the active concert life of late 18th-century London meant that "the role and the function of arts criticism as we know it today were the creations of the English public."[5">Georg Philipp Telemann's Der getreue Music-Meister (1728), which included publications of new compositions, and Der kritische Musikus which appeared in Hamburg between 1737 and 1740” as told by Wikipedia.

If you’re the musician being critiqued, it’s important to take everything with a grain of salt, while always taking into consideration the source of the feedback. Many musicians refuse to read their reviews, as they know that their emotions are never certain when responding to these perspectives. It’s never fun to listen to negative feedback about yourself - especially when it’s accompanying the entire world’s morning coffee and you find yourself on the front page. 

So, remember why you play your instrument in the first place. You’re here for the fans and those who resonate with your music. For every bad review, there will be another good review - so take it all with a grain of salt but keep your ears open for new ideas that can appear as criticism.