Being a Parent of a Musical Child – Part 10: Grace and Humility

People often mistake grace and humility as strictly religious traits. They’re not. They are aspects of a personality that bleed into all aspects of life, and generally speaking they are characteristics that engender admiration and respect.
But are they necessary?
In the course of your child’s (or your own) studies, you will undoubtedly meet and possibly get to know quite a few musicians, if you haven’t already. Some of them will be gracious, kind, willing to go out of their way to help a fellow musician learn something new or master something they’re struggling with, and others will be dismissive, apathetic, and will leave you with the impression that they feel you are beneath them or a waste of their time. Some will embrace an audience of any size, while others will throw a tantrum if a turnout is too small. Some will learn everything they can from everyone they come across while others will barely acknowledge their own teachers because they are too wrapped up in what they see as their own inherent ability.
Which would you rather have as a role model?
Once you can answer that question, it’s a natural leap to understanding why grace and humility are important for musicians.
Understand, there is a difference between humility and low self esteem. The two are often seen as the same; however, the reactions to them should be different. Someone with low self esteem needs to be built up, whereas if you build up someone who is merely humble it could lead to an over-inflated sense of self, shutting out an awareness of others.
Learning how to accept a compliment graciously, with a simple thank you, isn’t inherent… or easy. It’s more comfortable to remain silently embarrassed or to deflect the compliment altogether. But getting out of our comfort zones is what helps us to grow and evolve.
If this is just hugely awkward, try accepting the compliment along with an honest inquiry for improvement pointers.
Make an effort to help out others whenever it is feasible to do so.
Eliminate negative self talk. Also eliminate excessive egoism. Confidence is fantastic, confidence at the expense of others is not.