Monday, April 23, 2007


Something that I have recently given a lot of thought to is how to deal with insult, or criticism with grace. We certainly can not expect that we will always be received with the reaction that we think that we deserve, so how to deal with this?

I recently had a really unfortunate run in with voice teacher...who was simply down right mean with me. I am certainly not blameless in the situation, but he called my professionalism in to question and told me that if I were in conservatory I would be kicked out of the program for such behavior. This was not true, as I found out later there was a lot of other things going on to miff him, but still unnecessary.

However the timing was terrible, my senior recital was days away and I still needed to work with him and my accompanist together.

How to deal with this...for me this first involved sobbing on the phone to a past voice teacher who had once studied with this man as well. And then it involved a lot of resilience. I dressed up nicely for my lesson, and steeled myself. My father used to tell me (in reference to arm wrestling) that steel is strong, and it does not need to push back. I decided to take this advice.

We ultimately got work accomplished...he did not mention anything to me, nor did he really talk to me, he mostly talked to my accompanist. I have since had my voice lesson canceled and have had 2 rehearsals and 2 performances with him and run into him at the local coffee shop where I do my readings on Thursdays.

I have been incredibly nice, polite and pleasant with him upon every occasion. I think this is the best thing to be done. Perhaps he regrets what he said to me, perhaps not, but being nice confuses him at moments and makes all situations more pleasant. I had to get over quite a bit of hurt to be able to get to a place to be nice to him, but it really only took me a day to do this, and now two weeks later I have no animosity towards him.

We'll see what happens tomorrow at my first post recital lesson with him. I think that the important thing is that I dealt with my hurt with out negatively engaging him. I certainly did point out to him that his words were unnecessarily harsh, but I got over my hurt and anger away from him. Now if we need to talk about this I at least will be able to do it in a productive manner. I have no idea if he will be able to, as he has a history of burning bridges.

So my advice extends to him as well. He needs to support the people who he hurt who are now hurting him back (read the University). It's not about being the better person, or even necessarily the bigger person, but knowing how to let go of things that are in the past and should no longer be prevalent. I don't know how to describe it other than you have to unwrap your ego from the situation and subsequently make the best of it.

2 comments: said...

You do indeed grow in wisdom.

Anonymous said...

I knew you could see it.