Seven rungs of resistance

Posted on April 11th, 2009 in Blog | Tags: blog

Wynton posted this as an answer to his last question during the Facebook Q&A. There are 7 basic rungs of resistance up the ladder of artistic success.
I will start from the lowest rung to the highest.

1. Ignorance – Not your fault. Generally the result of a polluted environment. No one knows, so you don’t know.
Example: You think funk is jazz.

2. Miseducation – Your teachers are well meaning, but just don’t know. It’s no one’s fault. Example: someone tells you, you have to study classical music to become a jazz musician. Bad advice.

3. Personal difficulties – You just have some major personal problems to overcome. extremely dysfunctional family life or some time of physical or mental disability. Once again, no one’s fault, but an obstacle to overcome.

4. Laziness – You just would rather waste time and achieve through talking what hard work would have ensured.
Example: You spend a lot of time talking about what you are going to do and what other people are not doing.

5. Opinion of family and peers – They think you should do what they think you should do. They don’t study music or art, have undeveloped tastes and should be helping develop yours by encouraging you to seek professional teaching. Instead, they offer you a steady stream of uninformed, well meaning, but ultimately bad advice.
Example: The advice of your friends in the midst of a nasty breakup. Let them be friends. seek professional help.

6. The opinion of a failed artist – They didn’t make it, so neither will you. Encouragement comes very difficult to them and a strong undercurrent of pure cynicism and negativity can destroy the optimism and faith required to get your artistic aspirations off the ground. Beware, because they also have a lot of very valuable information. but, if their career failures have not been put in perspective, that information can come at too high a price.

7. Uninformed criticism and the court of public opinion – The critics of your time are not fans of the art form that you practice. There’s nothing you can do to make them fans. They have been given unearned positions of authority. Don’t be depressed over this type of criticism. Consider it a compliment. With public opinion, be very careful. If you feel that you are above public opinion, your work can suffer from the type of myopic arrogance that destroys the humility central to artistic development. Part of artistry is submitting your work to be accepted or rejected by non “experts”. It’s like cooking a meal. If you don’t care whether people like it or not, why not just cook for yourself. However, if you follow whatever the trend is, you might end up cooking a Big Mac. Good luck and do your thing.