"You is GOOD!" February 17 2014

Snow has been a big part of my life recently.  It was the reason I got one of the most memorable and sincere compliments in my life.  Last week, while snowed in in Cleveland, I practiced my flute in my hotel room, getting a great deal accomplished because there were absolutely no interruptions.  It was lunch time, so I put the flute away, and opened up the door to my room.  A warm and friendly grinning housekeeper said, “Was that you playing the flute?”  I said yes, it was.  “You is GOOD!” came at me, with an even bigger smile.  She made my day, and I told her so, gratefully.How often is a compliment so sincere and so heartfelt?  This will stay with me for a very long time, and fueled much more practicing after lunch.There is only one appropriate response to a compliment.  “Thank you.”  Thanks to my Grandmother, this was ingrained into my conscience at a very early day.  “You will receive many,” she would say, “learn to be gracious.”You see, if someone likes your flute playing enough to compliment you, they are, by definition, a genius. Accept that.If you demure, and say, “Well, it wasn’t my best.”  Or-“Really?  I didn’t think so.” You are telling them they have no taste.  Refer to the previous paragraph.  Why would you ever tell a genius they have no taste?  “Gee Mr. Einstein, I really blew that high D.  Didn’t you hear it?”  Imagine.There are many comments you can make if you don’t think you played your best.  I like these: “Great acoustic!”  “The audience was so appreciative.”  “I liked how they laughed at my jokes.”  “The pianist is awesome.”  “My shoes sure were comfortable.”  And so on.  That way everyone leaves feeling good about the conversation, and you can obsess over every cracked note on your own.There are 3 people to whom you should admit a less than stellar performance: your teacher, your parent, or your significant other.  Don’t burden others with your negative thoughts.Next challenge: What to say when a colleague has a bad performance.