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The (not so?) funny insults I receive about my violin playing

Christian Howes
If you're tired of fighting with your inner critic, know this: It's common for musicians of all ages and abilities to feel anxious and//or have self-doubting thoughts. I and many of my adult students and colleagues struggle with insecurities. If this applies to you, you're far from alone.

A comment on one of my posts the other day struck me. It was only three words:

“This is AWFUL!”

The awful thing is a 60-second video of me playing the violin. (In case you’re curious, here’s the video).

I laughed when I read the comment, but there was a time when it would not have been funny to me.

For decades I was filled with insecurity about my musical ability.

I would ruminate after performances. This second-guessing went beyond my playing to include things I said in conversation, emails, and more. I would beat myself up and worry about anything I thought was a mistake that couldn’t be undone.

  • I left projects unfinished
  • I felt anxious
  • It caused me to second-guess big and small decisions
  • I was making unfavorable comparisons to other people
  • I was less present around my family.

The voice of my inner critic practically drowned out every other idea in my head.


A year ago I talked about this in a short video. I’d been exploring therapy, podcasts, books, etc.

Then Evan Gregor introduced me to a process that clicked for me. In a nutshell, it has to do with reconciling inner conflict through mindful self-dialogue. Watch the full video here (to skip the intro, FF to 2:42)


Working with Evan was a game-changer. Now I’m able to notice my inner critic coming up, and while I still see “mistakes” for what they are, I’m more able to regulate my emotions.

  • I accept where I am at.
  • Negative feedback, or other peoples’ opinions, don’t eat at me or hold me back like they use to.


The way I fixed this:

  • Giving my insecurity a name
  • learning, there’s nothing broken about me.
  • Getting tools and processes

I feel more hopeful and less stuck.​ I’m more present. I follow through and finish more projects. I enjoy life more.

If you’re tired of fighting with your inner critic, know this:

It’s common for musicians and people in general of all ages and abilities to feel anxious and//or conflicted as a result of self-doubting thoughts.

Many of my adult music students, career mentoring clients, and colleagues (including professional teachers and performers) struggle with insecurities. If this applies to you, you’re far from alone.

It may feel hard to acknowledge or call out. I personally feel that like with any 12-step program, healing begins with acknowledging the struggle. You don’t have to announce it to the world. Maybe start by acknowledging it quietly to yourself, and then sharing it with one person you trust.

If you’re like me, you may have had feelings of self-doubt for a long time. It is possible to overcome your inner critic by developing mindful techniques.

Evan led a great workshop devoted to calming your inner critic. People who attended loved it. We made it available as a course.

If you’re interested in calming your inner critic, pick up the course here.

If your focus is on career and business, and/or you’d like to explore inner work more regularly on a variety of related topics, Evan and I offer regular calls,  mini-workshops, and more in our support group Music Biz Mastermind.

If you try it out, you can access several courses including calming your inner critic. Try it out here.



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