"I’ve come to believe over the years that the audience hardly ever has any clue about how good the music is. Only if you see a great musician in the audience will anyone know anything about what you are doing. So this means that compliments mean almost NOTHING. They usually mean something like- they liked how the horn player was swaying back and forth or that the guitarist had really shiny hair, or that the drummer made a lot of cool faces. You think that you want someone to say that you sounded good, but that would just mean that you looked cool playing on stage. If I go by the this assumption then I won't be emotionally attached to the audience’s reaction. I have to assume that my idea of what sounds good is more developed than the crowds. Once in a while our tastes will happily coincide, when I will feel that I’ve played good music, and they will feel that they’ve heard good music. Just because there are more of them than me I don’t fall for the natural human tendency to think that they’re right. I have better things to think about when I'm improvising. If I feel that I played really great, then the fact that no one clapped for me doesn’t affect my satisfaction one bit. If you don’t give a shit then you will be free to really relax, and only then. Then you will be able to swiftly pull yourself out of any musical hole that you’ve dug for yourself without losing the natural flow. If you care what they’re hearing then when you hit that ‘wrong note’ you’ll say to yourself, “FUUUUUUCK!!!”. Saying, "FUUUUUCK" breaks the natural flow because it brings you back to self-consciousness. No audience, no self, only music. This is of course the ideal.
- If you are thinking about the audience when playing then you are not concentrating on the music enough.
My way of thinking won’t always get you the most chicks, but you’ll play better music. If you want more compliments then go find a really great shampoo and conditioner, practice moving around while playing and making scrunchie faces in the mirror.
Lots of players get into music because they want positive feedback from people. I think that these players didn’t get enough compliments from their parents or were picked on in school. Know that what you are doing is worthwhile. Don't listen through someone elses ears!
When I was young my dream was to be discovered and recognized by the next generation of young players (or even two or three generations down the line). I wanted to be several decades ahead of my time. They would hopefully say, ”Man, too bad Valdez didn’t make many recordings in his time, they just didn’t understand his genius back then.” That is how I want to be recognized.