How to Rate One’s Own Playing?
Claudine mentioned this in the isolation thread, and I thought it was worth starting a thread for it, as it’s a deceptively simple subject that can lead to a lot of difficulties (not to say anything of hurt feelings, so let’s be kind to each other, okay? *grin*) You better advanced players who’re more connected to the source, like Jeremy, Will, Brad, LongNote, Pol, etc. will be of much help to us beginners here with your comments. So….how should one go about rating one’s own playing?
How do you know when you’ve crossed that imperceptible gray area between beginner and intermediate, and intermediate and advanced? What standard do you use against your own playing? What measurements do/should you use? If you’re in isolation, are recordings too high a standard for you to use so you don’t become frustrated and give up?
It’s a well-known fact that in the US many players will err on the side of thinking they’re better than they are. Partially, I think, it’s because that because the further one moves away from the centers of Boston, San Francisco, and Chicago, you have less and less players close to the source of the tradition, and so you’ve less to keep you humble. On the other hand, I’m often told that I need to be less hard on myself, and that I’m better than I think I am, so perhaps you can go to the extreme the other way as well, and assume that you’re worse than you are, which is *still* not a clear indication of where you are in terms of level of playing.
Anyway, if you have no sessions with expert players in them to compare yourself to, it’s harder to realize that you’ve still a long way to go even after ten years of playing, so this discussion might help some of us avoid that pitfall — so much the better.
I should probably temper this discussion with the caveat that you can get too into this whole rating thing — the important thing, of course, is to enjoy yourself and the music. However, some of us most enjoy ourselves when we know we’re on the right track with what we’re doing, so I think the discussion is valid and worth it.
What benchmarks should a player look for that will tell you when they’ve hit those mysterious level changes between beginner, intermediate, and advanced? How can you get a clearer idea of where you are playing across the wide spectrum, in truth, especially if you’re not in an area stuffed with good players? Inquiring minds want to know.