Wise words from the acclaimed violinist, Itzhak Perlman:
Perlman asked the students if it’s easy to listen to a colleague play and figure out what works well and what needs work. Many grinned and agreed. Then Perlman pointed out that it’s so hard to do with your own playing “because you are busy working . . . you’re busy making the bow straight … you’re busy doing the vibrato. … You’re so busy that it takes away from your ear.
“The singular most important goal for a performing artist is to see how they are doing. How am I doing? I have nobody to tell me. I’m basically alone. A lot of your friends are not going to tell you what they think, because they want to make sure they’re your friends.
“Not many people like it when they get criticism. Of course, if you have someone who does tell you and you do have a rapport, that’s great. But don’t rely on it. You have to rely on yourself. “
-Taken from [a now-expired :(] article by David Saito-Chung.