A long time ago I was a member of the choir of the Delft students music company Krashna Musika. One time a friend asked me if I wanted to sing at the chamber music evening, and I did. I sang Die Krähe from Schubert’s Winterreise. And I got a very very bad review. I was devastated and I decided not to sing solo anymore. But I kept singing in the choir and taking singing lessons.

Around that time I was doing a photography course at university, which was analog, so shooting on film, and developing and printing. For our final exhibit, people could print their best photos on 30x40. But I could not, because none of my photos where good enough. But I kept taking photos, but seldom showed them to anyone.

Later in life, I joined this student’s symphony orchestra, the CREA Orchestra Amsterdam. One time, during a rehearsal in which the string players were split in string quartets, our conductor would listen to all the quartets. When he heard our quartet he was shocked about my level, how bad it was. I was very discouraged, and had considered stopping with orchestra and cello. But I didn’t and kept playing.

Now, some time later after these incidents.

The crea orchestra also had chamber music evenings, and I decided that I would try to sing solo one more time. This time Frühlingstraum, from Schubert’s Winterreise. And I got great reactions, from people who were deeply moved by my singing.. and since then I had sung a few more times solo, duets and sextet.

Around that time I was messing around with digital photography which was not going anywhere. I picked up an old Nikon camera and shot on black & white film again. And I got very good reactions from people on my photos. People really liked my photos, and were willing to pay for a photo shoot with me.

Recently, I did a few performances on cello, some solo, some with violin and singer. Improvisation, but also some classical. And I got great reactions from people, some people were really moved by my playing.

The moral of the story is; keep doing it. It may be a while before you get the results you want, and positive feedback, but if you keep doing it, you will get better. Of course, not everything you do will be successful, but the most important criterium is: are you having fun? And if not, are you getting better? If both answers are no, then yes, maybe you should stop. But If either, or ideally, both answers are yes, then keep doing it. You will get there eventually. There will be a point that you and other people will like the results.