COMMENT: I can assure you i would not judging on myself, IF.. i was a 'great' player with great skills! just like you are!! BUT... if i don’t know if i am going to hit the next super-stretch-chord right, or the picado as i want to, then of course you start being skeptic.
In other words, as i said before, i watched Paco the way he played 40 years ago and i do realize, i need much more practice and skills and experience, and then, i will play great in front of people or in studio etc.. Plus of course it’s a thing to get used to play on stage and not getting nervous.
I play much better after 2 hours of practicing than when i have to play for friends....
ANSWER: In the Francisco Sanchez – Paco de Lucía documentary (2002) he narrated a very special experience that, according to me, reflects the mentality we, musicians of ALL LEVELS, have: Once he was walking at the street and he listened the recording of “someone” playing flamenco guitar. At the beginning he liked what he listened, he thought: “That guy plays nice!”, a moment after, he realized the one who was playing in the recording was himself and immediately, started criticizing and judging himself experiencing a kind of uncomfortable feeling of dissatisfaction. That’s why, he says, he never listen to his recordings, because, as soon as he listen to them, he starts finding things he doesn’t like…
As a musician of any level, comparing with great players don’t help to advance in our musical path. We think they feel comfortable with the way they play but many of the great players with great skills don’t and they continue struggling to be better and better. The difference is that you don’t know about their inner struggle because it is something we try to keep hidden.
I have observed that self-criticizing is one of the most frequent psychological habits musicians have and it is one of the biggest obstacles. I have experienced that too for a long time.
The question is: What is the border line between a healthy habit of observing and questioning our own quality as musicians and a destructive way to criticize ourselves?
I can only talk about my personal experience, because this is something that involves an internal realization: Accepting my sound, my particular way to play and what I consider my limitations is the first step. This happens when I realized that even my limitations are part of what I call “me” and these can be also advantages if I can use them in a creative way.
Then, one can raise the question: If a feel satisfied with the musician I am (even if I’m objectively a low quality musician) how can I continue making progress? I think it is because of the pleasurable experience you have when you play music that will keep you playing and practicing in a passionate way and, without even realizing it, you make much more progress that when you have the imaginary stick up your head waiting to be used by you as your own executioner.