This is my stepdaughter's son Harry and it is his first composition - aged nine I think he is doing brilliantly.
It is so important to encourage youngsters in the arts irrespective of which branch as the arts are good for the soul. If your child, young relative expresses a wish to be involved in an artistic project please encourage them. The Arts are so good for the soul and so for the development of a complete person to use a rather hackneyed phrase. I hope you will take the time, about 90secs, to listen to what Harry has tried to do.
The above links quite nicely into how I feel about reviews and critics. It is obvious that we need to have people read our work and to receive some feedback or how else would we grow, but there is a conflict within me regarding the personal nature of my writing and therefore negative comment is tantamount to an attack on me. So I struggle with reviews and criticism. Having said that I have only had one negative and several 5 star reviews for which I am extremely grateful. These thoughts prompted me to look at some attitudes to reviews in the past and the first is from W S Gilbert of the Gilbert and Sullivan partnership. What a man he must have been. I have had the privilege of taking part in a number of the pairs operettas and thoroughly enjoyed the experience but the lyrics of Gilbert's were well ahead of their time and even quite raunchy at times. Gilbert liked negative criticism and said,
"I know how good I am. Tell me how bad I am!"
Does he look as if he has a twinkle in his eye?
That leads me nicely into the role of the media in our world. I believe that the media have no concept of the power that they exercise. In the last year alone I have seen sportsmen elevated to heights greater than that of which they are capable simply on the word of an ex-player come pundit. The exercise cost £35 million in transfer fees and the player has failed to fulfil his asking price by a considerable margin.
Where is all this going? I think we need to drive the critics, pundits and reviewers to be coached in objectivity and away from sensationalism and the need to sell newspapers etc.