What others think and why it shouldn’t matter

Scales Aren’t Just a Fish Thing

A concept connecting how we learn

and our how our brains process information

with the study of music,

developed for over thirty years

To touch lives with a calm and gentle spirit…

Scales Aren’t Just a Fish Thing is a  back door method of teaching just about anything

(I am using music and music theory as an example)

We can avoid short circuits and mental roadblocks by working with the unique wiring and learning styles of each individual.

Igniting sleeping brains.


What Others Think


Why it Shouldn’t Matter

By Carol Anderson

Super Hero Series

Even Good, Kind, Caring,

Super Heroes are criticized.

What to do?

I know of a very successful man, you might know who he is if I were to mention his name…… you might not.
His success isn’t weighed by the recognition he has received, but with success came recognition.

I happen to know that his secretary withheld all negative comments and letters from him when he was just starting out.


I have to believe that by clearing the path for him to run with what he knew he was called to do, without dragging along the thoughts of others who were not given that calling,  gave him the self-confidence to plunge ahead, even when he was controversial.

We learn as we go.  I always feel I have changed, improved and grown even over a weekend.

Dragging everyone’s opinions along with us just makes us think too much.

It sets up stop signs in our minds when we dare to take a chance and be unconventional.

It makes us question our capability and even our worthiness to try to be excellent.

We are all  far from excellent as we start the journey.


Stay away from

negative people

They have a problem

for every solution


I recently went to talk with one of my mentors.  I believe we all need to have a mentor or two.   When I told them of a negative comment that had been made in the guise of helpful constructive criticism, the response was, “Why are they afraid of you?”


This mental shift actually made me feel less rejection and more empowerment, if that makes any sense.

Usually criticism is easily put into perspective when the person doing the criticizing doesn’t hold personal value to us.

But if it is someone in whom we have invested time, or those we are subconsciously trying to impress (like a parent or sibling) what they say matters.

Whether we like it or not, their thinly veiled criticisms go into our minds and are processed and reprocessed as if we were mentally chewing gum.

It’s like odors and smells.  Most sensory input takes a journey to get into our brains, but smells have a direct path.

I think family, friends and mentors are like smells. They are excluded from the normal filtering process.   Even if they are people who have an opinion on everything despite the fact that they really have no knowledge about certain issues, their opinions matter.


  Pondering their approval usually is not worth the energy to address it and even give it mental space.    Yet we do.

Kids are especially vulnerable to this. They don’t have the knowledge base to recognize whose opinions matter and whose don’t.

The other day I voiced my opinion at a meeting and realized how very ‘Revolutionary’ I was;   Revolutionary not to change necessarily.

All I was arguing for was recognition of achievement rather than entitlement due to financial status in a scholarship we offer. When kids work hard, in this case as musicians, why should they be excluded from a scholarship and recognition because their dad has a better job than the next dad?  If we were offering lots of scholarships then, by all means give it to them all.  But when there is only one reward,  the ‘for what’ part of the definition matters more.

A little guy I know was recently called into the principal’s office.
Now remember this is a first grader, and the
principal’s office is a dreaded zone for any little kid.

Once there he was told he’d placed first in reading and tied for first in math for the entire first grade.  He was ‘secretly’ told so the other children wouldn’t feel so bad.  Now if you don’t see anything wrong with that, step back a minute and see if there hasn’t been a bit of brainwashing and diluting of the spirit of excellence that has somehow become part of our worldview.
When did we begin to celebrate ‘equality’ in everything and forget to recognize excellence?

I’m not saying to always give the kids ‘things’ because they did what should have been expected of them….their best. Actually, things don’t make a difference when given to kids that don’t need motivation.   But how about some genuine praise.
I had a little man in my studio, feet folded and sitting like a tiny little ball in my roll around chair as he proudly told me that he listens to his music every day. It shows in his progress.
During this 45 minute lesson, he played nearly 15 songs and a music theory game, still having the energy for some fine tuning on his technique.
For a six year old, that is focus.

  Did you know that with economic comfort comes less criticism.
The family that has a greater income
the praise vs criticism is approximately 7 praises for 1 or 2 criticisms.

The middle class family
the praise vs criticism is approximately 6 praises for 5 criticisms.
Approximately half.

The lower social-economic
the praise vs criticism is approximately 1 praise for 6 or 7 criticisms.

I’m a little surprised at these statistics and yet, knowing we could all be walking in any one of these family’s shoes with a little bump in the stock market, we have to admit that it is easier to ‘kick the cat’ than to handle our own frustrations in a solitary way.  Were you ever in a line of cars all traveling together? If you were car number one you just went happily on your way, but if you were car number three or four, your focus was on the car ahead. I can remember the chants ‘pass them dad’ from the car in second place which happened to be us.

People tend to have a lot to criticize today.  It seems they feel it their mission to point out some little flaw or a better way to do things.

That toxic tendency is responsible for more ‘would be’ entrepreneurs, musicians, writers, and artists becoming business people or scientists.  It’s safe.  I see it firsthand because the doctor, scientist, or some other knowledge-based professional comes to me to learn violin and to reinvent themselves, or maybe to rediscover what was locked in a little wish box when they were younger.

I don’t know, maybe I’m reacting rather than responding.  I might be wrong on this.  If I am, please don’t tell me…I think I am a little fragile right now.

Maybe we need to move through the slimy glue of criticism, of being put in our place, of being overlooked as an achiever. But should kids have to do that?

If you ever wanted to shut

down the creative

development of a brain,

criticism is a great tool.


Or maybe, just maybe (wait …I’m re-emerging, done licking my wounds)



we need to recognize what others say as just that. ..what others are saying.  See if it holds any truth, make the changes needed to be made and move on.


Maybe we need to put some backbone into what we are saying, what it is we feel is important, celebrating excellence, cheering those who have achieved, setting personal goals to create a path to give ‘vision’ to our own intrinsic motivation, because

‘without a vision the people perish’

We should simply
acknowledge that others have a right to a voice and just stay focused on the goal we have been assigned.

Don’t stop, don’t pause, don’t run the other way.

Vision without action is a daydream

Action without vision is a nightmare

Stay true to yourself ,

dance like no one is watching,

sing like no one is listening,

and play your instrument with gusto and excellence

for an ‘audience of One’….

just saying.

Free Workshops


© Copyright Scales Aren’t Just A Fish Thing

Igniting Sleeping Brains!

Creating fluid thinking

Teaching Tools

to help our brains learn more efficiently

and embed music theory behind the scenes.

Piano Sheet Music – Paperbacks

The Brain and how we process information

Tools to teach

Violin Sheet Music – Paperbacks

Pretwinkle books


Book One

Big Book of Gum Drop Notes


Violin  Book two

Big Book of Gum Drop Notes

Violin  Book three

Big Book of Gum Drop Notes

Violin Great Extra


Big Book of Gum Drop Notes


Ten Minute Music Theory

Card Games Series


Join the Youtube channel




Install this web app on your Android: Tap menu, more options, and then Add Shortcut To Homescreen.×