Completing a lengthy call to BT to initiate new login details, the engineer asked me with great intensity whether I was satisfied with ‘the service he had provided me with today’. He went on to scrutinise every aspect of the help he had given me, seeking my assurance that in each area he had demonstrated he was an exemplary upholding the high standards befitting of a BT employee. In affirming my reassurance, he asked with implicit insistence almost as if his future with the company depended on it, the importance that my satisfaction be relayed within a survey which would follow.
Surveys have become endemic in every are of our daily life. From shops and consumer companies asking us to ‘rate their service’ to internet calls requesting a ‘star rating’. What lies behind my concern in highlighting this culture of survey madness is the subtle impact it is having within the context of practice and performance.
Result, a successful outcome, a high score cannot be denied importance as the just deserts from the investment of time, effort, and dedication. To focus purely on result not only denies the recognition of the attitude applied during the many hours, weeks and even months of practice but obscures the recognition of so many excellently placed individual elements, the musical colouring of a note, a flawlessly negotiated technical step which had once proved problematic. These are the successes deserving recognition but too easily overlooked when internal emotions or external pressures prejudice the lens of rational reasoning and along with intuitive musicality. So often sacrificed when a fleeting moment of accuracy is breached.
A survey by its definition will often captures a snapshot in time particularly when applying an overall star rating in practice or performance. But this approach fails to reflect a pathway of dedication and discipline, crucial in sustaining the long and often challenging learning journey. Healthy and fruitful self-evaluation encompasses not just a single task in a single moment but an ongoing journey where challenges and strivings intermingled with accomplishments and little victories are a true measure of the many achievements within practice and performance. In striving to increase your potential, reward and self-recognition will enhance resilience and determination to meet the challenges ahead.