Does this man look worried to you?
Does this man look worried to you?

It’s hard to imagine famed composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky fretting, chewing his fingernails and wondering what people would think about his work. It’s an especially silly thought now that we know his classic works such as the 1812 Overture, The Nutcracker Suite, Swan Lake, and much, much more of course.

But this is exactly what happened when he was premiering his opera Eugene Onegin in 1879.

He was quite worried about what several of his contemporaries would think about the work. At the time, the leading Russian musicians were Anton Rubenstein, the founder of the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, and his brother Nikolai, the founder of the Moscow Conservatory.

As it turns out, one loved it and one hated it. Of course history would bear out the opera’s popularity, but at the time, Tchaikovsky must have felt conflicted that one of them did not approve.

How often do we worry about what people will think of our art? What will they think of our songs, our paintings, or our little blogs?

Now we look back on Tchaikovsky’s output and place in music history and it seems silly he would worry about two men whose works are much lesser known.


The fact is we all fret and lay awake wondering what people will think. We wonder if our latest work, or career move will be the one that makes us what we were intended to be.

There’s one sure way to ensure your work’s final effectiveness and popularity: Get to work making it and quit biting your fingernails!

“I was obliged to be industrious. Whoever is equally industrious will succeed equally well.” – J.S. Bach

Have a great week!
Eric Copeland is a producer, composer, and worries about his place in history too. Do you worry about what people think of your art? Make sure to comment by joining the Blog, Twitter, Facebook, or Smoke Signal.