I think that the biggest thing I learned through writing my piece was how much there is to be learned from criticism.
There are two types of criticism.
Constructive criticism and the useless kind.
When people tell me "oh I didn't like your piece. Try again next time." Or "hey...you know...I just really hated your interpretation of the Beethoven concerto..." and then they WALK AWAY without telling me what was so awful about it, it leaves me feeling terrible. Nothing good can ever come out of that.
And then there is Constructive criticism.
Constructive criticism is kinda like a gift from the heavens. When someone tells me, "hey, you just gave a great performance of that Beethoven concerto! There's only one thing that I would do differently." And then they go on to tell you what they would do, how to do it, and why. Then you go and try it, and if it doesn't work for you, don't sweat it! You still know you gave an awesome performance. But most of the time, I have at least, found that I really like people's ideas for me. A project always turns out better when you have more than one mind looking at it. Two brains are better than one!
Throughout this project I received much criticism, most of it constructive, that really helped me form my own ideas for what I wanted to do with my piece. I showed my piece to a fellow student composer, and they told me that they really enjoyed my piece except for two things. The lack of a key change and the ending. The lack of a key change because it tends to get kinda slow and boring without anything fun and crazy in the middle, and the ending because it didn't fit the character of the piece. I had the same worries for the ending because to me it always felt like I was just rushing to get to the end, and wasn't very fitting. So I have begun work on a new ending which will hopefully be finished as soon as possible. What I have written this far I am far more happy with than the original. It is heading in a much clearer direction.
I'm really happy that I came to the realization that the more I show people my work, the more constructive ideas I get, and the more criticism that is thrown at me, the better my project becomes.
This has really held true for anything I, looking back, have ever tried to do.
I suppose criticism can be very hard for anyone to accept, because it contradicts what they have done, but I've found it important to know that it broadens the mind further into the topic and helps you dive into what everyone else is thinking.
Criticism has really been invaluable to me throughout this year and I'm really thankful for all of the criticism I received.