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Forums » Lounge » Effective Criticism

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Each artist is different, and we cannot know where everyone's head is at, nor how much musical training they have had.

I know I want constructive criticism, and also understand that many of us have fragile egos. But I think constructive, respectful suggestions for how to improve a piece of music are totally appropriate.

And we all are different, but I would only focus on studio or playing abilities if their deficit got in the way of the song. My thoughts are almost always about the songwriting and arrangement, I guess because that's what I figure people are most interested in.
Latest Song: Good Old Days Tonight
Artist Page Send Message Jul 07, 2013 | 11:55 pm
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Personally, I find criticism (constructive or otherwise) beneficial because I learn more about the impact of my output from ears other than my own. That in itself is very insightful given that my ultimate aim in playing music is to communicate emotion and if possible to elicit reaction. Communication being a two way process, serves no definite purpose without feedback. Smile
Artist Page Send Message Jul 10, 2013 | 9:27 am
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@DWalker
@slimesago

Yes well said.. Wishing you greatness. ahead.
Artist Page Send Message Jul 10, 2013 | 10:21 am
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I'm very sorry for my all time short comment's But,
my ability to express myself in English is VERY limited, and I have been equally difficult to write any tlyric to music also, even in Swedish Sad
But I try to explain how to do, If I give criticism,
I try to shut up... but some time I must do it Smile
Latest Song: Forever (inkl.Video)
Artist Page Send Message Aug 06, 2013 | 12:19 pm
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This inspires me to be a better listener. Thank you!
Latest Song: Body Sounds
Artist Page Send Message Mar 28, 2014 | 8:24 am
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I personally enjoy giving feedback to artists. Especially when I explain what I would have done differently and what I think could be improved upon (no song is so perfect it needs no improving, yet then again, every song is perfect in its own devious ways).
Artist Page Send Message Mar 29, 2014 | 8:46 am
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I think if you listen you should strive to make a useful comment. I see so many times 100 plays no comments....well that's not helping anyone,and it`s not what the sites about. I put noise here to get comments and people to collab with. no comments reduces your confidence and doesnt help you develop you skills. and it shouldn't be a back patting society either.......rant over Smile and if you think its utter crap then say so at least you are being honest...
Latest Song: Audrey
Artist Page Send Message Apr 04, 2015 | 4:37 pm
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I agree with you Dustwood. You cannot hear people clap unless you play live. I regard comments my way of clapping. But I also occationally leave constructive feedback. And there I want to remind all that receives and gives feedback that feedback on art is subjective. There can be exceptions where feedback is very technical in nature like an advice to avoid clipping or quantization noise. But mostly it is subjective. One commenter may like a detail that another will not like. And it is OK. Both OK not to please everyone with art and also OK to give the comment.

We also have to remember that it is the experiments that may sound ugly or not succeed complely that invent new expressions. The painter that throws a bucket of paint on a canvas to trigger the unexpected. The guitar player that bangs the strings with a key. The analog synth player that cable up modules to produce a distorted feedback loop and filters it to pieces. Even when not a new international hit, it inspires us all and creates ideas. A site like this is perfect for sharing these experiments and that is maybe where it is most important to give each other feedback.
Artist Page Send Message Apr 05, 2015 | 4:45 am
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Very well put Ken
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Latest Song: Yellow Ant Collab
Artist Page Send Message Apr 05, 2015 | 5:19 am
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Absolutely spot on. I have on a number of occasions been fortunate enough to the receipient of your critic. I say fortunate because your comments have helped me and taught me things. Please, more honesty everybody.
Latest Song: What I Want
Artist Page Send Message Apr 12, 2015 | 2:27 pm
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Wow this is pretty old but pretty relevant too, and my first forum post. I overall agree with eido. We often do not like to hear criticism though and I think there are reasons for that. I think we are already aware of the short comings of a piece. We may be aware that the guitar lost the beat a few times, or that the bass line is too rumbly or too weak. We are may know all too well out voice cracked or was off pitch a few times. We may not need someone to point out the obvious UNLESS they are offering help or a workable solution to the issue.

I all but stopped uploading (though have resumed) at my two accounts here because of a case of basically "destructive" criticism. Meaning a mean spirited jab rather than any type of criticism at all. Sadly because of my own self-esteem issues I got too upset retaliated against the person with comments and got myself in trouble with the mods. The matter was settled amicably and we both apologized and moved on.

But the term constructive criticism can be a guise for flat out insults and condescension. If you listen to the solo albums of Syd Barrett, for example, in many ways they... well... suck. And yet I love those albums. His cracking voice and losing the beat on the guitar and even him turning the pages at one point of the lyric sheet all add to the charm so to say. But the albums are also widely panned and scoffed at. I do not feel the albums are works of genius either, as some people feel, but those songs are actually pretty good.

There are people who who are obviously either professional or borderline pro and they have pals helping them mix their tunes to a professional demo quality. Then there are guys (like me) doing all the instruments themselves and do the mixing and mastering as well on their home computer and there will be bugs galore. It is a process and things should get better.

A site I use to be a member of had a special section where people submitted a song or a work in progress for review and critiques by other members. In other words "here is something I am working on, what should I do? What sucks and what should I leave alone?" But once a piece is finished its current form (it may well be a piece the person is experimenting with and not a finished, polished work) it cab be hard to have it shot down over problems the creator is probably well aware of himself. Maybe there is a section like that here somewhere, for works in progress. If so I cannot find it yet.

I myself welcome genuinely constructive criticism, with the understanding I am already aware of the problems and also I am aware of my limitations as a musician, singer and engineer. I would also welcome (after I begin uploading more material) private exchanges on how to improve mixing and mastering. Absolutely open to that.

I find I do not give criticism myself. I do not see the point since this is a fan site for musicians of all levels to share ideas and tunes. It is not a competition and no one is paying to hears what we do. I have heard stuff I do not like of course. It may be mixed very well, but I just so not dig the style. Or it may be a cool song but too lo-fi for my taste. So... I stop listening and move on. The world continues to spin even with the absence of my opinion.
Artist Page Send Message Jun 11, 2017 | 1:55 am
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I very much appreciate your thoughts Ken.

Many thoughtful points of consideration.

A forum for in the works support would make sense too Smile
Artist Page Send Message Jun 28, 2017 | 7:44 am
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