Tracking and Demoscene discussion.

Dealing With Negative Critiques

Dealing With Negative Critiques

Postby dilvie » Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:09 am

Musicians are generally sensitive by nature, but sensitivity can be a real bummer. When it comes time to get critiques, for example, sensitivity is your enemy. If you have more than a passing hobby interest in music, you're going to get negative critiques. Some hints:

* Take it as a compliment that they care enough to say anything at all.
* Set your ego aside, and don't get defensive.
* If the criticism isn't productive, ignore it. You can't please everybody -- don't let it get to you!
* If the criticism is valid, don't give in to negativity -- take what you can from it, and do better next time.
* When somebody isn't afraid to call you on your mistakes, you can take their compliments that much more seriously. That's earned respect; not lip-service!

After a couple decades of dealing with musicians, in studios, as a FOH engineer, producer, and founder of Knobtweakers.net, I have had more than my fill of tip-toeing around artist egos. Please forgive me, but I'm going to call it like I hear it, and I encourage you to do the same. It might be a little bruising the first time you get hit by a tough critique, but hopefully there's no malice in those words, here -- just honest, productive feedback.

Let's try to keep it that way.
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Postby groovyone » Sat Jun 17, 2006 3:46 am

I agree, if everyone always says good things about your music, either you should be making millions of dollars, or they are not telling you the truth.

So if you're not making millions off your music, take criticism as a way to make your music better. Turn it into a learning experience.
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Postby Sonicade » Sat Jun 17, 2006 8:05 am

Agreed. At the same time, it is good to exercise tactfulness when offering criticism. Effective criticism usually avoids coming off arrogantly while still addressing the issues and providing useful insight.
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Postby dilvie » Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:08 pm

Sonicade wrote:Agreed. At the same time, it is good to exercise tactfulness when offering criticism. Effective criticism usually avoids coming off arrogantly while still addressing the issues and providing useful insight.


Agreed. I could do better in that department. In the mean-time, try to cut me a little slack. I'm sure when you get to know me better, you'll find me more forgivable.

- Eric
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Postby Sonicade » Sat Jun 17, 2006 7:37 pm

dilvie wrote:
Sonicade wrote:Agreed. At the same time, it is good to exercise tactfulness when offering criticism. Effective criticism usually avoids coming off arrogantly while still addressing the issues and providing useful insight.


Agreed. I could do better in that department. In the mean-time, try to cut me a little slack. I'm sure when you get to know me better, you'll find me more forgivable.

- Eric


You got it. Your feedback is appreciated. I'll work on lightening up a bit. Just want to keep the forums free from gnashing teeth but I might have been a little over critical.
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Postby Harmony » Sun Jul 02, 2006 6:21 am

I agree that tact is essential. As a general rule I don't critique anything these days unless someone has specifically asked for a critique, and even then I choose my words carefully. The only times I'm ever brutally honest with a critique is if someone says "I want to improve, be blunt!" in which case you know they're well past the easily-bruised-ego stage.
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Postby RobWilliamsJnr » Sun Jul 02, 2006 12:49 pm

I want to improve. Be blunt.
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Postby Sonicade » Sun Jul 02, 2006 12:56 pm

All my tracks are great and I never need to improve! Only tell me how great my tracks always are! :shock:

GhehEhe /sarcasm *lies lies lies* :lol:
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Postby dilvie » Sun Jul 02, 2006 1:53 pm

Harmony wrote:I agree that tact is essential. As a general rule I don't critique anything these days unless someone has specifically asked for a critique, and even then I choose my words carefully. The only times I'm ever brutally honest with a critique is if someone says "I want to improve, be blunt!" in which case you know they're well past the easily-bruised-ego stage.


[big meanie] I'm of the opinion that the best way to toughen up an easily bruised ego is to bruise it a bit. ;) [/big meanie]

hehe
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Postby organic io » Mon Jul 03, 2006 12:15 pm

RobWilliamsJnr wrote:I want to improve. Be blunt.


" "
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Re: Dealing With Negative Critiques

Postby Directionless » Sat Jun 30, 2007 5:54 am

dilvie wrote:Musicians are generally sensitive by nature, but sensitivity can be a real bummer. When it comes time to get critiques, for example, sensitivity is your enemy. If you have more than a passing hobby interest in music, you're going to get negative critiques. Some hints:


the reason i won't generally offer unsolicited critiscism is for not knowing the artist's motivation.

for example, one may see it as a means to self-empowerment through a 'business strategy' to their music. others may exist as music scientists in the abstract corners of their mind. it may be dissparate and unmarketable, but perhaps as unique and valid because it exists.

ultimately, i don't really care too much - i could go either way and agree with any and all of you. just saying it's good to murk around with no real intentions and yet, throw that out there anyway. i'm a big believer in that.

reminds me of a concept from the anime - ghost in the shell. overspecialization in a group or society breeds weakness. what this could be interpreted to mean in an art community is that things are most fluent and dynamic when all aspects of the condition-to-perfection are absent. yet still utilized by those that specifically seek the conventional concepts of improvement.

i guess i could have summed that all up in one sentence. :P everyone can learn something from everyone.
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Postby FingerSoup » Sat Jun 30, 2007 7:27 am

There's one more important thing. Not everyone writes like a professional. Just because someone says something that may offend you in their review, sometimes people can't think of the words to describe themselves in a professional and critical manner. If a reviewer states that "that part with the stuff around 3:14 - It sounds like an epileptic seizure", A more experienced writer might have said that the song is too jumpy, or sounds way too random in a certain part.

Often a reviewer does not intend to offend, but their language and background doesn't allow them to make the simple detailed explanation that you were looking for. It's not that the reviewer wanted to insult you, epileptics or anything else, and the author has a valid gripe.... many review authors just don't know how to break it to people gently or fairly, so they write the first thing they think.
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Postby hseiken » Wed Aug 15, 2007 7:18 pm

I generally like to 'sneak in' my own songs, not deliberately asking for critique...just slip it in, say, in the car with a passenger, and pass it off as someone else's music. Not even introduce it and check for head nods, or more importantly, disgusted faces or them reaching for the stereo dial... :)

Mixing wise, I take all the critiques I can get since I don't have a decent setup, I have to rely on other people's setups (and I guess their ability to tell me where the audio needs fixing). As far as composition, I'm to the point where I don't please people on purpose, just myself. When I make music that I like, it, more often than not, is enjoyed by other people than when I try to make something I *THINK* people other than myself will like...

Weird how that works out...almost like, they can hear me being a poseur subconsciously...
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Postby shadowbane » Tue Dec 04, 2007 5:08 pm

My first artistic experience was in the wonderful world of 3D modeling. In those communities people want all the critiques they can get. I guess I have brought that with me to my music. I want everyone to smash it to the floor with heavy anvils, but tell me where I can improve. (I can't get better from comments like "this sucks" or "this makes my ears bleed")
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Postby paulnewns » Fri Dec 07, 2007 1:21 pm

Agree with the general comments. But what are we being judged against? Perfection in your chosen genre? Or are we basing it on what as gone before? Are we purely making comments based on each others tracks? Do we judge on technical ability or how much we 'like' the song? A song can be technically astounding and bore me to death.
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