(and how to change that)
Maybe you’re shy about sharing your music. You want to wait until you play a live show to hear what people think. Or maybe you’re just so deep into your thing, you don’t even care about others’ opinions of it! Or more likely, you’ve gotten some not-so-helpful feedback in the past that has made you hesitant to ask again.
- You aren’t receiving actually constructive criticism:
Maybe your buddies just aren’t sure how to give it or don’t know anything about music. Constructive criticism takes skill. Ask your friends to help you more by not only pointing out what they do or don’t like, but also pointing out where they think your music could use improvement, and how they think you could begin to change it for the better. Additionally, find new people to ask for feedback. Old music teachers, local musicians, people on discord servers, or a new friend.
- You aren’t making the time to receive feedback
If you are just playing your song for your buddies in casual situations, it can be hard to receive feedback. Whether they just don’t give any, or they do give you feedback and it rattles your whole system, it’s not great. Schedule a time that you’re going to ask for feedback and process it, so you’re not stuck in a living room with all your buddies upset about what someone said about the high hats. Sometimes formulating the request in advance helps: if you ask for specific feedback, you’ll receive more specific answers.
- You’re too personally invested in your work
It’s easy to fall into identifying with the music you make. But guess what: you’re so much more than that! Music can be dissected, broken down, and analyzed on so many fronts. But you are an endlessly complex human being. You are not one melody, but countless. You are not defined by your guitar skills, or how well you can master a mix. So don’t get too caught up in someone’s opinion on your song. If you encounter this problem, prepare yourself by reminding yourself that you are not your music. Take a few deep breaths before and after receiving feedback. Trusting that the person giving you feedback is doing it to genuinely help you is very important! It’s easy to write off feedback if you assume the person isn’t trying to help you. Find people who are.
- You don’t think you need it:
Feedback is important for your practice and your career! It is almost impossible to listen to your own music objectively. Getting regular feedback is an important part of the learning process, just like you got in school (though asking your friends to grade your music probably isn’t a good idea). As you make a habit of receiving feedback, you will start to see what areas could use improvement, so that you can keep on making better and better music! Not only that, but also sometimes your friend’s ideas for little changes in your song could be brilliant, and they’re free! No one gets to the top without a little help.
- You aren’t giving good feedback in return!
Hate to break it to you, but there are lots of other folks out there trying to write good music. It’s better to have a community around you in the music biz than be without support. Cultivating relationships with other musicians in your genre and outside of will nourish your music and theirs. Get good at giving constructive criticism (I recommend this formula: positive note, what needs improvement, positive note) and be available for other people.
With our app, Tonic, collaboration and feedback are super easy, and all in one platform. Ever wonder how to collaborate long distance on a song, without long email chains and missing mixes? We’ve created a simple solution for you. Beta-testing is happening now, come help us out.
Got any tips for how to give or receive high quality music feedback? Let us know! Give us a shout on twitter @tonicaudiolabs.