Songwriters in the Kitchen!

Board index => The kitchen café => Topic started by: Mar T. on February 16, 2016, 00:24:51

Title: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Mar T. on February 16, 2016, 00:24:51
Hi all,

Last year we had a nice debate going on in this topic:

https://www.songwriter-forum-kitchen.com/forum/life/vision-the-2016-kitchen/

There were 2 subjects that were clearly in need of further discussion:
1. Should we split the Finished Work section into Finished Songs and Finished Productions? (discussion see this thread: https://www.songwriter-forum-kitchen.com/forum/life/3/should-we-split-the-finished-work-section-into-finished-songs-and-finished-productions/1435/msg14467#msg14467 )
2. How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?

This thread is about the 2st subject.

How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?

A few quotes from the vision thread (click the quotes to see the full version of the quote in it's original context):

I think we have to become more critical. It's nice to read someones nice words but it's also good to read real criticism. It's always only based on personal taste and you can agree or not without getting angry.

...I agree with the points being made about criticism, and how it shouldn't be about mutual back patting.  I ran a creative writing forum before, and the negative (yet constructive) criticism is the stuff that improves your work the most.  I also realize I could be accused of not giving enough of that criticism here, so I will try more.  :-[  Mind you, one of the difficulties I've had on that front is that I should only be critical about what I know, and that for me is harmony, melody and words (and maybe a little bit of performance) rather than production, where I know next to nothing...

@jim: ..'I should only be critical about what I know, and that for me is harmony, melody and words (and maybe a little bit of performance) rather than production, where I know next to nothing.'
I disagree; listening is about observing... So a comment like 'The high-hat sound hurt my ears and I couldn't hear anything anymore the next few days' actually IS useful to the one that mixed/mastered that track.
I'm trying to say I feel that it's a pitfall confusing writing skills and listening skills... I believe you don't have to be a songwriter to be able to feed back what a song did to you as a listener. Those subjective comments from listeners are most valuable to songwriters for that reason. But again, that's what I believe.

...
and i would like to comment on that only saying: "'what a great song", so just giving a compliment and not giving critical feeback, i personally think that is no problem at all, and i even think that is a good thing to give a compliment when you like a song even though you have no points at that moment that you think can be improved. I have to admit i regularly hear songs and mixes on here that i think are just fabulous, amazing what a talented bunch of songwriters have gathered in this kitchen.....(and no, i am not talking about myself here  ;D ;D ;D), and I want to express it when i just enjoyed listening to a song or a song idea even though i have no tips for further improvement.
Most of us like to get compliments and we all can use encouragment at times, because hobby songwriters often are feeling somewhat insecure when releasing a new track. I also think that giving compliments, so saying what you like about a track, or simply saying that you like the track, is what makes this kitchen to a friendly place. Almost all of us are making music just for fun, so not as a potential career, and while we are doing that it is just nice that we have a place here where others listen our tracks and saying what they thought of it, also if it is just: Great! or nice.... So i am very for that thing called "backpatting"....in case we like a song, or like things about a song, let's say so, it does no harm and it also helps i think to learn what does seem to work....

I'm a culprit of the "Wow, great stuff..." kind of post... Partly because I don't feel qualified to offer advice, partly because I'm quite often wowed by what I hear... I noted on another thread (my competition entry post where myself and MM were to-ing and fro-ing on production feedback) that actually mixing is allowing me to understand more and I might (just might) transfer that to my reviews in the future, but I will say I really do appreciate thought-out and constructive feedback I get from others..

For my part, I will say that my lack of detail in no way reflects a lack of thought, listening, time.. it reflects more a lack of confidence in my feedback and I suspect that is probably the case for others..

So I will try to be more detailed, but when I'm not, wow really will mean wow, and great stuff will really mean great stuff..

All in all... every listen and every post here for me is a joy!

Yes, it makes sense to be more critical and delve deeper when providing feedback - as long as it is in a constructive and honest way and it is meant to help and not to deliberately discourage someone else. And this more critical stance can lead to more valuable support and can help songwriters develop and improve especially in the case where the person who is criticizing has good knowledge about the subject that he/she is criticizing. (For example in my case I feel that I do not have enough technical knowledge and feel that I cannot criticize the more technical aspects / theoretical aspects / mixing part? However, as MM said perhaps giving feedback based on what I hear and my input on other levels can still be useful in some way as the more technical people will then be able to translate them into technical implications.)

I also agree very much with all of what Zedd said, in particular regarding the short and positive comments as sometimes it does happen that you listen to something and say wow this is really good? and just want to say it, though it is true that it would be helpful to at least list a couple of the most striking aspect so the writer would understand the strongpoints as perceived by the listener.

So..
How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?

Please reply if you have additional feelings/thoughts/ideas and don't be shy fellows! Debating about these subjects adds to the common sense in this beautiful kitchen!

MM
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Jurgen on February 16, 2016, 06:52:31
Hi MM,

this is a very interesting topic.

I think (as has already been raised judging by the comments you pasted) that people don't like to criticise other people's efforts. Especially as we know the time and effort it takes to get something written and recorded and also in some cases the hesitation in making something live, let alone put it out there for people to comment on.

However if we're all to improve then constructive criticism is a really powerful aid both to the person providing the comments and of course the artist who's track is being commented on.

I did a writing course a couple of years ago and one of the modules was called "Critical Friends" where the aim was to learn to be a better reader by providing criticism to other peoples works. For every piece of writing you produced and posted, you had to review two other pieces of writing.

We learnt how to read other people's writing which in turn made us better writers as it gave us a different insight into the writing process.

Music is exactly the same and in fact I think gives us far more scope to listen and comment. We can comment on the words, the vocals, the playing, the mixing etc.

I don't think there's anything wrong in saying "great track" etc. but it is also good to try and see where in your opinion something could be either improved or possibly just different.

We may not think we are qualified to comment but really, it's all about opinions and we're all allowed to have one. There's no right and wrong with music as we know and there's no reason why we would all agree with any opinion offered.

As I said, this is a great topic and I think important for a site like this one which allows people to post their efforts and get some comments back.

cheers

Jurgen
 
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: CrystalSuzy on February 16, 2016, 13:41:29
thanks for bringing this discussion back into the light Marti :) I agree with everything that's been said so far, but there are pros and cons to every opinion, and I think it's all about the balance  :)  for every negative, there should be a positive :) and of course lot's of smiley faces  ;D ;D

I find giving good feedback to be quite time consuming, because for one, I don't think you can critique a song properly, if you don't listen to it more than once :o
There are some brilliant songs that come through the forum, and all I can say is WOW! and I'll listen to those songs over and over, just for the joy of it :)

I like Zedd, don't feel qualified to give detailed reviews, especially when it comes to recording/production :o I can say how the song effects me on an emotional level
or if it feels too loud, too fast, to cluttered, can't understand the vocals, if a line doesn't sit quite right lyrically, etc, but that's about it for me  ???

From the point of view of the one who's song is being reviewed, I really appreciate getting detailed critiques, if my song is in need of them(which it usually is) ::)
But if it get's too technical, I don't understand much, and I'd rather they just said, "send me the stems and I'll fix it for you CS!" ;D ;D I absolutely love that ;)

I think it's really important to say something about a song, even if it's just, "I liked your song"  :) it's somehow reassuring, and I agree with DB...there's nothing wrong with a little 'back patting'  ;D ;D ;D 
I'm sure everyone is doing the best they can, but I do like the suggestion of reviewing at least 2 songs, for every one you post  ::) ::)
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Mar T. on February 17, 2016, 02:09:57
...We may not think we are qualified to comment but really, it's all about opinions and we're all allowed to have one. There's no right and wrong with music as we know and there's no reason why we would all agree with any opinion offered...
Jurgen, thanks for sharing your thoughts/feelings about this subject. I started this subject to make sure we're all on a common page and understand each other. That we all feel at home. And that there's absolutely no need to be shy (nor have an ego). I love what you've written, especially the quote above. I cannot agree more! And as far as I believe this applies to interacting witch each other everywhere as well. Nice subject for a song btw.. ;-)

..I find giving good feedback to be quite time consuming, because for one, I don't think you can critique a song properly, if you don't listen to it more than once :o
There are some brilliant songs that come through the forum, and all I can say is WOW! and I'll listen to those songs over and over, just for the joy of it :)..
CS, thank you for your reply! Ow yes I believe you can! As long as it's what YOU think/feel about a listen. Even when it's just one listen. When you say 'WOW, I kept hitting the replay button' that actually is of value!

... For every piece of writing you produced and posted, you had to review two other pieces of writing.
We learnt how to read other people's writing which in turn made us better writers as it gave us a different insight into the writing process.

I'm sure everyone is doing the best they can, but I do like the suggestion of reviewing at least 2 songs, for every on you post  ::) ::)


Mmm I don't know for sure. When you just tell what you think/feel while following every new contribution we don't need a guideline for this. Everybody has their own thinking/feeling/knowledge. Eg CS when it comes to lyrics we had a long debate, because you wanted to help with them (and that was really appreciated). And sometimes I see songs that just want to make me say 'wow', also with the intention to help. Just by being ourselves and following each other we'll do just fine. That's what I believe, as long as our intention is to help each other. And with that good intention it's actually helpful to be honest. About what you like, but also about what you dislike. The writer is free to agree/disagree..

Of course plz consider I try to write and respond in English the best possible way I can, so I hope I expressed myself well. If I unintentionally say something that hurts please let me know..

And I'd love to see more response of course, so fellows don't be shy!
Love, MM
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: CrystalSuzy on February 17, 2016, 02:48:29
Hi MM, I totally agree  ;) It's all about just being ourselves, being honest and clear about what we mean  ;D ;D
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Jurgen on February 17, 2016, 05:33:43
Hi MM,

With this type of forum I don't think there's a need to have a requirement of two reviews for each post - I mentioned it because that's just how the course I was on did it. But we were graded and part of the grading was to review our reviews so we all had a certain amount of then that we had to complete.

For me, sometimes I'm in the mood to listen to something new and really listen. This is when I like to add my comments. If I "had to" review something I may not do such a good job - hope that makes sense. It's more about being open to listening and then seeing what i notice about a song.

cheers

Jurgen
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Mar T. on February 18, 2016, 01:18:55
Hi MM, I totally agree  ;) It's all about just being ourselves, being honest and clear about what we mean  ;D ;D
Yes that's what it turns down to imo.. as long as we respect each other (and behave haha)..

Hi MM,

With this type of forum I don't think there's a need to have a requirement of two reviews for each post - I mentioned it because that's just how the course I was on did it. But we were graded and part of the grading was to review our reviews so we all had a certain amount of then that we had to complete.

For me, sometimes I'm in the mood to listen to something new and really listen. This is when I like to add my comments. If I "had to" review something I may not do such a good job - hope that makes sense. It's more about being open to listening and then seeing what i notice about a song.

cheers

Jurgen
Yes I'm glad you mentioned that jurgen, and as a guideline this really works I believe (for those that only take). Like you I go reviewing when I have a spare moment (often at this time before going to sleep) and explore what's new. It'd be impossible for me to review on command as well, and I guess that goes for every active kitchen fellow. I learned it's so great to go in open minded and listen to all those new styles/creations. I love it!

Everybody, don't be shy, we'd love to hear your thoughts/feelings/ideas about this subject..
MM
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Zedd on February 18, 2016, 18:27:19
I see you've pasted some of my comments from the original thread so I guess that's still valid for me...

What I will add is that I've observed that the level of constructive critique and suggestions I get is (naturally) more when I post unfinished "productions" (i.e the song is fairly much written but can take tweaks but I've not necessarily worked out how to arrange / produce it)  and I've tended towards doing that more recently. Posting before a song is finished or a mix is finished and I'm getting some great pointers, some which have lead to me leaving what I thought was unfinished as is (for example my songs I am Charlie, Hero) and some which have helped me progress a mix or a song (for example my song Wrap it Up where I'm changing the lyrics and taking a steer on the arrangement). It probably dilutes the feedback a bit as understandably people can't give the time to listen to the raw and then then finished in all cases but from a value of feedback for me it is fab..... I tend also to comment with suggested changes more when I know a work is adaptable and not "done and dusted"..

I try and listen to and comment on as many songs as possible as they appear on the home page and/or will occasionally do a trawl of the "finished songs" section.. Actually I rarely look in the WIP section unless I see them on the home page.... but it is rarely used, no?

All feedback is welcome to me - I think that's what we're here for - to support each other and to give a sounding board to each other and to do that properly, it's better if the feedback is as respectfully honest as possible... Including the "Wow...."s  ;D ;D

Z
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Mar T. on February 20, 2016, 03:47:33
Hey Z, yes I pasted some comments of yours as well to try to drive the discussion. Since we all live in a changing and agile world there's no way we stick to 'what we ever said' ever. So if you have second, or changed, feelings/thoughts I'd love to hear them..

Wow your comments about your process of posting/reviewing actually raises a question at this side. Do we really need to seperate 'WIP' and 'Finished Songs'? I see the 'WIP' section is under-visited (guilty myself as well) and in the 'Finished' section there's enough updates (guilty myself as well haha) to question if a song that was initially posted there was really finished after all. So maybe it'd be a good idea to even integrate 'WIP' and 'Finished songs' to 'Dishes'. Because of all constructive feedback every 'Dish' turns into a 'Master Chef meal' in time after all... So if we all post a song from the initial phase (idea/conception) and use the feedback to achieve a 'Master dish' why would we need two sections in line with the state of a song? Everyone perceives the 'state' of the song in a different way, so that only confuses.. Good point!

Great to read how you navigate the kitchen. Like you I always take the homepage's 'recent posts' as a start and check the 'finished songs' to see what I've missed once every few days.

Anyone else with suggestions/thoughts/feelings/ideas about this subject plz let us know and don't be shy! This is really useful!
MM
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Zedd on February 20, 2016, 11:26:41
Hey Z, yes I pasted some comments of yours as well to try to drive the discussion. Since we all live in a changing and agile world there's no way we stick to 'what we ever said' ever. So if you have second, or changed, feelings/thoughts I'd love to hear them..

Hey... No need to revise, I just meant I wouldn't repeat what I had already posted :-)
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Mar T. on February 22, 2016, 01:52:25
Haha okay Zedd so you're solid as a rock! ;)
I'll open up a thread soon to discuss if combining WIP and Finished songs makes sense, I'm curious.

Back on-topic: does anyone have additional thoughts about delivering feedback/critique or have we reached common sense?
MM
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Mar T. on February 26, 2016, 01:38:38
Does anybody have second thoughts? Plz let us know and don't be shy..
MM
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Jim on February 26, 2016, 12:07:42
Sorry for not commenting guys, been a bit busy!  :'(

I think integrating the WIP and the "Finished songs" threads is the way to go, I've only ever put my songs in WIP, but that for me (who can't sing   :-[)  will probably always be the case.  But then, my thinking is that a song is never finished as such, because you can revisit them endlessly, especially when we do collabs (which is one of the really cool aspects of this forum!  8))

But that's just my opinion.  :-\
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Mar T. on February 27, 2016, 02:04:34
Hey Jim, thanks for your reply! I really believe (as mentioned earlier) this can work. Thinking out of the box it would be nice when we had some kind of progress bar that shows 'how finished' a song is (as that desicion is always up to the writer). I'll think more about this subject and fellows, plz don't be shy to share your thoughts!
MM
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Vince on March 03, 2016, 01:02:17
Having just put a song in the Finished thread - I'm not a professional song writer, so I'm probably  looking for something different than someone who preforms from start to finish, which would require a certain amount of polish.
I'm always worried that maybe a song I wrote sounds like something someone else did - or if the song is not good and should be worked on or put into the additional song idea pile for later.
Everyone on this board is so nice, but they deliver honest feedback. Like they say "if you don't want to know..."
What I like most is it's like a class room for me just reading through the threads.
Vince  :)
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Mar T. on March 03, 2016, 01:08:06
Hi Vincent, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts/feelings! Yes man, that's how the kitchen should feel to all of us fellows and I love to read it works for you!
This is a safe place, so fear about 'is this been already done?' or 'is this polished enough' is the last thing we want. For me the spirit is: Let's help each other to improve!!
So plz don't ever be shy and keep joining the interaction! Great to have you here man!
MM
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Michael on March 03, 2016, 01:35:12
One thing that comes to mind: Be specific!

If there is something you like or dislike about a song / the lyrics / the production etc, try to explain exactly what it is that makes you feel this way.
The most helpful reviews I have seen were the ones saying that "at 1:24 the vocal track is clipping" or that "it feels like there are too many words in the 2nd line of the chorus".
This way the OP knows exactly, which aspects of the song might still need more work.

Sometimes I hear songs on here that sound just perfect to me and I can't criticize anything about them. But it doesn't matter if the comment is a positive or a negative/criticising one:
If I'm told that "the reverb on the background vocals sounds great", that too helps a lot, because now I know that my choice of reverb was a good one, and I might use that setting again in a future song.

"Love the bass line during the solo" is very helpful, "great song m8" isn't (although it can be nice to hear  :D )



Another point (and maybe related to my first one) is: Take your time!

We're all songwriters, and we all put our hearts and souls into our work. And because of that, I think that our songs deserve being listened to properly and with our full attention.
Sit back, listen to the song (maybe a few times) and think about what you like or dislike about it, how it makes you feel, etc.  Don't have 1 quick listen, type your comment while doing so, click 'post' and move on.
If I don't have the time to do a proper review of a song, I don't review it right now.

I'm not saying everyone should write pages and pages about each song they review. This point isn't about how much we actually write, but about how much thought we put into what we do write.
We all want our songs to be properly appreciated (especially by our peers!), so it should be common courtesy to return the favour.

Which is why I don't like the idea of having rules about the minimum number of reviews. It could lead to a flood of pointless comments, just for the sake of leaving comments.
I've seen reviews about 5 different songs posted within 20 minutes by the same persons...
(Thankfully that wasn't in our little Kitchen, though  :) )



Just noticed this looks like a rant - it isn't, just my ? 0.02 about what we can do keep this Kitchen our all #1 resource for all things songwriting  :) 8)
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Mar T. on March 03, 2016, 02:05:55
Hey Michael! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings about this subject! Personally I love the way your preference of quality feedback over quantity and I've experienced myself how heartfelt and respectful your reviews feel. You're a great example to me of how to feed back to songwriters and I'm really thankful for that. I hope everyone around sees the value of respecting passion and try to help.

On the other hand (whilst I really value the quality over quantity aspect) I believe it can be just as helpful to quickly respond even when you 'don't have time', 'it's not your preferred style', 'just want to say wow' or when 'you don't know how to be helpful'. In an ideal world (imo) every fellow responds to every contribution. Either just quick or more in-depth, depending on what the contribution makes you want to tell the songwriter. And you provided excellent examples.

Something like: 'Let us all be leading by being the best in-depth followers'.

Unfortunately everybody is living in a spectrum of restrictions based on personal 'reality', and that forces every fellow to make choices. Where one fellow choses 'quantity' over 'quality' he/she will just say 'wow, love it!'. And another fellow that just loves the style of the song and repeated it 200x maybe will tell you the same.

I really value your choice of prioritizing 'quality' over 'quantity' as well, it's so great to receive reviews from your camp! 

Hope this doesn't sound like a rant as well ;-)

Cheerz Michael!
MM
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Mar T. on November 24, 2016, 01:06:54
Last year we were discussing this subject, I'm curious if we're all still happy with the way we're feeding back to each other to improve our songwriter skills.
I believe this is a subject that continuously needs attentention, so please let us know your thoughts/feelings about feedback/critique!
:mart:
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Mar T. on November 24, 2016, 22:40:42
Noooo... nobody? Really? Let's debate a year after this subject was posted! Are we still providing helpful feedback to each other? How can we improve?
Let us know!!
:mart:
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Jurgen on November 24, 2016, 23:14:40
Hi @Mar T. - I personally have gained a lot from the feedback this community provides.

From listening to songs I know that it's hard sometimes to be critical of someones efforts especially as we know how much effort writing and recording takes. To then offer it up for critique takes a little courage for a lot of people.

However, for me, I'm OK with the positive as well as the negative - maybe "negative" is the wrong word - constructive criticism or suggestions is a better way of looking at it.

But to get the most benefit out of the comments, suggestions etc. then we're all better off putting up our songs while they are works in progress. Once the song is finished, I'm not that keen on adding or changing it as I've usually moved on to something else.

We used to have a WIP area but that wasn't visited much compared to the "songs for review" section and I think it was a good to remove the WIP area and use songs for review for songs in all their stages.

cheers
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Mar T. on November 26, 2016, 03:49:04
Hey @Jurgen thanx for thinking along!
I certainly agree constructive suggestions/critique really helps, I'm sure I improved by carefully reading all remarks. They often provide a lot of pointers. As a songwriter you're free to make changes at those pointers, as well as leave it as is at those pointers. Imo the value of those pointers is that they give you control over your creation, it's like you suddenly have a lot of ears!
Of course I completely agree with posting your work in an early stage; in that case you can use the provided feedback immediately. When one's only posting finished works, feedback is often to late and will only be of use for the next track the songwriter is creating. But chances are that the next track is a completely different track...
So if possible I'd like to encourage every kitchener/kitchenette to post their WIP as early as possible, so we can provide 'a thousand more ears' just in time  ;) ;)
For everybody: no need to be shy, we're here to help each other.

Any more thoughts about how to provide useful feedback to each other? Let us know!
:mart:
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Mar T. on December 01, 2016, 00:35:37
Let's give this discussion a next round again.. Let us know if you agree with what you're reading in this thread and of course please feel welcome to share your vision/insight/experience so we come to a point of common-kitchen-sense!
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Leonard Scaper on December 16, 2016, 19:57:36
Being new to the kitchen, I have been spending time reading a lot of posts and listening to a lot of good music. I have noticed that a lot of folks are posting one take songs with a leaning toward lo-fi production. That, by the way, is what attracted me. I am looking at ways to simplify my own productions a bit.....but I still want to have the best quality possible to make sure my listeners are not distracted.

I have already found myself making production and mixing suggestions. I wonder if I should avoid those kinds of critiques and stick to commenting of lyric and song structure observations.
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Jurgen on December 17, 2016, 00:32:06
I think posting production and mixing suggestions when it's an early version, really helps @Leonard Scaper

I have posted early version of songs asking for production suggestions but I've noticed that after the initial suggestions, if I re-post (with new mix etc) then they don't get any more replies (and hardly any views). The problem I think (other than the song may not appeal that much to start with!) is that people have seen the post and don't know that it now has a new version.

But I don't want to create loads of new threads each time I do a new mix - so it's an interesting challenge - how do you post early versions, get feedback and remix and repost so that members here know there's a new version?

I also don't always go back to a thread that has a "new" next to it when I know I've read it and replied - even though I could be missing a new mix or version.

So I say keep posting suggestions especially if someone has an early version.

Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Mar T. on December 17, 2016, 01:23:37
Being new to the kitchen, I have been spending time reading a lot of posts and listening to a lot of good music. I have noticed that a lot of folks are posting one take songs with a leaning toward lo-fi production. That, by the way, is what attracted me. I am looking at ways to simplify my own productions a bit.....but I still want to have the best quality possible to make sure my listeners are not distracted.

I have already found myself making production and mixing suggestions. I wonder if I should avoid those kinds of critiques and stick to commenting of lyric and song structure observations.
Hey @Leonard Scaper , the wonderful thing is that everybody is allowed to post songs in any stage in the 'Songs for Review' section. For some the lo-fi recordings are the final product. For others a 1+1 is a start to build a complete production. Some stress the bare roots of a song (the lyrics and the chords/melody), others create recordings (with multiple takes) to create a whole band sound and sing with backvocals all executed by one person. In my vision (and the vision for the kitchen) all aspects are part of songwriting. Every contribution in any stage and in every state is welcome. So goes for the feedback. If you feel the bare 'song' (chords/melody/words) are in your comfort zone, let the writer know what you think/feel. If production is in your comfort zone: again let the writer know what you think/feel.
If you're a listener with no skills, I think you can guess what I want to say.. again let the writer know what you think/feel!!
Someone with production skills would probably say: 'I'd lower the compression on the vocals'. Someone with only listening experience would probably say: 'I think the vocals could use some more dynamics, they all feel like they're sung at the same level, but I feel like the the expression doesn't have enough presence'.
So please always comment as a listener, and if you're more skilled (in any aspect) try to provide more detailed pointers so the writer can spot your pointer better.
It's up to the writer WHAT to do with the comments (but he/she'll always be thankful for you taking time to listen and comment).
I hope that helps a bit.

@Jurgen great point about your experience with 'iterations' of new versions building up to a final stage. We've got to discuss that with the staff, the kitchen platform should provide the tools to support this imo!

All: I believe in early posting a song in progress, and use the collective 'creative' brain of this community as a guide. As a guide. Because you yourself are free to make the choices you want considering your own creations. All those comments can be a really, really useful guide because they spot pointers in other aspects of your song than the aspects you're comfortable in/with yourself. And a 'song' is really a kind of plasma that consists of a lot of those aspects!

Great to see the discussion is going on!! Feel free to add!
:mart:
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: M57 on December 19, 2016, 13:13:56
Being new to the kitchen, I have been spending time reading a lot of posts and listening to a lot of good music. I have noticed that a lot of folks are posting one take songs with a leaning toward lo-fi production. That, by the way, is what attracted me. I am looking at ways to simplify my own productions a bit.....but I still want to have the best quality possible to make sure my listeners are not distracted.

I have already found myself making production and mixing suggestions. I wonder if I should avoid those kinds of critiques and stick to commenting of lyric and song structure observations.

@Leonard Scaper

My sense is that folks here are polite, which is great, but they tend to be a bit on the conservative side where their critiques are concerned.  I think that's not such a bad thing, but it's a two-edged sword; there's very little value in crushing someone's work so badly that they throw in the towel. For whatever reason, people seem to be more comfortable critiquing lyrics, and I feel that on the music end of things folks here are a bit too soft, praising most everything they encounter.  I'm not sure if that's because they want karma, want favorable critiques of their own work, or simply don't have the analytical/technical chops to offer constructive criticism.  I guess that's to be expected in an open community such as this.

So.. given the above dynamics, I try to make it a personal rule to only comment on works that I find have value.  That way, I can honestly offer offer praise in most every post. This in turn make me feel more comfortable, letting me be direct, offer my nits and crits, and tell it like it is.  We're talking about personal expression here, so just about everything we say has a degree of subjectivity.

As for my own songs, I like to post works in progress and I am always looking for critical analysis of any aspect of the work, from lyrics to post production. My MO is to keep the thread alive while I work out the kinks.  I'm new to these forums so I haven't posted a work in its early stages yet, but your post-production oriented comments on the one song that I've posted here have been extremely helpful, and I very much look forward to hearing more from you. -Mark
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Zedd on December 19, 2016, 15:20:16
I think posting production and mixing suggestions when it's an early version, really helps @Leonard Scaper

I have posted early version of songs asking for production suggestions but I've noticed that after the initial suggestions, if I re-post (with new mix etc) then they don't get any more replies (and hardly any views). The problem I think (other than the song may not appeal that much to start with!) is that people have seen the post and don't know that it now has a new version.

But I don't want to create loads of new threads each time I do a new mix - so it's an interesting challenge - how do you post early versions, get feedback and remix and repost so that members here know there's a new version?

I also don't always go back to a thread that has a "new" next to it when I know I've read it and replied - even though I could be missing a new mix or version.

So I say keep posting suggestions especially if someone has an early version.



Hey @Jurgen - I have had a few threads a while ago where I was updating mixes and what I have done is I've edited the thread title to indicate there's a new mix (For example - the thread below where I added (Mar T mix) to the title.. :

https://www.songwriter-forum-kitchen.com/forum/finished-songs/if-you-don't-know-(i-hear-you)-wip/ (https://www.songwriter-forum-kitchen.com/forum/finished-songs/if-you-don't-know-(i-hear-you)-wip/)

@M57 and @Leonard Scaper - it's funny I was reading the "Back to Monterey" thread and thinking to myself that your back-and-forth is almost like a different language to me. It's great to observe and I can only dream of having such a knowledge of production, novice that I am...

You are right, there is a friendly "ethos" here and we are generally very nice to each other!!  I, personally, have not got the skills to critique as you guys do and will tag specific people here  on my own threads here if I'm looking for specific mix advice (as I did with a studio mix where I needed to give feedback to a studio engineer).


I guess I'm quite aware that my own critiques are quite lightweight but I will endeavour to offer suggestions where I think a change can be implemented which will improve a track but those suggestions will be far more basic than the critique you are providing / receiving from each other. You will see some of the more production-savvy members debate similarly - @Mar T. @Jambrains @cosignsessions for example.

I think your observations as new members are very valuable and I think we should all take heed - yes it's important to be respectful when critiquing but honest feedback is invaluable as is benefiting from each others' experience. When you're knee-deep in a song, your objectivity goes out the window which is why the feedback from other songwriters / producers is of such value...  I think the balance you describe is probably spot on. When I post I am genuinely looking for observations and suggestions for improvements and I very often get just that. Anything I don't agree with, I can consider and discard and anything that rings true, I will try out (if I can !!) .. That's the whole point of a community like this isn't it?? I will say that unfortunately if I received the advice you guys are giving each other, I wouldn't be able to implement it so I think considering the poster's skills and equipment probably comes into play so that your advice can be used but having said that I would value the detailed and expertise of the critiques you give should my next song fall it your value pot :)!




 
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: M57 on December 19, 2016, 17:53:07
I will say that unfortunately if I received the advice you guys are giving each other, I wouldn't be able to implement it so I think considering the poster's skills and equipment probably comes into play so that your advice can be used but having said that I would value the detailed and expertise of the critiques you give should my next song fall it your value pot :)!

@Zedd - Assuming I don't know the poster, the level/degree of any critique or suggestions I offer is informed by two things, the pre-amble and the work itself.  In many cases the song-writer asks for broad-based or specific feedback, and that makes it easier. Where the recording is concerned, the quality and subtlety of the song, lyrics, recording, performance, mix, production, etc. all give clues as to where the song-writer is in their musical/lyrical/technical development, and common sense pretty much dictates what types and levels of comments might be most helpful.  If someone is clearly recording with their cell phone in their bedroom and then pushing the recording straight to the web, then encouraging to find a better space or a more appropriate microphone and consider using a DAW is more likely to help them than suggesting how to better equalize the recording, or add compression, etc..  If the tempo of the their playing shifts around in unmusical fashion, suggesting they practice with metronome or record with a click will likely be much more helpful than a discussion about using the flex feature in their DAW to find the transients and move them to the beat. These are pretty obvious examples, but it's really not that hard for most of us to intuitively get a sense of the abilities and skill sets of others and then respond appropriately to their work.

Bottom line: good music is good music. Technology is a tool; an important one because it is the canvas on which we present our work, but just a tool nonetheless. As long as we accept that maxim and offer our support and critiques in that light - we'll be in good shape.
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Zedd on December 19, 2016, 18:35:52
I will say that unfortunately if I received the advice you guys are giving each other, I wouldn't be able to implement it so I think considering the poster's skills and equipment probably comes into play so that your advice can be used but having said that I would value the detailed and expertise of the critiques you give should my next song fall it your value pot :) !

@Zedd - Assuming I don't know the poster, the level/degree of any critique or suggestions I offer is informed by two things, the pre-amble and the work itself.  In many cases the song-writer asks for broad-based or specific feedback, and that makes it easier. Where the recording is concerned, the quality and subtlety of the song, lyrics, recording, performance, mix, production, etc. all give clues as to where the song-writer is in their musical/lyrical/technical development, and common sense pretty much dictates what types and levels of comments might be most helpful.  If someone is clearly recording with their cell phone in their bedroom and then pushing the recording straight to the web, then encouraging to find a better space or a more appropriate microphone and consider using a DAW is more likely to help them than suggesting how to better equalize the recording, or add compression, etc..  If the tempo of the their playing shifts around in unmusical fashion, suggesting they practice with metronome or record with a click will likely be much more helpful than a discussion about using the flex feature in their DAW to find the transients and move them to the beat. These are pretty obvious examples, but it's really not that hard for most of us to intuitively get a sense of the abilities and skill sets of others and then respond appropriately to their work.

Bottom line: good music is good music. Technology is a tool; an important one because it is the canvas on which we present our work, but just a tool nonetheless. As long as we accept that maxim and offer our support and critiques in that light - we'll be in good shape.

Sorry @M57   :o  - I see that my post sounds like I'm assuming you don't take such things into account.. Badly worded by me..  +1 to the above...
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: M57 on December 19, 2016, 18:44:49

Sorry @M57   :o  - I see that my post sounds like I'm assuming you don't take such things into account.. Badly worded by me..

No @Zedd - It is my apology that is in order. I did not take your post that way at all, and I did not mean to passively/aggressively post a defense/offense in response to it.  I simply wanted to share my views on the subject.
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Zedd on December 19, 2016, 18:52:23
No need to apologise at all Mark I didn't take your post as passive/agressive and I guess I was really just clarifying... I guess neither of us should be apologising to the other then :)

It's an interesting topic - TBH I struggle with giving very detailed feedback and my DAW / production skills are very limited so I'm reading your postings with interest... 

Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Leonard Scaper on December 20, 2016, 01:12:17
@Jurgen

@M57

@Zedd

This is a very valuable discussion for a community like this where there are so many members with different needs, different goals and different skill sets. I think that it all works itself out as people get to know each other and tailor their critiques and comments to that knowledge.

I'll always be coming from a perspective that values production technique in song writing because a listener will always stay with a song longer if it is more listenable. That production quality can be different things to different folks but I think that anybody who is posting a song on a site like this wants it to sound as good as possible. I will always try to share what I have learned in a manner that is respectful of each persons level of interest in that part of this endeavor.

Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Mar T. on December 20, 2016, 01:32:43
@Leonard Scaper

My sense is that folks here are polite, which is great, but they tend to be a bit on the conservative side where their critiques are concerned.  I think that's not such a bad thing, but it's a two-edged sword; there's very little value in crushing someone's work so badly that they throw in the towel. For whatever reason, people seem to be more comfortable critiquing lyrics, and I feel that on the music end of things folks here are a bit too soft, praising most everything they encounter.  I'm not sure if that's because they want karma, want favorable critiques of their own work, or simply don't have the analytical/technical chops to offer constructive criticism.  I guess that's to be expected in an open community such as this.

So.. given the above dynamics, I try to make it a personal rule to only comment on works that I find have value.  That way, I can honestly offer offer praise in most every post. This in turn make me feel more comfortable, letting me be direct, offer my nits and crits, and tell it like it is.  We're talking about personal expression here, so just about everything we say has a degree of subjectivity.

As for my own songs, I like to post works in progress and I am always looking for critical analysis of any aspect of the work, from lyrics to post production. My MO is to keep the thread alive while I work out the kinks.  I'm new to these forums so I haven't posted a work in its early stages yet, but your post-production oriented comments on the one song that I've posted here have been extremely helpful, and I very much look forward to hearing more from you. -Mark

Hey @M57 although you're talking to @Leonard Scaper here I'd like to thank you for sharing your approach in this thread!
I have two different roles on this forum and I like to share a quick response from those 2 different perspectives..
As a staff member I love to read everybody's motivation/approach and I encourage discussion about these (and other songwriting related) subjects as well as how to take care and make sure we have a happy community. The difficult part is that everybody will feel happy under different circumstances. The one kitchener/-ette is happy when one of his/her new songs are praised, the other is here to continuously improve (so they're really thankful for constructive critique).
I've seen a lot of your critique and even the 'harder' critiques you write should be a gift to everyone who's here to learn and they provide great value to our community.
I think you can easily recognize who's in which category. I completely understand you're focussing on songs that have value (in your ears).

As a songwriter I'm nowhere near what I want to be, so I'm expirimenting, learning and trying/studying really hard to improve. I really respect what you're doing (I hope it's okay to say that, I'm not trying to boost any ego nor attempting to make anybody feel shy). Imo you're a very skilled and talented songwriter (in a lot of different aspects) AND a very good listener. And (speaking for myself) just like @Zedd most of the time I'm looking for pointers to help me improve and I hope a song I write will fall in your 'value bucket' so I'm one of the lucky members  ;) ;) . I work the same way as you: I try to open a WIP asap and keep it alive (and ask for continuous feedback until the track is finished) and in the meantime I'm trying to help others as much as I can (and as time permits). I was wondering if in case you skipped a song (to apply to your own rule), are we colleague-songwriters allowed to ask you for a brutally honest and down to earth review? Or would that cause you to feel unhappy because you don't like to listen to songs that have less value (referenced to your personal/professional context)?
Just asking  ::) ::) ::)
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: M57 on December 20, 2016, 03:06:50
@Mar T.  - I misspoke.  The word 'value' has a judgmental connotation.  All music has value.  It is precisely our tastes that allow us all to write differently in the first place, and I wish to respect that.  I'm pretty sure I have listened to at least a few of your songs - there's no question that you are a fine musician and have a solid skill set with your recordings. I don't have much in the way of excuse for not commenting other than to say that I have a RL too, and there are only so many hours in the day. ;D I would be happy to revisit your music, or any song in particular if you have one in mind. -Mark
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: The Local Waffle Dealer on December 20, 2016, 03:40:46
Hello @Mar T. , I thought this was a new thread posted but later find this forum goes waaaaaaayy back. Lol 
I'll add some of my opinions on this topic since everyone else chimed in.

A way to improve on feedback could be just letting it happen by itself.
What makes an artist's work mean something is the people or believers who back it.
Feedback is something that cannot just be forced from another to do. If they are forcing it then, I would question their morals. 
Criticisms come from when you care about something.
The harder they are, the more care that person possibly may have for you and your music but also do keep in mind that we all have a different level of showing care to one another.
Even if the comments are short, they may have been meant 100% by those who said it.

Look at it like this...
Someone out there in the world, took the time of their day just to comment on a song by a person they may not meet ever in person or know.
To me, just the thought of someone out there listening to my music is a blessing.
Even if its one or two people who do at the time.
They mean the world to me. :)   

Hope you see what I mean, cheers! :D

-Boy Wonda
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Leonard Scaper on December 20, 2016, 11:39:58
All music has value.

I listen to more homegrown music than most folks. I look for the hidden real emotion in a song that has been boldly put forth by someone who just needed to get that music out. I have listened to at least some of every new song that has come out in the short time that I have been here. I don't comment on everything I listen to, though. I need to hear something that makes me feel like I have something to really add......and I'll be honest now and say that it helps if I can listen all the way through to a song.

One of my primary goals since beginning to record my material has been to make my songs listenable so that folks would hear what I have to say. Folks who are serious about being self recording songwriters need to consider that....and think about their production techniques a bit as they progress.

I just listened to the contest offering from @BayBlues and @vincent_stewart . I listened all the way through and that song struck a resonant chord in me so I said so.  :) I don't tend to give much corrective crit about somebody's offering unless I am sure that they want that. Most aspiring songwriters need a healthy dose of positive reinforcement to keep at it.....it takes a great deal of courage to put your music out to be heard like this.
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Vince on December 20, 2016, 16:13:54
Thank you @Leonard Scaper  - to me it's the best complement
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Jurgen on December 20, 2016, 22:09:56
There's some great discussion here...

@Zedd - I really will try and use the WIP concept more and changing the subject to show what the next stage is should hopefully help.

@M57 @Leonard Scaper @Waffle_Da_Boy_Wonda you all make good points re: critique, as does @Mar T.

I think I'm with most of you in that I try and listen to most of what gets posted. For me though, if the song appears finished, there doesn't seem much point in offering a critique. I tend to listen and if I like the song I add a reply, more of congratulations or encouragement. If I don't like the song or more commonly, it's a genre I don't listen to, then I don't think I can offer much as a listener.

So I'd add 4th reason behind being a bit too soft and praising etc. it's probably more about not wanting to upset someone when you know how much time and effort it takes to create a song and post it.

If a song is at an early stage, I'll spend a lot more time on it. I'll listen a few more times and try and find something constructive. But unless I "know" the poster (as much as we can know someone on a forum like this) I will tend to go easier. But in doing this I know that I'm not being true to myself.

In my case, as a complete amateur, who just does this for fun, I'm ok with someone telling me that they think what I have done is terrible - especially if they say why. I'm also quite old now and I think it's easier at my age to take these types of criticism in my stride.

cheers
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: The Local Waffle Dealer on December 20, 2016, 23:24:19
@Jurgen I agree with your statement.

One of the great reasons why I like this forum is because it has a bit of diversity.
I was hesitant at first to share my music onto this forum because it wasn't really a hip hop centered page.
I was concerned that maybe people would not like the sound I have made but I still gave it a try.
Later to find that people liked my music and this forum has also broaden my range of genres to be interested in now.
This Songwriting forum is probably the best for place on the webs I have seen to give actual feedback and spotlight artists old and new.
Not to mention the amount of dedicated members that visit here everyday. They really make the page feel alive.


(I think this response had a point in it somewhere. I just got done working out and very tired. ) Lol :P
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: BayBlues on December 21, 2016, 03:22:41
First Of All Thank You @Leonard Scaper For The Compliments.
 
Now If I Might Jump In Here On This Ongoing Conversation........I Worked Most Of My Life With My Hands.....And The Most Technical Thing I Worked On Was A Loaf Of Bread Or My Car..... I Went Back To School In My Mid 50s...My First Computer Classes I Took..Windows 97... I Made A Big Fat F...Then I Started To Understand And My Grades Started Improving And I Got On The Dean's List... Music Tech Was The Name Of The Degreed Course....Recording, Composition, Song Writing, Use Of Different Software Such As Reason--Abelton Live--Pro-Tools--Sibelius Notation Named After Jean Sibelius (Finnish composer and violinist ).

I Played Guitar Most Of My Life, Without Proper Instruction It Was A Long Process.... My Point Is This,  A Home Musician
In This Day And Age, Has Access To So Much Wonderful Technology That Has Taken A Lot Of Labor Out Of The Process.

A AD-DA Converter (Analog To Digital.....Digital To Analog) Is Very Affordable....Two Channels Of Input..(At The Same Time)..And Recording Software....If I Was Going To Buy Some Software To Begin With I Would Buy Reason Propellerhead...(Sweetwater has It For $399.00 US) ...It has A Lot Of Sounds You Can Use With Your Midi Keyboard Controller....(Cheapest Ones With One Or Two Physical Octaves, In Software You Can Assign The Ones You Want To Work In)  Of Course You Need A Computer Try To Get One That Has A Good Processor Intel 7 Is One Of The Best ....AMD IS It's Closest Competitor ......Here's A Link If You Are Interested ......https://www.tomshardware.com/forum/283613-28-processor-comparable-processor.

The Computer Is Your Biggest Expense For Your DAW (Digital Audio WorkStation)..... Some Things Are Worth Going Into Debt For.....That is My Opinion.....When You Have Good Equipment It Takes A Lot Of Stress Out Of The Creativeness That Goes Into Making Music.........Working On Your Musical Chops Is Paramount To Making Great Sounds..... Practice Builds Confidence....Muscle Memory Is REAL.....And Find Someone To Jam With It Makes One A Much Better Musician On Many Different Levels... Practicing By YourSelf Is Good But It Is Too Easy To Overlook The Discipline Of Keeping Time In A Group....And It's More Fun Than A Jam Track Or A Click Track--Metronome.

A Set Of Monitor Speakers Are Eventually Needed ....To Listen To Your Work And Know Your Getting A Realistic Picture Of Your Sound......You Can Always Take Your Recording And Listen On Your Car Stereo ...Your Phone...Earphones Can Sound Great...On The Earphones...But Not On Other Devices.......I Had A Critical Listening Class And We Were Instructed To Find Some Recording That We Really Liked And The Sound Was Something We Could Use For A Comparison. 

A Excellent Mic. For Vocals Sure Beta 58A.....$150.00 US......Inst.Mic...Sure SM57...$75.00--100.00.. I Recommend These
Because They Take A Beating And Keep On Going. Shielded Cables 20' Cost $15.00-20 Apiece.

When You Record Try To Do The Best You Can .....Good Going In .....Good Coming Out.....Don't Expect To Be Able To Fix
Sounds After You've Recorded......Your Practice Pays Off When You Record.... If You Can Take A Class That Has To Do With
Music....Just One.. If You Try To Do To Much A One Time You May Just Get Discouraged And Not Finish Any Of Them....
Don't Listen To The Bad Mouth....Listen To Constructive Criticism..... No One Learns All There Is To Know About Music In One Day.  Living Is A Learning Experience..Take One Day At A Time.....Believe In Your Self.....There Are A Few Sites That Are
Very Good For Self Paced Learning....Lynda.com....

.https://www.lynda.com/Music-Production-training-tutorials/23-0.html

https://www.groove3.com

I've Use Both Of these Sites And Prices Are Reasonable

Sometimes You Have To Trust Your Gut As To What Sounds Good,  When I Write I Have To Feel What I'm Writing About
Sometimes I Search For What Sounds Good With The Song I'm Building....Other Times It's Just The Guitar....The Vocal is All That Is Needed At Times....Look At The Group Pentatonics
They Are The Instruments And They Are One Of My Favorite Groups.......You See
That is My Opinion...Someone Else Might Not Like Their Music.....

When Someone Critiques Another's Work There is Ways Of Giving Advice Without Offending....Also If They Are Listening Critically And Offering Advice...Maybe They Should Also Include What They Were Listening With....A Cell Phone ...Home Stereo...Etc......You Can't Give An Accurate Accounting If Your Listening On A Cheap Set-Up.......Have A Wonderful Holidays To All My Musical Friends At SongWritersKitchen........~~~~~*BB

 
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Vince on December 22, 2016, 10:45:20
"Not to beat a dead horse " - American expression- but I've been thinking on this subject a lot, because I know I'm not a critical listener, but I like to support the members of this forum and follow what they're doing and listen to their work.
 I was wondering if there was a way just to have a category for "New Releases" - just a place to post what other members have finished and to show what they're up to?
Maybe put a limit on the amount per month so it doesn't become overwhelming.
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Bill from November Sound on December 28, 2016, 14:15:13
I'm with @Waffle Da Boy Wonda and @Jurgen on this. More people listen/ view than comment so feedback does happen in an organic way.

Quote
A way to improve on feedback could be just letting it happen by itself.
What makes an artist's work mean something is the people or believers who back it.
Feedback is something that cannot just be forced from another to do. If they are forcing it then, I would question their morals. 
Criticisms come from when you care about something.
- Waffle Da Boy Wonda

As Jurgen Says
Quote
For me though, if the song appears finished, there doesn't seem much point in offering a critique. I tend to listen and if I like the song I add a reply, more of congratulations or encouragement. If I don't like the song or more commonly, it's a genre I don't listen to, then I don't think I can offer much as a listener.
So I'd add 4th reason behind being a bit too soft and praising etc. it's probably more about not wanting to upset someone when you know how much time and effort it takes to create a song and post it.

I'm in favor of differentiating between finished songs and non-finished songs.

So, at the minimum, we need a clear labeling of the tracks: "Mixing advice wanted", "Help with Lyrics", "Finished Song", etc.  Those offering criticism and advice should then try to stick to the label.

Look, I asked for mixing help and got a comment that I need a real drummer and maybe should consider hiring a new singer. For real? Anybody that knows about November Love, has seen our videos, has gone to our soundcloud, etc, knows that my son is a real drummer and the singer is my wife - so that advice isn't helpful when I'm asking about balance and panning of the strings.

Like @Jurgen I like to offer congratulations to people that have finished the songs. Finishing a song helps one to improve! I also feel like a total jerk if I offer someone EQ advice and then I find out that the song was completed two years ago and they weren't planning to work on it anymore.



Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Leonard Scaper on December 28, 2016, 15:05:29
Like @Jurgen I like to offer congratulations to people that have finished the songs. Finishing a song helps one to improve! I also feel like a total jerk if I offer someone EQ advice and then I find out that the song was completed two years ago and they weren't planning to work on it anymore.

I have always figured that if someone is posting an old song for review they are hoping that someone will pick up something about that song that will be useful in a new project.

One thing I like to do, even if I am just congratulating a fellow songwriter on a finished piece, is to let them know that I really listened. I may pick up on a particular passage that I really liked and note the time, or I may note a minor thing at a particular time that caught my attention. I know some folks are just looking for listens, but I am one who is always looking for perspectives from the community that are different from mine. I invite real critique so I will always try to give it on anything I listen to.
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: cosignsessions on December 28, 2016, 19:45:05
@Leonard Scaper @M57 @Zedd @Jurgen @Mar T.  and all who have provided their thoughts on this subject. This is an excellent topic and I find it intriguing to know the thought process of the critic.

I am usually terrible at providing suggestions for structure / lyrics / arrangement as I find myself just listening and providing mix suggestions if any are warranted or requested in the original post.

As a poster looking for critique I respect the time taken by those that offer any and all praise and criticism. There is value in even the most harsh criticism. One thing I've learned from forums such as this is you get out of it what you put in. As a hobbyist musician with a busy life I lose track here and there on the forum then find myself trying to catch up when I time for music!

Without access to this forum and others I would be the only one listening to the music I make....so I am thankful.
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Jurgen on December 29, 2016, 07:05:32
I share your comment re: if it wasn't for the forum I would be the only one listening to the music I make, @cosignsessions - so I definitely value this place. Not only because it gives me an audience but because I get to hear new music outside of the mainstream.

I think we can all add something to the recording process as far as critique or suggestions are concerned. ie. you can offer mixing, others can offer thoughts on lyrics or vocals etc.

And you definitely hit the nail on head re: "you get out of it what you put in" - this is the only a place like this can thrive and grow. As @Mar T. says, "pay it forward"

cheers
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Leonard Scaper on January 27, 2017, 14:13:08
I was thinking about this thread this morning..........how we are able to improve our work simply by listening to the work of our peers, particularly in a cooperative environment like this.

I have listened to everything that has been posted since I pulled up a chair here and in the process I have gleaned many things that have affected my last two projects in subtle ways. Not so subtly, however, I recently commented on @Zedd 's excellent tune when I noticed some subtle percussion thing that caught my ear. I knew she would not mind me bringing it up. This morning I decided to listen to my last tune one more time before moving on and, lo and behold...there was a very similar thing to what I had heard in "Awfully Keen" (https://soundcloud.com/monnodb/awfully-keen).

I remixed and was smiling all the way through the bounce.




Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Zedd on January 28, 2017, 00:36:08
That's kinda cool @Leonard Scaper .. one of these days years I'll be posting - figured out the drum thing on 'Awfully Keen' and fixed it!!


You're right though - part of the learning here is reading the feedback and hearing things that others are pointing out. It's a great 'school'!!!


I'll post another time about the inspiration for said song - it's relevant to another pf the songwriting discussion threads !


Delighted my fault removed one of yours and loved the image of the 'smiling bounce'!!!
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Mar T. on January 30, 2017, 02:07:27
That's exactly the value of providing feedback to each other imo @Leonard Scaper ! Everybody has a different skill-set, different talents, different taste, different areas of interest etc as a musician/songwriter. But also as a listener. In all comments there'll be pointers for other writers as well. And when there's a lot of positive replies from as many different people (read: different perspectives) as possible, it's very likely you're on the 'right' track. Together we're a great compass to guide our kitcheners to that wow-factor song.

In your case I loved to read you picked up a certain aspect of production (on another song than yours) to improve your own productions.. Imo that's the value of the kitchen community listening, showing attention, being interested and taking care for each other.

To @all:
I really hope every kitchener takes time to listen to each others work and just write down what you think/feel.. don't be shy, nor be an ego..
Either dropping a single line or writing an extensive review is helpful. Don't hesitate. Don't judge, be repectful. Tell what you liked and (if any) provide some suggestions to improve.

Lately I'm seeing not every song being provided with a 'fair' amount of feedback/suggestions, so I'm sure we can do even better together. If you enjoy kitcheners reviewing your own work, please be sure to pay that forward my friends! We all know how great it feels when your song is being listened to. So every writer should experience that feeling. And everything you comment is not only valuable to the writer, but to everybody who is following the thread (and here to learn) as well..

And of course let's continuously keep discussing in this thread what we can do to improve our interaction considering 'posting songs' and 'requesting feedback'. Let's don't forget that 'listening' is one of the main services our community provides!

Cheers!
:mart:
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Mar T. on November 18, 2017, 00:49:52
Hi everybody! I'm going to give this thread a bump again. Saw some discussion about this subject lately.
@MichaelA and @M57 please continue the discussion here.

I'll add a bit of vision here to relate to.
We've been working our a@^5sses off providing a platform to host a happy community of songwriters who like to share their work/listen to each other's work. There's a lot of different people in every aspect you can imagine.

What we want to see is that we approach each other with respect and care by default. A good ambience with lots of encouraging interaction is our main value.
When I'm inviting new members to introduce themselves I hope to learn more about their songwriting goals, and to be of help when they're asking for 'feedback'. When I'm feeding back I mention a few things I like,  and I try to provide guidance to that one aspect that can result in the biggest step-forward (imho) for this particular song or for the next song (depending on the phase in the development cycle the posted work is in (concept, wip, almost finished, finished)). I'll not dictate my 'methodology' here, but I think it's a common-sense 'way' of helping each other.

Every now and then the subject 'honest' feedback pops up. And in that context 'honest' always seems to 'mean' that you can say anything to each other.
Well today I tried that. I walked down the street and I yelled to the first person I run into: 'Hey man you're ugly, and an ass hole!!'. I'm typing slowly right now, because I only have one eye to monitor what I'm typing.
So this is not the way to go. I believe that we can be 'honest' to each other, without being disrespectful.
So unless somebody asks to be 'brutally honest' when calling for feedback, I'd like to ask everybody to follow the 'encouraging/constructive' feedback style I expained above.

On the other hand as a songwriter community we don't want to tell everybody: 'Wow, that sounds great!'. That won't help us improve either. So there's two sides to this coin. Unless somebody says 'Not interested to improving' (or something like that) I'd try to mention some top's but also some tips/pointers..

We're all different people, with different skill-sets. Nobody is an expert. Nobody is a noob. What we have in common is that we're all unique. We're trying to help each other improving whatever aspec we want to improve here.
I will not tolerate disrespectfulness/rudeness. We can all be 'honest' but we will be honest with the sole aim of helping each other. It's my personal mission to keep all of us aligned with this vision. The kitchen is a 'safe' place. So let's make fun together, and nobody should feel punished when they posted a song that 'somebody' doesn't like.

Ok?

Cheers everybody, let's have fun together!! :bloodymarti:
:mart:

 
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: MichaelA on November 18, 2017, 01:21:15
Thanks @Mar T. for re-starting this. Yep, me and @M57 have had a slight disagreement today, but I do realise he is different to me and is giving constructive comments, even though they are more bluntly delivered than I would personally want to dish out myself.

I liked the conclusion to the Kitchen Summit - ie that the Kitchen would be a fun place to be. Yes FUN!!!

So it's not much fun, in my view, if people are harsh critics of your much cherished work. Songwriters, being creative people are mostly a relatively sensitive bunch of souls compared to the general population. That's  why the best of them can reach out and create art and meaning to life in art that is beyond less sensitive members of the community. I've read stuff  on here before of people leaving the forum after a brutal song review. That can't be right.

We have all levels of songwriter and song producer/performer on here. All should be welcome and all encouraged.

In my view all reviews should start from the point of view of being on the side of the poster. If you respond, well it is because you are trying to help and encourage. If you just want to diss them, well maybe go somewhere else. This place is about being gently constructive.

The rule for review is simple. Only post in a tone and style that you would be totally comfortable in receiving yourself. If you are posting something that would make you yourself upset, then reword it in a way that is more diplomatic. Songwriters want to hear constructive criticism and mainly ideas to help them improve. People commenting are not meant to be professional reviewers of the music press with barbed and condescending assessments that will make their subjects run for the hills never to be seen on here again.

Plus I think we should have a report button to flag up unnecessarily harsh reviews so that they can be deleted - and so everyone would know that this is not what we are all about on here.

Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Mar T. on November 18, 2017, 01:33:55
Hi @MichaelA we completely agree!

As for the report button, it's already here.. It's called 'report to moderator'. Always in the down-right corner of every post.. Click it and our staff will be notified..
(https://www.songwriter-forum-kitchen.com/forum/gallery/93_18_11_17_1_31_50.jpeg)
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: MichaelA on November 18, 2017, 01:37:46

As for the report button, it's already here.. It's called 'report to moderator'. Always in the down-right corner of every post.. Click it and our staff will be notified..
(https://www.songwriter-forum-kitchen.com/forum/gallery/93_18_11_17_1_31_50.jpeg)

Great, I am glad you are one step ahead, ha ha!  ;D
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Leonard Scaper on November 18, 2017, 01:43:22
This place is about being gently constructive.

I think that pretty much says it all...gently constructive.

I'll go on record and say that you, @MichaelA , are one of the best reviewers I have read on any site. You are honest and forthright while at the same time always finding that nugget of goodness in everything you review.

 8)
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Mar T. on November 18, 2017, 01:46:06
This place is about being gently constructive.

I think that pretty much says it all...gently constructive.

I'll go on record and say that you, @MichaelA , are one of the best reviewers I have read on any site. You are honest and forthright while at the same time always finding that nugget of goodness in everything you review.

 8)
+1 @Leonard Scaper ! For you @MichaelA !
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Bill from November Sound on November 18, 2017, 04:57:32
You all pulled the plug on Mr57's friend Hobosage pretty quickly when he was dishing out his "real world" criticism. Meanwhile, we may have just lost another member. We can't just keep saying that members come and go for various reasons and we don't know why. We kind of do.
 
There are lots of places to submit your song with a $25 entry fee and get advice from real industry professionals. So, when someone wants harsh criticism they can go to one of those places.

Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Jambrains on November 18, 2017, 10:38:21
Just my $0.05: I found @M57 review balanced and constructive and not harsh at all. Only thing that could be perceived as harsh too me (and remember that is me, ymmw) would be the word cliche. Guess it is (as always) an eye of the beholder sort of thing.

First paragraph mentions all the things he liked, second the part he did not like complete with an analysis why he did not like it and even hints on directions for improvements.
In third paragraph he even states "Regardless, that's all subjective."

The "reviews" we give and receive here are merely opinions and very subjective and should be taken as such.

One reviewer disliking some part of my song really does not bother me much, it is only one person's subjective opinion. Think the only thing that would upset me would be if focused shifted from the song to me as a person. Depending on who the person is may add some more weight to it but it is still just one person. If a significant number of reviewers point at the same "issue" I may start to consider it but most of the time I end up ignoring them since once I post anything I've been through it enough to convinced that it is the way I like it to be. As an example: if a number of people that I know are primary acoustic 1+1 singer songwriters I would not be too concerned even if they found my drum track being too busy. If a number of people I know are more into pop/rock have the same opinion re the drums I may start to re-evaluated but still I'd probably be sufficiently confident that I had made my homework before posting and stick too it.

I remember starting out when I would run for the mixer as soon as one review found the track e.g. too bass heavy. After a while I learned that 9 times out of 10 another reviewer would find the bass spot on or even lacking.  One would find the intro too long, others not.  ;D ;D 

So in the end you are on your own making your own calls. Reviews can sometimes help but then we are talking trends, not individuals.

 
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: MichaelA on November 18, 2017, 11:38:23
Well @Jambrains, the point is @Levander found the review harsh and then in turn made the point that these kinds of reviews might discourage people from taking part in the kitchen. So people do have different levels of sensitivity to criticism, and we need to aware of that if we are bothering to comment on their songs. I agree, however,  that the review of @M57's certainly has some constructive points in it, but it was his comeback reply that made me react to him. He says to Levander:

"Yeah, Sorry - I realize as I post these that it's pretty tough language, but I reserve that for people who are, A) delusional and need a dose of truth, or B) People who are on the right track and don't need things sugar coated"

That sounded too blunt to me and I thought who does this guy think he is? That's a very superior and condescending thing to say, in my view. I'm with @Bill from November Sound on this. If people want doses of truth delivered bluntly,  they should pay their $25 and go to the professional review farms. On here we should be supportive, caring even of each others work. But again, that's all subjective. and maybe I am delusional after all!

Oh BTW thanks @Leonard Scaper and @Mar T. for the thumbs up on my own review style, much appreciated.
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Leonard Scaper on November 18, 2017, 11:43:37
You all pulled the plug on Mr57's friend Hobosage pretty quickly when he was dishing out his "real world" criticism. Meanwhile, we may have just lost another member.

As I recall, Hobosage was a bit combative. I think that is where the line got drawn. I don't think @M57 will be gone.....I surely hope not as his knowledgeable perspective would be missed. I think he's got thick enough skin to deal with this little discussion of critique technique.  ;)

Hey Mark.....remember my very first critical post here? It was a detailed and specific critique of your tune. You handled that perfectly and even dished it back out to me in the song I had up as we understood each other right off the bat. That's how things work here...for the most part.

I agree with @Jambrains that these reviews are subjective opinions. The tricky part is knowing how far to go with each one relative to the person we are reviewing. I have done the $25 review and they can be pretty impersonal...which is what I wanted then. Here at The Kitchen we make it a little more personal, right? That means we get to know each other and learn to tailor our reviews and critiques to the individual.

 8)

and maybe I am delusional after all!

I think you are....but in the best of ways.   ;) ;) ;) ;) ;)
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Jim on November 18, 2017, 11:49:03
I'm inclined to agree with @Jambrains on this one, although that isn't as simple as saying I think Mark's critique is a shining example of how we should review each others work.

Mark (M57) is uncompromising in the way he responds to people on this forum, and I think he knows his stuff which means the advice he gives is of value, as JB points out, he did qualify his statement, and said what he liked, and stated it was his opinion.  As things stand there, it's hard to be negative about the critique given.  I think the issue revolves around Mark's statement that he felt the lines were cliched, he could have pulled the punch there a bit I feel, but that's not his style I suppose. 

I think we all want our fellow Kitchenauts to have a fun time here, and we hate to lose active and wonderful songwriters (I sincerely hope that doesn't happen here).  But on the other hand, we are a collection of humans, with different idiosyncrasies, and there's going to be differences of opinion from time to time...I think the best I can do is try to set a good example of how I'd like others to review my work by giving those sort of reviews myself, and at least try to be mindful of how the recipient of the message will feel (as @MichaelA suggests).
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: M57 on November 18, 2017, 14:52:04
Yikes, my ears are burning.

I'd like to start by saying that I feel no need to defend my original post in the sense that I feel it, and my intentions, have been fairly assessed by all here, including @MichaelA. That is to say, I understand that my posts reside on the edge of propriety on a site such as this.

With that in mind I do regret posting the following, which was a bit too tongue in cheek..

>>I realize as I post these that it's pretty tough language, but I reserve that for people who are, A) delusional and need a dose of truth, or B) People who are on the right track and don't need things sugar coated<<

Actually, I never engage in option A) - I wish I could take that back, but editing that post might be viewed as obfuscatory in some quarters.

First and foremost, I review music that I enjoy and/or find value in. I almost never make a post that isn't a happy sandwich, starting and ending with positive comments.   All criticism is subjective, so I agree with MichealA's suggested 'rule' in that I do my very best to offer constructive criticism as if the song were my own and in the same voice that I would like my music critiqued. People know that I post my music in various stages of completion with flaws and all precisely because I want people to offer both observations that differ, and opinions that diverge from mine. If the VI strings sound cheesy, the scansion is bad, or the metaphor is poor, or if something sounds cliche to the listener, I want to know about it. Constructive suggestions are always a bonus.

I look up to a number of songwriters here and can gush praise with the best, but I feel that my participation is truly validated when someone takes one of my suggestions to heart and applies it to their music. Hah, just be aware that if you suggest a lyric or chord change for my music, I may just use it ..and call it my own ;)

As a closet singer-songwriter with no CD, EPs, gigs, etc, my music is pretty much only heard by other songwriters.  But for sites like this, it might as well be a tree falling in the woods, so I very much appreciate and even hunger for people to like my music.  On the other hand, if I really want praise and adulation I know I should be out there promoting and performing, etc.  So while acceptance and appreciation are a piece of the Kitchen pie, I remind myself that praise can not be the ultimate goal - at least not for me.

Bottom Line:  There's so much value for me here in the Kitchen. But in my opinion, there is too much unwarranted ingratiation and not enough constructive criticism. If I don't engage with the music of others on this site in a manner that I want others to engage with my music, then there's no model for the way I want the site to be.  I am willing and I try my best to participate in a way that finds acceptance, but honestly, I feel this boat needs a little rocking. <--- Hmm.. I suppose I should have used a kitchen metaphor there.
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: MichaelA on November 18, 2017, 15:13:27
Well that is a very well thought out and restrained reply @M57, seeing you have suddenly become a centre of attention mainly on account of one statement (for me) which I acknowledge you now regret. Good man!

But actually I came on here just as you had posted this to post something else which has made me put our discussion into perspective - and made me smile too. I have just been onto a UK football forum for the team I support. There they have just unveiled a specially commissioned painting of former players and managers. This is what some fans have written in the painting's thread:

"Made by the club too. some pretentious t**t and commissioned by the club"

"What an absolute shit show of a drawing. Whoever came up with that deserves to be flogged and beaten." (My favourite comment that!)

"Thankfully it's not loading for me. Saved by the internet."

"It's f***ing dreadful...my Grandad would be turning in his grave right now."

Well I don't think the artist in question will be joining our football forum!  ;D  ;D  ;D Even at our harshest we kitcheners ain't matching that bluntness! Ha ha! (Get a grip Michael!)  ;)
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: DanJames on November 18, 2017, 16:28:55
Very interesting thread!

I've been a member here for about 5 months and it became apparent pretty early on that this was a friendly, relaxed place. That's the culture that has been established and maintained by the hardworking admins, and it'a a nice warm place to be. I agree with @M57 that the feedback generally lacks bite and his review wasn't really that outrageous. But I don't think the tone of the piece is what people welcome or enjoy here as it's counter to the culture.

I participate in another songwriting forum (Muse Songwriters). Things are different there. Posters expect no-frills feedback and songs are often forensically dissected by very passionate reviewers (like HoboSage, who is a regular. I even got some praise from him recently...), but that's ok because that's the culture and, if you don't like it, you can leave.

Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is that enjoy being a member of both forums and visit/contribute to both for quite different reasons. If i'm in the mood for feedback on my 'crappy guitar sound' and 'headache-inducing production', I'll head to the other place...
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: M57 on November 18, 2017, 17:11:24
Hey Thanks @DanJames  Why fight the culture if there are ready-made alternatives? I can live in multiple places.. Just have to remember where I am when I type.
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Roberto Cianchetta on November 20, 2017, 13:01:13
Hi everyone.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

The reason I came into THE KITCHEN is to share my music with other people. And it is a great thing that we have to listen to other people's songs to maintain a certain balance between what we do and what others do.

Sharing means to me being able to listen to other opinions and being able to give mines, too. I understand it is not easy to say something about a song you don't like, first of all because you don't want to hurt others feelings. On the other hand, I also think that being honest and meanwhile staying polite it is a good way of letting other people improve or, at least, think about another point of view. That is what I expect when I post a song of mine. I want an opinion. And, of course, I am very glad if people like my song, but I am also happy to hear what people don't like about my song.

Cheers,

Roberto
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Bill from November Sound on November 24, 2017, 20:37:34
I'm sorry to beat this thread into the ground...... I think about this a lot. This is very important to me.

This thread got bumped up here for a specific reason.

We shouldn't give more value to negative criticism than we do encouraging words. I'll go as far as to say that negative criticism does not necessarily indicate that the critic has higher levels of knowledge, education or greater experience. I'm not sure why but maybe we automatically think this.

The question is how we give useful feedback to each other.

Recently we had a member post a song that to me was obviously a pitch shifted stock saxophone loop. (obvious to me ...college degree in music - saxophone) I even went so far as to find the loop in Mixcraft 7 and it was Sax Riff 2 Cool Jazz by Michael Bacich. It was a tenor sax riff that was then pitch shifted up a perfect fourth to sound something like an alto sax. Now this kitchener was getting compliments on the saxophone and I could have easily said that I'm not a fan of saxophone loops and pointed out the inaccuracies of this loop and its use. ( We often have members that put up this stock criticism about how, "they are not fans of VST" or "not fans of DI guitar", etc. ). How would that be helpful? Would that really be helpful feedback? Really, If they didn't shell out the $ to get a studio player ... then they must already know this, right? If they hired a cat to come in, play tenor for the intro, then switch half through the song to play a line over and over on the alto and then switch back to tenor for the ending ... it would have cost big money I assure you. The horn player might also take issue with the choice of notes as well.

Now we have someone who made a modern pop song and he is being criticized for lyrics that are cliche. Let's look at the lyrics from the most downloaded modern pop songs in recent years.....1. "Happy, happy, happy, happy. Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof. happy, happy, happy, happy...etc."   2. "rah, rah, ooh la la , rah, rah, ooh la la Rah rah ah-ah-ah! Ro mah ro-mah-mah Gaga oh-la-la! Want your bad romance, etc." , 3. " I got a feeling woo hoo that tonight's gonna be a good night. Yeah tonight's gonna be a good good night, etc..."  and the list goes on.
I'd dare to say that anyone who writes modern pop music knows that their lyrics are cliche. It kind of goes with the territory. Is telling our kitchener that the lyrics are cliche helpful at all? Is that really helpful feedback?

Here we have a member who hit over 2k plays in less than 2 months under the #modern pop. Instead of trying to cut him down a notch or two we should encourage him. Or maybe even...I don't know... pass him the green baton?!! Most of us would love to hit 2k plays so quickly. We need to keep him here. He's doing something right.  :) How did he do it?*


* Just so you know I'm not merely supporting a friend of mine or something like that. This person actually follows a thousand people including most kitcheners ....but not November Sound. This person doesn't acknowledge comments by November Sound either.

Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Mar T. on November 24, 2017, 21:14:41
Quick reply to @Bill from November Sound on a specific aspect from my side, and please keep this discussion flowing kitcheners, it helps seeing this matter from various angles..

Now we have someone who made a modern pop song and he is being criticized for lyrics that are cliche. ...
I'd dare to say that anyone who writes modern pop music knows that their lyrics are cliche. It kind of goes with the territory. Is telling our kitchener that the lyrics are cliche helpful at all? Is that really helpful feedback?
In our vision the kitchen is all about care, respect, helping each other, fun and friendly atmosphere.. I'd absolutely want to 'know' if somebody has the opinion that my lyrics are cliche, or that I'd better go hire another singer. But it's the tone that hurts..
I'd say something like: 'Others may say the lyrics are a bit cliche, but I loved them and they fitted the style of your song'.
Or: 'Listening to your voice, I worry a bit about your breath pressure and dynamics.. have you ever tried to.. <suggestions here>?'

I do think that's really helpful.. We just want everybody to be polite to each other, and imo it's possible to give constructive help without being blunt/rude/disrespectful.. We're managing the good/friendly atmosphere here with all our hearts...

Cheers, :bloodymarti: <-- hiccup.. that's number 9..
:mart:
 
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: M57 on November 24, 2017, 22:55:38
People know that I post my music in various stages of completion with flaws and all precisely because I want people to offer both observations that differ, and opinions that diverge from mine. If the VI strings sound cheesy, the scansion is bad, or the metaphor is poor, or if something sounds cliche to the listener, I want to know about it.
I'd say something like: 'Others may say the lyrics are a bit cliche, but I loved them and they fitted the style of your song'.
Or: 'Listening to your voice, I worry a bit about your breath pressure and dynamics.. have you ever tried to.. <suggestions here>?'

I appreciate that the administrators wish to perpetuate a friendly and safe atmosphere for those who participate on the site, but I'm afraid the bar/expectation for courtesy and kindness is set just a bit too high for me to participate meaningfully.  There's a continuum at play - In my opinion, I see that while effusive praise is rampant, 'direct' criticism (even when presented with constructive criticism) is discouraged ..if not admonished by some, and the site simply leans a bit too pollyannaish for my tastes. While I do believe I give consideration to courtesy and civility, I simply don't have the time or inclination to put excess thought to the manner in which I place words like 'cliche' in a sentence, all to worry about repercussions.  We all have enough to worry about in our lives, no?  This is my hobby; it's suppose to be a fun outlet.

Please know that I'm not mad or trying to be vindictive. If there is anyone who I should be upset with, it is myself.  I should take a cue from the fact that not uncommonly, I'm one of the very few if not the only voice offering criticism in a thread otherwise packed with praise.  I do like it here - there are a number of incredible musicians who participate, but the internet is a pretty big place and I wonder that there are better fits for me out there when it comes to being a productive member of a community. Mind you, I'm not leaving entirely; I plan to continue to listen to the works of others here, and possibly still make the occasional comment, but mostly of the encouraging variety. Looking forward, at least here, I can't see myself being able to comfortably offer substantive criticism unless it is specifically asked for.

Best to all, -Mark
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Mar T. on November 24, 2017, 23:10:59
Hey @M57 Mark, I was responding to @Bill from November Sound (not to you personally) in that reply about a specific aspect in his post  ;)
I gave an example how I provide feedback, but that doesn't mean everybody should copy that (just providing a good example). There's enough bandwidth between 'being polite' and 'being rude'.

I have no problems at all with your reviews, on the contrary, I value them a lot.
Of course it's up to you about feeling at 'home' here or not, but I want to ask you to not take my reply to Bill as if I were talking directly to you, maybe that 'cliche' example was the wrong pick from my side.
 
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Leonard Scaper on November 25, 2017, 01:31:18
effusive praise is rampant, 'direct' criticism (even when presented with constructive criticism) is discouraged ..if not admonished by some

I must respectfully disagree with that statement @M57  . I see a great many posts where direct criticism is well placed within an otherwise encouraging post and I have never seen any directive that discourages constructive criticism. This forum is for songwriters of all levels so we must direct our energies toward the lowest levels first to encourage growth while, at the same time, those of us with more experience share that experience judiciously.

That's who we are here. I have been on those other forums....this place is one of a kind.

Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: M57 on November 25, 2017, 02:07:06
effusive praise is rampant, 'direct' criticism (even when presented with constructive criticism) is discouraged ..if not admonished by some

I must respectfully disagree with that statement @M57  . I see a great many posts where direct criticism is well placed within an otherwise encouraging post and I have never seen any directive that discourages constructive criticism. This forum is for songwriters of all levels so we must direct our energies toward the lowest levels first to encourage growth while, at the same time, those of us with more experience share that experience judiciously.

That's who we are here. I have been on those other forums....this place is one of a kind.

Well, I have to admit, I was reading between the lines of @Mar T. 's post (because of his choice of example), and I overstepped my bounds when I suggested that criticism is discouraged, but I stand my ground where praise vs. criticism is concerned ..proportionally speaking.  Now on the other hand, I realize that a larger portion of the community prefers, for whatever their reason(s), to compliment rather than to critique - and that results in a skewed perception on my part.  Perhaps I need to develop thicker skin as a critic.  If people don't like the way I comment, I need to not take it personally.  However, when the criticism of my critique comes from a moderator - then I have to consider that because the way I post is undesirable, and if I find no fault in them then I am in the wrong place.
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Mar T. on November 25, 2017, 02:23:44
Ok great to read this was a kind of misinterpretation @M57 , and good to read that you reviewed your interpretation.
I'll make it very clear: yes, you're honest, and sometimes you accidentaly 'skretch' that negative boundery I was talking about. But in general your reviews are class and provide a lot of very useful pointers for the songwriter who posted that track. And not only for the songwriter, but also for other members following a thread. I know you're aware you can come across as a bit 'blunt' and you'll even admit that when asked. Imho that's more than good enough, I know your intentions are always good. We all have our moods and/or can say things we didn't intend that way.
My concern is always atmosphere. This has always been a happy and fun place. And just like you don't want to 'rethink' every word you write, I have absolutely no interest in worrying about the atmosphere here in the kitchen.
For me (next to songwriting), helping to build this platform, hosting a beautiful community, is a passion and hobby as well.

 
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: MichaelA on November 25, 2017, 12:50:36


... but I stand my ground where praise vs. criticism is concerned ..proportionally speaking.  Now on the other hand, I realize that a larger portion of the community prefers, for whatever their reason(s), to compliment rather than to critique - and that results in a skewed perception on my part. 


One thing to consider @M57 is maybe this: I've noticed that a lot of the most regular reviewers just so happen to be middle age people. On the other hand songs put up for review are pitched in by a much wider age range, with many younger musicians putting themselves out there - sometimes for the first time. As an older guy, I do find it uncomfortable myself to be unduly harsh with a younger person just setting out. Especially as they have every chance of one day surpassing my own modest song-writing ability. Maybe quite a few of the regular reviewers like me find themselves adopting this more avuncular approach, which I still maintain is the best way of nurturing younger talent - or even the talent of someone who is a bit older but has come back to music again maybe after a long break. It's a bit more 'mentoring', I guess, but while I do this, I do often offer constructive comments for improvement too. But if say maybe three or four things bothered me about a song, well I just would probably focus on the one main thing for me - I don't expect to be able to change the world with one little review. I'd just prefer to put a gentle pointer or two in there, but try to keep up a generally encouraging approach. Nearly everyone improves after all, especially with occasional confidence boosters to motivate their efforts at development.

You seem to have come into this thread a lot, one way or another. But I am pretty sure you could continue on here constructively and fruitfully. We all have to temper our feelings and what we are inclined to spontaneously say in all walks of life and in many situations. You are not a terrible offender by any means, and I only really have taken exception to one thing you said - and you retracted that, so no problem here. I think you should stick around and be useful from time to time ( ;D) if you are in two minds about staying or going. We do need some balance on here so that the nightmare Pollyanna scenario that you warn us of does not really come to fruition! Your constructive review comments are well intentioned and enough has now been said about your occasional more forthright style of delivery, we should all now move on - and you with us too.
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Leonard Scaper on November 25, 2017, 13:47:59
Your constructive review comments are well intentioned and enough has now been said about your occasional more forthright style of delivery, we should all now move on - and you with us too.

Pretty much says it all right there about this particular issue.

I wouldn't mind hearing from some other folks about what they like to see in a critique. Perhaps we could find a way to tease out more information from all the Kitcheners about how they perceive their music and songwriting and how they think they could improve through peer review.

Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: CrystalSuzy on November 27, 2017, 02:57:20
Any kind of constructive critiquing is fine by me, but there are ways to word it, so that it doesn't sound too harsh and hurt peoples feelings. It's a matter of being sensitive  ::heart::
It's always good to say what you like about a song(which we do very well here) ::heart:: but I agree, we don't want to become "too pollyannaish"  :whistle:
There have been times when I've posted a song, and I didn't get any constructive feedback, and I know my songs are far from perfect  ::Suzy::
I know on other forums they give you the option to choose what kind of feedback you want, like "give it to me full barrel" or "nice and light" and that comes up on every song you post.
I also know that some people like myself, don't feel knowledgeable enough to get into any detailed critiquing about things like production, mix etc.  ::Bones::
Generally, I think we all do a good job helping each other get better at our craft. We're all learning as we go along ::Suzy::
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Vince on November 27, 2017, 04:01:58
I just hope if I review a song in a positive way the writer/performer won't quite their day job - hire a band - buy a van - and try to make a living at this. I would hope they would at least get a second opinion.

I would hate  to feel responsible

V.  ::phone::
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Leonard Scaper on November 27, 2017, 13:15:00
I just hope if I review a song in a positive way the writer/performer won't quite their day job - hire a band - buy a van - and try to make a living at this. I would hope they would at least get a second opinion.

I would hate  to feel responsible

V.  ::phone::

 ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Mar T. on November 28, 2017, 01:58:30
I just hope if I review a song in a positive way the writer/performer won't quite their day job - hire a band - buy a van - and try to make a living at this. I would hope they would at least get a second opinion.

I would hate  to feel responsible

V.  ::phone::
+100 @Vince hahaha we encourage each other and provide pointers.. And the creator decides which pointers he/she uses to improve... Simple as that.. But I'm still laughing here behind ny desk!
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Chargedvt on November 28, 2017, 12:06:33
In the end it's all subjective.
If you ask 5 different people to review your song, chances are you will get 5 different opinions, and 5 different criticisms! That's why you should always get as many opinions as possible.
This forum is good in my case as I've never met any of you and you don't feel obligated to say "um yeah, it was really good" haha
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: MrBouzouki on November 28, 2017, 13:56:40
1 ) Listen
2 ) Reflect
3 ) Gauge response based on immediate 'gut feeling'
4 ) Replay track to get a more detailed listen
5 ) Gauge response based on own knowledge
6 ) Gauge response based on artists previous catalogue as reference
7 ) If new artist on forum try and listen to their off-site content
8 ) Allow for subjective genre distortion of your take on the track
9 ) Check grammar / spelling / UK-centric words for clarity
10 ) Type your response

Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Leonard Scaper on November 28, 2017, 14:44:56
1 ) Listen
2 ) Reflect
3 ) Gauge response based on immediate 'gut feeling'
4 ) Replay track to get a more detailed listen
5 ) Gauge response based on own knowledge
6 ) Gauge response based on artists previous catalogue as reference
7 ) If new artist on forum try and listen to their off-site content
8 ) Allow for subjective genre distortion of your take on the track
9 ) Check grammar / spelling / UK-centric words for clarity
10 ) Type your response

11) Print out the @MrBouzouki check list and tape it to the wall nearby.
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Vince on November 28, 2017, 14:57:38
Thanks for posting @MrBouzouki  I'll keep these in mind because I've been trying to review more songs to participate better in this forum,

When I listen to a song for one of the writing contests I put the performance last because it's suppose to be on the writing. I look at song structure, subject and if it hits me somewhere. If it's a well written song and doesn't necessarily strike something in me doesn't mean it's any less well written.

  People have different musical abilities - some can sing, play a lot of instruments well (David Gilmore in an interview said he plays a lot of instruments badly) - so unless they are making a song to sell, I have the performance towards the bottom.

Back at the turn of the century (hit the geezer alarm) I was feeling stuck so I took lessons - I wanted to Rock and learn two handed tapping and all that stuff. The teacher told me not to waste my $$ (I'm an old folkie) and we did some jazz and stuff instead.  The point is everyone wants to get better.

Vince
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Mark Luto on July 03, 2018, 01:01:10
I’ve been doing some thinking... :)

My problem is, I do listen to virtually every song posted here, but too often I just don't know what I could say that is reasonable and helpful. English is not my first language, and way too often I would need so much time to formulate something sensible that I rather let it go. I don't really find that satisfactory. Does anybody else have that problem?

To be able to say something about more songs with reasonable effort, I now had the following idea:
I note at least one positive and one negative aspect to each song, only in keywords. A very simple critique could look like this:

+ beautiful chord progression
- poor sound quality

or:

+ good guitar playing
+ much feeling in the voice
- meaningless lyrics
- too cheesy

or:

+ funny and original
- would need a stronger hook.
- careless singing

I think it is essential that negative points are also mentioned. As long as we only praise each other, nobody gets anything out of it (except our egos).

This way I could comment on a lot more songs, but I'm afraid that many people don't want to read something like that. Or do they? Would I make myself the most hated member of this community?

What do you think?

Cheers,
Mark
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Mar T. on July 03, 2018, 01:37:10
@Mark Luto , I think everybody should provide feedback the way he/she feels most comfortable with. I love everybody's approach actually, in this thread.

To the way that specifically works for you I'd just copy this (edited version of your) explaination:

'My problem is, I do listen to virtually every song posted here, but too often I just don't know what I could say that is reasonable and helpful. English is not my first language, and way too often I would need so much time to formulate something sensible that I rather let it go. I don't really find that satisfactory.

To be able to say something about more songs with reasonable effort, I now had the following idea:
I note at least one positive and one negative aspect to each song, only in keywords.

I hope I do not offend anybody by structuring my reviews this way, all I want to do is encourage and provide (subjective) help, so please don't hate me for the format I use  ;) '

Or something like that.. And paste it below every feedback-post! I'm sure every poster will 'get' then that you're trying to encourage and help for good reasons.
Me as I dutchie, I know how hard that language barrier can be, so I completely understand your post, and I hope we can all be tolerant to each other and realize English is not everybody's native tongue.
Just try it and see if you feel better that way, and of course watch how it is perceived..  ;) ;)

BTW I demand an applause from all native english speakers for all non-native english speaker who try hard to be helpful!!  ;) ;) ;) :whistle: :whistle: :whistle:

Hope that helps a bit my friend..
:mart:
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Mark Luto on July 03, 2018, 02:03:03
Thank you @Mar T.
Yes, that would be a possibility. Of course I wouldn't want to discuss all songs in this way, sometimes even I have something more to say... :o
But I really don't know if I like the idea. As well-intentioned as it would be, it could come across as pretty cheap, lazy and arrogant... :-\

I demand an applause from all native english speakers for all non-native english speaker who try hard to be helpful!!  ;) ;) ;) :whistle: :whistle: :whistle:
+1  ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Bill from November Sound on July 03, 2018, 04:02:57
No applause emoji?  ??? Oh well here goes,
Applause!


On behalf of the native English speakers! :)
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Jurgen on July 03, 2018, 07:18:39
some applause from downunder as well.

I can certainly understand your dilema @Mark Luto - it's hard enough to sometimes think what to say for a native English speaker.

I often find myself listening to songs but not really having anything constructive to say. Sometimes I just say - "nice song" etc. if only to help keep the post near the top of the list just from having an update from me.

cheers
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: Leonard Scaper on July 03, 2018, 10:36:17
I DEFINITELY applaud all of you non-English speaking folks for your valiant efforts. English is a tough language even for a life long English speaker like me.

As far as reviewing songs goes....I am getting better at just expressing my first reaction to the song be it positive or negative. I have a lyric pad right here all the time and I jot down notes when I am listening to a song. Those notes become the basis of my review whether they are praise or critique......usually a little of both.

Folks just like to know that their song got heard so sometimes a simple....."Great tune......enjoyed the listen" is good enough.
Title: Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Post by: 1roomstudio on July 13, 2019, 04:07:58
1 ) Listen
2 ) Reflect
3 ) Gauge response based on immediate 'gut feeling'
4 ) Replay track to get a more detailed listen
5 ) Gauge response based on own knowledge
6 ) Gauge response based on artists previous catalogue as reference
7 ) If new artist on forum try and listen to their off-site content
8 ) Allow for subjective genre distortion of your take on the track
9 ) Check grammar / spelling / UK-centric words for clarity
10 ) Type your response

I would add...
11) Go to another song
12) Rinse and Repeat 1 through 10 😎