• How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
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How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
on: February 16, 2016, 00:24:51
« Last Edit: April 22, 2017, 03:38:53 by Mar T. »
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
I'm proud of this track, check it out! https://soundcloud.com/martimedia/dreams


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Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Reply #1 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
 


Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Reply #2 on: February 16, 2016, 13:41:29
« Last Edit: February 17, 2016, 02:26:03 by crystalsuzy »
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  ::) ::)


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Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Reply #3 on: February 17, 2016, 02:09:57
« Last Edit: February 17, 2016, 02:51:50 by MartiMedia »
...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


Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Reply #4 on: February 17, 2016, 02:48:29
« Last Edit: February 17, 2016, 03:09:59 by crystalsuzy »
Hi MM, I totally agree  ;) It's all about just being ourselves, being honest and clear about what we mean  ;D ;D


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Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Reply #5 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


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Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Reply #6 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


Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Reply #7 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


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Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Reply #8 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


Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Reply #9 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 :-)


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Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Reply #10 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


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Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Reply #11 on: February 26, 2016, 01:38:38
Does anybody have second thoughts? Plz let us know and don't be shy..
MM


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Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Reply #12 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.  :-\


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Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Reply #13 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


Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Reply #14 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  :)



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