• How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
  • Started by Mar T.
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Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Reply #60 on: November 18, 2017, 14:52:04
« Last Edit: November 18, 2017, 14:55:09 by M57 »
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.


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Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Reply #61 on: November 18, 2017, 15:13:27
« Last Edit: November 18, 2017, 15:15:35 by MichaelA »
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!)  ;)
If you like novels with a musical theme, why not try 'Sixth Beatle - When Music Changed The World', easily found on Amazon and Google. It is amazing, although as the author I may be biased!


Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Reply #62 on: November 18, 2017, 16:28:55
« Last Edit: November 19, 2017, 13:15:37 by DanJames »
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...


Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Reply #63 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.


Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Reply #64 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


Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Reply #65 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.

Bill
Songwriter, Keyboards, Arranger, Producer & Engineer for November Sound

November Sound is based on the Mother, Father & Son musical trio of Melissa, Bill & Will. I'm the father so anything I post will have my wife singing and/or my son playing percussion.


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Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Reply #66 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:
 
I'm proud of this track, check it out! https://soundcloud.com/martimedia/dreams


Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Reply #67 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


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Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Reply #68 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.
 


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Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Reply #69 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.

"The main thing is to have a gutsy approach....but use your head." Julia Child

 "In a world of robotic conformity, the only originality left in music is the imperfections" Eric Craptone

"Special thanks to Steve Gleason for making me who I am today." Leonard Scaper

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Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Reply #70 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.


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Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Reply #71 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.

 


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Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Reply #72 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.


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Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Reply #73 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.



Re: How do we provide helpful feedback to each other?
Reply #74 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::



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