Three Elements of Good Feedback

I uploaded a new version of “The Renters Are Coming” after receiving some valuable feedback from a friend. If you already downloaded the first version, consider yourself the proud owner of a sneak preview of the MT Promise Unreleased Archives box set.

As a musician or artist, it’s important to get good feedback.

What made my friend’s feedback so valuable to me?

1. It came from a source whose expertise I respected.

My friend is a great musician and released an album that I think is killer. Because I respect his expertise, I was more willing to try what he was suggesting.

2. The criticisms were specific enough to be actionable.

My friend told me that he thought the vocals came in late on the intro and that the snare drum and high hats were too low in the mix. These comments were more useful than if he had said “I don’t like the intro or the drums,” because I knew how to address what he did not like.

3. The comments included specific positive feedback as well.

I like to think I can receive criticism without taking it personally. Even so, I always feel some hurt when my work is criticized. Especially when I know the criticism is valid. It is with very shaky scaffolding that I support my ego enough each day to feel like I’m an artist with something worthwhile to say. When I am criticized, I question whether I am capable of pulling off whatever it is I am attempting. If I let the resistance control my inner dialogue, the scaffolding starts to shake and I doubt if it is strong enough to support the audacious fraud that I am.

My friend pointed out in detail the parts of the song he liked. This specific, positive feedback stabilized my confidence. His positive comments made me feel like the song had some merits and that it was worth improving its weaknesses. It also let me know what not to change. I’ve had other reviewers of my work deliver feedback by starting with a general positive comment before making any criticisms. I believe their intention was to soften the blow of the criticism. This approach shook my confidence, however, because vague compliments do not feel sincere (“your song has a great personality”).

Sorry for the self-help style post, but I thought this was the best way to give thanks for the valuable feedback. And to encourage getting more in the future!

One Response to Three Elements of Good Feedback
  1. rgbeach
    April 13, 2011 | 9:22 pm

    You are forgetting what an “audacious fraud” your friend is…

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