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ronws
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How to receive criticism.
 
This is more for myself than anyone else, though I hope it helps others. There are many aspects to what a criticism means. And every bit of it has to do with how you, the recipient of the review, react to it.
 
At times, I have reacted to a criticism by explaining things I thought may not have been apparent to the reviewer. And realized later that not only did I seem defensive but I was missing a key point. Though I may have thought it was great, others did not. 
 
The audience only hears what he or she hears. And it doesn't matter if the "audience" doesn't have the right appreciation or attitude toward your music, or does. Which also leads to the flip side of the coin . I can very well be filtering what I hear in the present, as well as in playback, through my own mentality, imagination, what have you. What really brought this realization home is that in this year of 2014, I have spent quite a bit of time watching the failures and rejections on shows like X Factor, BGT, AGT, AI, etcetera. More than once, a judge said, "maybe they were hearing themselves differently than we hear them."
 
I have imagined, as maybe we all have, being there and doing our thing. I would certainly be shot down in flames.
 
And that could happen, even in playback of a recording. That is, even though it is said that you should record and play back, sometimes your, or maybe my own, psychology may still be influencing perception. What am I hearing? And does it bear any relation to what others are hearing? You cannot hear yourself as others hear you and it is not just because you hear yourself with bone conduction.
 
And what about song choice? I am more guilty than anyone of choosing songs to do that are not a match to my voice, especially if considering the original singer of a well-known song. There is no escaping comparison and to wish that others would not compare is a fool's errand. Which has not stopped me from doing so.
 
I have the range to do just about any song I care to do. But that does not mean that  I should, other than just the enjoyment of singing. But, joking aside, I am trying to avoid using my voice as an assault weapon. Ron - AR15 - ws. (with a 30 round mag and a 50x laser sight.)  B)
 
Is there a standard of singing against which to compare everyone? Who's standard and by who's definition? Lou Reed has been on pitch a few times, probably by accident, yet he is being inducted into the RARHOF.
 
But for the sake of this forum and this post, let us say there are some standards of singing to be expected here. Pitch accuracy and appropriate tone. Don't be surprised if you get judged according to those. Because you don't have to be here. I don't have to be here. I don't have to post a single recording. And many valuable members here do not post recordings where as I have lost count of how many things I have posted since May 2010.
 
First, let's err on the side of the singer. Let us say that you sang well and still got panned, or maybe no reaction at all. Okay, doesn't mean that you won't be a success somewhere else. Consider the audience. Maybe you or I want the approval and applause of fellow nit-picky singers, a forum full of Simons, Sharons, Louises. That's good, too, though not always a predictor of success in the world of professional recording and release.
 
Or vice versa. I usually get applause when singing live for friends and strangers. Then, again, to be fair, they are not singing experts, many are not even musicians as I am. Probably half the time, they are in various states of inebriation, since I have played at parties, karaoke, warming up for a band who's members were friends of mine while they were setting up the rest of their gear. Or applause just because I have the chutzpah to get up and sing.
 
At least I didn't get run off. But, as you can see by my pic, maybe they are afraid and are waiting for me to get tired and go away, without confrontation. Or, a case of it's not amazing that a bear dances a waltz, but that the bear dances, at all.  :unsure:
 
As opposed to here. Only two people from this forum have met me in person. Former moderator Aaron. He has family here in Texas and we got to meet and make his mother think I ran over the dog! (Long story, some other time.) The rest of you do not know me and will never be able to hear me singing in the same room with you, in case I wanted to blame it on mics, my atrocious recording and mixing skills (which I am working on improving, please believe me,) and whatever else. All that you can hear is what is in the recording and whatever you are listening to for a file player.
 
The other person is my real brother, slstone, because we grew up together though it has been many years since we have visited and we live in different areas of the country.
 
And rather than blame whatever critique on the state of technology and the lossy format of mp3, I certainly need to account for that.
 
Someone says you are off pitch, whether you thought you were, or not. It is what they are hearing. Maybe you had good pitch but the tonality was different and the only thing they know how to say is "pitchy." Doesn't matter. They are hearing something that you have not heard. Fix it, or don't, as you see fit. Because here is the most important part.
 
You do not have to get defensive. And I point the finger at myself more than I would anyone else. How could someone not appreciate the awesomeness of my singing? Quite easily, apparently, from time to time. Getting defensive doesn't help. It doesn't make someone like your singing, now. It doesn't help you improve or change, assuming you need improvement or changing.
 
All the times someone argued with Simon Cowell, not once did it make him now appreciate their singing or noise. And to be fair, he is a good judge of talent. His odds-on favorite was Adam Lambert, who did not win, but has gone on to success with solo albums and now being the legitimate singer for Queen. And all the other winners don't have near the notoriety or are in the public eye past the end of the show's season.
 
Or, you take the advice of the review. Make some changes. And a lot of times, that works to your benefit. Some of my better achievements have been from taking advice and actually using it. One time, it was to raise the key and that worked out well. Another time, it was to lower the key and that also worked out well. Even though we pride ourselves as singers to sing in the original key of the song, pro production is about getting the right sound from your voice. Bzean linked in a free audit course on recording production and the award-winning producer, who has also been a judge on some of these talent shows said, right of the bat, they will try a song for an album in different keys until he hears something in the singer's voice that sounds right. It's not about getting the highest note ever by a human, unless that is what the particular song needs.
 
Other times, the advice has been, at least to me, to choose wisely what song and arrangment I am going to use, which can also involve key change. And that has worked out well and I continue to work on being more choosy. Just because I like singing a song does not mean that my performance is going to work for it, even to my own satisfaction, as I have been discovering with a few songs I have worked on recently.
 
And for that, I have been taking the advice of recording professionals. First, record as best you can and then leave it alone. Your ears have become saturated. Come back another time and mix. Let it set. Come back another time and pretend you have just turned on the radio. Does it sound right? I have done all those things and the song is still not sounding right but at least I am taking past critiques to heart.
 
Which will not save me from receiving poor reviews, later. But I am learning.
 
Third option, discard all the advice. What you or I did was just fine. Not everyone will be a fan, here or out in the big wide world.
 
In any case, I have found that best response in myself and others is to thank people for their review and the time they took to listen. Or more precisely, to even comment. Many is the time I posted a song and received one or two comments, usually good and be happy with that.
 
Other times, no comments at all. That is okay. Sometimes, "no news is good news." Nothing was so bad for someone to say, "please, for the sake of humanity, stop that."
 
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Tough love or sugar-coat?
 
How does one give a review? If the whole thing has problems, a reviewer has a few choices.
 
First option is to not respond at all. Let it go to obscurity as newer posts come along. Assuming that option is not chosen and someone chooses to comment ...
 
I think there is tough love without having to be rude. We can be as choosy as Simon Cowell without the acerbic wit, which was more for tv ratings than to help. "Even if you were the only one to enter this competition, you would not win" is my favorite Simon zinger.
 
So, someone puts up a song. And everything is out of tune. Either he is carrying a melody line that is not relating to the music or there is no good interval and the melody line would not match anything in any key. Nothing wrong with saying, "Dude, you are all over the place." Followed by advice ranging from exact procedures to the simple advice to get a coach and some lessons.
 
What I am saying is don't hold back on an important piece of advice but also, be as accurate as possible. Granted, we are not all singing experts and may lack enough vocabulary to express an advice, but give an idea, if possible, what can be done to help and improve.
 
And I am not against tough love, which I prefer to see as honesty but I think I can do so without being offensive, at least intentionally. I think, in times past, I have given advice and probably came off as pompous and that was not my intent but even I perceive that, accurate or not, when I read some of my old posts. And wonder some times, if I had hurt feelings doing so.
 
Personally, I am one of those people who, the more I learn, the more I realize what I don't know. But anyway, so, if a person's performance is unredeemable, I think it helps to remember, for me, that not everyone will agree with my review.
 
And that is okay. Let it go. Everyone has an opinion. What if I give a review and the singer doesn't like it or gets defensive or says, fine, but I am still going to do this? What then?
 
Don't argue. You, or I, have already given an opinion. That being said, I am not a singing expert and I don't have reputation to uphold as a reviewer. Plenty of people have thought me to be right, or wrong, and still the world turns.
 
And if someone puts up a really good effort, it is okay to applaud that, it really is. Just because someone posts here does not mean he needs something fixed. That is, as a review, your or I don't have to post a response only if we can find something wrong that needs fixing.
 
As far as not responding, there are plenty of songs I have not commented on. Either I am not into the style, or I don't care for the song in any form or fashion. Or, it is so problematic and I don't know where to start and hope that the lack of response is, of itself, a critique by means of embarrassing silence, followed by the sound of chirpping crickets.
 
Or, I don't have the time. Something I should have included in how to receive a review is to address impatient posters who post a song and an hour later are throwing the equivalent of a fit by wondering why no one has commented?
 
Some, like myself, have busy lives with work and personal life and just don't have the time to listen to or read everything.
 
Also, and I get tripped up by this, too, try to remember that not everyone understands your words and what they meant. Maybe English is not your first language. People may not understand your use of it. English is my first language and I still can have problems with it.
 
So, maybe it's a fine balance. TOS would prohibit character assassination or ad hominem attacks. Ad hominem is where you can't answer the question and attack the character of another as proof his point is wrong.
 
Some discussion was made a year or so ago that giving sugar-coated reviews was doing a disservice to singing. Telling someone they were doing fine was not helping to improve that person or to maintain standards of singing. To that, I would say, I don't think I have seen much of any sugar-coated review that was completely erroneus. That is, it is okay, I think, to mention what seemed right, as well as what seemed wrong. I won't bore peole with operant conditioning, again. That did hurt some feelings.
 
Point being, we learn faster not only by being told no or stop, but also what direction to go in.
 
If I give a review and there were some problems, the singer may ask in response for some help or ideas. Well, now, it is upon me, at least in my sense of responsibility, to to respond to that in as helpful a manner as I can manage. I gave the review, the least I can do is try to help. It beats the daylights out him, the other guy, getting defensive.
 
And then, let it go. Someone may disagree with my review in bits or in its entirety. That's okay, too. Let it go.
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I think there should be a rule that anyone who wants to post something should first discuss at least three posts . I am new to the forum, but personally I have set myself this rule. Or they could have some presets for those who do not dare to comment ; an anonymous score , for example. Anything seems more illuminating than silence ...

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I like a lot of your thoughts on these subjects. For me, whenever I critique things, I personally don't think there is a true definitive standard 'good or bad' or 'right or wrong.' People have different opinions, but to me those are 'subjective standards' placed on art. I think it's destructive to art to make a value judgment in this way. I'm a staunch non conformist when it comes to 'socially enforced' standards of 'proper' artforms. It's Stalinist. I'm a rebel to the bone. 

 

I think it's fair to say some sounds are more commercial or popular. It's fair to say some sounds resonate with me more emotionally. It's fair to say whether someone is using a known techniques skillfully. It's fair to say if a note sounds more less out of tune. It's fair to say if it is too much or too little for you.

 

But there is a point in critique where something transcends feedback, to becoming a 'value judgment.' And for American Idol, this value judgment aspect has a little more credibility, mainly because they have to finance you, market you, and record your stuff.

 

I listen to Lou Reed every week. I'm a fan of some of the Velvet stuff, self titled, Berlin, Transformer, Coney Island Baby, He's of my favorites and a big part is because he doesn't sing with perfect turning. But on the flip side, I've never listened to a single American Idol CD. It doesn't connect with me at all. It's how I hear things.

 

Something I wanted point out that is strange, is Bono chimed here, and a lot of times I'm more for like dirtier, grungier, looser, rawer, artistic stuff. And  you took my tastes, a lot of times it leans heavily into the artistic side of commercial music. He was pretty polished, honestly. He's more skilled than I am, imo. A little accent here and there. Maybe American Idol would be xenophobic, but Argentinan Idol, would at least accept his first audition. Range, power, on key, emoting. But at the same time, I was the guy that responded to him. I guess he kind of slipped into obscurity, maybe randomly. I got a listen to the guy, and he had some 80s drums going on maybe, it wasn't an 80s night.

 

So it's not really 'silence means you're half a step off key all the time, and would be laughed off stage, stop sucking or go home!'

 

As an artist and a listener, I don't care about rules. If I was going to put a million dollars into marketing a singer, nationally and risk losing it, I might care more about rules too. So to me, critique has more to do with what an artist wants, how I hear it, how these might be different, but for others maybe it's Idol or nothin. It's an interesting topic, Ronws, and I agree being able to take constructive feedback is good, even if you simply discard it and form the new Velvet Underground.

 

I'm in a pretty good place at the moment to be able to hear it. Awhile back, I had health problems and literally couldn't speak much, much less sing so at the time it was too heart breaking and I just left. But I got those health problems partially addressed enough, I can at least sing. There are still barriers here and there.

 

So if I want to cover Lou Reed, no one responds, or is like 'get out here out tune guy!!' I can take it dude. I'll probably still cover my Lou Reed tunes. I just took a little Walk on the wild side recently, personally. If they were to criticize my health, I'll try to let it roll off, but it hurts. Stick with the singing, right? That's what I'm trying to do.

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Good points, Killer. And I was not excusing pitchiness or bad phrasing, both of which I have been guilty of. And I am not excusing bad pitch or phrasing on the basis of "artistic expression."

 

What I am saying is that how we react to that can either help or hinder. And I become more crucially aware of what I am doing. I listen to one of the covers I am working on and I can hear my phrasing is all wonky. Not to make the original a hard and fast rule but I can see where my mistakes are taking away from the song. And rather than simply chalk it up to artistic rendition, I choose to change it. 

 

But even if I had posted and someone else had said these things, it is in my best interest to not get defensive or explain myself away. We cannot control the audience. Whether that audience is a room full of drunk partiers or a forum of exacting fellow singers who will spot the most quickest and singular off-pitch note.

 

And some might disagree with me and say a singer can do any song he wants to do and be able to mimick that sound, exactly. And that is okay.

 

Or someone thinks that the way I end some notes is diminutive or should be stronger to the end, even if my intention was to have the note soften. Rather than defend my artistic choice, and it is a choice of mine, better to simply accept the review and if I want to keep doing what I am doing, so be it. Some lonely lady in a retirement home somewhere will like it ...  :lol:  darn it, I just made myself laugh. Ronws on his tour sponsored by Geritol. ("I'm not just the president, I am also a client.")

 

And I have had different people hear the same note and have two different conclusions from it.

 

What I am saying is to accept the review, good and bad.

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Yeah, Ronws, sometimes people sing out of tune, unintentionally, and it still happens to me, personally, so don't feel bad if it's happening to you. Gaining more control over pitch is a goal that can be worked on, right?

 

But at the same time, there's no reason to not appreciate artists where they are now or bludgeon them for not being robotically on pitch all the time. And I'm glad not everyone sings perfectly in tune. It adds an element of chaos, unpredictability, and excitement to my ears when pitch isn't a thing I'm able to predict. As an artist, I still aim for trying to figure out the 'exact right amount of improper ' I can slip into a piece of art, without alienating everyone on the planet, 100 percent of the time, right?

 

I think accidents are a really big part of what makes art relateable and human, but if you're slipping past Reed in pitch, its gonna be a struggle getting an audience. And to be realistic, a bunch of trained singers aren't going to be Reed's biggest fans on average. To use a comparison: I'm a guitar player and if I go to a guitar forum, there's a really good chance a huge portion of people are trying to play 900 notes per second, and sitting around bashing Cobain for his 'crappy guitar technique. So few notes per second. So little accuracy! Terrible guitar player!' I've seen this hundreds and hundreds of times.

 

But those notes sold millions more album than Satriani ever will, and to my ears Satriani sounds relatively 'tasteful' compared other shredders. So it's probably a bit of both, when you get guitar players gathered, they talk about moving fingers fingers fast and very accurately! When you gather vocalists they talk about moving vocal tracts high and fast with extreme accurately! Yet the average listener just 'hears' sound. Before he died, Reed gave a  pretty famous review, he said, he just 'hears a sound, it's either moving or it's not"

 

http://thetalkhouse.com/music/talks/lou-reed-of-the-velvet-underground-talks-kanye-wests-yeezus/

 

It's always been a personal goal of mine to retain as much purity of hearing 'sound' as innocently as I can. As a guitar player, I don't hear fingers. As a vocalist I don't hear vocal tracts contracting, air exhaling, and vocal folds vibrating to manipulate to a defined sound frequency. As someone who has done mixing, I don't listen to to sound spectrums. First thing I do is just listen for sound. As much like an untrained person with as little knowledge as possible. And it either moves me or it doesn't, right?

 

After that happens, I can try to intellectually backtrack to see if some of my intellect could steer either myself or someone else towards a sound they are looking for. I've got a pretty good idea of what sounds are in my preference palette, but other people's palettes are distinct and interesting as well, so my tastes aren't what is most useful to other artists.

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Good thoughts, again, guys. And I would like to point out that I think Killer responded well in the raw vocals thread when a reviewer noted that he was flat in a few places. His response, in a few paraphrased words, yes you are right about that and then he went on to other things. The upshot being, he can change that performance, leave it as is, he can justify with his sense of artistry, all of which is valid. And he did it all without being defensive or combative.

 

And I would say that one will consider the audience wisely, one way or another. The audience of this forum expects at least relative pitch accuracy. Expect "pitchy" to be part of the review. And that you have done something well when it is not part of the review. The last several songs I have posted, no one has mentioned that I was pitchy. I take that as a sign that I have improved at least one thing. For me, pitch accuracy is a goal and part of my artistic expression. 

 

Cool blog, Ronald. And many is the time here where a review, supposedly technical, is really aesthetic.I remember one song I did where the final analysis was that I was pitch perfect, better pitch than the original singer, playing a step lower total cold shot sight-read, than the original but the problem was I do not sound like the original singer. And so, the critique was that I had chosen the wrong song for my voice. My articulation was different.

 

And just to show differences of opinion, I thought I did okay but a few others didn't think so. Even though I had done some things technically correct. The end result is what the audience hears. I have been singing a long time and it can be humbling to realize that I can still make basic mistakes.

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    Nice topic Ronws. I haven't had much of a chance to browse the forum lately.

    I think people have their own reasons for posting and asking for a critique of some kind. So the first thing would be be to process what kind of feedback they are looking for. That is hard to do if not given any clues other than the performance itself.

   Some find a problem with telling a beginner who is pitchy and the tone is all over the place that he did a good job and in the same days worth of posts he writes that someone with near perfect pitch and tone to die for that you noticed places that were not perfect or that you just do not like it.

  Sometimes tone and pitch are not the issue. Breaking through the barrier of holding back because you know you have issues and are afraid to be heard is one of the first problems with new singers, Of course you also have the opposite of that, where the person thinks they are fantastic and has no problems what so ever, It may be helpful to that person to let him know there are issues and how he can hear them for himself.

   I am not saying to tell someone who sounds horrible that they are great, only to let him know that improvement can be made and maybe point in the right direction.

  Some just want to sing for themselves and just want to be good enough to sing for friends others are looking for fame and recording contracts. The latter should be given a tougher critique because the stakes are much higher. A little pitchiness makes a big difference.

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I've been thinking a lot since this thread. There was a time before my health problems where I had potential to become a reliable live performer. I'd have liked to have polished my guitar/drums/bass/piano playing, voice and songwriting, and find an engineer to make more 'accessable' sounding music. Not with the aims of being commercial necessarily, but of having the music heard.

 

I've come to the realization now, that I think I want to make artistic statements that are flawed and broken like me. It doesn't seem to be my goal for anyone to hear them, much less like them. So I guess I changed.

 

My current goals aren't very useful for technical critique however. To explain how, I can use an analogy. With a painting, I can draw a broken vase. The vase obviously doesn't function properly, water would leak out. It's 'cracked.' It wont' work as intended. The viewer understands this scene and may feel emotions like loss, emptiness, sorrow, futility, inevitability, or so forth.

 

Yet if I were to make a similar artistic statement with music, and were to put a 'crack in the music, a section where it doesn't work right anymore, the question is inevitably 'why is there a crack in that song? The music sounds broken.' The meaning is lost in translation.

 

I understand the scientific reasons why putting a crack in a song (pitch, rhythm, volume, etc) repels listeners while putting a crack in a painting does not. Pitch, rhythm, volume can repel ears in ways mere color does not repel the eye. But as an artist, I still want the cracks there, even if they repel listeners.

 

So yeah, it's not really useful for technical critique. I think I can try to help others try to achieve their goals to some small degree, but I might be on my own with mine. There isn't much of a market for broken vases and fixing them kind of defeats the purpose. I guess at this point in my life, I'll never be the fully functional one, so the authentic one left to make is the broken one.

 

In light of that, I probably won't be posting much for critique, there's nothing much that can be done. But I'll pop in and help you guys out if I can.

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As a poster on these forums I actively seek feedback and I will be honest to admit I don't know enough to give a detailed technical feedback.   :D

 

I think most of us subconsciously expect a certain degree of encouragement and if we do get criticism, we want the criticism to help us improve.  In one of my earlier posts, one of the reviewers pointed out that I had an issue with shallow breathing and unsupported voice.  This was one of the most important things that was suggested to me.  On an another occasion, there was a really good feedback that I got on cord closure, specifically on low notes.  This was again a very good feedback and something concrete I could work on.  I try to make an effort to take any feedback well and I honestly know very little compared to folks on this forum.  

 

There are other occasions when I get feedback on the lines of not suiting my voice for e.g. I have had the same song which have been appreciated by certain folks and others do not find it good at all.  Feedback honestly depends upon the level of knowledge of the reviewer, the goals that a person seeks for themselves and stylistic choices. Because of this, feedback tends to be very diverse from folks.  

 

As a person who wants feedback, I tend to take a more philosophical view on things that I cannot explain or things that I don't understand.  It is perfectly fine for people to not like my voice or my voice on a certain style of music, or my interpretation of a song or simply anything.  We all have very subjective tastes when it comes to us.  Why should the same not apply for our music?  We can't please everyone, at the same time, we must seek out things that can help us improve.  

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There isn't much of a market for broken vases

 

Louis Amstrong found a way to make a beatiful thing from his vocal problems... surely he would have been a mess in the opera, and I guess he would not have been happy with the feedbacks of this forum if he would have posted covers of soundgarden or Adele.. 

 

 

 

 We can't please everyone, at the same time

 

You are right! we aren´t a jar of nutella  :D

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    I remember my first post here. I may have even posted to the technique section. I posted two examples of "Take it on the Run" through the first chorus .  The first one full voice. High note is G4 which I could not sing,Always a little flat. And the other with that G4 in falsetto. The main comments were "You are a little flat on the full voice version and the falsetto was on pitch but it sounds weak.

    I was thinking "No $%^T" that's why I posted:  to find out why I am flat  on full voice and IF falsetto was the way to sing that phrase  HOW to make it stronger.

   Fortunately there were those who could steer me in the right direction giving advice about support,resonance and Vowel modification.... I think I have improved but even when Pitch and tone are not an issue you still get those who will not like a performance.

   Even if there is something not technical that is rubbing you the wrong way at least give the reason for not liking it.

A little too fast....A little too slow..... No emotion/wrong emotion.......Boring...... whatever but please give a reason and some suggestion to help the problem.

   If the person really did something for effect and Artistic licence.... he/she can accept or reject the opinions given.

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I think that is also a healthy part of criticism and what we think about it. To also examine what is our desire or goal.

 

I totally get you, Killer. You could very well be the next Lou Reed. Art by heart, rather than paint by numbers. And true, maybe it won't get as much traction, here or in other forums. But it will somewhere. And that is part of considering the audience.

 

There are some songs I like to do that do NOT have the highest or lowest note in my range. Not "athetlic". I just happen to really like a song and it falls in the middle of my range or even toward the lower end. And still requires care in execution. Pitch accuracy, for me, is important at every note and I fear sometimes that people think because the song did not rise above A4, it must not be challenging or relevant. Or my song choice is so obscure that that chirpping crickets is the reply because no one is familiar with it. And it's not just because I am old. Just good songs that not a lot of people have heard that meant something to me.

 

Sometimes, I will still post songs like that because I have one or two people that have listened to something else besides "Don't Stop Believin'."

 

At the same time, I realize, too, there is something of a standard to measure to here and I hope to meet that standard.

 

But in the end, it is still the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune ...

 

Once more, into the abyss ...

 

Lay on, lay on, MacDuff and cursed be he who first cries, Hold! Enough! ...

 

And to also to reply to Aravind's post. He is another example of how someone reacts constructively to criticism. If  you can give him an idea of what to do, he will do it diligently and come back stronger and better.

 

I used to crash notes. Deflection downward in pitch at the end of a word or phrase. And one fellow member pointed that out to me. And that was enough to cure me of it. Just little things like that.

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  • 1 month later...

Re-reading this thread and thought I would throw some thoughts in.

As most here know, it's not often that I give a review, and my bro, ronws, points out

very effectively the defensive stance most people take.

I very much agree with the tough love approach. Why?

Most people post here to get feedback on where to improve.

It is nice when people accept the advice and use it to better themselves.

There are a few who have come a long way in improving over the last

few years...(Igor)...and there are those who still need a lot of work.

I am a pro. I have spent many years honing my musical skills to write and play,

learning to record and mix(not just my own album, but for others whom I have

recorded and mixed in my studio). I listen to a lot of people, both recorded and live

performances. I have also spent years developing pitch and technique.

 

I would give honest reviews for people, but I think I would probably make a few

enemies in the process. I have seen some posts here, that I thought were really

bad, but everyone who commented thought it sounded great. So sometimes I wonder

if I am listening with the wrong ears...lol, or is everyone else not hearing what I am hearing?

 

I think personally, I could help a few people if I gave reviews, but sometimes people need

a little more pointed advice at which point they look at you/me and say, "Well, what makes

you such an expert?"

 

And bro, at least you are honest enough to admit to your own defensiveness, i.e. our collaboration.

I see that you are trying to change your thinking in that regard, which shows we can all make

progress in becoming better at all we do.

 

Now if you don't want critique, then maybe we need a place here in the forum for showcasing

material rather than posting for critique. That would be my suggestion for the day to improve

the forum.

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I don't think there is going to be a separate section for showcasing. For one thing, Review is just that. Second, even if a song was in a "showcase" section, people would still comment and critique. So, you get it all in one section. Unless you are trying to say the showcase section would be free of critique, which won't happen. There are channels on youtube of guys sharing their misgivings about movies, songs, artists, etcetera, when no one asked them to do it.

 

Changing my thinking, that is what I do, every day, and not for the approval of others or for someone to say "good boy" and scratch behind my ear. It's because it's the right thing to do. And I am not getting younger and wasting energy is just that, wasting energy. But what has helped me is that I truly realize how much I don't know, how easy it is for someone to misunderstand what I mean.

 

I don't have to be an expert. For the time and energy I have, what I need to do is sing well on songs that fit my style and expression and record them well. Leave the being expert thingy to others. And here is the important part, for me. When someone wants to present themselves as more full of knowledge or having a superior perspective, I don't need to tilt at that windmill, to borrow from Man of La Mancha. I let that other person be the expert, the sage on high, the one handing out "good boy." That's a heavy responsibility, right there, being a god. Pay stinks, the hours are long, and you eventually get replaced by another god.

 

Just the same, to get back to perspective in receiving critique. What if a person gives criticism and they are not as knowledgable or experienced or whatever qualifiers we might impose before we "respect" his or her opinion? Doesn't matter. You don't choose the audience. If you play in public, anyone could happen by, with no experience to a lot of experience. A person who doesn't know a lot or may not be an accomplished singer, himself, says, in so many words, "I don't like it." That's fair, because it is an opinion, and it is up to you, the performer, as to how you process that information.

 

Reviews that would probably hurt feelings, it never stopped anyone else. Most of the singers here are not pro, do not have literally a studio fit with recording gear, in a studio they have built themselves. Some are just lucky to have a cellphone they can record on.

 

Harsh reviews of performances every one else liked. It has happened before. I have done a few songs that got applause from almost everyone and one person or another would come in and "rip it to shreds," so to speak. It happens and I have survived. Because I don't take it personally, which has been a personal growth thing, for me.

 

On the other hand, the value of this forum is so that singers can get reviews from fellow singers. They don't have to pay for a review. And even though I have suggested to someone that they should record something pro and release it, that doesn't mean they should. Let's say that I wrote something I wanted to release. I would just go to a producer and get it produced. A producer who has done it before and can list actually released sales. And most likely what he would tell me or advise me is different than what we talk about, here.

 

I think I mentioned it before but I think it is also important, when giving a review, if someone doesn't like what I said, defensiveness on my part will still not help anything. Where I might say, this is not the song for you, or sing it a different way, or, you were off-pitch. And they say, "well, fine, but I am going to do it anyway."

 

Cool, go on and have a happy life. I don't have to be an expert or appreciated as one just because I gave a review. 

 

Or, I give a review and someone else has a difference of opinion and makes a point of disagreeing with my opinion? Also fine. I don't have to be an expert. I don't have a dog in that fight.

 

But I do want applause, as does anyone else, when I sing. Sometimes, I get it, sometimes, not. And the world still spins.

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I don't think there is going to be a separate section for showcasing. For one thing, Review is just that. Second, even if a song was in a "showcase" section, people would still comment and critique. So, you get it all in one section. Unless you are trying to say the showcase section would be free of critique, which won't happen. There are channels on youtube of guys sharing their misgivings about movies, songs, artists, etcetera, when no one asked them to do it.

 

Changing my thinking, that is what I do, every day, and not for the approval of others or for someone to say "good boy" and scratch behind my ear. It's because it's the right thing to do. And I am not getting younger and wasting energy is just that, wasting energy. But what has helped me is that I truly realize how much I don't know, how easy it is for someone to misunderstand what I mean.

 

I don't have to be an expert. For the time and energy I have, what I need to do is sing well on songs that fit my style and expression and record them well. Leave the being expert thingy to others. And here is the important part, for me. When someone wants to present themselves as more full of knowledge or having a superior perspective, I don't need to tilt at that windmill, to borrow from Man of La Mancha. I let that other person be the expert, the sage on high, the one handing out "good boy." That's a heavy responsibility, right there, being a god. Pay stinks, the hours are long, and you eventually get replaced by another god.

 

Just the same, to get back to perspective in receiving critique. What if a person gives criticism and they are not as knowledgable or experienced or whatever qualifiers we might impose before we "respect" his or her opinion? Doesn't matter. You don't choose the audience. If you play in public, anyone could happen by, with no experience to a lot of experience. A person who doesn't know a lot or may not be an accomplished singer, himself, says, in so many words, "I don't like it." That's fair, because it is an opinion, and it is up to you, the performer, as to how you process that information.

 

Reviews that would probably hurt feelings, it never stopped anyone else. Most of the singers here are not pro, do not have literally a studio fit with recording gear, in a studio they have built themselves. Some are just lucky to have a cellphone they can record on.

 

Harsh reviews of performances every one else liked. It has happened before. I have done a few songs that got applause from almost everyone and one person or another would come in and "rip it to shreds," so to speak. It happens and I have survived. Because I don't take it personally, which has been a personal growth thing, for me.

 

On the other hand, the value of this forum is so that singers can get reviews from fellow singers. They don't have to pay for a review. And even though I have suggested to someone that they should record something pro and release it, that doesn't mean they should. Let's say that I wrote something I wanted to release. I would just go to a producer and get it produced. A producer who has done it before and can list actually released sales. And most likely what he would tell me or advise me is different than what we talk about, here.

 

I think I mentioned it before but I think it is also important, when giving a review, if someone doesn't like what I said, defensiveness on my part will still not help anything. Where I might say, this is not the song for you, or sing it a different way, or, you were off-pitch. And they say, "well, fine, but I am going to do it anyway."

 

Cool, go on and have a happy life. I don't have to be an expert or appreciated as one just because I gave a review. 

 

Or, I give a review and someone else has a difference of opinion and makes a point of disagreeing with my opinion? Also fine. I don't have to be an expert. I don't have a dog in that fight.

 

But I do want applause, as does anyone else, when I sing. Sometimes, I get it, sometimes, not. And the world still spins.

See what I mean? a few words made you very defensive.

Yes I know everyone doesn't have a studio. Do you think mine was just given to me? Of course not. I worked very hard for a long time to acquire and build it, the same as my skill set.

As far as your response to people taking critique, I think yes they should listen to pros. You mention Simon Cowell. Many people have said to him, "if you think singing is so easy, you get up here and do it." And he doesn't. The record label pays him millions of dollars to critique others. They don't pay him to sing.

 

The point I am getting at is, do people post here because they do want the feedback, to become better? or is it just a place to post their music?

If they are here because they genuinely do want to get better, then it helps when constructive critique is given by someone knowledgeable in the business.

By the tone of your post, people only post here for an audience and nothing more. After all, if someone critiques, and the posting person says, "I don't care what you say, I am going to do it my way anyway", then nobody progresses, and they want nothing more than to showcase their stuff. By the way, were I to post more critiques myself, I base it solely on the skills of the vocalist, not the quality of the recording.

However, I am glad you are passionate about what you feel, but I sense a little animosity in that last post. Just an observation.

And the couple of slams you made there about my having my studio, etc., no big deal, as the main point of this discussion is for people to not be

thin skinned when it comes to what other people say.

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I was not slamming you about having a studio, Scott. I was not being defensive, just trying to keep things on track on how to take a critique. And also, what to expect of newbies coming in here. More than anyone, Others are starting out at where you once were. 

 

Which doesn't mean I am "going easy" on them. I have made a few recent reviews of others where I pointed out the person was out of time and off pitch, throughout the song. I can't be anymore "blunt" than that, though I don't feel the need to be condescending about it to make myself seem superior. A bad note is a bad note. That is part of my seeking to be more helpful. It's not just "good job." Never has been, actually. Though I get the rep of being a softy because I want to find a positive and helpful way to offer advice.

 

And sometimes, I just like the song. Then, again, I like the Rolling Stones and Neil Young, so there may be no accounting for taste, right?  :lol:

 

But I do agree, it helps to grow a thicker hide. I always had a thick hide but I had a quick temper that took me so long to get a handle on. Some days, I am nice to be around.  :ph34r:

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    I am also one who may give out a good job to a somewhat less than stellar performance. I also try to take into account  what problems the poster has had in the past and where he/she is now. Sometimes an awesome tone or delivery will make up for a few bum notes. These are usually for the ones who do not have a polished sound and backing track. 

    And, I would be more critical of one who does have a polished sound and backing track. Why? because the stakes are higher. They are entering the professional stage.

    I cannot say that I am qualified to give advice or critique a sound, performance or song style because I would give a bad review for most of the things I hear on the radio today.....From all genres.  Then again that does not mean that my opinion is not valid because a lot of people that I know feel the same way.

   To answer the question of why do people post here? For myself I know I have problems. If knew how to spot them myself or how to correct them I wouldn't feel the need to be here. But there are others who feel the need to validate their progress. Which also leads back to why I would give a good job to a less than stellar performance......Validating progress. Going from having 50 bum notes to 10 bum notes is progress which in some cases truly deserves a good job.

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I don't think telling people they are doing something terribly motivates them to improve. I also think 'bad' is a subjective value judgment and I tend to think more objectively and use my subjectivity more cautiously. The more objective evidence I've seen seems to show that putting down other people tends to serve to bolster one's own ego about their own social standing within a hierarchical structure. 

 

http://www.livescience.com/16961-sexism-racism-linked-personality.html

 

So in essence, the most pleasurable activity for many would be to think, hmmm 'what I do is gooder' and what others do is 'badder.' That's how group hierarchies are generally formed in social situations.

 

I tend to remove the concept of bad from my critique for this reason. If something resonates with my sensibilities, I'll say so. If there is objective evidence I can find of a way to steer someone towards their own concept of good, I'll try to help. I don't really believe in good or bad. There is mainstream art which appeals to wide audiences, there is increasingly less mainstream art, until theoretically only the artist would like the piece. And there are a whole lot of tastes. I can try to help people reach mainstream goals if that is their intention, if not I could try to help someone achieve a different goal. But I don't believe 'bad' actually exists as a provable concept when people present diversity. There is no harm caused by releasing art that doesn't appeal to me or likely wouldn't appeal to the masses. I don't understand why value judgements are necessary when harm is not caused.

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Im with bono...even tough a review might get to me hard i would still preffer to hear it no matter what it is...silence or the anticipation is killin me more because i self diagnose...for example if i post cover on here...i cant stop thinking about it for the next hour or 2 and keep checking frequently if anyone said anything...

So for me its rather to be told im bad than to not say anything at all...but i think for myself that im a humble fella' and i really dont take any critique to heart but rather as a guidance and incentive for me to fix the problem

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So for me its rather to be told im bad than to not say anything at all...but i think for myself that im a humble fella' and i really dont take any critique to heart but rather as a guidance and incentive for me to fix the problem

There have been times when I posted a song and not a single response. Good, bad, ronws, for the love of humanity stop making that sound -- nope -- nothing.

 

Just the sounds of crickets chirping. Like the time, at my step-daughter's wedding and I requested the dj play Billy Idol's "White Wedding."

 

The dance floor cleared. I sometimes have that way with people. :o

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     Crickets chirping.......been there.   Years ago....Decades ago....I was in a band playing at a graduation party, the band was not ready yet so I thought I would go ahead sing a few acoustic songs......Crickets....... After I was finished several of the people pulled me aside and whispered "I really enjoyed that".

I was thinking "Why the *&^% couldn't you clap or something when I was up there? I felt like a fool.  And why did you have to whisper it now?"   So just because crickets are chirping does not mean that no one enjoyed it.

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