Author Topic: January, 2019: How would you like your feedback?  (Read 292 times)

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sandalwood

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January, 2019: How would you like your feedback?
« on: January 02, 2019, 10:33:05 AM »
Beginning the new year, it might be useful to review whether we are making the best of a very central function of the forum: posting works for the scrutiny, appreciation and critique of the members and learning from the provided feedback. Below are some questions I could think of to serve as possible discussion points. Please feel free to formulate and discuss other points, as well.

What is the difficult side of commenting on a posted work? Could you be convincing yourself to take the less burdensome way of finding nothing "less than optimal" or improvable in the posted works? How, when commenting on a work, to strike the right balance so that the poster  neither faces unjustified discouragement nor falls into ungrounded complacency? Do you think the poster would invariably benefit from a more detailed and committed commentary? Which do you think is worse: to suffer some unjustified negative remarks and unproductive suggestions or to miss them all, really useful and edifying ones included? How about remarking on matters of taste (as far as they can be isolated from the more tangible factors like form, harmony, melody, etc), is that a "no go zone"; what's the best way to articulate such commentary? What kind of feedback do you most appreciate receiving yourself, as to content, level of detail, etc?
« Last Edit: February 02, 2019, 07:41:03 PM by sandalwood »

whitebark

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Re: How would you like your feedback?
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2019, 12:37:24 PM »
What an interesting and complex topic this is!  Criticism and negative feedback is a tricky subject in particular. The best approach, I think, is to limit negative feedback to one or two specific items per post, unless extremely specific things are involved, such as wrong notes and engraving mistakes.  A method of fixing the problem should be offered if it isn't clear. Overly general complaints such as, "Your piece stinks!", should be avoided (this group is good about avoiding this sort of criticism).  Specific feedback items, such as'"You have parallel intervals in measure 143" , are good and helpful. 

-Jay

tbmartin

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Re: How would you like your feedback?
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2019, 01:00:52 PM »
How do I like my feedback? On the rocks with a twist, with a side of wings (not too spicy), chips and salsa. Thanks for asking.

I'd prefer that people not censor themselves too much. Beyond that, I generally use these thoughts as a guide as I submit feedback, so I guess that's how I'd like to receive it:

If I really dislike the style of a piece, such that I find it difficult to even listen to, I rarely say anything.

If I don't prefer the style but I can stick with it and listen to the whole thing, I will sometimes comment on technical issues such as "That Saxophone trill is essentially unplayable," or give some stylistic feedback such as "I really like the sense of motion and instability, that finally comes to rest".   I might ask questions such as "Why did you do ____?" 

My formal music theory and compositional training is minimal so I avoid commenting on that, but I may well ask a question about it.

I try to pay attention to anything the poster has said to ignore. Example, if the poster says "I haven't edited the layout or engraving" then I do my best to ignore it. Likewise, if the poster requests feedback on a specific item, I try to address it specifically. This can be hard to do in the "in process" parts of the forum, especially if the piece is very "drafty," but speaking personally, as more of a novice, I tend to post pieces much earlier than others on the forum. Sometimes the comments I've received are on aspects I've specifically said to ignore because I'm vetting a different aspect of the piece. 
Terence Martin

Tools: Finale 2003 on Windows XP
Day job: Actuary
Composing/Arranging output: mostly sax quartets
http://bit.ly/TerenceMartinSaxArranger
Goal: Improve quantity and quality of concert band compositions.
Play: Saxophones (all, but tenor primary), Bass Clarinet, Piano (poorly)

sandalwood

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Re: How would you like your feedback?
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2019, 07:25:03 PM »
I try to pay attention to anything the poster has said to ignore. Example, if the poster says "I haven't edited the layout or engraving" then I do my best to ignore it. Likewise, if the poster requests feedback on a specific item, I try to address it specifically. This can be hard to do in the "in process" parts of the forum, especially if the piece is very "drafty," ... Sometimes the comments I've received are on aspects I've specifically said to ignore because I'm vetting a different aspect of the piece.

I totally agree this is an important point.

Jerry Engelbach

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Re: How would you like your feedback?
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2019, 02:30:27 PM »

Reha, you certainly covered all bases.
 
If I don't like a piece or it just doesn't appeal to me I don't comment on it.
 
If there's something about it that engages me but it seems flawed I'll refer to the flaws and try to offer something constructive. I have to assume that people are serious and are trying as hard as possible to produce something worthwhile.
 
However, there's little point in acting thin-skinned if one posts a piece for everyone to listen to and it falls flat. If all that is wanted is approval, well, there's always a doting mother.
 
Frankly, when I love what someone has done I'm awed almost speechless and have to struggle to say something that's not conventional and banal. One can only say "Wow!" a limited number of times before it sounds worn. An acting teacher I studied with had one of three critiques in reaction to student work: "very good," " excellent," or "beautiful." Naturally, after a while the code became clear: "very good" was not very good.
 
For my own work, I welcome whatever anyone has to say. if I don't agree it doesn't matter. Even if a critique or suggestion seems wrong-headed it's better just to accept it without reacting. We play to an audience, and if they aren't philistines they're entitled to their judgment.
 
Cheers,
Jer
Finale 26
GPO 5
JABB 3
iMac Mojave

sandalwood

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Re: How would you like your feedback?
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2019, 06:13:11 PM »
I don't know how I completely forgot we had a similar topic some years back.

http://www.composeforums.com/index.php?topic=1015.msg11207#msg11207

Many well-thought ideas on how best to remark/comment on posted works.