Can I ask you something?
Who do you want to be? Which artist out there do you look at and think ‘I’m want to be like them’?
Have you got it yet? Well do you think they get upset whenever someone tells them their music is bad?
They might, depending on the day they are having, but saying that your music’s ‘bad’ is just criticism. What we’re talking about here is constructive criticism, which is definitely not something that your idols would lose sleep over.
What is constructive criticism?
“Criticism a noun meaning: the expression of disapproval of someone or something based on perceived faults or mistakes.”
“Constructive criticism is the process of offering valid and well-reasoned opinions about the work of others, usually involving both positive and negative comments, in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one.”
Here are two statements that you’re likely to receive after posting a new song on Instagram:
- “Your 808’s are crap”
- “The melody is great, and also the singing. But the snares could do with some fine tuning. Otherwise great job!”
Which is more constructive?
I’ve made it quite easy there, but in many cases it is difficult to distinguish the two.
The thing is, when someone tells you that the thing you’ve been working hard on for the past week ‘could do with some work’, it’s all too easy to get defensive or upset. But this is the wrong way to go about it.
I’m here to give you 7 tips on how to deal with constructive criticism the right way:
Related article: 6 ways to impress music critics and to grow your fan base
1. Stop the emotions from flooding
Whenever someone tells me something I don’t necessarily want to hear, I tend to get emotional quickly, so much that my maturity and manners are irretrievable. But there is a split second in between hearing a nasty comment and getting too emotional where, if you just focus on your breath, you can close the emotional floodgates and clear your head.
The last thing that we want is to feel personally attacked by constructive criticism, so it’s vital to reassure yourself before it’s too late.
2. Remember how beneficial it is
If you didn’t already know, there are two ways of receiving feedback:
- From another person
- From nature
If you ignore advice that will aid in making you a better musician, then nature will make sure that you never do it again. Be it putting you in debt, making you depressed or even making you give up on music.
Listen to what they have to say, because without the people willing to give you negative feedback you have nothing.
Related article: 6 ways you should deal with demotivation
3. Thank them
This is kind of a given, assuming we’ve all been brought up with the slightest idea of what manners are.
They’ve gone out of their way to see you improve, the least you could do for them is to apply what they’ve suggested and of course thank them.
4. Stop viewing mistakes as failures
I’m sure you’ve heard the pretty average saying of “Everyone makes mistakes”, well it’s true. Mistakes are the only way of knowing what’s right and what’s wrong, and very rarely do artists have the luxury of having someone pick them out for you.
5. Ask for specifics
In case you don’t quite understand what advice has been given to you, the best thing to do is ask. The last thing you want is to accidentally make your music worse because you were too emotional to be more specific.
Related article: 7 positive ways for musicians to overcome failure
6. Get a second opinion
Now, of course Jimm12399 from Norwich isn’t exactly the most reliable source of information when it comes to your career. Which is why it’s probably best to have a little more input from different people. If you find a recurring criticism then you’ll be absolutely sure that something needs to be changed.
7. Construct your criticism
After completing the last few tips, you can now safely say that the constructive criticism that you received was worth reading and has made you a better artist in the end.
I’d like to mention that you should keep an eye on whether or not you’re receiving higher engagement after your drastic change in style. This will be the true test of whether it’s worked or not.
So the next time someone gives you an honest piece of advice please don’t lash out, nor ignore them. The most sensible thing is to take it on the chin and learn, for your career’s sake.
Thank you for reading!!