Criticisms or feedback are almost, if not always, taken negatively. We were raised to think that all feedback is negative and that has caused us to think adversely about them. Perhaps this is because of the unhealthy pattern of only giving feedback when we are dissatisfied, but what we fail to see is that feedback and critiques are paramount tools for us to grow both personally and career-wise. When used efficiently these commentaries could give you an edge over other producers and DJs out there.
Here are a few tips you could try on how to get feedback on your track or mix:
It is vital that you are mentally prepared on how you want to receive a feedback on your track/mix. Ask yourself what kind of feedback do you hope for? Do you want a feedback that shows appreciation of your track and you as an artist or would you like a more in-depth feedback that evaluates your track? Being able to recognize what you need will greatly help you with your approach and how to ask the proper questions.
Obviously, when you want a thorough track evaluation, you don’t just run off to your college professor and ask. Instead, you go to a music mentor or someone who’s in the music industry as well, preferably a fellow producer, DJ or industry professional. People who have keen understandings of how these tracks work and have ears that could hear even the slightest mistake on your production.
On the other hand, if you just want to know whether your mix is upbeat enough to make people dance, asking friends regardless of their own music experience can work. To get proper feedback on your productions or mixes you must first know who to ask.
Since you already know the kind of feedback that you want and the person you want to request it from, it is crucial that you know what to ask. Never generalize and stay away from questions like “Can you give me a feedback?” or “Do you have any comment about my track?” Those are awful questions and the answers you’ll most likely get are no, none, or a long explanation about things that don’t really answer your concern. Rather, be more specific. Ask questions like “Are the vocals too sparse?” “What do you think about this track? Are the hi-hats too pronounced?” “Could you give me an honest opinion about this remix? How do you feel about the bass line that kicks in at 02:30?” “Can you tell me what you think about my mixing at 15:05 and 44:32?” The more specific your questions are, the more accurate the answers will be.
That is not to say that you cannot ask for an overall evaluation of your track, remix or mix. But be specific in your questioning and if possible direct the person to give you feedback on specific areas you may need improvement in.
You already have the knowledge on how to handle the approach. This time, make sure all materials are polished and ready. Don’t show up empty-handed or with a track that’s broken. Before you go and ask for feedback you have to make sure that you’ve listened to your track and have double checked everything. If you happen to ask a feedback on an incomplete mix, you’ll have to edit it out and ask the person to listen to it again. You don’t want that. You will be wasting both of your time. Giving you feedback is not his or her job; you are asking a favor and should be considerate of other people’s time.
If it happens that you want feedback on an incomplete production, be specific enough with the person so they know exactly what you want feedback on, otherwise all they will hear is an incomplete track that is clearly in need of more work. To get feedback on your track and mix, it’s always best to come prepared.
Do not wait a week to ask follow-up questions. React in real time, don’t just stare at the person and say “oh okay” after he gives you feedback on your track/mix. If you want more opinions from him, simply ask. If you feel the need to ask for another suggestion, go ahead and ask. Don’t be concerned if you would come off as annoying, you’d be more troublesome if you waited and just popped out of nowhere a week after to clarify his previous critique.
Don’t take everything personally. You should already know beforehand that feedback can come in two forms — good and bad. When someone takes the time to listen to your track and gives their honest impression about it, then that person cares and your music matters to him. So keep an open mind and put your perspective in check. He’s not scrutinizing you as a DJ, he has no personal vendetta against you, he is merely stating his viewpoint and answering your questions.
Sometimes you may not hear what you were expecting to. Be polite, keep your mind open and try to take every piece of criticism and feedback as part of your learning curve as a DJ and producer.
If you want general feedback from contrasting people who are into different genres, opt for social media feedback. Post your work online and let the netizens in your networks comment away. This is an easier way to ask for general feedback on your track/mix compared to a person-to-person basis. Needless to say, if you want an intensive and exhaustive review on your track by a mentor or another musician, it will be better to do it in person as you can then exchange questions and answers and discuss further details openly.
Always be thankful, no matter whether the feedback on your track/mix is acceptable or not to your standards and expectations. Criticisms is fundamental to your personal growth as an artist.
If it’s a positive feedback, congratulate yourself but don’t just stop there. Work to consistently improve yourself with each track and production you work on. If it’s a negative feedback, smile still and say thank you; never frown upon unfavorable feedback. Just because it’s not what you want to hear, doesn’t mean it’s not true. Respect the commentaries given to you.
Also, learn to offer effective feedback to other musicians and people as well. Make sure your feedback is straightforward but sincere, amiable, and constructive.
Do not forget that at the end of the day, it is your judgement that will count the most. After all, it is your music. Getting feedback is just a way of seeing how other people view your music. Learn how to filter the feedback or commentaries you get and work to appreciate each one in its own context, after all, talent isn’t enough to get noticed as a DJ or Producer.
Your attitude matters, and that includes how you handle criticism. Next time you want to get feedback on your track/mix, bear in mind the three far-reaching Ks: know what to demand, know who to ask, and know what to ask.
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