If you want to progress, you’re going to have to learn how to deal with criticism as a musician and channel it to help you improve. Here are five tips to help you navigate the inevitable.
Getting feedback from a representative sample of your target audience or from a seasoned music professional is a great way to measure where you are in your career. But what happens when you get feedback that is the opposite of what you wanted to hear? You have to learn how to deal with criticism as a musician and even use it to help you grow and develop.
Don’t get discouraged, get motivated
Finding your true creative voice and sound, and finding an audience to whom you appeal strongly, requires a significant amount of time, patience, dedication, motivation, and effort. It also requires that you do a great deal of experimenting, practicing, training, writing, and creative thinking. Bottom line, it requires that you roll up your sleeves and work hard until you find your right path. Don’t let this process intimidate you, let it motivate and stimulate you. As AC/DC said, “It’s a long way to the top if you want to rock ‘n’ roll.”
Use constructive criticism wisely
According to John Braheny, author of The Craft and Business of Songwriting, when the legendary songwriter Diane Warren (Whitney Houston, Faith Hill, Celine Dion) was still honing her craft and sorting out her style, she attended songwriting groups in Los Angeles. Every week following the critique sessions in which she received feedback, she returned with complete revisions of her songs. She did this with the utmost enthusiasm and wrote hundreds of songs following this process. That commitment to continuous self-improvement, in addition to pure talent, luck, timing, and planning, was undoubtedly what led to her writing over fifty top 10 hits and to being the first songwriter in the history of the Billboard charts to have seven hits on the singles chart at the same time.
Concentrate on the ideas with the most potential
Remember that a smart organization puts aside its weaker ideas and concentrates its resources on those that have the most potential. As Scott Austin, former A&R executive of Maverick Records and current VP of Authentik Artists, advises, “Never be afraid to put aside 50 of your compositions to focus on 10 of your very best.”
Don’t throw ideas away, shelve them for future use
Some ideas won’t always get the best reviews, but that may be because the marketplace is not right at a particular point in time for that idea. What doesn’t work now, might work later. Consultant Ira Kalb puts it this way: “One never knows when the opportunity will present itself to go through the vaults of older works.”
Don’t waste time
Don’t let the competition beat you to the marketplace while you mope around depressed about the negative feedback you receive or the challenges you face. How many times have you said to yourself, “I could have done that!” or “I thought of that idea first!” We’ll, you’re not going to let that happen again, are you? So what are you waiting for? Get back to work and get it done today!
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