How do I handle feedback during the production process?
Updated: Mar 7
During the pre-production process, of anything really, comes a lot of drafts. This is the time where you get down any rough ideas and get a foundation in place. I'm producing a song, in this instance specifically, by looking at exactly what techniques a producer (Malay) uses and his philosophy, then trying to use that as a jumping board. Everyone has a different process but one thing I've learnt from writing music is that feedback is essential - what's more essential is who that feedback is from, but we'll get to that.“take criticism seriously—not personally.” In other words, when criticism feels like it’s punching you directly in the gut, know how to stop it from killing your confidence. Instead, consider what the person said, detach yourself (and your self-esteem) from the situation, and think about what part of the criticism is useful." (When To Ignore Feedback (And When You Should Listen), 2015)
We can get very attached to our ideas. Yes, there is a balance between being stubborn enough to stick to your vision and knowing when to listen to advice. Everyone has different taste, what may be critical advice for technical reasons will be very different to "well I just don't like that..." Being able to tell the difference is probably a good skill to have. What's also important is who you'd be getting advice from, if it's someone who has never even attempted producing then take it as opinion - which they're entitled to - and save the advice for those who know what they're talking about.“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena…” — Theodore Roosevelt – ‘Citizenship in a Republic,’ (How to receive feedback — THNK School of Creative Leadership, 2014) Sometimes the perspective from someone who is totally detached from the project can be invaluable though, simply because they will not analyse it in the same way that a producer would and this means they have a more organic opinion of what they're hearing.
It's a good idea to be open to ideas and changes. The minute we get too stuck in our ways, it halts the process. "Creativity is a feedback-driven career " (Creative Critique: The Art of Receiving Feedback - Musicbed Blog, 2020). An example of that for me on this project was just before having the first session with Prince Love, who is my artist and therefore his opinions are important, I was preparing to lose the whole demo and start completely from scratch. If what I had made didn't suit him, then that's just how it would be. We didn't have to do that though, and instead made minor adjustments here and there which helped to elevate the song a lot, it also helped him to feel more connected with it. I was careful not to compromise myself as a producer but very aware that his feedback early on would be better than trying to change things further down the line. At the same time, he seems to know a lot more about beats and Hip-Hop/R&B/Lo-Fi than I do at this time, and therefore I was happy to take his advice on board. I had also received some feedback from my lecturers, as well as my musician/producer friends Agustin and Matheus who both know a lot about music and who's opinion, or advice, I hold in high regard.
Fast Company. 2015.When To Ignore Feedback (And When You Should Listen). [online] Available at: <https://www.fastcompany.com/3054544/when-to-ignore-feedback-and-when-you-should-listen> [Accessed 24 March 2020].
Musicbed Blog. 2020.Creative Critique: The Art Of Receiving Feedback - Musicbed Blog. [online] Available at: <https://www.musicbed.com/blog/career/creative-critique-the-art-of-receiving-feedback/> [Accessed 24 March 2020].
THNK. 2014.How To Receive Feedback — THNK School Of Creative Leadership. [online] Available at: <https://www.thnk.org/insights/the-other-side-of-the-stick-how-to-receive-feedback/> [Accessed 24 March 2020].