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uncle fester

feedback (on performances) - where do you get it?

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Hi all,

 

Where do you all go to for feedback on your performances? In the family and friends arena, you always get 'yeah that's nice' - but that's not useful.

 

For background I'm a kitchen table player (25+ yrs) with aspirations of playing out - (my pipe dream - a 2 hour set of (acoustic) stuff I want to play, to a listening audience). I've done a couple open mics, and have my first 'jam' session with that piano guy tonight. My feedback channels are myself (and I'm not a good judge yet), family (rarely says something does not sound good, unless they want me to stop playing all together) and this forum as well, but think there's steps to take first.

 

What do you all think, is that where lessons come in, work the jam thing... I'm a bit at a loss? How do you all pinpoint the next things you work on (everyone I've heard here is good, but I gotta believe you earned your way)? Any input is appreciated... and probably beneficial to yourself as well (enabling me to inflict less pain on this group :)

 

Rgds - billroy

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From myself. I know exactly when and where a performance stumbles and, having high expectations of myself, I know what needs attention and more work. I also know my limitations, accept them and work within them. It is true that family and (most) friends will gush about how great you are, but most of this is just patronizing crap if I see it otherwise. Don't put too much stock in their evaluations - learn to trust your own ear and senses. Just as at the day job, whatever that may be, you know when your coasting, getting it wrong, phoning it in.

 

Honest self examination should be your best measuring stick.

Edited by Buc McMaster

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Honest self examination should be your best measuring stick.

 

Thanks Buc, I agree - it's not as intuitive to me as I wish, but learning what to listen for is the first step in being able to self critique. Lars suggested listening repeatedly and critiquing of recordings and I'm giving that a go.

 

rgds - br

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Unfortunately, I have found that meaningful feedback seemed to stop back when I was about 10 years old and taking lessons. Although, I assume if one hired a guitar teacher the teacher would provide meaningful feedback as well as encouragement. Otherwise, my recommendation is a recommendation of practice practice practice, listen to as much good music as one can, read as much about music to understand it as one can, and decide what the purpose of one’s playing music is or will be and then stick to it as well as all of the aforementioned...and, I believe you’ll find you no longer need others’ feedback, but rather will be able to self assess if it is accomplishing the purpose you’ve thought through and identified or moving towards that goal. Since live music is live however, that is an ongoing assessment or journey as it’s often described. And, any recorded music you do becomes only a snapshot of a stop along that journey.

 

Been playing music now for 57 years. This is the only answer I can give. It expands upon what Bucmaster wrote, I think. Hope it is helpful to your music journey.

 

QM aka “Jazzman” Jeff

Edited by QuestionMark

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From myself. I know exactly when and where a performance stumbles and, having high expectations of myself, I know what needs attention and more work. I also know my limitations, accept them and work within them. It is true that family and (most) friends will gush about how great you are, but most of this is just patronizing crap if I see it otherwise. Don't put too much stock in their evaluations - learn to trust your own ear and senses. Just as at the day job, whatever that may be, you know when your coasting, getting it wrong, phoning it in.

 

Honest self examination should be your best measuring stick.

 

We saw some that in action on your 'wah wah wah' clip!😂

 

Seriously though, what you said is spot on, Buc.

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An obvious reply, but start a search for an appropriate teacher in the field you are interested in. That is not always as easy as you would think...I wanted to do blues fingerpicking years back (I had done lessons as a kid and again when I was about 25), but there really wasn’t anyone teaching that at the time...I saw an ad for a more general type lesson and on the first ‘introductory lesson’, we talked about what I wanted to do, watched me play some nervous pre-prepared stuff he had given me, and the Teach said he had no idea what I was talking about but he suggested his Jazz - Chords then Melody and it would be better for his Jazz students to do double lessons as there would be a bit of work. (Like 4 hours minimum practice per night). But one of his mottos was that if you worked hard on his basics, eventually you could play any type of music you wanted.....he failed to mention that most other types of music were a bit easier. [biggrin]

 

I never had time or concerns about ‘feedback’...just too busy going through a mountain of chords before the next week....a double lesson gave you enough homework for 2 weeks of chords. But seriously, I would have kept going until the day I died it was so.....everything.....but one week he told me he had no more to teach me, be just repeating himself, and I was on my own from now on. Huh? But after a rest of a few years, I taught myself blues fingerpicking from various devices....online, download, dvd, books. Not perfect but I have enjoyed the trip.

 

So, get to it, Billroy. Get that real life teacher for once a week and take it from there.

 

 

BluesKing777.

Edited by BluesKing777

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As stated, a teacher that will be honest with you is invaluable. I remember my first golf instructor. He asked me if I had considered taking up a different sport:)

Apparently I have a good ear for music as long as my mouth is not open. I remember recording myself back in the ‘60’s. After listening to it, I swore to myself that I would never sing in public. I concentrated on the guitar after that but those skills are about in line with my golfing ability.

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I think I might have some meaningful insight and possibly good tips for you. I started playing guitar, strumming cowboy chords, in my thirties, then decided to learn to write, play and sing original songs at age 47. When I started I had just about no musical ear whatsoever, but I decided (and I mean really DECIDED) to learn piece by piece no matter what. What I have done since that first original song, about four years ago, is to listen to myself sing and play over, over, over and over again. Listening to short snippets of vocals, comparing several version against eachother, trying to pick the best one. Also, when something doesn't sound right, I try figure out why. Sharp or flat?

 

I have an iPad with the Garageband app, and this is really the perfect tool for this. If you record just your guitar on one track, you can then record several vocal tracks on top of eachother on a second track. You can then very easily cut that track up into individual pieces and compare vocal takes and pick the best bits and piece them seamlessly together into one full take. Forcing yourself to do this makes you practice, but it also gives you an end result that is better than any vocal take you can do in one go. So it serves two purposes, you practice but you also create songs.

 

This has worked for me and has helped develop my ear. I'm now at the point where I can at least pick out the bad bits, and if I do those bits enough times I will get a somewhat decent result. I will never be a natural singer, but I can at least make song recordings that can convey decent versions of the songs I write. I am very happy about that. I have a hard time seeing me performing songs live any time soon, but maybe somewhere down the line...

 

Best of luck!

 

Lars

 

P.S. was that an Apogee Mic in your other song thread? I know they are for IOS-products, so maybe you already record in Garageband? (if so, an iPad is good for size, the phone might be a bit small)

Edited by Lars68

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Play Rock Band. You know the video game. It won't teach you guitar, but it will give you honest feedback on vocals (pitch indicator), and help with rhythm. Plus it can be fun with the family, which also gets you playing with other people.

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This is a pretty deep question Bill.

 

For me, it's not about what "others" say about how I sound it's more about what I say/feel about it.

 

we are our own best/worse critics.

 

I don't know if what works for me works for you, but over the last 5 / 6 years, I've been on a mission to improve my voice, which I've always thought was just "meh.."

 

so I record things over the course of time, and then revisit and record the same piece again, gives me something compare today to what I sounded like 6 years ago to today, and as I said, I'm my own worse critic, I do feel that I've improved a little.

 

A teacher is probably a good sounding board too, but they may not be looking to asses what you're most interested in. which is "not sucking" by your own standards..

 

I use a 12 channel board, I plug into that and practice with headphones. For a quick recording I use a ZOOM handy recorder using the TAPE OUT into the ZOOM Mp3 recorder. if I want to get a more serious recording that I can work a bit with, I fire up pro tools.

 

That helps me hear what I "really" sound like, But then again, I know I am very hard on myself. but it's just something I keep working at.

 

just my 2 pence on this.

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You want to play out, so...

 

The other people you play with.

The audience you play for.

The host of the place that holds the audience you play for.

 

If the bar owner/jam host/band audition/sit in folks tell you you are fabulous and they want you back, that's a great thing.

If they tell you you were fabulous but they don't have any openings for the foreseeable well, could be they don't have any nights open, could be they don't like you and don't want to tell you. Time will tell with that one, call them, ask for any cancels, that sort of thing. If they have you back then good!

The audience is easy. Silence after a song isn't always bad, but can be awful. Might not want to do that one again.

Enthusiasm speaks for itself. Compliments after are usually delivered by someone with a bunch of liquor in them so take it with a few grains of salt.

 

Not much else to it. If you are going out there, out there is where you'll get your most valuable feedback. If you don't think you are ready, you probably aren't and no friend or relative or neighbor feedback is going to change that. Recording helps, as others have said. You'll know when you are ready, you'll go out, and then you'll find out!

 

Good luck.

 

rct

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My wife would be happy to critique your performance. She can be pretty brutal critiquing mine and I've usually found that she's right....

 

The trouble with relying on others (particularly other performers) for an honest critique is that they want to recreate you in their image. They think you should do things the way they do it. They judge by what they know. That's not necessarily helpful.

 

My advice is go to a lot of open mics or shows and watch other performers and see what works and what doesn't. Try to analyze why a particular act seems to do well and why others don't, and then adopt as much of the good traits as you can. As others have noted, you have to be YOU, and you'll probably have a good sense of when you're doing well and when you're bombing. You'll develop your own style and approach, and that is something that only comes with time and experience playing in front of an audience.

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There's lots of good responses on this topic here. The real question about asking for feedback is your motivation. Are you asking for honest feedback to help you improve, or are you just looking for validation?

 

As others have pointed out, most people providing feedback come to this with their own prejudices. What do you suppose would have been the answers if Dylan had asked for feedback on his singing after his first album, before he became "somebody"?

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Lots of airy fairy silly stuff here....

 

 

The obvious problem is:

 

 

YOU NEED A NEW GUITAR! B) B) B) B) B)

 

 

 

Or a Tonedexter, or a new pickup or...Come On Down - a new car! [laugh]

 

 

 

BluesKing777.

Edited by BluesKing777

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Best feedback ever is from the bar owner ... if you get booked again, its positive, if not, you sucked.

 

I ofter recorded myself and watched vids back as a feedback tool.

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Get drunk, record track, listen back, clap yourself on the back, sober up, listen again. If you can pull it of snockered it's a piece of cake when your not. RINSE REPEAT

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Thank you all - really appreciate the input. My goal here (for the point of this thread) is not validation, and it's not making sure I don't suck, but my goal now is to develop the ability to know when i'm sucking and why. I feel I play a fair amount, but unless it's targeted - it's more noodling than improvement. So active listening is my new goal (Lars will try your tricks!)

 

One other bit of advice i got that I really appreciate and seems to help things meld together is to slow everything down, which seems to make a difference right off the bat.

 

I'm thinking on lessons, but dont think it's so much guitar lessons but more so performance lessons - pulling it altogether.

-----------

 

Tangent topic - got to play with my piano guy friend last night. Someone suggested bringing a capo, I thank you for it. Piano guy also plays guitar (has a musical past) and we framed out a pretty cool version of 'For what it's worth' by Buffalo Springfield.

 

----------

 

PS - As BK noted, could be the guitar, don't think so but probably should get a new one just to rule it out. :)

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All good advice so far , most of it anyway

 

I have to ask , the version of 'the letter' than you posted last week , can you see where that , and how that , would be improved ?

Or are you asking for advice because it sounded fine to you ?

 

You'll get there , just a matter of time and picking the correct songs

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All good advice so far , most of it anyway

 

I have to ask , the version of 'the letter' than you posted last week , can you see where that , and how that , would be improved ?

Or are you asking for advice because it sounded fine to you ?

 

You'll get there , just a matter of time and picking the correct songs

 

That's a great question, BBG, and billroy, I hope you take it the right way.

 

I have myself lately come to realize that, in regards to my own ability to hear weaknesses in my early stuff, that I at the time was the only dog not being able to hear the dog whistle...

 

Lars

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At the end of the day, we are all individuals.

 

Doing solo stuff is like running naked in a sopping mall.. you got no where to hide so you may as well just be YOU.

 

like if you're working on covers, and trying to sound like "add any name here", 95% of us will fail. THAT person sounds like they do because "THAT" is who they are.

 

One thing that is a big + about writing/recording your own music, is you don't carry any of that baggage with you. It is a place where you can just be yourself. There's no box you need to work your way out of. Once you find your foot hold there, then you slowly start to put "you" into the covers.

 

if I'm playing (just picking a name here) a Billy Joel cover, I aint gonna sound like Billy, I'm gonna sound like me. I'm going to make his song, a little bit mine during the course of that performance.

 

You may listen to that and think "Wow, that was really cool" or not, cuz some people are musically ignorant to what really goes on here, If they recognize the song, they're probably gonna want to hear "Billy Joel".. They need to pony up the 800 bucks, and go to a Billy Joel show if that's what they want.

 

And you may even have the same song on your list. You need to forget what you heard me do, and stay true to what/who you are.

 

An honest performance is an honest performance.

 

If you really believe you're pulling it off than you probably are. It's the old adage, if it feels good, it probably is good. The listening audience is going to fall into two categories,, 1: they are not going to shut up long enough to listen to you, and 2: while they have no clue what level of talent you're really bringing them but they'll listen and hey some may even clap at the end of the tune. Don't get discouraged if they don't. sometimes you're just wall paper, that makes music. It mostly depends on the venue.

 

There will always be a few ppl there that ARE musicians, and those guys WILL listen, and if they truly remember where they came from, they will judge kindly, because one day, they were where you are wondering what the hell is going on. Plus there is always the outside chance that you're actually a lot better than you give yourself credit for.

 

 

Just look like you are having fun, and go for it.

Edited by kidblast

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Hi all,

 

Where do you all go to for feedback on your performances? In the family and friends arena, you always get 'yeah that's nice' - but that's not useful.

 

For background I'm a kitchen table player (25+ yrs) with aspirations of playing out - (my pipe dream - a 2 hour set of (acoustic) stuff I want to play, to a listening audience). I've done a couple open mics, and have my first 'jam' session with that piano guy tonight. My feedback channels are myself (and I'm not a good judge yet), family (rarely says something does not sound good, unless they want me to stop playing all together) and this forum as well, but think there's steps to take first.

 

What do you all think, is that where lessons come in, work the jam thing... I'm a bit at a loss? How do you all pinpoint the next things you work on (everyone I've heard here is good, but I gotta believe you earned your way)? Any input is appreciated... and probably beneficial to yourself as well (enabling me to inflict less pain on this group :)

 

Rgds - billroy

 

Is the piano guys name Ken

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When I first started gigging after 25 years off... just a few years back... i started trying to get feedback here. still do.

 

I also get it from my family - my wife. They dont smile and say "that sounds good". My wife tells me "i dont think that will work... vox is wrong... the song selection is poor..." My family stopped in my in my tracks a few years ago... I googled "good acoustic songs for a gig" - came upon Wunderwall... learned it... and they laughed at me and told me I would be an internet meme if I did it. So I trust them.

 

I never did do Wunderwall...

 

post-45889-092883900 1557329201_thumb.jpg

Edited by ThemisSal

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When I first started gigging after 25 years off... just a few years back... i started trying to get feedback here. still do.

 

I also get it from my family - my wife. They dont smile and say "that sounds good". My wife tells me "i dont think that will work... vox is wrong... the song selection is poor..." My family stopped in my in my tracks a few years ago... I googled "good acoustic songs for a gig" - came upon Wunderwall... learned it... and they laughed at me and told me I would be an internet meme if I did it. So I trust them.

 

I never did do Wunderwall...

 

post-45889-092883900 1557329201_thumb.jpg

 

I believe the point Sal is getting at..

 

Stay in your wheelhouse...

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I believe the point Sal is getting at..

 

Stay in your wheelhouse...

 

To quote that famous vocalist Leo Kottke after citing the example of Ethel Merman trying to sing disco: "An audience will forgive a wrong note, but they won't forgive an insincere note."

Edited by dhanners623

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