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The Frettie Journal
A collection of interviews, updates, tips and resources for songwriters.

Education: The power of feedback.

All, Tips & Resources by Dennis Field on January 20, 2014

Feedback is an important part of any creation process. It's the core of what Frettie is built on top of. All songwriters know that feedback is important, but sometimes it is nice to be reminded about the true power of giving and receiving feedback.

When a songwriter is asking for feedback, we may not truly know why they are asking for it, but it's important to provide it. Beyond the "How are my lyrics?" type of feedback, a songwriter could also be looking for feedback for any of the other following reasons:

1.) Discussion: A song idea can strike at any point. But, how do you know if that idea worth continuing to work on? That's where feedback can help. The earlier you open a song up to collaboration and discussions, the quicker a song can shift from being a mediocre song or idea, into a great song with the support of others to help make it better. Many songwriters may not have the ability to co-write often. By offering your support and feedback, you can help them avoid the "throw away song" by creating a discussion around their idea and helping them refine it beyond what they may have initially thought. Frettie is full of really great examples of this type of feedback. One person may post a song, and the community helps provide a more solid foundation to refine that song around. Here's a great example of that in action.

2.) Affirmation: Community plays an important part for songwriters who are looking to get feedback on their music. Keep in mind that many songwriters may be asking for feedback on a song simply for affirmation, or to gain support and encouragement from the community. They may not want direct feedback. They simply just want to see how many people "like" their song. Although it may not look like much, this type of feedback from their peers has the opportunity to change the way a songwriter may view their song. For example, Frettie songwriter Sarah Spencer posted her song "Us Someday" on Frettie, and by doing so discovered a different appreciation for it. As a result, she entered it into the NSAI's Song Contest Presented by CMT and has been selected as one of the final 10 in the Listener's Choice category at the time of this writing. This is one example of how providing your feedback can help create opportunity for a songwriter.

3.) Education: Continuing education can easily be overlooked as you become more proficient in the craft of songwriting. That's why it's important to continue to ask for feedback and to provide feedback to others. Even as a seasoned songwriter, getting feedback on your music provides a way to gauge how you have grown as a songwriter. But more importantly, as a seasoned songwriters, you have a great opportunity to pass your knowledge and insights down to others songwriters, through feedback. It may not be clear on the surface, but many songwriters ask for feedback in order to learn from those who may be a further along then they are in the craft.

These are just a few small examples of the power that feedback can have on the songwriting process. So the next time you are asked to provide feedback on a song, whether you're an audience member at a showcase, or a peer on Frettie. Think about how your feedback is going to be interpreted by that songwriter. Feedback may not always be positive and that is okay. But, feedback should never be hurtful or demotivating to the songwriter who's asking for it. As illustrated above, feedback doesn't always have to be very detailed and specific to the lyrical structure, it can be as simple as saying "This song really moved me emotionally." If you're not sure of the type of feedback a songwriter may be looking for, simply ask them. You never know, it may get them thinking more about their goals for that song.

I hope you found this helpful. If you have any other reasons why you like to get feedback on your music, please share them with us below!

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