We all know that feeling right when you're on the precipice of completing a great song. And we mean great song. It has every component you could want. It's catchy, has a great melody, solid lyrics, and is technically sound.
But just as soon as that wonderful and accomplished feeling comes it seems to quickly dissipate and the doubt slowly creeps in.
Is it really a good song? Could you just be too close to the song to see any potential flaws?
If you have what you think is a great song, but you aren't sure if it's ready to be put out into the world, one step you can take is to have your song critiqued.
But, what exactly is a song critique and where can you go to have it done well? Keep reading and we will answer these questions and more.
Table of Contents
- What is a Song Critique?
- How Do You Know You Can Trust a Song Critique?
- How to Ask For a Song Critique
- Where to Get a Song Critique
What is a Song Critique?
First things first, it may be a good idea to explain what exactly a song critique is because it's more than handing a demo to a few of your closest friends. Also, we know that sharing early versions of your music can make you feel incredibly vulnerable, but it's healthy to get feedback from sources other than yourself.
Self-criticism and self-awareness are great, but song critiques provide an opportunity for songwriters to get objective feedback on their music.
With critiques, songwriters can learn what's working with their song and what could use a little improvement.
Don't get us wrong; it's awesome when you get a glowing review from your parents, spouses, and friends.
But unless they work in the music industry or have experience in songwriting, it is unlikely that they can provide the feedback you can trust regarding how well your song stacks up against the competition.
And very few glowing reviews come with any insight on how your song could be improved.
Note: Even if you love your song entirely and think it is 100% ready for radio play and to be heard by the masses, it is still a good idea to get an unbiased critique of your music.
How Do You Know You Can Trust a Song Critique?
There are a few ways to know if you can trust a critique of your songwriting.
It's sort of a two-lane road. While your song is being critiqued, you should also be critiquing the person that is analyzing your song. As they say, don't take criticism from someone that you wouldn't take advice from.
Are they experienced in your genre? You don't want someone who would prefer to critique a blues song reviewing your R&B song. Do you know any songwriters that can vouch for the reviewer?
It's also useful to be able to differentiate between subjective opinions and comments that identify weaknesses in your work.
If your critiquer says something like, “I just don’t like it” or “this doesn't sound like a hit,” they are giving you their personal opinion. Now, that doesn't mean they are wrong. But, how exactly is that constructive?
Specific issues and comments that can be addressed are what you should be looking for.
Pay attention to comments from your critiquer like:
- “The poetic approach of this line is inconsistent with the conversational tone of the rest of the lyric.”
- "You're cramming in extra syllables, and the melody of your first verse is different from the rest.”
- “Rhyming these words is cliché. Try to be more original.”
- "Your chorus sounds the same as your verse.”
- “Your bridge isn't taking your song to the next level, in any way.”
- “I’ve listened to your chorus repeatedly, and I still can't sing it back because the melody changes with every line.”
- “Your third verse is comprised of seven musical bars, and it feels jarring.”
On the other hand, don't reject a critique from a reliable source just because they aren't claiming your song is the next Stairway to Heaven. Even if it may initially come off harsh, a constructive critique is a really good thing.
How to Ask For a Song Critique
After knowing you can trust a critiquer, you need to know how to ask for a critique.
When you approach someone to critique your work, you need to know what your goals are. Do you want them to review the entire demo, or just certain songs, or just parts of certain songs? Do you want technical feedback, or do you want to know what they think of the vibe and energy of the song?
And when someone critiques your music, always be open to it.
Like we mentioned above, don't get defensive when you receive constructive criticism. Instead, truly consider their feedback. Remember that there will always be outliers when you get your music critiqued.
If you get feedback from 10 sources, keep an eye out for trends.
If one person falls head over heels in love with your music, but the other nine say it needs work, trust the majority. The trends you notice will also show you where your weak areas are and what you need to practice.
Where to Get a Song Critique
We've covered what a song critique is, what to look for, and how to ask for one. Now the question is - where can you get a song critique?
Fortunately, there are a ton of places to get some valuable feedback for your music. Here are a few of them.
Look for blogs that feature indie musicians.
It can get tiring sending your music out to countless blogs, but you can get some precious feedback in return. And if a blog likes your music, they will likely feature it on their website.
Every blog wants the chance to discover the "next big thing" in music. That being said, don't just randomly pick blogs and start requesting critiques.
Evaluate who is critiquing your song and try to keep a grounded perspective. Middle-of-the-road criticism from a seasoned music blog author is more valuable than extreme highs or lows from a random, unknown blogger.
SoundCloud is a great space to post your music so you can share it with others.
It's also a great networking hub and for you to listen to music from other indie musicians. But keep in mind, just posting your song to SoundCloud isn't going to get you any reviews.
You have to go the extra mile and spend time interacting with other musicians on the website so you can slowly draw attention to your music. Find musicians in your genre that you respect.
When you do this, you will eventually start to get feedback in the comments.
Another route you can take to get critiques is to search Google for music critique forums.
When you find a music community you like, make an account and get active on the forums. Most forums have a section dedicated strictly to song reviews.
But always try to contribute to the forum before you start asking for feedback for your work. Other users on the forums need to see that you aren’t there to get feedback and leave.
The upside of this is that you will get access to hundreds of thousands of other musicians. However, the downside is that many of the users are in your position and only want feedback for their music.
That's why it's important to contribute to the community so the serious users will offer you the feedback you're looking for.
Put Yourself in the Best Position For a Great Critique
Do you know what helps boost your confidence when you submit a song to be critiqued?
Knowing that your music skills are up to par. Knowing that your technical music skills are honed. Knowing that you have put countless hours into your craft.
Enrolling in an accredited music college is a fantastic way to truly elevate your musical talents and master the top techniques. In addition, you'll also attain trustworthy and consistent feedback from peers and instructors.
If you have a passion for music and want to land a successful career, you need to check out the Atlanta Institute of Music and Media. AIMM offers both on-campus (Atlanta area) and 100% online music programs that span the following focuses:
- Music Production
You'll have the opportunity to master an instrument of choice along with mastering music production techniques. As an AVID Pro Tools Training Partner, you'll learn the best insider tips and techniques when it comes to recording, mixing, and mastering.
You have the passion - so what's stopping you? Click below to learn about AIMM today.