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> Lesson: Constructive Criticism 101, The How-To Guide
Steelkonsum
post Jan 25 2007, 09:04 PM
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Okey after the recent ammount of posts and stuff about Yngwie and Pavels lesson I'm gonna write you the grand How to give criticism and voice your opinion without coming of like a moron-guide. This is not aimed at anyone it's just a little guide in case you are wondering if you are giving good criticism or if you are coming on like a numbwit.

Let's break down the phrase "Constructive Criticism" into two small patterns. We take the first word which is Constructive. The litteral meaning of the word means(the relevant meaning anyway) "to build up", "aimed to build up in a positive meaning" and/or "derived through perception". Fancy stuff but it basically means an opinion formed through ones perception in a positive spirit. Great, now what's criticism you may sit eagerly wondering - and that myfriend is what we are gonna answer next. Criticism means; "evalued review" or "verbal attack (aimed at somebody)". I like to stick with the first meaning of criticism since a "positive attack" sounds wierd. Wait, what did I just do there? That's right I put the two patterns together.

To make it more clear here's the tab:
Constructive - "derived through perception, to build up (positive meaning"
Criticism - "Evalued Review"

If we put them both together we get: "An evalued review derived through ones own perception in the purpose to build something up in a positive meaning".

Now if all that theory gets to your head we're gonna use some examples as well:

"You suck!" - Not constructive since it doesn't build up to anything even though it is derived from a perception of a matter at hand it just doesnt quite qualify. And it's not evalued, it's just a review. Too many flaws to be qualified. This is not constructive criticism!

"You lack a bit in playing ability but you make up for your lost technique with excellent phrasing! I especially liked this specific phrase of the song where you did a totally exotic phrasing. If you had just worked that sort of thinking into the earlier parts where you just tried to play like a speeddemon the whole thing would've been awesome" - If you're thinking "wow that's way to many words" don't worry we will have easier examples ahead. By containing both positive and negative comments this qualifies as an evalued review because there is a lot of though behind it. It's derived from our own perception because we liked a phrasing but thought the speedpicking was a bit off. To build it up in a positive meaning we urge the recipent to combine his phrasing which was so excellent to the a bit sloppy playing to get better overall quality and help him improve his playing.

"Your phrasing is total shit, your speedpicking is slow and sloppy and quite frankly your tone makes my ears bleed." - You can sense the negativity in this statement and it really doesn't bring anything positive to make up for the negative crap thrown at the recipent. As usual with comments this is formed from an opinion but it isn't put down to make it an evalued review. So in order to learn how to turn your feelings as posted in the beginning of this paragraph into a constructively written post I'm gonna show a few of my secret tips. First thing you have to do is write down what you want the reader to get out of your post, in this case we want to get through: bad phrasing, slow and sloppy technique and he sounds like crap. Not very nice stuff and there is nothing pointing out the good parts. Even so it could be turned into a bit more constructive points with just better use of the colorful language we all share.

First item on the list: bad phrasing.
Ok so we did not care so much for how he phrased the licks, they might've sounded steril or boring so what do we do? We could say something like: "Your phrasing is a bit steril, try to lighten up while you play and have more fun. You could also check Kris's lesson to get more inspiration. WIth just a bit tweaking those licks will most likely rock!" - What we did here was say the same thing but with better language, we gave him some pointers to build up on in a positive way, we gave him the resource and finally the inspiration to check out and grow as a guitarist. Now that's constructive criticism!

Second item on the list: sloppy and slow technique.
This one is a bit harder to get across in a friendly manner but we mustn't let our barbarian flame-feeling take control over our minds. So how do we help him instead of making him feel lousy? We use all teachers favorite words: "slow down" and "practice, practice, practice" and with a bit of manner you can turn those two phrases into a full sentence without anything negative in it. This can be your homework!

Third item on the list: sucky tone.
Okey, so the tone actually made my ears bleed. In stead of just saying "oh hey btw your tone sucks" you might wanna ask what sort of gear he has, and then follow-up with tips on how to set the eq, distortion, reverb, other effects etc. in a more pleasing way or if you're not a techie you could always direct him to someone who knows or a page with information. And it could just be a bad mic on the recording side of the story and that's nothing that actually affect his playing and therefore can be totally irrelevant.

And there we go, if we put our new-found knowledge into practice we can transform it into a friendly post that still points out what we mean, but in a better and in a more educational way.

Okey, this concludes the first lesson in how to post a post without neccessarily start a flame-war. Be sure to practice each moment slowly with a metronome and you too will soon able to write as fluently as anybody else out there! Stay tuned for the next lesson, if there is one.

Peace.

This post has been edited by Steelkonsum: Jan 25 2007, 09:04 PM
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n0x
post Jan 25 2007, 11:59 PM
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lol, nice read mate tongue.gif that made my day, lol
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Steelkonsum
post Jan 26 2007, 01:27 AM
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QUOTE (n0x @ Jan 25 2007, 11:59 PM) *
lol, nice read mate tongue.gif that made my day, lol


Well I'm glad someone enjoyed my 1037 word lesson biggrin.gif
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Kristofer Dahl
post Jan 26 2007, 01:31 AM
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Excellent! This is very important to think about when critizing. biggrin.gif I don' t thnik this stuff is obvious to everyone!


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fretdancer
post Jan 26 2007, 02:47 AM
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I am glad you have put into words what I was thinking.
I have thought about sticking my two pence worth in a couple of threads and had second thoughts because I dont like all the negativity.
The great thing about these forums are that they are a great medium for SUPPORTING each other. That means respecting others points of view even if you dont agree with them. If you dont agree, be extremely polite and tread on eggshells or " STFU".
There is nothing more off putting than people having public arguments.

Now look - I had to have my 2 pence worth after all and its not done the slightest bit of good - Its not supported anyones guitar playing.

Anyway, thanks Steelkonsum for taking the time out of your guitar practice and enjoyment to say what you did. it needed saying.

This post has been edited by fretdancer: Jan 26 2007, 02:48 AM


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Why
post Jan 26 2007, 03:11 AM
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What should be added to the thread is interpretations of criticism. You can either be defensive or take it as a positive goal towards your playing.

If someone says, 'You suck' I wouldnt feel bad. Why? because It'd make me want to practice till the same person said 'Wow, you're great'.
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Steelkonsum
post Jan 26 2007, 04:01 AM
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QUOTE (Why @ Jan 26 2007, 03:11 AM) *
What should be added to the thread is interpretations of criticism. You can either be defensive or take it as a positive goal towards your playing.

If someone says, 'You suck' I wouldnt feel bad. Why? because It'd make me want to practice till the same person said 'Wow, you're great'.


Well as it said it's just the 101 lesson, there might be an advanced lesson too if it's really needed laugh.gif


Kris, thanks cool.gif

Fretdancer, but imagine if your 2 pence made 5 other people take their time to support someones guitarplaying? You gotta think in the long run wink.gif. Oh and I must say I love your name biggrin.gif
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j78
post Jan 26 2007, 05:52 PM
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QUOTE (Steelkonsum @ Jan 25 2007, 09:04 PM) *
"You lack a bit in playing ability but you make up for your lost technique with excellent phrasing! I especially liked this specific phrase of the song where you did a totally exotic phrasing. If you had just worked that sort of thinking into the earlier parts where you just tried to play like a speeddemon the whole thing would've been awesome"


Now fellows, if you practice this with your metronomes set to 60bpm to start with, and slowly work your way up in bpm, you'll be shreddin' constructive criticism in no time!
biggrin.gif

Sorry guys, I tried to stop myself, but just couldn't resist... smile.gif

/J78

This post has been edited by j78: Jan 26 2007, 05:54 PM
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MickeM
post Jan 26 2007, 05:58 PM
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ROFL very much needed for some biggrin.gif

And it's funny you got constructive criticism on your constructive critisism 101 post laugh.gif


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Steelkonsum
post Jan 29 2007, 03:02 AM
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QUOTE (MickeM @ Jan 26 2007, 05:58 PM) *
ROFL very much needed for some biggrin.gif

And it's funny you got constructive criticism on your constructive critisism 101 post laugh.gif



Indeed it is and it was sort of cool to see it worked and I got some constructive critisicm. Maybe I should do a lesson on how to give me all your stuff biggrin.gif

J78, right on you got the meaning of the lesson spot on! wink.gif
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Kristofer Dahl
post Jan 29 2007, 07:39 PM
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QUOTE (Steelkonsum @ Jan 29 2007, 03:02 AM) *
Maybe I should do a lesson on how to give me all your stuff biggrin.gif


Yes - however there are already lots of sites trying to do that - just google for make money. So you would have some competitors! wink.gif biggrin.gif


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Steelkonsum
post Jan 29 2007, 10:42 PM
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QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Jan 29 2007, 07:39 PM) *
Yes - however there are already lots of sites trying to do that - just google for make money. So you would have some competitors! wink.gif biggrin.gif



Crap. I'll stick to 101 guides in how to not insult everyone then tongue.gif . Not much money in that but its orginial tongue.gif
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atomix1337
post Jul 29 2007, 02:26 AM
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Man, this lesson sucked. Bad phrasing and horrible tone (I couldn't even hear it!)

Haha, good ol' sarcasm. I think this topic is excellent and I think everyone should read this.
This website is not for uberpro's only, but for us training up to be uberpro! I find that constructive criticism
is grade A politeness(?).

Btw where are the videos on this lesson
...having trouble with it... laugh.gif


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Travelin' Man
post Jul 29 2007, 03:17 AM
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Steel....great thread. If I had the fortitude to put my playing on vid because, well apparently, I would have been excited abouty my progress, and someone were to tell me how bad it was, with negative critism, I would probably just give up, being that my pride and joy were just shot to hell.


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Jul 29 2007, 01:27 PM
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Nicely put and timely post.

I have to give a lot of criticism (constructive and otherwise) as part of my RL 9-5, to both students and time served academics. So a few additions that I might add:

1) If you want someone to pay attention then limit your criticism to a few brief main points. Many people switch off after a few minutes particularly if its predominantly bad news. So try to avoid doing a 'and another thing I hate is...' for 1/2 an hour

2) Pardon the language but it gets the point over - 'shit sandwich'. Many people take criticism better if it's delivered as good, bad, good points. Bad, good, bad often just results in a defensive position from the start.

3) Decide whether you want to focus on short term learning or long term affective improvement and think about how the person might achieve these. Short term for instance might be to learn a scale by rote as a finger exercise, longer term to gain a better understanding of how and why the scale is constructed and thus to absorb and use music theory.

4) Sometimes negative criticism may be the only way. Look at some of the contestants in programmes like 'X-factor'. Paula Abdul is very good at constructive criticism whilst some people really do need Simon Cowell telling them to give up laugh.gif .

Great post, enjoyed it immensely (notice - yes this is the proverbial sandwich).

Cheers,
Tony


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