Guest Post by Glen Parry This is a guest post written by our friends at Audio Mastered, where they are just as crazy about helping musicians as we are.
If you're an amateur or up-and-coming musician, getting feedback on your songs is not only key to knowing that your audience is enjoying your work, but also to getting better at what you do.
But knowing where to look for feedback can be a bit of a chore – with so many resources available, it can be hard to decide where to begin. Here are five of some of the best places to get feedback on your songs:
• Other Musicians
Audiu is an online musical network consisting solely of music creators of all types – composers, audio producers, engineers, music educators, and performing artists. The purpose of the community is purely for creators to connect, share their work, and receive constructive critique and feedback from their peers.
Audiu is a paid platform with several different pricing options (including a free basic account) – and it comes complete with unlimited audio file hosting and a number of other helpful tools.
The real perk lies in connecting with accomplished and well-known industry professionals who can help you hone your songwriting skills, in addition to lots of opportunities to meet and collaborate with other professional artists.
Facebook is home to tons of groups dedicated to a variety of professional groups, and DIY musicians are no exception to the rule. If you're a Facebook user, chances are you might already belong to a group, or three, dedicated to musicians.
Genre-specific Facebook groups can be fantastic sources of feedback for songs that you're working on. Search for groups comprised of musicians working in your genre, and filter a few that you like. Link up your songs, explain what you're looking for, and see what rolls in.
The downside of any social media site is, of course, the people that will pile onto your threads just to spew vitriol all over you. But do as all savvy social media users do, and don't feed the trolls - and even if the feedback you receive is harsh or negative, pay attention just as much to fair criticisms as you do to fair praise.
The major upsides to using Facebook as a source of creative feedback is that it's free, and there are genuinely a lot of people who will want to see other musicians succeed – and subsequently will offer helpful and constructive feedback.
Pay close attention to what those people have to say, both to you and other musicians, and you'll have reliable sources of feedback for your work.
SoundCloud is one of the most accessible and comprehensive platforms on the net for creators and music enthusiasts to come together and explore, share, and discuss. SoundCloud is free for everyone to use, although it also offers paid options for users, who want increased or unlimited audio file hosting.
SoundCloud's principal function is to connect creators and music fans across a global network – and to provide musicians - from up-and-coming to pros - opportunities to receive critique and feedback on their music. Just like with Facebook, you can request people to leave commentary on your track when you upload it, in the description bar.
If you're just getting started with SoundCloud, begin by searching for artists in your genre, after uploading a few tracks; follow them, and then try following a few of their fans to see if they connect with you in return.
SoundCloud is relatively high-volume, as well as being an international community of music enthusiasts, so if you're consistently uploading music and promoting it, the site can prove to be an excellent source of critique on your songs.
The Nashville Songwriters Association International features chapters around the world that are dedicated to supporting and training serious musicians and songwriters. NSAI offers monthly workshops in the city of Nashville itself, digital archives of previous documents, seminars, videos and other learning resources, and songwriting critique from some of the music industry's most polished firmament stars.
For serious musicians, the annual fee and per-song critique costs are well worth it. Membership in NSAI is $200 per year, and songwriters can submit up to twelve songs per year for free for evaluation and critique. Additional critiques can be purchased for $20 apiece.
In addition to critiques, songs that show genuine musical craftsmanship can often generate opportunities for the artist who wrote it, adding to the value of the investment per annum.
5. Other Musicians
Last but certainly not least, talking to other musicians – especially ones that are well-developed in their careers and skills – are among the best resources you have for getting feedback on your musical work.
Make it a point to go to shows and explore the work of other artists working in your genre. Work to form relationships with them, talk about your work, and, occasionally, ask for their opinion on something you're working on. Cultivating relationships with other musicians will help you to receive consistently reliable and informed critique on your songwriting.
A great number of musicians are interested in supporting and advancing each other, and they can help you improve across a range of skills - from composing a good melody line to writing better lyrics.
No matter which of the above resources you utilize for receiving feedback on your songs, it will be a lot of information to sort through. At times, there will sometimes be unnecessarily negative commentary that you'll simply have to ignore and move on from.
However, even just scanning some of the critiques you get on your work will help you to learn which areas of your musicianship need the most work, what your audience is most enthusiastic about, and, best of all, which areas you excel at most as an artist. Glen Parry has been a musician for over 15 years. He’s done everything the hard way so you don’t have to. You can find more musical advice and audio gear buying guides, such as the karaoke machine rundown, over at audiomastered.com Disclaimer: Please note that the views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Tunedly.