The art of good (respectful) critique...

Receiving constructive criticism is vital for our development as Percussionists and we should seek out feedback from other people as much as possible.  After all, you're not going to be able to see everything you could be doing better without the aid of a 2nd opinion. 

Now, I've certainly championed the social aspect of critique within the online Percussion community, in that if someone doesn't ask for your critique, DON'T give it!  This is because critiquing another human being can be very personal: you are literally pointing out another human being's deficiencies which is huge part of their identity!  Can you critique the way someone dresses (hello fashion police), talks, writes, forms an opinion, lives their life, drums, takes photos, loves?  Of course you can and any form of unsolicited critique in these areas can become painful for another person to hear, UNLESS there is a certain level of trust between the one being criticized and the one giving criticism...even then, it still doesn't mean it won't hurt.  So yea, I don't recommend you act like the fashion police (for example) and offer your fashion advice to random people on the street...I don't think that's going to go very well for you...

Now, if you ever see a drumming video online and you feel compelled to critique them, unless you already know this person, I suggest you keep that critique to yourself and even then, I still think you shouldn't give critique unless you've been asked to do so!  I mean, how often have you seen or experienced the following scenario yourself:

You: Hey guys check out my new drumming video!

Your jerk friend: HAH, open up your flams bro...

You: k....

Doesn't this seem socially awkward? I don't know...maybe social intelligence doesn't matter...

THAT BEING SAID, if the person who posted the drum video specifically asks for critique, then of course, by all means give the best critique you possibly can!  If you ever find yourself in a situation where you have been invited to give critique, here's 3 tips you could use to give the other person MASSIVE amounts of value:

1.) Give a compliment before and/or after you give the critique! Again, because this is all very personal, even if someone is requesting critique, it doesn't mean every comment won't sting.  The best way to make sure good will is established at all times is to notice something positive the other person is doing, point that out first or last (or both) and then give your constructive criticism.

2.) Watch the video a couple of times to make sure you catch every area that still has room to grow! Once you have identified the areas where improvement can be made, go ahead and point them out and offer some suggestions on how to improve through practice.

3.) When giving critique, have the mindset of being of assistance to the other person! This is not an opportunity for you to stroke your ego, show off how much you know or give another example of why the philosophy you learned is superior to all others! As long as you give critique with the other person's best interest in mind, then your critique can potentially change the course of another person's drumming career...so don't take this opportunity lightly!

What do you think? Do you think it's ok to just give wholesale critique to other people without permission or do you think there is a better way? Let me know your thoughts!

Also, I am in the process of creating a super positive community where you can post videos and get critique, if you ask for it!  If you don't ask for it, we'll just appreciate your art and give you the space to express yourself in an artistic way without any critique!  If you are interested in joining this group, search "Drumtech Drumline" on Facebook or click the link below and request to join today!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/679301948933671/
Karl ArrietaComment