Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Guidelines for Critique

Here is an attempt to summarize and distill our Week 2 conversation about Critique.

1. Ask the presenter(s) questions:
  • “What do YOU want to know / hear about?”
  • “What are you hoping the audience will take away?”
  • “What was the inspiration?”
  • “What was your process?”
  • “What were you happy/unhappy with?”
  • “If you changed [x], what would happen?”
  • “Where is it headed next?”
2. Revisit our discussion guidelines, especially:
  • Be aware of disciplinary knowledge and conventions.
  • Be constructive. 
  • Qualify your statements as opinions or ideas.
3. Rather than dwelling on shortcomings or incomplete elements, make productive suggestions of new/different avenues to explore, or next steps. Try statements like:
  • "I could see [x] happening next."
  • "You could think about exploring [x]."
4. Make connections:
  • "This makes me think of [x], which could serve as an inspiration." 
5. Bear in mind that technique might not be easily fixed or changed. "You need to practice harder" or "play better" isn't particularly useful. 

6. Avoid "coded" critiques. Say what you mean.

7. Consider diverse parameters of the work:
  • Texture
  • Compositional development
  • Harmony
  • Melody
  • Presentation of the performance
  • Logistical aspects
  • Media environment
  • Sounds /timbre (instrumental and electronic)
  • Mix / Frequency range
  • Balance of ‘dry’ / ‘wet’ 
  • Artistic concept  -- musical ideas
  • Technical approach
  • Relationship between the technical and artistic motivations 

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