Getting Feedback—the Fourth Pillar of Improvement

Image by NASA Goddard Photo and Video (Creative Commons)

In the last few posts, we’ve looked at ways to improve our skills as artists. I call these methods “pillars of improvement”, and there’s four of them. So far, we’ve covered the importance of gaining knowledge, getting an instructor, and taking action. Getting feedback is the final stage. So let’s look at that now.

We can attain immense knowledge, seek out good instruction, and perform daily action. But without feedback, we won’t know how well we are progressing.

Feedback can either be constructive or destructive, i.e. person can praise your work or criticize it. You and I can learn and grow from both kinds of criticism.

If your feedback is negative, don’t take it personally. We’re trying to refine our skills, not our self-image. Shove your ego aside and allow for as much feedback as you can get, even if it’s negative. Although people’s negative reactions can often be destructive and useless, there’s probably something you can learn from them.

Now, there are several ways you can receive feedback. You can get it from your instructor, fellow artists (or writers or musicians), or your audience.

You can give feedback to yourself self as well. How do you feel after you’ve created a piece of work? Do you like it or dislike it? These questions are good indications of how you’re doing. If you feel confident after reworking a verse in your song, that’s usually a sign your on the right track.

Consistent feedback on your work is key to finding your voice and improving your skills. Combined with self-knowledge, help from a mentor, and dogged action, feedback can help you grow tremendously as an artist. Consider yourself like a scientist in a lab, always testing and experimenting, and refining your approach as you toil along.

So go find a way to get feedback on your work today—and then make a habit out of it.

Best,
Aaron.

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