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Some people will be better than others at giving thoughtful, useful, constructive criticism that you can understand. So

Rule #4 is "Protect yourself from criticism that harms you as a musician and music learner."
  • Always practice receiving constructive criticism in the spirit in which it is intended: not as an attack on what you can do now, but as recognition that you can learn to do even better. If even friendly, helpful advice feels hurtful to you, consider working on developing an attitude of wanting to benefit more from the knowledge of others. It may help to practice constructive criticism for yourself.
  • Be aware that some people do enjoy giving attack criticism , which is intended to make the receiver feel less capable or competent. You can recognize attack criticism because it contains no positive comments and no helpful suggestions for improvement. If you have teachers who engage in attack criticism, try to replace them. If other experts or allies appear to be giving attack criticism, seek feedback elsewhere. If you ask for feedback from crowds, be aware that you are very likely to attract attack critics, and be ready to dismiss their comments as being focused on their own needs rather than on yours.
  • You may get feedback that is genuinely intended to be helpful, but, for whatever reason, does not speak to your needs as a music learner at this time. Again, if this is often the case with your music teacher, you might consider looking for a different teacher. If an expert or ally gives this type of advice, consider seeking help from someone else next time. If nobody else is available, consider asking different questions next time.

The inquiry

This inquiry is designed to help you locate some of the sources of useful feedback that are available to you as a music learner.


Your question for this inquiry will be: From whom can I get constructive criticism that will help me pursue my music-learning goals?


For your investigation, decide on an area of music learning that you would like to focus on right now. For example:

  • If you want to become a more knowledgeable listener, decide on a type of music that interests you and what you would like to learn about it.
  • If you want to work on singing or playing an instrument, what specific skill or ability would you like to work on right now?
  • If you would like to improve your abilities as a composer, arranger, songwriter, or improviser, what specific skill or ability would you like to gain, and in what music genre or style?

Deciding on a specific music-learning focus may require almost no research; you may already have something in mind. If not, you may need to do some reading, listening and/or thinking. If you have trouble stating a specific interest or learning goal, consider doing the inquiry in Designing Inquiry Questions or in Ways of Knowing about Music . If you are not certain where to look for reading or listening resources, consider doing the Finding Resources inquiry.


Prepare a creation that shows off the best that you are capable of doing in that area right now. This might be, for example, a song you have written, a piece that you have been practicing on your instrument, or a short essay describing what you hear when you listen to the music that interests you. You may have to prepare this creation "from scratch" or you may be able to polish up something you have already worked on. If you have no idea what kind of creation would show off what you know right now, consider doing the inquiry in Creative Responses to Music Learning .

As you prepare your creation, make a list of any problems that you cannot seem to solve, any weaknesses that you do not know how to fix, or any specific learning goals that you think might make it better.

If it truly is not possible to prepare a creation to show off your present abilities, then prepare a set of well-thought-out, thoroughly researched, intelligent questions instead. (For example, if you have not even bought an instrument yet, you may want to research instruments and then ask some well-informed questions about what you should buy.)


The "Discuss" step is the part of an inquiry in which you get feedback, so this is the crux of this particular inquiry. Choose at least three people and arrange to present your creation to each of them, separately. As much as possible, try to choose different kinds of people , for example, one teacher/expert, one peer/bandmate, and one friend/relative.

Listen carefully to any feedback they want to give, but ask each one at least one specific question that should give you useful information about your "problem" or "goal." Work on your creation a little more with their suggestions in mind before you answer the "Reflect" questions.

If you are doing this inquiry as part of a class or group, report on and discuss your experiences with your group before making your final reflections. As a consideration toward your helpers, do not name them in your discussion. Refer to them in an anonymous way, for example, as "a friend" or "a fellow choir member."


As you reflect on the feedback you have gotten and think about where you might turn for future help with your music-learning goals, consider the following questions:

  • How easy to understand were the suggestions from each of your helpers? How different were they from the understandings you already had?
  • How useful did each suggestion appear to be when you went back to working on your creation?
  • How useful do you expect the suggestions to be as you continue to work on this problem or goal?
  • How convenient or difficult was it to schedule a session with each person?
  • Did each appear to be willing and eager to help? Interested in your problem and questions? Busy or distracted?
  • Can your growth as a musician directly benefit any of these people in any way? Can you think of reasonable ways you might "repay" the help?
  • Can you think of any other people in each category who might also be willing and able to give you help and suggestions? Does it make sense to extend this activity by also presenting your creation to them? Would it make sense to try some of them the next time you want feedback?
  • If you do not seem to have enough people to ask for this kind of support, is there something you might do to build new connections? (For example, could you join a group? Start one? Take a class? Build online friendships with others who share your musical interests and goals?)

Questions & Answers

anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
many many of nanotubes
what is the k.e before it land
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
I'm interested in nanotube
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Music inquiry. OpenStax CNX. Mar 18, 2013 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11455/1.4
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