Negative effects of positive feedback.

boomstick

Silver Member
Over the years, I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback on my playing from listeners, from bandmates, from teachers. Can’t think of any negative criticism that I have received. It’s nice to hear that I’m a “good” or an “awesome” drummer, but in hindsight, I realize I was none of those things. I know now that my playing was not very tight, my dynamics were limited, my weak hand was extremely weak, and worst of all, my timing was not that great. I think all the positive feedback kept me from trying to improve myself. Over time, I recognized these flaws and worked hard to correct them, but I should have gone through this process a long time ago. Now I’d say I’ve become a “competent” drummer, but still far from great. What happened? How did I fool so many people all those years?
 

NouveauCliche

Senior Member
Over the years, I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback on my playing from listeners, from bandmates, from teachers. Can’t think of any negative criticism that I have received. It’s nice to hear that I’m a “good” or an “awesome” drummer, but in hindsight, I realize I was none of those things. I know now that my playing was not very tight, my dynamics were limited, my weak hand was extremely weak, and worst of all, my timing was not that great. I think all the positive feedback kept me from trying to improve myself. Over time, I recognized these flaws and worked hard to correct them, but I should have gone through this process a long time ago. Now I’d say I’ve become a “competent” drummer, but still far from great. What happened? How did I fool so many people all those years?

That's precisely why I never give a compliment to any musicians, ever. Ever. No exceptions.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Maybe you're kinda hard on yourself?

If people have a problem with a drummer, they either tell them about it or replace them. Neither of those happened.

We are not programmed to feel good about ourselves, in any way. I think that's the biggest factor at play here. You are doubting yourself.

Cut that out!

When looking back, and things seemed fine, why in hindsight do we think something's wrong?

This could fall under the category of taking a positive and sabotaging it.

Cut that out!

The best way to do art is to dispense with right and wrong, and just get on with it.
 

boomstick

Silver Member
Maybe you're kinda hard on yourself?

Maybe. But I think back to my first band. They complimented my playing, but we actually recorded ten tracks together, and it's kind of embarrassing to listen to now.

You are doubting yourself. Cut that out!

Actually, now that I've worked on these things, I am much more confident in my playing. I used to get nervous and worry about messing up on stage. Now that just doesn't happen. I feel confident and happy at my kit with or without an audience.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Compliments are fine when they're informed and sincere, but sometimes they're nothing more than pleasantries -- ways to break the ice, take up conversational space, or even employ flattery as a bargaining tool. In addition, not everyone is qualified to assess your musical acumen, so some compliments, though they might be of innocent intent, stem from ignorance rather than knowledge. They can be very misleading as a result.

For my first five years as a drummer, my instructor's critiques were the only ones I took seriously. Eventually, I developed the insight and confidence necessary to evaluate my own playing, as well as to determine whether someone else's views held any merit at all. Trusting your own judgment is the best measure at your disposal.
 
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MntnMan62

Junior Member
I think you, the drummer, have to consider who is giving the positive feedback and under what circumstances. If it's just after a gig you played and you don't know the person, they aren't going to give you negative feedback, even if you ask for it. If you seek negative or the way I like to call it, "constructive" feedback, you want to invite people who's opinion you respect and who understand that you are asking them to critique your playing. So, get your drummer and other musician friends to show up at your gigs and give you their honest take, the good AND the bad. That's the only way you're going to get any of the type of feekback you really want that will also be worth hearing.
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
Compliments are fine when they're informed and sincere, but sometimes they're nothing more than pleasantries -- ways to break the ice, take up conversational space, or even employ flattery as a bargaining tool. In addition, not everyone is qualified to assess one's musical acumen, so some compliments, though they might be of innocent origin, stem from ignorance rather than knowledge. They can be very misleading as a result.
I think you, the drummer, have to consider who is giving the positive feedback and under what circumstances. If it's just after a gig you played and you don't know the person, they aren't going to give you negative feedback, even if you ask for it.

These two comments above are correct. Record your playing and evaluate it yourself.

Last Saturday I played a gig. (Outdoors) One song we played was "Call Me The Breeze". I hit the groove and kept the correct tempo. Most of the musical for the song notes were OK. The people were dancing. They loved it. They all cheered. And at the end of the song they all thought it was great. After the set I got several compliments.

To me the song sounded terrible. Singing was not good, guitars out of tune, lead guitar player constantly off tempo. Audiences who are starved for live music to dance to do not make good music critics.

.
 
Positive comments can be honest or dishonest, knowledgeable or uninformed - what you and players you respect think should matter most to evaluate your playing. If people enjoy the music but you believe it was bad, that's still not too bad in my book. My favorite positive comment was by two young kids that made little paintings of everyone in the band which they presented to us after the show - they told us how they enjoyed it and I was happy about that even though they probably can't tell the difference between a Paradiddle and a Ratamacue.
Your ears develop alongside your skills. I think it's great that you don't start with an awareness for all flaws - otherwise most people would quit on day one of learning the drums. Finding a balance between being critical and enjoying just making music is not always easy. :)
 

Old Dog new Cans

Senior Member
Compliments are "polite expressions of praise or admiration". You just have to realize they're just words and don't really mean much. Especially from friends or colleagues. Heck, maybe they're just blowin' smoke?!

In order to get actual positive feedback, it HAS to come from the right person. A teacher, someone else skilled enough to make such a judgement call.
Too many people in the world are just full o' crap.
 

SharkSandwich

Junior Member
I can relate. I recorded a fair amount of material with original bands back in the day and I have a hard time listening to it today. I wish someone (band mates, engineers) would have held me more accountable for the time, the tempos feel rushed. I suppose we were all just young and inexperienced musicians.

As I've gotten older, I think I'm more comfortable with who I am as a drummer. I know my strengths and my weaknesses and I'm ok with them.
I'm probably my own biggest critic these days. I get compliments but I take them with a grain of salt.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
It's hard to do, but at a certain point you have to get over yourself and let people enjoy your playing, and accept their compliments gracefully. It's OK to derive some confidence from the fact that people like your playing.

But you don't base your entire judgment of your abilities on that. Or on criticism. It's all worthless for that. Very few people know enough to have their comments mean anything re: your development as a musician. Even most musicians can only tell you what they want. At best.

Probably find a teacher who you trust to know where you need improvement. And begin forming your own concept of that.
 

toddmc

Gold Member
Hopefully it was never a case of "American Idol Syndrome" where all your friends and family tell you you're great and you're actually just average (I'm sure that's not the case).

LIke many have said before, depends where the compliments come from- if they're informed opinions then great, if coming from non-drummers, take it with a grain of salt.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
I reflexively think a compliment means somebody wants me to do something for them or just being socially nice and supportive. I’ve done it to with a sax player at church who was just dreadful, painfully tone deaf - it wasn’t a sincere compliment- just being nice. I guess the road to hell is paved with good intentions-my bad
 

Auspicious

Well-known member
for a person who doesn't know anything about music, they hear a musician, they might say wow! directly.. but they don't really know what's good and what not good, in my opinion.

But I really can't judge about what is good or not. If their feeling was positive and they said it's good then its possible.

People and tastes.. some people like the taste of shit but can't handle vegetables in a spaghetti sauce. (true story)
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Over the years, I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback on my playing from listeners, from bandmates, from teachers. Can’t think of any negative criticism that I have received. It’s nice to hear that I’m a “good” or an “awesome” drummer, but in hindsight, I realize I was none of those things. I know now that my playing was not very tight, my dynamics were limited, my weak hand was extremely weak, and worst of all, my timing was not that great. I think all the positive feedback kept me from trying to improve myself. Over time, I recognized these flaws and worked hard to correct them, but I should have gone through this process a long time ago. Now I’d say I’ve become a “competent” drummer, but still far from great. What happened? How did I fool so many people all those years?
Well, I hate to say it, but you weren’t supposed to believe them. For me, as a player, I compare myself to the masters. I may tell myself I did a great job and that I was “on”, but I always know I’m not at the level of the masters (insert favorite genre professional here). And I’ll say “thank you” for the compliments, but I never believe them because it’s impossible to know what the average audience member liked or what they even know. In fact, saying “thank you” is the quickest way to get them to stop.
 
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