Negative effects of positive feedback.

Vintage Old School

Gold Member
There's a thin line between being encouraging and being critical in our culture. I think the quality of the relationship you have with those complimenting you has a lot to do with whether you should put any stock in what they tell you and what you should take lightly or dismiss altogether.

It's a balancing act between encouraging people with where they're at in their particular journey and choosing one's words wisely to help them improve themselves. My youngest daughter always wanted me to offer suggestions on how she could improve at something. She never took it as me being critical. She knows I love her deeply and any suggestion on how she could improve was a positive thing in her eyes. My oldest daughter thrived on encouragement by focusing on the positive things she was doing.

Often with friends and colleagues who ask me what I think, I'll more than likely give them an appropriate compliment. But if they're fishing for a compliment when some correction is in order I'll always ask them the same question: "Do you want me to be honest or to be polite?". Usually a lengthy, awkward silence ensues. Most of the time their response is "It's not that important" and they walk off. But by asking them permission for me to be honest, those who want to hear what I have to say are much more open and receptive to my words on how I think they could improve. They also know in the future if they ever want an honest answer they can come to me because I care for them.
 

ottog1979

Senior Member
This is a great subject. I think in reality we all need a little of both. I think compliments are less helpful in actually getting better, but compliments are nice and often rewarding. That said, I've learned WAY MORE from the criticism I've received even when blunt and less constructive than I'd prefer. To that end, I still don't think of it in real time as much as I'd like to but actually asking for criticism can be very helpful. I want to do this more as, especially from the right people, as it could be instrumental to my further musical development.

I'd like to get more into the practice of something like this: Complementor: "Hey man, you sounded great tonight. Nice pocket!" Me: "Thanks, I really appreciate that! Tell me, was there anything you heard or didn't hear that you'd change for the better?" You certainly can take whatever's said with a grain of salt, but I bet you'd hear a lot of good, interesting, helpful comments over time.
 

boomstick

Silver Member
I'd like to get more into the practice of something like this: Complementor: "Hey man, you sounded great tonight. Nice pocket!" Me: "Thanks, I really appreciate that! Tell me, was there anything you heard or didn't hear that you'd change for the better?"

That's a great suggestion. Thanks.
 

boomstick

Silver Member
Record your playing and evaluate it yourself.

Ha! The first time I did that was probably my first rude awakening. It was kind of horrifying. "All that practice, and this is what I sound like?"

BTW, I did finally remember getting some critical feedback early on. I was auditioning for bands, and for one of them, I did a pre-audition with just the bass player. We were both early 20s, but as soon as we started playing together, I could tell he was in another league. Needless to say, it didn't go any further. He offered some criticism at the end, but I think he was trying to be nice about it, and I can't quite remember the specifics. It was a proggy band, which wasn't really my thing anyway, so moved on and looked for something simpler.
 

brentcn

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?

Don’t sell yourself short. It’s really difficult to become a competent drummer. It’s the easiest thing in the world to be a not-so-good musician; there are just so many ways to fail.
 

boomstick

Silver Member
Don’t sell yourself short. It’s really difficult to become a competent drummer.

I'm being far more critical of my former self. After putting in many hours to correct these flaws, I'm in a place where I feel much more confident, I feel good about my playing, and I have so much more fun. But I've also stopped being complacent, and I keep pushing myself to improve. I think I'm just feeling regret that I didn't identify and correct these problems sooner, and lamenting that too much praise may have contributed.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
I'm being far more critical of my former self. After putting in many hours to correct these flaws, I'm in a place where I feel much more confident, I feel good about my playing, and I have so much more fun. But I've also stopped being complacent, and I keep pushing myself to improve. I think I'm just feeling regret that I didn't identify and correct these problems sooner, and lamenting that too much praise may have contributed.

I never really got praise, and I have that same lament.
 

mrthirsty

Junior Member
I knew a drummer who had the reputation of people saying "He's a great drummer, just ask him!". He even went as far as to rate himself as 1 of the top 20 drummers in North America in addition to telling other drummers they sucked without being asked for his opinion.

Maybe he got too much praise early on.
 

Sakae2xBopster

Well-known member
I've met a number of musicians over the years. Some well-known: Carl Palmer, Roger Earl, Lou Gramm, Jimmy Webb, Gary Lewis, Dan Tracey, Joe Locke, Rex Smith. Many more not as well-known but often equally talented (or sometimes even more so).
Without exception each performer was gracious and engaging, even though some had just performed for 2 or 3 hours. I never sensed any resentment at having to talk with a fan, or trying to move someone along.
When my brother and I met James Taylor after a concert at Wrigley Field (through a mutual friend) he asked US for feedback! He asked where we had been sitting (way up high), wanted to know how the sound quality was, and wanted to make sure we had enjoyed the show. He's done a thousand concerts, but still wanted to know how it went.
IMHO the most successful professional musicians understand that there is a special relationship with their fans. I attended a performance by Max Weinberg in a small venue just before Covid where he invited everyone up on to the stage to dance. That was an especially cool night. Definitely going back when he comes through here again. Every single person left that show satisfied, and if the execution of one or two of the songs wasn't fully satisfactory to the musicians, so be it. It was a great show.
I hope Corona viruses don't put an end to interaction with fans, but I fear they might. There will be fewer, shorter conversations and probably no more handshakes. We can hope appreciation can be still be shown--both ways--in one form or another.
 

MntnMan62

Junior Member
I knew a drummer who had the reputation of people saying "He's a great drummer, just ask him!". He even went as far as to rate himself as 1 of the top 20 drummers in North America in addition to telling other drummers they sucked without being asked for his opinion.

Maybe he got too much praise early on.

I don't think he got too much praise. He just has a major character flaw. Delusions of granduer. Deep insecurity that makes him feel the need to pump himself up since no one else will do so. He probably has a big "L" plastered to his forehead along with a sign on his back that says "Kick me, I'm stupid."
 

toddmc

Gold Member
I hope Corona viruses don't put an end to interaction with fans, but I fear they might. There will be fewer, shorter conversations and probably no more handshakes. We can hope appreciation can be still be shown--both ways--in one form or another.
To be fair, a lot of bands were doing the "fist-bump" at meet and greets even before covid.
And conversations?? Lucky to get a word or 2 in, these days it's just "Ok, say cheese-Next!"
At any rate I'll be grateful if any bands can even make it to my country (at least cover bands are doing a roaring trade at the moment)?
 

mrthirsty

Junior Member
I don't think he got too much praise. He just has a major character flaw. Delusions of granduer. Deep insecurity that makes him feel the need to pump himself up since no one else will do so. He probably has a big "L" plastered to his forehead along with a sign on his back that says "Kick me, I'm stupid."

Yeah, you could be right, he was an experience to deal with. Strange for a guy in his 40's to go on like that.
 

Justinhub2003

Well-known member
Man I absolutely hate compliments. One because most of the time they come from people who wouldn’t know what good or not, OR 2 if it’s coming from a well respected drummer, then you have no idea if they are just being nice or are being serious,


I only give compliments if I’m truly impressed. I hate fake anything. But if I never heard a compliment the rest of the my life I’d be ok.

I’d rather hear genuine constructive criticism, because the blow to my ego only makes me want to work harder.
 

Sakae2xBopster

Well-known member

boomstick

Silver Member
When my brother and I met James Taylor after a concert at Wrigley Field (through a mutual friend) he asked US for feedback! He asked where we had been sitting (way up high), wanted to know how the sound quality was, and wanted to make sure we had enjoyed the show. He's done a thousand concerts, but still wanted to know how it went.

That's really cool. I've heard of directors quietly attending screenings of their movies to see how a real audience reacts. Never thought about top musicians getting feedback from audience members, but it makes a lot of sense.
 

Vintage Old School

Gold Member
This is a great subject. I think in reality we all need a little of both.

True. Mark Twain said "I can live for two months on a good compliment." Twain typically took two months to write his shorter pieces, and a genuine compliment fueled him to complete those pieces in that timespan. But no doubt the legitimate criticism he received made him a better author.
 

Otto

Platinum Member
I tend to find that positive feedback from average listeners is more of an attempt to join in the fun...and I try to accept their comments in that light and formally invite them into the festivities.
 

NickSchles

Junior Member
Maybe you were a good drummer, and have developed into a better drummer as your ears developed. We're always looking to improve, so it's natural that you'll have gone through that process. How we sound / play to other people is very relative / subjective, and also people tend to be supportive / encouraging, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Our inner "I suck" demon is a great driver to get better... I, for one, am hard on myself and think I suck, yet people come to me for lessons, and recording, so I must be doing something right, but that doesn't mean I'll sit comfortable... No, I'm always pushing. Sounds like you've done the same. No, you've not fooled anyone, you're just like the rest of us! I think anyone who thinks "I'm awesome, and don't need to work on anything" is delusional... Jojo Mayer doesn't NOT practice and try and push himself... :)
 

Yamaha Rider

Well-known member
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.

.
Absolutely. A band that relies totally on audience feedback is doomed.
The people who make the most noise are the socialisers - it's the music lovers who count. Unless you want to play Mustang Sally, Livin on a prayer and Superstition every night, forever.
 

Yamaha Rider

Well-known member
I knew a drummer who had the reputation of people saying "He's a great drummer, just ask him!". He even went as far as to rate himself as 1 of the top 20 drummers in North America in addition to telling other drummers they sucked without being asked for his opinion.

Maybe he got too much praise early on.
Yes, from his mother - instead of tanning his ass.
 
Top