All four mandatory modules MUST be completed
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Thoughts and feelings on the first listen
The insight from the first impression is unique and can only be obtained once. Try and take notes either during or immediately after first listen.
Most impressive, not necessarily what stands out the most
It’s crucial to identify what the producer has done right. If the strongest
point isn’t clear, or there are several points competing for the top spot, then that should be explained (there can be joint strongest points).
Worst aspect, not necessarily what stands out the most
A very common problem is that the producer has produced something that they’re unsatisfied with, yet they’re unable to identify what exactly isn’t quite right. This is especially
important when the track is of a very high standard because these points tend to be the ‘make or break’ points.
What they could do next to improve the work
This is the Pro’s chance to qualify themselves by giving practical advice, sharing techniques and solutions. This can be presented in a “I would / If it were my decision” style, or alternatively as a more direct, “You should / You could try” style.
Completeness / Credibility
This is a consideration as to whether or not the work sounds ready to be released. In some cases a track may sound authentic and might pass as ‘complete’ despite its imperfections. It’s most important that the Pro supports their opinion with sufficient details to justify it.
Appeal / Market
The Pro should look at the work from a business perspective, suggesting
where the work sounds like it would fit in, where appropriate. If the Pro doesn’t
personally like the track, they may at least recognise its potential for the right audience.
Originality / Unique points
What positive aspects distinguish the recording from other works? This could relate to
quirky lyrics, any form of gimmick, or general convention breaking. This will often be something the producer has intentionally worked hard at, but it could also be due to their natural creative flair or a total fluke. In any case, originality should be celebrated and the most unique points need to be highlighted.
Character / Sound choices
Commonly the perceived quality of an amateur work can be significantly improved by the use of better samples, synth patches or better vocal talent. Can also discuss overall tone/personality of the track. Discuss individual sounds using this category.
Timing / Groove
For discussion of timing and groove in relation to the track/genre. Is the tempo suitable? Does it use appropriate use of swing? Is the timing sloppy at all?
Flow / Transitions
The Pro should pay special attention to the flow of energy throughout the work and, in particular, how natural it feels moving from one section to the next. Perhaps the main buildup feels limp, the drop is underwhelming, or the intro seems disjointed or goes on for longer than you’d expect.
Mixdown / Professionalism
There are many ways to judge a mixdown, but for the purposes of high quality feedback,the main value of the mixdown can be thought of as its ability to clearly carry the message of the music and to give a generally professional impression.
Be sure to also check out our top tips for giving great feedback