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The Key To Giving Constructive Feedback To A Composer

How to give constructive feedback while strengthening your relationship with a composer and creating a unique soundtrack for your project

Communication is essential in all projects, and even if you’re the best communicator ever, your composer might still not deliver what you expected and that is totally fine.

To turn this around, giving constructive feedback is necessary, and there are a few key aspects of such that will help you transmit your thoughts in a respectful way that also acknowledges the other person’s hard work and later receive the piece you have in mind.

In this post, we cover those details and a few more things to help you not over-stress about your project and communicate your ideas perfectly.

Focus On The Positive First

There’s no recipe for how to give constructive feedback to a composer, but there are some things that should be always on your mind such as being respectful, having clear ideas (or if you don’t, at least sharing your thoughts about them with the composer) and listening to the other side for an explanation of why they did certain things.

When receiving the movie soundtrack or specific song, find a peaceful place to listen and grab a pen and paper or anything you can make some notes and play the pieces. Find what you like and what you think will work for your project and write it down.

It can be a sound that makes you feel a certain way, how the composer linked different styles into a cohesive and unique song or anything that comes to your mind.

The most important thing to establish a strong and fruitful relationship with a composer is to communicate, and we advise you to deliver all your positive thoughts first and then move on to the things you’d like them to improve or modify. This will help the composer feel confident about the time they spent on your piece as well as grateful for the kind constructive feedback.

Be Specific About Changes

Giving feedback to a composer has to have some specifications regarding what you’d like to receive after hearing the first draft or delivery. You don’t want to be the type of director or producer that says “I don’t know what’s wrong with this but I don’t like it and I want you to fix it now” and become a composer’s most hated person they know.

Take your time to listen to the piece and find out what you don’t like and why. Similar to the positives, it can be about how something makes you feel if it goes well with the scene chosen or anything else.

When hiring a composer for a film and giving feedback, in order to get exactly what you want, you need to be specific, and if you can’t be specific due to whatever reason, try letting them know.

Composers can help you consider other factors that might help you determine whether you like or you don’t like a piece, making the creative process easier and more fluent.

Listen & Offer Support

As a producer or film director, you’re the one “in charge” that should listen to the composers and offer support when they need it or have questions regarding your project.

Communication is essential during the process, and it is recommended that you let your composer know that this is a paired project and that they’re not alone. Be open to answering any questions or doubts they might have and offer your feedback along the ride, even before seeing the final result.

Sometimes, the smallest tips or recommendations can make a huge difference and allow composers and directors/producers to find what they’re looking for and come up with an original piece that will make the movie incredible.

You should know that the more questions a composer asks, the better the results can turn out since they have a lot of information and details about what you’d like to receive.

Know When To Find Another Composer

Just like with any other collaboration in your project, you should know (or learn) when to let go and find another composer.

We advise you to be a little patient and give your current composer a chance to implement the changes and feedback you sent, but, if time passes by and you don’t see an improvement or you’re really behind schedule and need to finish a song or soundtrack faster, it is best to say thanks and find another composer.

All composers are different and what your current one struggled with, another one might come up with a solution in record time. Always with respect and acknowledging all the hard work they did for you, letting go of a composer is not something bad.

Take the time to find a new composer and know that they’re not all the same. And, if you follow the recommendations shared above, we’re sure you will end up with the result you’ve always wanted.

Giving Feedback To A Composer

In this post, we shared the best tips on how to give constructive feedback to a composer.

To sum up, you should think about focusing on what you like about the piece or movie soundtrack first, and then move on to improvements you’d like the composer to make. Another thing to consider is to always be respectful, acknowledge the other person's hard work and communicate your ideas clearly (be specific).

Now that you learned how to give constructive feedback, we’d like you to know more about our company, Arcella Sound. We’re experienced in the creation of original soundtracks for films and video games, and we have the latest tools and strategies to speed up the creative process that we do entirely to suit your project.

If you’d like to get in touch with us, feel free to send us a message or book a discovery call to discuss further details. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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