How Do I Critique Myself?

Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?

Have you ever been to a public place and observed people’s style? As you look on, you start to wonder how some people feel okay leaving their house in the morning. That girl’s hair is out of place, that guy’s shirt is too small, and that man in line at Starbucks is only wearing one sock.

I have a mirror in my bathroom that half the time says “ no, no, no, no, no, take that off, that does not work!” And I listen!

So, I then wonder what those peoples’ mirrors are telling them? Do you think they might not even look?

Hmmmm.

The ability to look in a mirror and really see yourself is a talent that will serve you well when you critique your own songs. You are going to have to be able to know where you need to add, edit, or improve. It’s your responsibility.

It’s imperative in the age we live in that you do the work yourself to make yourself marketable. Your songs are your brand, so the more open you are to improvement the quicker your brand can manifest. It’s your ability to adjust quickly after going off course that will serve you best in this process.

Dr. Laura, a renowned radio personality, tells a story about racing sailboats. When it comes time to hoist the main sail, one man quickly raises it only to see, in shock, that it was upside down. What happens next is astonishing. The sail comes down and, in 2 seconds, it is flipped and raised in the right direction. No one stood around gawking at the mistake; instead, it was corrected and everyone moved on. Poetry in Motion.

So, where can you learn this skill - the skill of correcting mistakes? You can start by having a professional (like me) critique your songs so that you can gather some tools to do it yourself. Or, you can also put in place a “Board of Writers,” a group of colleagues you trust to review and critique your songs. As other people highlight areas in need of improvement, you will start to see them yourself. In this way, you will learn to self-critique.

Self-critique is a skill that will make you valuable to yourself and to others. Just think, you won’t be as likely to waist time because you will be able see

where you can better tell a story or integrate an emotion more readily.

So let’s break it down: How can you self-critique in an efficient and productive manner.

Firstly, read and listen to the lyric. The lyric is a story told in approximately 200 words and 4 minutes time. And we have all kinds ranging from Keith Urban bearing his soul in detail to Sheryl Crow using metaphors brilliantly all the way to Bruce Springsteen speaking for the working man. And, they are all stories. What’s your style and is the story clear?

Now the ability to consume the lyric relies heavily on the melody it is riding on. The melody is the emotion and feelings behind the story. How do you want your audience to react?

When you listen to your own songs ask yourself the following: Are my melodies compelling? What do I need to learn or do for them to become more compelling? You could.... learn an instrument, work on your voice, or get better in touch with your feelings.

Gather a team or a professional to gain insight into your problem areas. Then, begin to rely on your own perspective when it comes to what you need to do to improve your songs and yourself.

Look in the mirror.