The Importance of Feedback

My choir, the Young New Yorkers’ Chorus, is traveling to Chicago in a few weeks to sing in the American Choral Directors Association conference. It’s considered a big deal in the choral world, and of course we want to bring our A game. So last night at rehearsal, our director taped us singing all our numbers, and the recordings were waiting in our inboxes this AM.

The idea is that we are supposed to listen to the recordings, and figure out what we’re doing right and wrong. Simple enough, right? But I know that most people hate doing this. Listening to a choir is one thing because yours is one voice among many, but it’s much harder to listen to one’s own solo singing or presentations. Watching ourselves on video can be excruciating. The 360 degree mirrors in What Not To Wear always make people cringe. The truth — with all your ums, playing with your hair, rumpled pants and so forth — can hurt.

But here’s the thing: It’s almost impossible to get better at something if you don’t look, objectively, at what you’re doing and analyze the weak spots. Getting honest, unfiltered feedback, and then practicing the tough spots, is the quickest way to improve at anything. It’s one reason blogging is good for a writer. People tell you what they think! And a reason I’ll be sending out chapters of this new book soon, hoping that with all that feedback, I’ll be able to create something more readable than I would otherwise.


4 thoughts on “The Importance of Feedback

  1. I just finished reading “Talent is Overrated’ and you are so right about feedback being the only way to improve oneself. I plan to ask my tap teacher where my weak spots are so I can work hard on them, as I am determined to be in a recital within 4 years.

    1. @Denise- that’s a great book. Yes, it has occurred to me that the reason piano lessons were always a love-hate thing for me is that I love playing the piano, but really don’t have a whole lot of interest in working on rough patches over and over. Which of course means I was never going to get that good at it. But hey, we all have things we enjoy in life that we’re not aiming to be world-class on.

  2. @Laura-I play too, and feel the same way. I will be recuperating from surgery that I am having next week and figure I will take some time to really play, and work a new piece or two since I won’t be able to tap dance for 8 long weeks.

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