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Critique your own composition or arrangement

15 January, 2016 - 09:13
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Again, the main point is NOT to make yourself feel bad, but to find and fix problems before other people notice them, and improve faster as a composer and arranger of music.

Inquiry Steps

  1. Ask - Choose a piece that you have completed recently that you have recorded, could record, or could create a good sound file (for example using midi). The question for this inquiry is "How can I improve this piece?"
  2. Investigate - Make a reasonably good recording of the piece. If you need other performers to help make the recording, spend some time rehearsing, but get a "best possible" recording before your performers begin to get tired, bored, or resentful. Listen carefully to the recording several times, with the written music in front of you, noting spots that do not sound as strong as the rest of the piece. Pick ONE spot (or more than one if you think the problem is the same), and analyze the spot carefully, with the goal of making it sound stronger, more convincing, or more in style with the rest of the piece. If you are not certain what to consider, try looking at this checklist for ideas.
  3. Create - When you think you understand why the spot does not sound as good as the rest of the piece, make changes that you believe might improve it. If necessary, rewrite nearby sections, too, so that the changes work smoothly with the rest of the piece. Record the result, again making a reasonable "best possible" recording.
  4. Discuss and Reflect - Listen carefully to the two recordings, one after the other. Do you like the changed version better? If so, did you learn something that can be applied to other compositions and arrangements? If not, what do you think might be the problem? Are there other spots in the piece that you would now like to work on? Can you share both recordings with a music teacher, director, friend, or family member, and get useful feedback?