Melodeon.net Forums

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

News:

Welcome to the new melodeon.net forum

Pages: 1 [2] 3   Go Down

Author Topic: Folk Degree Newcastle Uni - Your thoughts (not just melodeon players)  (Read 1902 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

oggiesnr

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 964
  • Dino BPII, Alfred Arnold Bandoneon, Loffet G/C
Re: Folk Degree Newcastle Uni - Your thoughts (not just melodeon players)
« Reply #20 on: March 03, 2017, 01:27:51 PM »

I have spoken to one or two of the students,I get the impression that the degree is not just about the musical ability etc but also the business side of being a performer and working musician.

This of course and rightly so they get a fair price for the work they do,but it will mean that folk clubs etc will have to come into the 21st century and charge ticket prices that reflect this.

No-one at 21 is a fully fledged performer, not even in the "classical" world.  If you go back over the BBC's Young Musician of the Year and compare the performances of winners with what those performers (those still performing solo) are doing now there is world of difference but that comes with age and doing it on a regular basis.

It is also the case that many of them on the course do not see their long term career as trying to make a living slogging round a dwindling number of folk clubs which is why the course covers a lot of other skills as well.  Lets face it the many folk clubs are quite conservative and once the regular guests have been booked there are a limited number of slots for newcomers anyway.

Personally I think it's great and in this age of tuition fees I salute anyone who goes on the course no matter what they finally end up doing.
Logged

Rob Lands

  • Member
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 20
Re: Folk Degree Newcastle Uni - Your thoughts (not just melodeon players)
« Reply #21 on: March 03, 2017, 01:38:42 PM »

All very interesting (- I have a 17 year old who wants to study music at Uni). The discussion is in part focused on does the course produce a great performer.  I am not sure that any university course can provide such a thing on its own.  Won't the great performers need to do more after graduation? You don't become a nobel prize winner without more work. Likewise a conservatoire or drama college will produce many talented people but only a few stars.  If anyone out there has direct recent of music degrees I would be happy to receive info on what/where was good to pass on to 17 year old (currently not for "folk" at Newcastle as too focussed) n.b studied chemistry at uni - did not become a chemist I doubt whether many of 100 or so peers did either.
Logged

Thrupenny Bit

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3413
  • happily squeezing away in Devon
Re: Folk Degree Newcastle Uni - Your thoughts (not just melodeon players)
« Reply #22 on: March 03, 2017, 01:44:03 PM »

Though I do not know exact numbers, as we're talking about one course, the number of graduates are limited. If every uni ran such a course then you could worry about standardisation of technique, repertoire etc. But this is not the case.
The reason I bring this up is after havin a conversation with Squeezy at one of his workshops.
I was saying that it appears to me the French take their playing more seriously and formally, as demonstrated by the formal workshops and detailed teaching aids. Whereas in the UK it's often 'work it out for yourselves' with basic tutors or forums such as this to steer you along the way.
He replied that at least here we have great diversity of style and playing as opposed to all going down one formal route.
Perhaps our system is preferable, with a small number of people having a formal approach through the uni degree but the vast majority plough their own furrow, such as us Melnetters.
Just a thought....
Q
Logged
Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

Thrupenny Bit

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3413
  • happily squeezing away in Devon
Re: Folk Degree Newcastle Uni - Your thoughts (not just melodeon players)
« Reply #23 on: March 03, 2017, 01:50:53 PM »

In reply to Rob:
My early career, in fact the majority of my working life I was a research technician in Biology at my local uni. Many ex students have kept in touch, or you hear things about them.
Only an incredibly small percentage went on to use their Biology degree, the vast majority use it as an overall education and show they can attain a high level of education by staying the course and get a degree. I think your experience is normal!
Q
Logged
Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

Tufty

  • Respected Sage
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 410
  • Dino Bincis etc
Re: Folk Degree Newcastle Uni - Your thoughts (not just melodeon players)
« Reply #24 on: March 03, 2017, 01:51:39 PM »

Far be of from me to be controversial but isn't there an inherent contradiction in the "professional" folk musician? >:E I suppose it depends on what you believe folk music should be: 1. people participating in a musical tradition that belongs to them. 2. People being a passive audience to full time professional entertainers. In the real world I understand that there are many shades of grey between these two positions.
As has been pointed out already, a course that is geared to producing professional folk performers would not be doing them any favours, at least in Britain with the aging folk audience. Much better to study "Folk" as a fascinating subject, with relevance to many other areas of study e.g History, Anthropology, that can lead into a wide range of careers (which will fund performing for pleasure).
Logged

playandteach

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1444
Re: Folk Degree Newcastle Uni - Your thoughts (not just melodeon players)
« Reply #25 on: March 03, 2017, 02:16:11 PM »

I'd like to support John's view - seen several alumni/students on stage over the years.  They were technically excellent but lacked in presentational sparkle. 

If a course is  training 'musicians' who are not going to simply join orchestras, then it needs to teach stage craft skills.
I'm not questioning that not all musicians from any background are the finished article. Nor are all students who study medicine necessarily good doctors or nurses (and there is much debate about whether the requirement for nursing degrees cuts out many people who would have the right caring approach but lack academic ability). With all careers and all skills there are a range of potentials from wonderful to hopeless.
Institutes help people develop, they are not factories and don't produce 'things'.
And call me fragile, but I bristle at such a comment as 'simply join orchestras'. The majority of superb classical musicians have very little chance of making it into an orchestra, because there is usually someone even better.
Logged

Theo

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 9743
  • Hohner Club Too
    • The Box Place
Re: Folk Degree Newcastle Uni - Your thoughts (not just melodeon players)
« Reply #26 on: March 03, 2017, 02:24:51 PM »

I'd like to support John's view - seen several alumni/students on stage over the years.  They were technically excellent but lacked in presentational sparkle. 


Poor presentation skills are not confined to degree course graduates.   There are plenty of performers from all sorts of backgrounds who are not good at presenting themselves, and some aren't even technically good!
Logged
Theo Gibb

Day job: The Box Place. Follow me on Twitter and please like my Facebook page
Night job: Sunniside Up! Ceilidh Band

Chris Ryall

  • "doc 3-row"
  • French Interpreter
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 7836
  • Wirral UK
    • Chris Ryall
Re: Folk Degree Newcastle Uni - Your thoughts (not just melodeon players)
« Reply #27 on: March 03, 2017, 02:44:51 PM »

... They were technically excellent but lacked in presentational sparkle.  If a course is  training 'musicians' who are not going to simply join orchestras, then it needs to teach stage craft skills.
I'm not questioning that not all musicians from any background are the finished article. Nor are all students who study medicine necessarily good doctors or nurses (and there is much debate about whether the requirement for nursing degrees cuts out many people who would have the right caring approach but lack academic ability). With all careers and all skills there are a range of potentials from wonderful to hopeless.

As someone who was a medical school examiner over the last score of years .. I can re-assure that the profession is on to this :D  At my own med. school - the 'top' graduate? Wwell, I wouldn't have let him near my own family!  Nor were various family ladies, or a pregnant consultant colleague advised to see the city's 'top' gynaecologist. Both utterly lacked interpersonal skills. 

After much soul searching this was addressed at student stage, to the extent that in the 90's we'd discuss why there were more marks for the hand shake, than for listening to the heart! But students really did improve. These are teachable skills?

Meanwhile (to topic) ... OK some people just click with an audience. Others (Piaf a famous example) have no stage presence at all.   But then Louis Leplee taught her that.   I think John and I felt that .. a bit more tuition in stage craft might improve the Newcastle course.

Anyone care to comment on the graduates of Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts alumni?  I know of at least one melodeonista who studied there
Logged
  _       _    _      _ 

Jack Campin

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 693
    • Jack Campin's Home Page
Re: Folk Degree Newcastle Uni - Your thoughts (not just melodeon players)
« Reply #28 on: March 03, 2017, 04:25:14 PM »

Quote
I was saying that it appears to me the French take their playing more seriously and formally, as demonstrated by the formal workshops and detailed teaching aids. Whereas in the UK it's often 'work it out for yourselves' with basic tutors or forums such as this to steer you along the way.  He replied that at least here we have great diversity of style and playing as opposed to all going down one formal route.

What I see the RCS in Glasgow as doing is along the French model, and I don't like it.  Unless you play bagpipes (which are a world of their own) you get shoehorned into the framework of mediocre academic jazz - the whole enterprise seems to have been designed as a meal ticket for the Scottish jazz establishment (who without exception are too dull and talentless to make it in the wide world on their own merits).  The result is that every performance is larded with ridiculously alien harmonies and rhythms, or (even worse) vocal stylings, which neither originate from Scottish tradition nor from the players' own creativity.

Some ex-RCS players do manage to get the rehashed-Berklee orthodoxy off their backs in the end, but I get the impression that if you go through Newcastle you have less of it to unlearn afterwards.
Logged
http://www.campin.me.uk/
08795 860 060
Newtongrange, Midlothian, Scotland

David A

  • Good talker
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 51
  • Serenellini Lady D/G
Re: Folk Degree Newcastle Uni - Your thoughts (not just melodeon players)
« Reply #29 on: March 03, 2017, 08:59:44 PM »

I go to several Folk Festivals each summer and frequently come across young graduates from the Newcastle course. Without exception they have all been excellent. Check out Nicola Beazley and Alex Cummings (http://alexandnicolamusic.weebly.com/) and The Teacups (http://www.theteacups.co.uk/) as examples. All do traditional music/songs and ones they have composed themselves. They're all taught by, amongst others, Sandra Kerr who is leading the concertina workshops at Melodeons and More later this month so they're in good hands.
I think it's great that young musicians have this opportunity that wasn't available when I was young - not that I would have had sufficient ability to be accepted on such a course.
Logged

oggiesnr

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 964
  • Dino BPII, Alfred Arnold Bandoneon, Loffet G/C
Re: Folk Degree Newcastle Uni - Your thoughts (not just melodeon players)
« Reply #30 on: March 03, 2017, 10:43:34 PM »

I go to several Folk Festivals each summer and frequently come across young graduates from the Newcastle course. Without exception they have all been excellent. Check out Nicola Beazley and Alex Cummings (http://alexandnicolamusic.weebly.com/) and The Teacups (http://www.theteacups.co.uk/) as examples. All do traditional music/songs and ones they have composed themselves. They're all taught by, amongst others, Sandra Kerr who is leading the concertina workshops at Melodeons and More later this month so they're in good hands.
I think it's great that young musicians have this opportunity that wasn't available when I was young - not that I would have had sufficient ability to be accepted on such a course.

+1
Logged

pete /acorn

  • Respected Sage
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 488
  • .Cast Trilly.Lilly,Benny. Oakwood harp
    • Acorn Instruments
Re: Folk Degree Newcastle Uni - Your thoughts (not just melodeon players)
« Reply #31 on: March 04, 2017, 07:58:37 AM »

I think a lot of performers on the circuit haven't realized that the paying public have come out to be entertained,not just to sit and watch them play flashy tunes with little chat.
I used to do the sound at Harrogate folk club guest nights,it was very educational watching from the back of the room.  Some artists who sent customers away feeling they had had a good night out weren't always the ones who literally dashed few their set list,in fact the ones who provided ,in my opinion,the best night out actually performed very few tunes or songs but worked the audience and used their personality
Logged
Specialist retailers of Castagnari Melodeons and Manfrini piano accordions.  www.acorninstruments.co.uk

Chris Ryall

  • "doc 3-row"
  • French Interpreter
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 7836
  • Wirral UK
    • Chris Ryall
Re: Folk Degree Newcastle Uni - Your thoughts (not just melodeon players)
« Reply #32 on: March 04, 2017, 09:19:16 AM »

What you SHOULDN'T do on stage is to ramble on … with 5-10 minutes of polemic at an audience that might be 'captive' ... but not even share your own view wrt politics … and finally "and another thing …" get round to doing a song.

There are 2 (quite famous) performers on the scene who do this (one guitar, one mainly fiddle, won't name them, suspect I don't need to).  I might even agree with some of the politics they gaffe on about? But by the end of their acts I felt thouroughly cheated.  I'd actually paid to hear music/song.   I've not been to see either again - though I danced to one in France where even he realised that politicising might be a waste of everyone's time  ::)

Whereas political ideas "expressed in song" - roll it on.  Folk song invented the word "they" ;)
Logged
  _       _    _      _ 

Thrupenny Bit

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3413
  • happily squeezing away in Devon
Re: Folk Degree Newcastle Uni - Your thoughts (not just melodeon players)
« Reply #33 on: March 04, 2017, 10:01:19 AM »

I have thought a lot about Packie Byrne recently as he's passed away at a grand old age and a friend put on Facebook a bit of his playing. I used to chat to him if I bumped into him at Sdmouth. That was always a good 10 mins of delight.
I have often seen him do a 20 minute spot and only play -say- a single tune. He's start chattering away, telling a yarn of two and always had the audience utterly in the palm of his hand often not quite getting to the playing bit.
Lovely chap. What he had couldn't be taught, it was sheer charm and character with a huge dollop of rascal thrown in.

I totally agree with Chris's comments about rambling on..... but there's rambling on and....rambling on!  ;)
Q
Logged
Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

Theo

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 9743
  • Hohner Club Too
    • The Box Place
Re: Folk Degree Newcastle Uni - Your thoughts (not just melodeon players)
« Reply #34 on: March 04, 2017, 04:50:30 PM »


I totally agree with Chris's comments about rambling on..... but there's rambling on and....rambling on!  ;)
Q

Indeed. Billy Connolly made a lifetime career from it.
Logged
Theo Gibb

Day job: The Box Place. Follow me on Twitter and please like my Facebook page
Night job: Sunniside Up! Ceilidh Band

Nigel

  • Regular debater
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 113
Re: Folk Degree Newcastle Uni - Your thoughts (not just melodeon players)
« Reply #35 on: March 04, 2017, 06:14:25 PM »


I totally agree with Chris's comments about rambling on..... but there's rambling on and....rambling on!  ;)
Q

Indeed. Billy Connolly made a lifetime career from it.

This might also apply to Jasper Carrott, Max Boyce and Mike Harding. In my youth (I almost said in my day), it seemed that every folk club had a link man who could play a tune but really excelled at  dry witty comments and stories, sometimes at the expense of other performers.   

Also, I'm not so sure about some of the sweeping statements in some other posts about Newcastle Uni Folk Music alumni. I saw Andy May, Ian Stephenson and Sophie Ball (Andy May Trio) twice at Shrewsbury Festival 2016 and they were able to tell little stories. I believe that they are from this Uni stable.
Also, what about these 2 characters playing at the Phoenix Club in Newcastle?   

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GGzBNHNK7U&feature=youtu.be&list=PLVufORD3WShQPgcgCuptqH1IPj24YcAzM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWHvPNGxGGM&feature=youtu.be&list=PLVufORD3WShQPgcgCuptqH1IPj24YcAzM
Logged

Chris Ryall

  • "doc 3-row"
  • French Interpreter
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 7836
  • Wirral UK
    • Chris Ryall
Re: Folk Degree Newcastle Uni - Your thoughts (not just melodeon players)
« Reply #36 on: March 06, 2017, 10:28:37 AM »

All the original comedians were essentially singers, failed or otherwise, who found they could make a living from 'patter' alone.    Back in the 1960s it was still 'traditional' for a stand-up to always finish with a short song.  That's dropped out completely in recent decades, but some (eg Ken Dodd) even had hit records.

I'm all in favour of 'tuning up jokes' as part of the act.  Don't get me wrong.  It's the 'captive audience' approach that drives me away. Sorry - I 'paid' to see the act ::)

None of the Newcastle alumni I've seen have done this, I hasten to add.  But the 'jokes' weren't flowing either. And it's a learnable skill.  eg Ali Anderson was a bit awkward when I uses to book him in the 70's  - controlled the room masterfully when I saw him in Sheffield  last year
« Last Edit: March 06, 2017, 10:32:02 AM by Chris Ryall »
Logged
  _       _    _      _ 

Frank Lee

  • Regular debater
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 209
    • Rapper Swords
Re: Folk Degree Newcastle Uni - Your thoughts (not just melodeon players)
« Reply #37 on: March 09, 2017, 01:29:36 AM »

As a card carrying Geordie I must say I ponder, with some amusement, the thought of what will happen to Newcastle in, say, 20 year's time.  It appears that many of the graduates from the degree course fall in love with Newcastle, (understandably of course!) and don't want to leave.  I've noticed already quite a high density of musicians in the city!

Just a mischievous thought or two which may be relevant to this thread.
Skill is not teachable.
If you're paying to listen to folk music, it isn't folk music you're listening to.
Anyone who says "I write folk music/songs" is talking b*ll*cks.  (Love the effect  replacing the vowels with asterisks has on this word!).

Off to bed
Back in another couple of years!
Logged

Julian S

  • Regular debater
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 241
  • D/G Pastourelle 2, Dony, Giordy, Binci etc
Re: Folk Degree Newcastle Uni - Your thoughts (not just melodeon players)
« Reply #38 on: March 09, 2017, 08:33:46 AM »

In my mind, anything which helps maintain, develop and promote interest in traditional music should be encouraged - and certainly amongst younger people, and on that basis alone the Newcastle Degree is very important. If it had existed forty years ago I might have been seriously interested in taking it - but my parents would have thought different ! (The usefulness of  my degree in Geography could also certainly be questioned - but at my Uni back then there were great folk clubs, and Morris of course - and that's how I learned to love traditional music...)
Ok, questionable whether skill can be taught - but it certainly can be developed, and being in a hot-house with others of like mind and enthusiasm can be as fruitful as formal learning. Performance skills surely develop over time and through experience- and the problem today is that there isn't the same infrastructure of clubs to perform in and hone skills as there used to be. In my patch, we have lots of sessions, a few sing-arounds, some excellent small venues for concerts - but no club where there can be the old mix of floor spot and paid artists. And the age profile of the sessions, and sing arounds highlights a really important and major problem - it seems that there are very few young people involved, at least locally. National Youth Folk Ensemble, local initiatives through Festivals, workshops, Folk Awards and the profile of the Newcastle degree all can contribute to changing that. Hopefully !
Logged

Thrupenny Bit

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3413
  • happily squeezing away in Devon
Re: Folk Degree Newcastle Uni - Your thoughts (not just melodeon players)
« Reply #39 on: March 09, 2017, 09:37:05 AM »

I think Julian's opening sentence absolutely nails it for me.
Thank you!
Q
Logged
Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!
Pages: 1 [2] 3   Go Up
 


Melodeon.net - (c) Theo Gibb; Clive Williams 2010. The access and use of this website and forum featuring these terms and conditions constitutes your acceptance of these terms and conditions.