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Author Topic: Are we at a point of change?  (Read 3000 times)

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Julian S

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Re: Are we at a point of change?
« Reply #100 on: June 29, 2020, 06:15:24 PM »

What we need is some organisation that would regulate all this, oversee education, and set appropriate standards... ::) I'm talking about English traditional music of course...! >:E

As well as influential players and bands, different musical traditions, and the manuscript collections, online music and so on, I wonder how much the growth of Border Morris has had a continuing effect on playing. Thoughts ?

J
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Are we at a point of change?
« Reply #101 on: June 29, 2020, 06:45:27 PM »

Good idea Julian, they could also help educating us in dance and sing too  >:E

Border?
I'd say they've had a minor influence on tunes .... in fact any minor tune!
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Andy Next Tune

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Re: Are we at a point of change?
« Reply #102 on: June 29, 2020, 07:14:10 PM »

Do we really want someone regulating and setting standards? There'll be formal exams next!!!



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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Are we at a point of change?
« Reply #103 on: June 29, 2020, 07:29:08 PM »

I suspect Julian was referring to a certain society.
I certainly was!
Don't forget, Mr Sharpe certainly had similar ideas when he collected then started teaching the Morris. Expecting dancers to start on the single step tradition and work upwards towards the 'more complex' doublestep traditions  >:E
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Thrupenny Bit

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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Are we at a point of change?
« Reply #104 on: June 29, 2020, 07:34:52 PM »

On a more serious ( sensible! ) note:
Aren't there formal teaching within some traditional societies across the UK?
Which implies standards being set etc etc.....
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Thrupenny Bit

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

george garside

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Re: Are we at a point of change?
« Reply #105 on: June 29, 2020, 08:53:34 PM »

I don't think anything like exams and grades with their dot reading reqirements  and graded practice ''pieces''(a horrible euphemism for a tune)  would be appropriate for what is essentially a 'folk' instrument  in which a great many tunes  have several versions none of which are correct  and none of which are wrong.

One to one tuition or mentoring can be helpful as can  participating in 'workshops' at folk festivals etc.   Listening  to  recordings and live performances  can also assist  the lifelong leaning process.

I think it would also be helpful  if more experienced players  could find a way of pointing out  errors and suggesting ways of developing playing skills when less experienced or dare I say it 'crap players' would benefit from a bit of mentoring---but most of us would not do that  in public for fear  of  upsetting anyone or even of being called or thought of as a 'smartarse'

Those  having formal tuition for exams and grades  don't mind the occasional telling off as they are paying a teacher to do just that when necessary as well as providing encouragement!

george



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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Are we at a point of change?
« Reply #106 on: June 29, 2020, 09:02:40 PM »

Mind you, the Folk Music university degrees are producing some great musicians.
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Re: Are we at a point of change?
« Reply #107 on: June 29, 2020, 10:14:47 PM »

The folk degrees certainly produce some outstanding performers but I do wonder where they will find their audience in a few years time - care homes? >:E My recent experience of younger people (to be fair most people are younger than me) is that if they are interested in trad music  they want to perform, not be part of a passive audience. Sessions seem to be doing well while folk clubs seem to be struggling, perhaps just in my area? Perhaps festivals and one off concerts will replace the folk club model that emerged in the 1960s?
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Andy Next Tune

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Re: Are we at a point of change?
« Reply #108 on: June 29, 2020, 10:25:22 PM »

On a more serious ( sensible! ) note:
Aren't there formal teaching within some traditional societies across the UK?
Which implies standards being set etc etc.....
Yes, definitely in Ireland and Scotland. Not sure about Wales.
Arguably the most important challenge in England is getting traditional music into the schools' music curriculum. It happens in Scotland and Ireland. The lack of Govt support and therefore funding for music education in England means it is increasingly marginalised.

But that is another thread for another day.........

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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Are we at a point of change?
« Reply #109 on: June 29, 2020, 10:36:15 PM »

Yes, another thread topic indeed.....

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Thrupenny Bit

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Steve_freereeder

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Re: Are we at a point of change?
« Reply #110 on: June 30, 2020, 12:55:10 AM »

Do we really want someone regulating and setting standards? There'll be formal exams next!!!

Nothing wrong with formal exams for those that want that sort of challenge as a way of structured learning and improvement. There is nothing compulsory about it, but for those who work well within a formal setting, the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) can be a valuable route to mastery of an instrument.

I had formal clarinet and flute tuition in the 1960s and reached ABRSM grade 8 standard. The experience has stood me in good stead throughout my musical playing 'career' (my profession was a mining geologist) and gave me access to orchestral and chamber music playing, which has been an absolute joy all my life (and the current Covid-19 lockdowns and prohibitions have hit me very hard indeed).

The ABRSM has been a bit stuffy in the past; I wanted to take saxophone exams too, but in the 1960s the instrument wasn't included on their syllabus lists, as maybe it wasn't considered a 'proper instrument'. These days the ABRSM exam lists include the saxophone as a classical instrument, but there is a whole section of exam syllabuses devoted to jazz, on a variety of instruments. Currently there is no provision for free reed instruments of any sort; the continued absence of piano accordion surprises me, as there is plenty of opportunity for both classical and jazz playing.

I guess I'm rambling a bit. I suppose my point is that formal practical music exams are great for those that want to take them. They can provide a valuable yardstick of one's playing and progress, and if there were to be syllabuses for accordion, melodeon and concertina, it wouldn't be a bad thing.
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Rob Lands

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Re: Are we at a point of change?
« Reply #111 on: June 30, 2020, 10:19:43 AM »

On ABRSM exams, lockdown means they have been adapted and are recorded rather than at exam centres. However the interesting point is under instrument specific information. I quote " Singing candidates prepare an Unaccompanied traditional song instead of scales"

Make what you want of that!
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Calum

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Re: Are we at a point of change?
« Reply #112 on: June 30, 2020, 12:21:01 PM »

In Scotland we have had a grade system for traditional music for a while, and it fills a useful niche for many people, as well as being a good excuse to knuckle down and actually learn that 'next level' tune you've been putting off for a while.  At the same time, the numbers sitting them are not high.

On folk clubs, my experience is that some are thriving and some are...not.  There is a lot more competition for people's attention in 2020 than there was in 1960 and not all folk clubs apply as much quality control as perhaps they should. 

In general, traditional music has shifted from being a communally transmitted phenomenon anchored in dance to a performance oriented medium.  Inevitably that has led to professionalisation and increasing depth of skills.  With professional skills comes professional training, and universities very happy to take your £9000 to train you up. 
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Howard Jones

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Re: Are we at a point of change?
« Reply #113 on: June 30, 2020, 01:08:08 PM »

This thread has shifted direction, but one area where we are already past the point of change is in the increased availability of teaching, and a greater awareness of the value of formal musical knowledge, both of which have helped to improve playing standards.

I started playing with an Erica and copy of Tony Hall's "Fieldvole Music".  There were no teachers, and not many other players, in my area so I worked it out for myself by ear (easier on melodeon than some other instruments).  I was able to get a few words of advice now and again from other players, but actual teaching was confined to an occasional hour or so at a festival workshop, which could be very informative but sometimes was little more than learning a tune.

Now the internet makes it easy to find a tutor, either in person or via Skype. There are YouTube videos. This forum provides valuable advice.  There are many learning events with opportunities to spend time with outstanding players.  I don't include the folk degrees because you already have to be a better than average player to get on them, but undoubtedly overall playing standards have risen.

I now regret that I never had music lessons.  in fairness, when I was young I wasn't interested in classical music, and the instrument I wanted to play (guitar) wasn't an option.  When I discovered folk music this didn't seem to matter, indeed there was an attitude that music theory was almost a disadvantage as folk music doesn't follow the rules (it does of course).  Fortunately attitudes now seem to have changed, and many players are be able to sight-read and have the vocabulary and knowledge to discuss the music and how it can be played. Although I am a proficient ear-player (an essential skill for this music) I now wish I had had a proper grounding in music when I was young (I might then understand Chris Ryall's contributions).

Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Are we at a point of change?
« Reply #114 on: June 30, 2020, 01:50:02 PM »

Yes Howard the thread has changed direction, but I thought I'd let it meander along, as we seem to do!

My experience broadly mirrors yours.
A mechanical guitar player requiring chord books, I had no idea how to listen and play by ear; I met the morris and without any help or advice about melodeons apart from 'work it out yourself'  an English concertina came my way so I went down that route.
Following my daughter's attending a melodeon workshop I set on the path starting to learn melodeon, a little late but.... now with tutor books, Melnet, Youtube all things internet plus workshops and all those things that make life so much easier nowadays.

I like you had very little formal music education which I too regret. I'm learning things as I go along albeit informally and 'need to know' to understand my latest tune or project.
I'm envious of several members' musical background but I am where I am and learning what I can.

I think the aids to learning and playing nowadays have created a generation of 'better educated' folk musicians. Also I detect a hunger to learn and improve.
I think all these things have come to raise the level of playing, and to borrow your previous phrase 'broaden out' our directions.
..... which brings us full circle back on this broad topic  (:)

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Thrupenny Bit

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

Julian S

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Re: Are we at a point of change?
« Reply #115 on: June 30, 2020, 02:06:19 PM »

Can I just copy Howards post virtually word for word and say 'ditto' !
For the first couple of years I think I learned by a huge amount of listening and playing along with recordings - and some kind of osmosis ! I think the first music workshop I went to was a Blowzabella day in Bath - maybe ten years, three dance bands and two morris sides later. Admittedly I had learned to read music as a child and that has been more and more useful.

The other aspect of recent change is the whole dynamic approach to music by Leveret for example - taking a tune off the page or recording, absorbing it, bringing it to life and interpreting and improvising around it. For me, going to their workshops was a wonderful experience. Not so much learning an instrument or tune, but a way to approach playing. Unfortunately a long way from the average session in my experience at least.

J

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Re: Are we at a point of change?
« Reply #116 on: June 30, 2020, 02:08:35 PM »

It should be noted that making music, even traditional music, has several forms, and that playing on stage has very little to do with a traditional way of playing music. The music played on stage is fine, but it's not the same purpose than playing music in sessions, I think.
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Y.

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Re: Are we at a point of change?
« Reply #117 on: June 30, 2020, 02:24:41 PM »

I have really enjoyed this thread but have resisted adding to it so far.

I hope we are at 'a point of change', because, surely when things stop changing, they stop developing and growing, then they die. As in all aspects of life, there are many who look back at the old days and pine for them but, since those days, the internet has arrived and opened up the whole world of music to us. Makers have greatly developed their instruments, offering all kinds of choices and opportunities. So yes, of course we are at a point of change and, for me at least - isn't that a wonderful thing!

I am one of those who doesn't want a big 3 row box with 18 basses, I love my 2 row and all it's character and limitations. Goodness, there is enough music for me to learn on it, to last me several lifetimes but I do love listening to and appreciating the music of those who do play these big, wonderful instruments. The recent Naragonia concert, put out via Facebook, left me feeling very happy indeed but it didn't make me want to rush out and buy one of these big beasts. Having said all that, I do enjoy the modern, highly developed boxes made by the Italians. I have a Castagnari and a Beltuna and, if I am being completely open and honest, if I had to play an old Hohner all the time, I think I would have given up long ago. I do have an old Pre-Pokerwork but I rarely play it. It is hard work to play and, when I first pick it up I think - what a wonderful sound, then I quickly begin to tire of it and put it away in it's case for another few months.

So - I for one am very glad of the changes that have already occurred and I look forward to whatever comes next. It is up to each one of us to decide whether we embrace them or not.

Thanks for this lovely post, with all it's twists and turns!
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Are we at a point of change?
« Reply #118 on: June 30, 2020, 02:26:30 PM »

Y, I think you are right, there is a big difference between professional musicians on stage and a bunch of amateurs in a pub session.
But.... such professionals can inspire you and also point you in certain directions you previously had not considered.

We talk a lot about the band Leveret in this thread. They are now delving into old manuscripts and as Julian says, bringing old tunes that might not have been played for hundreds of years to light.
They also have a different way of playing. Instead of melodeon/concertina/fiddle each working out their melody line,, they independently learn the tune. Get together and play weaving their own way through the tunes as accomplished musicians can do. That is the same thing that happens in a good pub session.
They do exactly the same when recording, or playing live, hence they are held in great esteem here as it is great to listen to and quite dynamic.

We are discovering such old tunes probably were not just in certain keys, perhaps are in strange to us time signatures and unusual in may ways. They are broadening our ideas of what English tunes are.
Having the ability to play these tunes on our instruments, and which instruments can cope with these tunes was the basis of the thread, as I feel we are broadening our ideas and abilities.
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Thrupenny Bit

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

Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Are we at a point of change?
« Reply #119 on: June 30, 2020, 02:30:22 PM »

arty, yes if things stop evolving, then it will stagnate and die.
A long held motto within morris circles.

I keep toying with the idea of a 2.5 row 12 bass, then wake up the next morning and simply get on with my 2 row!
Yes, there are more than enough tunes I can play on what I've got before branching out.
Thanks for reminding me!
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

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