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Author Topic: Discussion: Beginners & TOTM  (Read 11602 times)

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nemethmik

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Discussion: Beginners & TOTM
« on: March 09, 2010, 10:36:08 AM »

<mumbles>I didn't even want this tune so...<mumbles>
None of the tunes in the TotM so far are for beginners, which is not bad; otherwise experienced/exceptional musicians would loose their interest.
Many of the TotM performances from great musicians (you know the names) are real gems, and I think this is the real meaning of TotM.
I am a beginner, too, and I cannot join the TotM group, unfortunately.
As far as I can see (nearly) all beginners have lost their interest in TotM.
Maybe TotMfB (TotM for Beginners) would be a solution, and only beginners would have the right to vote for a tune for TotMfB.
I migh be totally wrong, sure.
Miki
« Last Edit: March 10, 2010, 09:28:53 AM by Clive Williams »
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ladydetemps

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<mumbles>I didn't even want this tune so...<mumbles>
None of the tunes in the TotM so far are for beginners, which is not bad; otherwise experienced/exceptional musicians would loose their interest.
Many of the TotM performances from great musicians (you know the names) are real gems, and I think this is the real meaning of TotM.
I am a beginner, too, and I cannot join the TotM group, unfortunately.
As far as I can see (nearly) all beginners are lost their interest in TotM.
Maybe TotMfB (TotM for Beginners) would be a solution, and only beginners would have the right to vote for a tune for TotMfB.
I migh be totally wrong, sure.
Miki

...and another thing 25 people voted for The Plane Tree....but I don't see 25 people posting vids/audio. Hmmmm. >:(
I think voting for a tune then not participating is bad manners and quite cruel.

Lester

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<mumbles>I didn't even want this tune so...<mumbles>
None of the tunes in the TotM so far are for beginners, which is not bad; otherwise experienced/exceptional musicians would loose their interest.

Not sure I understand this as both Speed the Plough and Princess Royal, in their basic forms, are generally considered as being on the easier end of the scale of tunes.

Quote

Many of the TotM performances from great musicians (you know the names) are real gems, and I think this is the real meaning of TotM.
I am a beginner, too, and I cannot join the TotM group, unfortunately.

You are more than welcome and some of the highest praise has been for beginners doing their best in their recording.

Quote

As far as I can see (nearly) all beginners are lost their interest in TotM.

If I had the time I think I could disprove this but don't want to but people in to catagagories.

Quote
Maybe TotMfB (TotM for Beginners) would be a solution, and only beginners would have the right to vote for a tune for TotMfB.
I migh be totally wrong, sure.
Miki

But would you wish to restrict the performances to just beginners or could the really clever people post recordings?

So, give the tunes a try, if it takes more than a month that doesn't matter late entries always welcome.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2010, 10:50:32 AM by Lester »
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Lester

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<mumbles>I didn't even want this tune so...<mumbles>
None of the tunes in the TotM so far are for beginners, which is not bad; otherwise experienced/exceptional musicians would loose their interest.
Many of the TotM performances from great musicians (you know the names) are real gems, and I think this is the real meaning of TotM.
I am a beginner, too, and I cannot join the TotM group, unfortunately.
As far as I can see (nearly) all beginners are lost their interest in TotM.
Maybe TotMfB (TotM for Beginners) would be a solution, and only beginners would have the right to vote for a tune for TotMfB.
I migh be totally wrong, sure.
Miki

...and another thing 25 people voted for The Plane Tree....but I don't see 25 people posting vids/audio. Hmmmm. >:(
I think voting for a tune then not participating is bad manners and quite cruel.

It is only the 9th of the month, give us a chance   :-[

zubz

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None of the tunes in the TotM so far are for beginners.
Miki

Hi Miki

Is there such a thing as a "beginner's tune"? - I would like to think that there are just "tunes" and the fun is to find a way of playing them that fits with one's own level of skill. That's why "no basses" is no problem, slow is just fine and "full of mistakes" just demonstrates making progress!

Quote
I am a beginner, too, and I cannot join the TotM group, unfortunately.

Go on, go on ... I honestly don't think there's anyone on this forum that would say you can't! And that way you'd get comments and feedback that (I'm sure) would be motivating and good for the confidence.

Anyway ... as we've seen elsewhere, there are "late" entries to TOTM ... so don't feel compelled to meet a deadline.
For me the whole point of playing is to enjoy it ... and not to "hold back".

Quote
As far as I can see (nearly) all beginners are lost their interest in TotM.

If this were true it would be a terrible shame ... I see TOTM as a way of people of ALL abilities contributing to a fascinating list of different interpretations, styles and skill levels, all around the same tune. It would be a bit counter-productive if people self-censored ... especially if they think "I'm not good enough". Sure, no-one's forcing anyone to make a posting, but in the same way, no-one is trying to prevent anyone recording.

There's a thread with some interesting perspectives on this here: http://forum.melodeon.net/index.php/topic,3543.0.html

So go on, Miki ... make a recording! I, for one, would love to hear it!

Best wishes
Chris
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nemethmik

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Maybe TotMfB (TotM for Beginners) would be a solution, and only beginners would have the right to vote for a tune for TotMfB.
But would you wish to restrict the performances to just beginners or could the really clever people post recordings?
Hmm, I understand what you mean, very true. You are right.
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Johnjo

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None of the tunes in the TotM so far are for beginners, which is not bad; otherwise experienced/exceptional musicians would loose their interest.
Many of the TotM performances from great musicians (you know the names) are real gems, and I think this is the real meaning of TotM.
I am a beginner, too, and I cannot join the TotM group, unfortunately.
As far as I can see (nearly) all beginners have lost their interest in TotM.

Miki

I don't think that's the case, although I do think that with some of the tunes being very 'English', we Brits have probably had it a bit easier than melnetters from other musical traditions (although L'innconnu de Limoise and this latest 'Schottishe a Bethanie' help level the playing field a bit).

I would classify myself as not much further on than a beginner, and I certainly haven't given up on TOTM.

In fact, from a personal perspective, I think TOTM is about the best thing I've encountered on the internet so far.

Despite what's been said above, what seems to work for me is to get comfortable with the tune on the right hand first, and add the basses as and when I can. If the basses seem too daunting at first (as with Sch-a-B) I tried adding some right hand harmony where possible.

It's such a lovely tune - please give it a try, and don't give up on TOTM - it's the best thing since sliced bread   (:)

John
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Chris Ryall

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Oh dear - hornet's nest! Grovel grovel ..

First to LdT:  I really am trying to help. But fundamentally I'd say the quint/D/G system is all about the bass, especially when you begin. So you need to accommodate that into your tune (with several of its chords playing only one direction).

If you really hate the chords that much - there's a strong case for switching to B/C or similar while still in learning mode. It is actually a punchier, more flexible instrument.   But this and the last ToTM in particular play in chords quite naturally (otherwise I'm the one in deep water)!

LdT - as a sort of half-way move towards Chris's suggestions, how about thinking of this tune as having its home on the D row? In particular, if you play the first couple of bars entirely on pull you should find you can get much more fluency and rhythm in the melody itself, even without the basses. And then you'll also find good basses much easier to add later on.

Well, this tune's 'home' is very very much pull on the D row, but it needs to steal its pull.C from the G row (as it's in a G mode).  I'm afraid we mat never agree on 'adding in some basses later;.  They may not be there against your chosen fingering/bellows

Clive - would it be possible to terminate ToTM voting say 3rd week?  Last month I posted early and dydactically. This tune is new to me and frankly still changes every time I sit down to it. It's not just beginers who want to learn form this process - I'm learning a lot.

I'd be happy to work up  sensible left hand chords given a week's start ...  though if no one wants to play them  ???
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Lester

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Whilst I have disagreed with Chris' insistance that you must work the basses befor learning the tune, there is some truth in it! For instance Plane Tree must be played on mostly the D row to allow access to the Emin bass and you do need to go to the G row to play the Cnats. So, yes some forward planning is needed, but don't get to anal about it.

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OK I'm not a beginner! ... But I've spent my life learning from players better than me because it really works! ... so I do so wish TOTM and YOUTUBE had been around in the 1990's  ;) my path might have been easier!
So for that reason and the current discussion thread it has encouraged me to throw up yet another (bit of a rush this one) one but I can't decide how to play it so i tried both! ;D
There's a sneaky reference to "Herbert The Sherbert" thrown into the second bit just for flavour courtesy of the magnificent RANTAN Band and Mr Ellison of this parish...

So here you go:- http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=IxKtPjFsZv4&feature=channel
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Clive Williams

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Clive - would it be possible to terminate ToTM voting say 3rd week?  Last month I posted early and dydactically. This tune is new to me and frankly still changes every time I sit down to it. It's not just beginers who want to learn form this process - I'm learning a lot.

Hi Chris - sorry, my befuddled brain is not quite sure what you mean!  :D Are you suggesting running the vote from (say) 17th March to 24th of March, rather than 24th to 31st? I'm not sure I really see the point of that, but I'm open to discussion! My concern would be that people would move on to the next tune early 'oh, this one's too hard, think I'll try next month's instead!' and the TOTM's would tail off a bit early...

Just covering some of the earlier points:

Re: voting - I've got to admit that I've noticed people that vote don't necessarily post, but don't forget that there are plenty of people (I think, anyway, prove me wrong  :|glug ) that watch the videos/look at the tunes and learn from them without necessarily posting their own videos. I see nothing wrong with that - they're still learning from the whole thing - and they're just as welcome to vote as anyone else. I do look out for anomolous behaviour in the voting, but haven't seen anything troublesome.

Re: choice of tune; I think we cover a nice spread actually. Some are harder than others for sure, but in general people can take a decent shot at them, not necessarily with basses, given a week or two to work something up. None of them are particularly hard, though I would say that Ashokan Farewell was hard to play nicely...

Re: posting early, yes I do too sometimes quite deliberately to get a reasonable 'reference' version out there for other people to work off. Doesn't mean I can't post more than once though if I figure out a snazzy alternative arrangement though!

Re: numbers, I'm not so sure there's a statistically significant drop - Speed the Plough was an unusual choice in that more people know that tune than almost any other tune (discuss... in another thread!), so there would be a larger number of postings for that. We've also had a few multiple versions by the same poster which is fine of course, but throws the basic numbers off. And we've had a few people not post for a month or two, and some new people come along, as you'd expect.

Re: who posts, I really like to see beginners give it a shot and see what comes out. It doesn't matter if you're not as good as 'version X' or similar to 'version Y'- that's not the point. It's particularly encouraging is if people post their first efforts at the beginning of the month, then again at the end, and we can see the improvement and people progressing in their playing. When you play at home alone, it's often easy to miss the fact you're improving because the change is so subtle over time, but if you do a before/after exercise, perhaps you'll see the true story?

... but I'd also like to see more experienced players have a shot too; partly because they'll learn from the experience (I know TOTM has grabbed me out of my lazy-playing chair and made me think about what I play), and partly to help instruct others [aha! DTN's just posted as I'm in the middle of typing this! I must have a look!]

Enough typing!

Clive

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Are you suggesting running the vote from (say) 17th March to 24th of March, rather than 24th to 31st? I'm not sure I really see the point of that, but I'm open to discussion!
I think the present system where decision is announced on 1st of month is fine. Prior to that, anyone can see what the likely contenders are by scrutinising the voting process, if they want to sneak in some practice on the likely winner(s), though I appreciate there's a gambling element there  (:)

Quote
Re: posting early, yes I do too sometimes quite deliberately to get a reasonable 'reference' version out there for other people to work off.
I'm sure that's very helpful to many, exactly as intended...

Quote
Re: who posts, I really like to see beginners give it a shot and see what comes out. It doesn't matter if you're not as good as 'version X'
I'm really concerned about the risk of beginners being put off by a flood of good players with their flashy or note-perfect versions. My heart sank when I once heard that "I'm going to go home and burn my melodeon" gag, and my spirits are equally lifted when I discover I've given another player, some ideas, influence or inspiration (occasionally from some quite surprising quarters) so I'd hate to think anyone was intimidated by a general rise in standards - there's plenty of room for all of us, and we're ALL learning (see below...).

Quote
... but I'd also like to see more experienced players have a shot too; partly because they'll learn from the experience (I know TOTM has grabbed me out of my lazy-playing chair and made me think about what I play)
Clive
Hey - You're not kidding!!! I've learned an amazing amount in the month I've been here, and TOTM has forced me to learn properly some tunes that I was content to follow lazily in a session without really knowing how they went.

Talking of learning and beginners - I wonder if TOTM (or another part of melnet) could develop a sort of "tutorial" branch - Chris Ryall posted a few videos illustrating fragments of possible ways of playing last month's tune, and the discussion that follows TOTM postings is educational, but I'm just speculating on the possibility of a more structured approach to that side of things, in its own thread. Just a thought...

Anahata
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Chris Ryall

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Talking of learning and beginners - I wonder if TOTM (or another part of melnet) could develop a sort of "tutorial" branch - Chris Ryall posted a few videos illustrating fragments of possible ways of playing last month's tune, and the discussion that follows TOTM postings is educational, but I'm just speculating on the possibility of a more structured approach to that side of things, in its own thread. Just a thought...  Anahata

Very much what I meant and rather better put (but I'm fly posting from work too)! I'm one of those who'll sit on a tune for months before it goes out on show.  Even now I'm finding new things to do with this one, and it'll be a matter of trimming back. I've also tried it in Bm and G row fingering - that's why I'm so sure its real home is on the pull Em, D row scale. And also why I'm a natural late poster

To the strong right handers here - I'd say that the British Tradition seems the only one (certainly in Europe) that plays tunes so "up and down rows" of a 2-row. Most continental style tunes are more or less written to play in chords (hence accordion), and to phrase them otherwise is somehow to play them uphill.  

I'll try to put something together this week but have a birthday to contend with then mother's day 170 miles away. If anyone else wants a go that's great.

[edit] and a button jamming on the Oakwood - grrrr  >:(
« Last Edit: March 09, 2010, 04:11:03 PM by Chris Ryall »
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Just a comment for all players.....the current system we have has the TotM that we vote on, plus a theme of the month, which is fairly broad. It seems that within that context, a beginner or advanced player could certainly eke out a selection that they not only could learn, but would be able to get involved with enough to submit as a performance for all of us. The key is not to be intimidated. There will always be someone that is more proficient. And similarly, there will be someone less so. I have been a member of many music oriented discussion groups in the last fifteen years or so, and this group is by far the most supportive and helpful to it's members, beginner or not. Do not fret that your offering is sub-par. We have all been there, and many of us still are.....just remember, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it.  :||:
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Just a comment for all players.....the current system we have has the TotM that we vote on, plus a theme of the month, which is fairly broad. It seems that within that context, a beginner or advanced player could certainly eke out a selection that they not only could learn, but would be able to get involved with enough to submit as a performance for all of us. The key is not to be intimidated. There will always be someone that is more proficient. And similarly, there will be someone less so.....<snip/>

Whilst I completely agree with this, I think that actually becoming truely comfortable with this attitude is a really hard thing to achieve.   Although there might be a few people that can watch TOTM entries without bringing into question their own abilities, I suspect that they're in the minority. 

Personally, even though TOTM isn't a competition, I still find it hard not make mental comparisons, particularly so when it comes to my own entries.  And although I don't feel intimidated by the thought of putting out videos per se, I'm not at all comfortable with the idea of trying to play traditional/dance tunes as originally intended, even though I'd like to be able to do that.  It's very obvious that many mel.net contributors really know their traditional music 'stuff', so for me to even think about doing something 'properly' and posting it along side still feels like too big a step.  I know I shouldn't think like this, but I find it hard not to.
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I'm not at all comfortable with the idea of trying to play traditional/dance tunes as originally intended, even though I'd like to be able to do that.  It's very obvious that many mel.net contributors really know their traditional music 'stuff', so for me to even think about doing something 'properly' and posting it along side still feels like too big a step.  I know I shouldn't think like this, but I find it hard not to.

I have no interest in playing anything 'only' traditionally on this forum , if it were the case i'd get bored and leave!... I'm sure there are forums for absolute tradition ,whether music or song! its not for me!.... Variation and innovation is what i pick up here! .... Clive's submission this month to me was a true inspiration! ... i'd not thought of playing like that and i'm richer for seeing it! ... so each should get something in there own way! ... I would contribute however to an additional thread that teaches learners tunes and maybe the techniques of the box that some of us take for granted! ... Finally ... a BC Scottish / Irish style lively tune to learn would'nt go amiss!   ::)  a nice challenge for a confident DG' er!.... Cheers Derek :|||:
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I'm not at all comfortable with the idea of trying to play traditional/dance tunes as originally intended, even though I'd like to be able to do that.  It's very obvious that many mel.net contributors really know their traditional music 'stuff', so for me to even think about doing something 'properly' and posting it along side still feels like too big a step.
I don't know about the others, but I tend to "play it straight"  because that's all I can do. Nothing to do with "properly" being the right way. I'd have a hard time emulating some of the wild and wacky arrangements that get posted here, not because I think it's wrong, but just because I can't!

So don't run down what you do - it's great, and not everyone else can do it!

(there - while I was typing this in Derek has made a good point too!)

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Derek/Anahata - thanks for your comeents above.  I do suspect, though, that I've again failed to express what I really meant.  I wasn't so much trying to comment on the videos I do post, but on the things that I'd also like to do, but don't through lack of confidence.  I do try to play tunes as actual jigs, reels, hornpipes (or whatever...), learning the notes and trying to put some amount of rhythm into it.  However, having done so, I'm never convinced that the end results bare much resemblance to how such styles of tune should sound and feel.
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I do try to play tunes as actual jigs, reels, hornpipes (or whatever...), learning the notes and trying to put some amount of rhythm into it.  However, having done so, I'm never convinced that the end results bare much resemblance to how such styles of tune should sound and feel.
If it's any consolation, I feel the same. I think it's one of those tricks of video/recording. You think you're playing with a solid metronome-like rhythm, and when you play it back it sounds like it's all over the place, with late and early notes and the whole thing starting too fast and speeding up...

(1) Experience suggests that it always seems worse than it is.
(2) It actually is surprisingly hard to play even a simple tune with a really steady rhythm and nice musical shape.

I don't know if you play for dancers, but my advice for anyone learning to play a folk instrument is to find an opportunity to be the solo musician for a dancer or small dance group (preferably steppers like cloggies) on a regular basis. The knowledge that your dancers rely on you for their rhythm is a powerful learning tool.

I've seen somebody's playing totally transformed in this way - a flute player who used to get up in the local folk club and play tunes - he could get all the notes and play fast but you couldn't beat time to it or count the bars... then his girlfriend joined a newly-formed women's clog dance team and he was drafted in as musician - and a few months later I heard him playing again and it was a delight to listen to (which it certainly hadn't been before).
The magic doesn't work so well if you're playing alongside a more experienced dance musician because you get lazy and follow them. Trying to hold together a group of musicians whose rhythm is worse than yours might do the trick though...

Playing to a click track in a recording studio is pretty devastating the first few times you do it too :-[
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ladydetemps

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Oooh, sounds like a good subject for a 'learning/tutorial' section of the forum as mentioned before.
To have examples of different rhythms and stuff would be handy with maybe and example of what dances would be done to it?
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