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How to handle criticism?

GUEST,Northerner 09 Jun 07 - 10:49 AM
Nick 09 Jun 07 - 10:55 AM
GUEST,Northerner 09 Jun 07 - 11:05 AM
John MacKenzie 09 Jun 07 - 11:08 AM
GUEST,Mr Drunkopinionatedbore 09 Jun 07 - 11:13 AM
Mike Miller 09 Jun 07 - 11:15 AM
SINSULL 09 Jun 07 - 11:17 AM
kendall 09 Jun 07 - 11:25 AM
Tim theTwangler 09 Jun 07 - 11:28 AM
Big Al Whittle 09 Jun 07 - 11:32 AM
mg 09 Jun 07 - 12:32 PM
Tim theTwangler 09 Jun 07 - 01:06 PM
Ythanside 09 Jun 07 - 01:14 PM
GUEST,Texas Guest 09 Jun 07 - 01:15 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 09 Jun 07 - 03:13 PM
Leadfingers 09 Jun 07 - 04:18 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 09 Jun 07 - 04:26 PM
Jack Campin 09 Jun 07 - 04:35 PM
Waddon Pete 09 Jun 07 - 04:39 PM
Jim Lad 09 Jun 07 - 04:43 PM
Mo the caller 09 Jun 07 - 05:36 PM
GUEST,sparticus 09 Jun 07 - 05:49 PM
guitar 09 Jun 07 - 06:04 PM
Bee 09 Jun 07 - 07:06 PM
kendall 09 Jun 07 - 07:27 PM
Bert 09 Jun 07 - 07:49 PM
Blowzabella 09 Jun 07 - 07:54 PM
GUEST,mg 09 Jun 07 - 08:32 PM
Jack Campin 09 Jun 07 - 08:47 PM
Effsee 09 Jun 07 - 08:59 PM
The Fooles Troupe 09 Jun 07 - 09:43 PM
Bert 09 Jun 07 - 09:45 PM
Thomas the Rhymer 09 Jun 07 - 09:52 PM
GUEST,Wendy J 09 Jun 07 - 09:58 PM
The Fooles Troupe 09 Jun 07 - 10:12 PM
GUEST,Sandy Andina 10 Jun 07 - 12:58 AM
Mike Miller 10 Jun 07 - 02:28 AM
GUEST,JTT 10 Jun 07 - 03:23 AM
Commander Crabbe 10 Jun 07 - 09:14 AM
Willie-O 10 Jun 07 - 09:59 AM
Darowyn 10 Jun 07 - 12:53 PM
Mike Miller 10 Jun 07 - 03:57 PM
GUEST 10 Jun 07 - 04:26 PM
Mo the caller 10 Jun 07 - 05:27 PM
GUEST,Unbiased listener 11 Jun 07 - 02:44 AM
The Fooles Troupe 11 Jun 07 - 03:02 AM
stallion 11 Jun 07 - 05:53 AM
GUEST 11 Jun 07 - 07:00 AM
Saro 11 Jun 07 - 12:31 PM
GUEST,meself 11 Jun 07 - 12:35 PM
Nick 11 Jun 07 - 12:36 PM
Jim Lad 11 Jun 07 - 12:56 PM
Amos 11 Jun 07 - 02:24 PM
Nick 11 Jun 07 - 02:53 PM
GUEST,AW 11 Jun 07 - 02:59 PM
GUEST,Wayne 11 Jun 07 - 06:07 PM
GUEST,Northerner 12 Jun 07 - 07:40 AM
GUEST,Unbiased listener 12 Jun 07 - 08:21 AM
GUEST,Unbiased listener 12 Jun 07 - 11:01 AM
GUEST,meself 12 Jun 07 - 11:12 AM
JeremyC 12 Jun 07 - 11:45 AM
M.Ted 12 Jun 07 - 11:05 PM
cptsnapper 13 Jun 07 - 01:17 AM
GUEST 13 Jun 07 - 02:49 AM
GUEST,Young Buchan 13 Jun 07 - 05:09 AM
Jack Campin 13 Jun 07 - 05:47 AM
GUEST,Northerner 13 Jun 07 - 10:44 AM
Skivee 13 Jun 07 - 11:56 AM
stallion 13 Jun 07 - 12:51 PM
GUEST,AW 13 Jun 07 - 03:07 PM
Jim Lad 13 Jun 07 - 03:15 PM
GUEST,AW 13 Jun 07 - 03:50 PM
Jim Lad 13 Jun 07 - 04:21 PM
GUEST,AW 13 Jun 07 - 05:47 PM
Bert 13 Jun 07 - 06:10 PM
Jim Lad 13 Jun 07 - 06:12 PM
GUEST,Northerner 14 Jun 07 - 11:25 AM
GUEST,Northerner 14 Jun 07 - 11:41 AM
Mr Happy 14 Jun 07 - 12:10 PM
Carol 14 Jun 07 - 12:51 PM
Mike Miller 15 Jun 07 - 09:42 AM
GUEST,Northerner 15 Jun 07 - 11:13 AM
Jim Lad 15 Jun 07 - 11:17 AM
Mike Miller 15 Jun 07 - 04:29 PM
GUEST,mg 15 Jun 07 - 04:53 PM
GUEST,Unbiased listener 15 Jun 07 - 07:15 PM
GUEST,Mr Impressed 15 Jun 07 - 07:22 PM
M.Ted 15 Jun 07 - 07:53 PM
GUEST,mg 15 Jun 07 - 08:07 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 15 Jun 07 - 08:30 PM
reggie miles 16 Jun 07 - 02:53 AM
GUEST,Northerner 16 Jun 07 - 06:30 AM
M.Ted 17 Jun 07 - 02:08 AM
mg 17 Jun 07 - 04:05 AM
GUEST,reggie miles 18 Jun 07 - 01:46 AM
GUEST 18 Jun 07 - 02:35 AM
Jim Lad 18 Jun 07 - 02:49 AM
GUEST,Northerner 18 Jun 07 - 07:15 AM
Mike Miller 18 Jun 07 - 12:16 PM
GUEST,Wayne 18 Jun 07 - 01:22 PM
GUEST 19 Jun 07 - 04:43 AM
GUEST,Northerner 19 Jun 07 - 07:54 AM
M.Ted 19 Jun 07 - 12:37 PM
GUEST 19 Jun 07 - 01:56 PM
Bert 19 Jun 07 - 02:42 PM
GUEST,Unbiased Listener 19 Jun 07 - 07:27 PM
GUEST,Unbiased Listener 19 Jun 07 - 07:40 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 19 Jun 07 - 07:49 PM
Mike Miller 19 Jun 07 - 08:34 PM
The Fooles Troupe 19 Jun 07 - 09:56 PM
Genie 19 Jun 07 - 10:34 PM
The Fooles Troupe 19 Jun 07 - 10:46 PM
Mike Miller 20 Jun 07 - 12:26 AM
M.Ted 20 Jun 07 - 02:34 AM
GUEST,Unbiased Listener 20 Jun 07 - 03:17 AM
The Fooles Troupe 20 Jun 07 - 06:47 AM
GUEST,Northerner 20 Jun 07 - 09:37 AM
M.Ted 20 Jun 07 - 12:09 PM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 20 Jun 07 - 01:43 PM
GUEST,Northerner 21 Jun 07 - 07:15 AM
GUEST,Wendy 21 Jun 07 - 10:44 AM
GUEST,Northerner 22 Jun 07 - 11:45 AM
M.Ted 22 Jun 07 - 01:36 PM
GUEST,AW 22 Jun 07 - 02:40 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 22 Jun 07 - 07:16 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 22 Jun 07 - 08:28 PM
GUEST,Northerner 23 Jun 07 - 09:31 AM
GUEST,Northerner 23 Jun 07 - 09:36 AM
GUEST,Northerner 23 Jun 07 - 09:42 AM
GUEST,AW 23 Jun 07 - 12:20 PM
Bert 23 Jun 07 - 03:18 PM
GUEST,Northerner 25 Jun 07 - 09:21 AM
The Fooles Troupe 25 Jun 07 - 09:39 AM
GUEST,Northerner 26 Jun 07 - 10:03 AM
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Subject: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,Northerner
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 10:49 AM

Does anyone have any advice on how to handle criticism of their performances?

I am learning storytelling and have been telling for two years come this summer. I am being supported by a master storyteller who is an old friend, and am also hoping to be mentored by another master storyteller (once funds are available). Currently I am busy going to a good assortment of workshops/masterclasses to learn and improve skills. I get good feedback and encouragement from the professional storytellers.

I try out some of my material at local folk clubs. I have one gentleman who insists on criticising my performances. I believe he likes my singing voice.   However, he has never, ever had a good word to say about my storytelling. He is an experienced performer, but an amateur not professional, and is a singer, not a storyteller. I find this gentleman very offputting and because he has no experience in storytelling some of his advice is not accurate.

This gentleman can be kind and helpful, and I do think he believes he is being helpful by giving me advice based on his long experience performing. In fact he is very offputting. Does anyone have any tactful comments that I could use to ask him to refrain from negative criticism? Although experienced he is not a perfect performer by any means - he frequently forgets his words.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Nick
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 10:55 AM

Why not just draw him to one side and tell him exactly how you feel - ie that he seems be very negative to you - and ask him why?

Is he trying to help or hinder?

Does he hate storytelling? (I have a friend who positively detests poets, so any 'criticism' from them would always be unhelpful I would guess)

If he is doing it to help he'll understand.
If he is doing it to be destructive then it will confirm in your mind that he's an idiot and you can react accordingly in future.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,Northerner
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 11:05 AM

Thank you Nick. I do believe he thinks he is being helpful. I don't think he likes storytelling though; I have a feeling he may think it is meant for children. He told me at one time that he didn't want to hear Goldilocks. I was quite taken aback as I have never performed that and had no intention of telling it at a folk club. I don't think he is ever likely to give me a good criticism of my storytelling. So I am going to have to find some way of asking him to refrain from criticism.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 11:08 AM

Tell him you welcome positive criticism, but to stow the negative stuff where the sun don't shine.
I suggest you reciprocate by criticising his performances too.
Giok


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,Mr Drunkopinionatedbore
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 11:13 AM

how sober is he when he usually starts lecturing you ?


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Mike Miller
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 11:15 AM

May I ask Northerner a few questions? Is you audience aware that you are studying storytelling? They should not be. I have been a full time professional performer for fifty years and I can tell you that the most valuable asset you can possess is confidence. A confident performer puts an audience at ease. A confident performer does not encounter much unsolicited advice. Maybe, some drunken heckling but that is a different thread.
What aspects of storytelling are you studying? I sure hope you are taking acting lessons. That is what a storyteller needs, vocal control and believability. After that, it is just a matter of being at ease with an audience. Unfortunately, many performers fear the audience and audiences sense that fear. But, if you really like the audience, they will like you back. An audience is just a bunch of people and people tend to like people who like them.
So, stop being a student in your mind and in theirs. You will be great.

                      Mike Miller


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: SINSULL
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 11:17 AM

Any chance of simply avoiding him? Or ask him point blank if he objects to the stories or your telling of them.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: kendall
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 11:25 AM

Is he your only critic? If so, ignore him.

Remember that old Hebrew saying: "If a man calls you an ass, you may ignore him. If two men call you an ass, get a saddle,"


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Tim theTwangler
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 11:28 AM

In my limited experience you take the rough with the smooth and basically perform to your own satisfaction.
If you get positive comment smile and say thank you that is nice to hear.
If get well meaning but unhelpful comments say you will think about it.
If get a load of crap that stops short of warranting a smack in the mouth laugh and say thank you so much in as sarcastic a way as possible.
Basically if you aim to be as good as you want to be
It ceases to matter about comments of any sort
you are always your worst critic.
(If you happen to be one of those who isnt hope never to hear you LOL)
Wish we got story tellers at our local venues would love to hear some good tales.
Stick with it.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 11:32 AM

goes with the territory. if you perform, someone will criticise. look at all the awful things people on mudcat say about performers who have devoted their entire lives to playing and entertaining.

most of us just avoid the places where they don't like us. that, and we develop the hide of a rhinoceros. it makes for a restricted lifestyle - but at least its us that decide what we're going to do - not some loudmouth prat.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: mg
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 12:32 PM

Is storytelling welcome at your folk club? I know personally I want to hear music at a music thing and really don't have the patience to listen much to stories. I would tell your stories where people gather specifically to hear stories..perhaps library hours etc...and I bet you will get a wonderful resposne because that is what they went to actually hear. I think there is very little correlation between liking stories and liking music. I just practically twitch when someone tells long stories especially....I want to yell just give the story in writing and I will read it...but I am not an auditory learner and many people are...mg


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Tim theTwangler
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 01:06 PM

It amazes me that people say tey dont wanna hear a story at a club or venue.
Then they will happily have some tiemwaster reveal the precious story of how they found a song or got it from someone famous and then tell you the whole bloomin story that is in the bloomin'song they are about to delight you with. Grrrrr
LOL
of course I always enjoy the time they also spend tellin you about the song they just sang and the way the organiser then lets them have tiem for one last one and they start rabbiting on again and over run their time by a mile and drone drone drone drone
I dont mind what you choose to perform if it is in yer 15 min time limit go for it.
We can always chuck empty beer tins at you if is crap.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Ythanside
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 01:14 PM

From all of the foregoing, especially the title of the thread, it seems that Mike Miller may have pinpointed the primary cause of the problem. Confidence is the key ingredient of performance; if you don't have that then you cannot do justice to any material, no matter how good it may be. Don't waffle for minutes before you cut to the chase, it either bores the crowd senseless of warns them that you're not very sure of yourself. NEVER apologise in advance for any ensuing imperfections, or they will be looking out for them. Tell no-one that you are a novice/student/learner; just get up, smile directly at your audience, and deliver the goods.
Oh, and don't take criticism (or any other aspect of entertainment) too seriously. Have fun. If you're enjoying yourself then chances are the audience is too.
Ythanside


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,Texas Guest
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 01:15 PM

Well, I don't perform at clubs much anymore; seems that whatever "it" is that you're supposed to have, well - I don't have it. With that thought in mind, however, I do make a living singing at retirement homes and festivals (mostly Irish). I have always advised folks that you've got to be thick skinned to do music (or any performance art) for a living; and, you will have those who admire your work, but everyone is not going to appreciate you; some will be totally indifferent towards you, and some will find what you do to be absolutely distasteful - and you have to tolerate all of those opinions with the self-satisfaction that your ship is sailing, regardless. Cheers.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 03:13 PM

Digitally!!

With all ten fingers. Toes too if need be...

And if that's not enough, guys, you better have your fly open too---just to keep things right at hand...

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 04:18 PM

One of the things I DO like about the UK folk Club scene is the wide variety of things floor singers will produce - Self penned songs , Tunes , Traditional stuff , Covers of well known songs , Music Hall , Blues , poetry and STORY TELLING !
We have lady locally who wanted to perform , but couldnt carry a tune in a bucket ! THEN she discovered Story telling , and is now always warmly welcomed when she turns up for a floor spot !
Like ANY Performance Art , Story telling needs to be rehearsed and the presentation skills built up ! Good luck with it !! And ignore the negativity .


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 04:26 PM

I like the idea of storytelling - and I've heard some good ones in my time. In my opinion one of the greatest storytellers of all time was Bert Lloyd. His stories were humorous and sly . He could hint at outrageous sexual behaviour and unfathomable mysteries all in the same story. Above all his stories were for adults - not children - and he was never, ever, patronising.

I've also heard some really bad storytwellers as well. I vividly remember a folk evening in a country pub. The evening started well, with some good singing. Then this bloody woman got up and started telling a story. It was long and boring and rather pointles and went on and on and on and on and ... Not only that but her delivery was arch, pretentious and patronising and there were lots of silly hand movements (you know, if she mentioned 'heads' she touched her head, if she mentioned 'wings' the silly b..ch flapped her f..king arms, etc., etc. etc.).

I'm sure you're a great storyteller but, perhaps, your critic been traumatised by being subjected to too many silly prats like the woman in the pub (?)


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 04:35 PM

I rather like the idea of folk clubs featuring "performance art" in the modern sense.

Like someone supergluing themselves naked to the ceiling and then spending the evening swallowing the entire text of "The Laidley Worm of Spindleston Heugh" printed on macaroni from a bowl on the floor.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 04:39 PM

How to respond to criticism?

You need some stock answers to pointed remarks!

For example...."why would you say that?"

This puts the onus on the critic....

But faith in yourself is the best defense!

Best wishes

Peter


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Jim Lad
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 04:43 PM

Northerner: No-one who takes the time to offer negative criticism after a performance, is trying to help you in any way whatsoever.
In fact, if the individual has taken the time to let you know that they don't even like "Storytelling" then to me at least, I'd have to say that he's trying to drive you out.
I'd be less polite. Probably interrupt the eejit with something like "Sorry Harry! I have some friends to see right now. Maybe later!" and walk away while his gums are still flapping. Nothing to feel bad about on your part.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 05:36 PM

On a callers website a well know UK dance caller discussed some feedback he had received when calling in US.
We had a long discussion about the different ways Uk and US dancers react to teaching styles, the merits of 'being yourself' the pitfalls of a particular style etc.

So, enjoy your story telling, develope your own style, but if you have the courage to analyse what he is saying (ask him to be more specific, if you need)you may learn something. Or you may conclude that his is a personal view, not shared by others.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,sparticus
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 05:49 PM

You sound like a rather sensitive soul. Constructive criticism is valuable and can be taken on board to improve performance and as such should be acceptable. Negative criticism can, if you let it, damage your confidence in your ability - try not to let it if this is what you want to do with your life - it is not acceptable. A good way to address this problem would be to make up a story that includes a character similar to your protagonist that shows him up in a very poor light. Include all of the things that trouble the character who represents yourself and how it makes them feel (fill it out a bit of course) then find an ending that resolves the problem the way you would like it to. Finally, tell the story the next time he is in the audience and see afterwards if the penny has dropped. Failing that choose an expletive that precedes "off" to see him on his way. Good luck.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: guitar
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 06:04 PM

i like to hear stories at folk clubs, I might start to do that at the folk club I go to.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Bee
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 07:06 PM

You also have to consider where the criticism's coming from: I'm a learning guitarist, and I find I get the oddest negative critiques from people who can't play any instrument at all. In fact, no one who actually plays music has been anything but kind and encouraging. I had a drunk fellow last night who 'used to play a bit of electric guitar' try to tell me I use 'too many fingers on a chord - two finger chords are the best'. I find a blank uncomprehending stare works best with these types. ;-)


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: kendall
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 07:27 PM

I told a story at the Sharp Folk club in London and it was as well received as the song I sang.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Bert
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 07:49 PM

I don't know where you get the idea that he is a GENTLEMAN!!!
A gentleman will only give positive feedback.

He sounds to me like a useless prick who is jealous that you are able to branch out into a field that is beyond his ability.

Although I haven't heard you, from the scenario you describe, I wouldn't mind betting that you are a great storyteller.

Go with Bee's suggestion of a blank uncomprehending stare.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Blowzabella
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 07:54 PM

Off topic, and not answering the question but, just in response to mg - surely there is nothing in the title 'folk club' that suggests it should be all about music? Storytelling used to be a huge part of our folk culture and I, too, am somewhat disappointed that many people nowadays seem to think that it is something to send the kids to. Listening to a story is one of the oldest forms of entertainment there is - and telling stories well requires as great a talent as singing or playing an instrument.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 08:32 PM

That is true certainly...and I would respect that..however, if the ratio of storytelling to songs got too high (as in more than every now and then) I would just not attend and leave it for others who appreciated this art form more than I personally do. mg


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 08:47 PM

Northerner comes across as rather quiet and shy, which means target for bullying by some people.

Maybe tell a counter-story?

Once there was a man who could never stop criticizing other people's work. Didn't matter if it was the way a busdriver drove his bus, the way a shop assistant bagged up his socks, or the way a cricket commentator described the game, there was always something he could find fault with. And he went on like that to the end of his life, complaining that the nurses didn't put his bedpan properly under his bum and wouldn't turn the lights up bright enough when his sight was failing. So, he died. The Angel of Death swept him up in the folds of his cloak (only to hear him moaning about how it wasn't tied right) and took him up to the Seat of Judgment. Where he immediately started telling the Lord off about what He'd got wrong. The appendix. Piles. Why did He create midges, anyway? Couldn't He arrange the stars in a more attractive pattern? And why did He let Jade ever win on Big Brother? So, the Almighty answered:

- You know, you've got a point. I'm going to let you take my job over for a while.

And so the Lord showed him round the Creative Creation Suite where He sat in his Almighty Posture Chair and designed stuff. He showed the critic everything: all the design specs (version 37.2345[A2]X.11A) for the pubic hairs of the dog flea, the environmental impact statement for the orbital path of Ganymede, the way a neutron wiggling around inside a star 45 billion light years from earth was designed to keep in time with a the mating call of a semigaseous but rather sluglike organism the other side of the universe which sounded a bit like "Goodbye Porkpie Hat", and so on. (The Creative Creation Suite was kinda big).

- OK? Just start anywhere. How about this bit? I've never been happy with it myself.

So, the critic started. Billions of light years away from Earth, there was a kind of centipede-ish carrot-ish megnetic-field-secreting creature whose left antenna tended to fall off. It didn't exactly have DNA, more a sort of purply glowing stuff that teleported new antennae into existence out of lost Earth socks. After a few hundred years of reading the design files, the critic tried to rearrange the wiggle a bit. It went orange instead of purple and every galaxy beginning with P turned into brown sludge. So the critic went back to looking at the design files for another few thousand years, and after another rearrangement of the wiggle the creatures turned more volcano-ish than centipede-ish and ate every magnetic field line in the universe that wouldn't swear allegiance to the Immortal Crotch Rot Fungus of the Cosmic Turtle, but their left antennae still fell off.

He's still there trying. His last attempt got Paris Hilton let out of jail.

(The question is how far you could get with a story like that before the penny dropped and the bully stormed out in a screaming tantrum).


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Effsee
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 08:59 PM

Nice one Jack!


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 09:43 PM

A) do you really know what you are doing that the critic is criticising - how much experience have you got and how much training have you got?

B) does the critic really know what you are doing that the critic is criticising - how much experience has the critic got and how much training has he got?

If A >> B, then ignore the ignorant bastard!

:-)


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Bert
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 09:45 PM

...how much experience have you got... he says he has two years and is training with a master story teller.

That tells me he is most probably pretty good.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 09:52 PM

Yes, Jack... exquisite!   Thanks!!!

Those who can... woo
Those who can't... teach

Problem is... hardly anyone is 'schooled' in creative encouragement techniques these days except the already accomplished, and because most of them have learned the hard way what stifles the muse, so they usually sustain and improve you with a gift... rather than a punishment. So, unless they agreed with you already, or they want to get laid... it's going to be 'a tweaky bit' that generally reflects the general audience's genera specific preferences, rather than truly constructive 'craft related' feedback.

Play a straight Child Ballad to Bluegrassers, and about half of them will be bored by the second verse... and someone will probably come up and talk about improving your technique and NPS (notes per second).

Play your new fave folk-pop song for a mostly trad audience, and some are sure to roll their eyes, and think you're vainly walking the road to hell, and what's worse... you're trying to take them with you.

However, the people that 'thoroughly enjoyed' your performance for what it was, will probably say nothing... but that's OK... because you know who they are.

You were there.

ttr


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,Wendy J
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 09:58 PM

If you like, I'll come by and punch Mr. Critic in the nose. Shame on him. Artists should be supported. If you don't like someone's work, there's always the door.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 10:12 PM

Having reread Northerner's first post - it is clear that the critic is suffering from an excess of ego. You have to learn to deal with this (other people's excess of ego - also called jealousy) if you want to survive as a performer. Your "master storyteller" teacher/coach should be able to help you with this.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,Sandy Andina
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 12:58 AM

I first consider the source and then the context. If it comes from someone I respect (and whose opinion I've solicited), I listen--and ask myself if the criticism in question is similar to what I've heard from others. If so (or it mirrors something I might even have suspected) I look to whether it involves an area I know I can improve. The first time anyone ever criticized my voice, I wouldn't set foot on a stage for two weeks afterward, and it took a friend to call me up, give me a pep talk and literally drag me back to an open mic. That was 25 years ago. Next time, it was a record reviewer who astutely observed that what I'd recorded did not match the way he'd seen me perform--and suggested that I never again record on anyone's timetable but my own. I am indebted to him for that advice. Another reviewer was scathing--but it was my fault for not vetting the publication in question; had I done so I'd have realized the genre, renown and commercial success of their typical reviewed artist and never have submitted my work for review. Nonetheless, I then wrote a proudly assertive song (that *I* knew was a cathartic "F-you" but doesn't come off that way--have yet to record it). And FIVE years after I submitted to another publication, it gave me a lukewarm review--and when I contacted the reviewer (who'd apologized for his backlog), he was flabbergasted when I agreed with most of his assessment, since I have grown exponentially as both a performer and writer since then (whether I have acquired greater humility is another question entirely).

When criticism comes at a song circle, I also listen to who's doing the criticizing, who else he's criticizing, and whether he's slamming everyone else for the same thing. But I have learned never to be "married" to a song, not even after I've recorded and released it--a song is a work I have created, not my child I have borne; and if there is a way I can tweak it and make it more effective (shorter, different choice of word, melodic or chord change), I am all ears. More often than not, truly constructive criticism has turned a good song into a great one: and I've seen it in audience reactions before and after the change. There will also always be people who feel compelled to critique simply to demonstrate they are paying attention; there will be others (usually contrarians) who feel that bucking a trend or dissing something popular marks them as people of superior discernment. Bleep them and the cockroaches they rode in on. The trick is to develop the experience to tell the difference between those who want to help and those who want to build themselves up by tearing down others.

I have grown thicker skin even as I have grown thicker calluses on my picking fingers....but I still remain open to ways I can improve.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Mike Miller
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 02:28 AM

Storytelling is, not only, appropriate in a folk club, it is routine.
I have never done a performance without stories. When I do senior facilities, my set includes the lovely "Believe Me, If All Those endearing Young Charms" precede by the tender story of how it was composed. (Look it up. You'll love it).
When I do a Jewish venue, I mix in stories about Chassidim and a few Chelm tales, of course. My agents sell me as a singer and storyteller.
When I play a folk club or folk concert, I tell the same stories and add a couple from South Philly. What I don't do is announce, "I am about to tell a story." I know how "sophisticated" and jaded a folk audience can be, so I just kind of sneak up on them and, before they know it, they have been enjoying a story.
The thing is, a performance lives or dies on its own merits. A good performance is always welcome, no matter what the form.

                  Mike Miller


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 03:23 AM

Couple of questions, if you don't mind, Northerner.

What kind of stories are you telling? Funny? Anecdotes? Literary stories? Can you give us an example?

How long are they?

What are the man's specific criticisms?

What feedback do you get from other audience members?

Does he fancy you?

Apart from that.... how to deal with criticism - well, just keep working, don't let it get you down. Write it down and put it in a drawer, come back to it in six weeks and see if you think it was apposite at that stage; if so, see how you can take the advice; if not, put a light to it.

As for how to respond, I have a friend in her 80s who says her mother had a wonderful phrase when people gave her advice. "I must," she'd say with an air of great interest - without the slightest intention of taking the advice...


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Commander Crabbe
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 09:14 AM

There is always something to learn from criticism both positive and negative.

Even if it is that the critic is an assh--e.

CC


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Willie-O
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 09:59 AM

Yes, as per Cmdr Crabbe, there is always something to learn from criticism. But it's not always about the subject of the criticism, be it your performance or your carpentry skills. Sometimes it's just something you learn about the critic.

In this case, being psychic, I get the distinct impression that it falls into the latter category. The guy just doesn't like storytelling, or (less likely) your particular storytelling. Critics who don't like the media they are criticizing need to find another job, because they have misunderstood what a "critic" is.

I have received a fair amount of useful criticism over the years, none of which I ever enjoyed at the time. In the long run, the useful stuff became apparent to me, and I'm sure you're going through this winnowing process too.

As for how to respond to the guy, I think you should be at least as direct as he is. Like, "That's interesting, but I think I'll keep doing it my way." Or, "That's not what my guru says." Worthwhile to point out that you are an intermediate-level teller, and you already HAVE a mentor. Don't smile and nod with him, he will take it as acceptance. And don't worry about hurting his feelings too much--by the way I don't think you should respond by criticizing his performance shortcomings, that just makes you look petty--he might go off in a huff, but that's not your problem. Seriously. It's not. You didn't ask him to come up and tear a strip off you, did you?   

W-O


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Darowyn
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 12:53 PM

Some reasons why you might pay attention to your self appointed critic:-
-He announces himself,"I'm the producer of Radio 4's "Book at Bedtime"...
-He runs the country's top storytellers' club.
-He runs a talking book record company.
-He's a top storyteller or professional radio actor and is making genuine suggestions as to how the dramatic or humorous aspects of your technique could be improved.

Some reasons why you should roll up your eyes, mutter "Dear Me, they should not let them out.." and walk away shaking your head in a pitying fashion.
-He knows nothing about storytelling- except that he does not want to hear any.
-He has no credibility in any other field either.
-He is clearly only interested in entering into an ego race (sometimes called a p***ing competition)

The difference between a constructive critic and a low level verbal abuser is this. A critic can differentiate between "I don't like it" and "It's not good". I might not care for Opera, for example, but I don't think that Verdi is a bad composer.
A critic will offer advice on how to improve weaker areas, and will praise strengths to maintain motivation.
If your guy does neither, he is just using a veneer of politeness to give you abuse- and what respect can you have for someone who does that?
And if you don't respect the person- you have no need at all to take any notice of what they say.
The man is a wazzock- plain and simple- treat him accordingly.
Cheers
Dave


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Mike Miller
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 03:57 PM

Unless you have identified yourself as a student or tyro, the gentleman's comments are way out of line. I have found it a good rule to never offer unsolicited critisism and, even when I am asked, to never offer critisism. My students expect it. That is what they pay me for. Everyone else, really, wants praise, no matter what they say. This is not to say that I pay no attention to audience reaction. They are my ultimate judge. If they don't like a number or a story or joke, I change it or drop it, altogether. But one, self appointed, expert does not affect me. He gets outvoted by the audience every time.
Once again, if you have been telling people that you are just learning your craft, stop doing that. Just tell your stories as best you can. If you are talented and relaxed, you will be well received.
Have I ever lied to you?

                            Mike


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 04:26 PM

How do you handle criticism - if it is sincerely offered and from somebody you trust and respect, you thank him for his generosity. If it isn't and you don't - ignore it.
If I write a book I would expect it to be reviewed and criticised - if it wasn't it would worry me that it had been ignored.
I find it very odd that the traditional arts appear to have placed their exponents above criticism - are they all really that good?
Stand up in front of an audience and you are bound to inspire an opinion of what you do; personally I would sooner have them talk to me rather than whisper behind my back. An old saying about "heat' and "kitchen" springs to mind.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 05:27 PM

I have found that the time you can be taught something is just when you've pretty much worked it out for yourself.
WHen I was starting to call for our dance club and then starting to call for the general public, we had someone running the club who was very encouraging, and fed in advice, most of which I didn't appreciate at the time; I thought I knew better and could do a more ambitious programme than he was suggesting.
I tend to do it his way now, having found from experience that it works.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,Unbiased listener
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 02:44 AM

The question most folks here are missing is :-

Is the criticism justified?

You only have the posters words to judge her ability.

She has been asked to provide the type of stories she tells but has not yet done so.

People on here are saying not to judge her harshly, but have judged, found guilty & insulted the critic.

There may be another side to the story


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 03:02 AM

I played one of my small 2 reeder PAs once and got a guy tell me that he thought I wasn't too bad, except when I played just using the single reeds - apparently a piano accordion was designed to only be played using "all the stops out"...

:-)


:-P


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: stallion
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 05:53 AM

mmmmmm tough one, take them by the throat and tell them not to speak 'til their spoken to. Isn't that simple. thirty five years ago someone took me to one side and said there was nothing wrong with the voice but that I didn't have a "feeling" for the material. It took me years to understand that, years and years, and at the time I didn't appreciate a word of it, "who do you think you are" thought I. Anyway, be resilient and remember all of the criticism even if you don't think it is relevant 'cos one day it might be.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 07:00 AM

Thank you all.

For the record I have had training in acting, music, singing and storytelling. With the storytelling I am now at advanced skills stage - learning how to inegrate music and songs into my stories to create a richer experience. I get onto telling my stories quite promptly in a performance, don't waffle, try not to go on too long and try to keep to the MC's timetable.

It is possible that this performer still sees me as a novice and doesn't realise that I have come on a lot. He hasn't seen all my performances by any means and there are a number that I have been very pleased with. Recently I have been asked to run a storytelling workshop by another storyteller (waiting for more on that one). I am a fairly quiet person between performances but really come alive when I perform. I am a sensitive and emotional singer, but as a storyteller I am enthusiastic and can be quite funny, in a natural sort of way.

It is genuinely possible that this person believes he is being helpful. In fact, I find what he is doing quite destructive, particularly as he knows next to nothing about storytelling. He DOES have experience as a singer but hey, I'm a singer too and a good one!

I will have to experiment with several tacks on this one. A fairly meaningless hmm, yes, thank you. Ignore him if possible. If pushed I will suggest he use positive remarks as well as negative. What he is doing basically isn't the act of someone who is professional in his performing.

I always, always reflect on a performance and what I can learn from it and move myself forward. If his comments have any merit then I will learn from them. However, his general negivity is something I could do without.

Thank you all for taking the time to make comments and give me helpful advice. I will reread this thread and take further note of them.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Saro
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 12:31 PM

If you can learn how to handle negative feedback gracefully and skilfully it will stand you in very good stead in lots of circumstances. It sometimes helps to remind yourself that this is just information - nothing more - and that you and only you, have control over whether or not to take it on board and do anything about it. It is often easiest to say "Thanks, that's interesting, I'll give that some thought" or something which doesn't agree OR disagree with the critic. Then take the information away and decide later (in your own time) whether it is useful or not. That way you stay in control of the situation and are never seen as hostile, defensive or any of those equally negative things! Now, you can ignore this or use it - entirely up to you!!!
Best wishes
Saro


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 12:35 PM

Or you can ask in as innocent a manner as possible, "Is there anything you liked about my performance?" He might get the hint. And you might get to watch him squirm.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Nick
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 12:36 PM

Having read a thread recently on mudcat where someone spent seven posts complaining about a spelling error (where the sense was understood by everyone) I think you'll find that there are people who give unwarranted and pointless criticism everywhere.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Jim Lad
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 12:56 PM

Nick: I take acception to your criticism!

Point well made.

Good morning all!
from the overcast Highlands.
Jim Lad


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Amos
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 02:24 PM

Handling criticism:

Criticism is not fragile and you cannot stamp it out by using too much force on it, so don't be timid.

Grasp the criticism firmly behind the nech, being sure not to let it sink its teeth under your skin, as this has been proven, with some varieties, to be extremely toxic, and in some instances causing heart failulre. As long as you proceed with the correct precautions, all will be well.

With a firm grip, place the criticism squarely on a flat surface, such as the floor or a table top. While still keeping it firmly pinned with one hand, use the other hand to draw over it an impenetrable sheet of plastic wrap, such as is sold in food stores for left-overs. Roll the criticism in the plastic wrap bringing the end over the head and sealing the head into the package just as you let go of it. This requires a certain deftness.

Once wrapped, you can place the criticism in a sturdier container, if you wish, or you can simply throw the package at the head of whoever provided it.

Many criticisms which seem to be robust and venomous, actually turn out to be fragile little projections on closer inspection. In this case a simple "pooof!" with a gust of breath will serve to make it vanish, if it is done with one eye on the actual source of the projection.

Hope this helps,


A


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Nick
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 02:53 PM

Jim Lad

I expect your point

Overcast but never downcast :)


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,AW
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 02:59 PM

Northerner, you seem very confident in your abilities both as a storyteller and a singer, so perhaps you could try another tack if this 'gentleman's' unsolicited criticism is disturbing you. Next time he says something after your spot, grab the people nearest and say 'Harry (or whoever) thinks I missed the mark tonight - did you like the story I told?'. If the answer is a resounding 'yes' then not only do you have the reassurance you're seeking, but it will also tell the gentleman in question that he holds a minority view that might be best kept to himself in future.

Of course, if you get a few 'er, um ..'s or polite pleasantries then it is possible that he is just voicing what other people are too nice to say out loud. But even that would be beneficial since I'm sure it might prompt a conversation that offered some more helpful ideas to work with.

My personal feelings are that in a folk club or festival concert setting stories that are of adult content (whether through sexual, political or occult content or by virtue of requiring a deal of imagination from the audience) are very enjoyable. The 'listen with mother' type of presentation which requires audience participation and the excessive drawing out of simple points can be a real turn off. But I'm sure you've already found out what your club likes.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,Wayne
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 06:07 PM

Judging by your moniker,Northerner you're from oop Nawth (Nowt gets past a welshman!). If you live in the vicinity of Leeds, why not pop down to the Abbey Inn, Newlay (in the river valley between Bramley and Horsforth) on a Tuesday. We've had one or two people come in to our singaround and give us a story or monologue. Even though it's usually quite busy, the teller has always been given good order and a hearty round of applause.

If you are local, pop down. You'll be given a warm welcome!

Diolch

Wayne


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,Northerner
Date: 12 Jun 07 - 07:40 AM

Thank you all. Wayne, if ever I'm near Leeds I'll pop into your club - thank you.

Last night I checked with the man who had been MCing that evening and he said he'd really enjoyed that particular story. It had been a story accompanied by paper tearing and I had made it audience participation - lots of people had had a go. Not a type of story that I do all the time but I think it's good to have a variety of styles.

I DID have quite a bit of criticism when I started as most people had not encountered a storyteller before, but I have gradually won over most of them. Beginner storytellers are not always easy to listen to, any more than beginner singers - beginner storytellers are often a bit slow and halting and not very fluent. However, I am past the beginner stage now. Repertoire is still a bit trial and error - you can't predict accurately what people will enjoy - but gradually you improve.

I don't think this person likes stories. I think that whatever I do he is going to find a fault with it. Even if he doesn't like a particular story there are plenty of positive things that he could approve of - I have excellent diction and tonal quality, for instance. Although I would like every person in an audience to enjoy my performances, I am happpy if the majority do. I don't enjoy all the performers that I hear at clubs, but if they have done their preparation work then I sit back and smile and clap politely. I'll listen to how this person phrases criticism more closely in future. If it is all negative with nothing positive then I will ask him to consider how he gives criticism. If all else fails I will have a quiet word with the club organisers. Unfortunately the club founder is absent at the moment recovering from heart surgery; he is very supportive of me and pleased to have a storyteller at the club.   I will sing at the next singaround probably but am starting to work on my next story.

Thank you all.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,Unbiased listener
Date: 12 Jun 07 - 08:21 AM

Unfortunately the club founder is absent at the moment recovering from heart surgery

He is certainly NOT the club founder.

The persons who founded that club are no longer welcomed there and were not even invited to the 40th anniversary celebration.

Short memories some people!


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,Unbiased listener
Date: 12 Jun 07 - 11:01 AM

Also, one night when you are not telling, maybe singing or sitting out, why not offer him some criticism of his singing - in a friendly, helpful manner of course. Something like 'why not rehearse your song so the words are fresh in your mind'?


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 12 Jun 07 - 11:12 AM

Is it not possible just to avoid this character altogether?


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: JeremyC
Date: 12 Jun 07 - 11:45 AM

I'm with a few of the others in this thread with respect to criticism. From my limited experience, it's not polite to volunteer anything that isn't both positive and true, and if asked, the worst you should generally say is "you sounded good tonight." Anything further should be first, invited, and second, presented in the most positive, constructive fashion possible.

Most criticism I've personally received has been on youtube, in which case I delete it (if offensive/personally insulting), ignore it (if useless or irrelevant), respond sarcastically to it (if it's extraordinarily stupid and/or presumptuous), or keep it in mind for next time (if it's useful).

Criticism I receive in person, I generally acknowledge or thank the offerer, then act on the information as I need to. If it's excessive and/or dumb, the "smile and nod" approach, followed by an immediate purge from memory, is best.

Just my opinion.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: M.Ted
Date: 12 Jun 07 - 11:05 PM

Repeated criticism of this sort is harrassment. Pure and simple.

There is no point in subtlety, cuteness or anything circumspect. Simply stand straight, look him square in the eyes( really at the bridge of his nose, but you probably know that already), and tell him calmly but firmly that you have heard enough, and that he is to stop what he is doing immediately.

Don't argue, don't raise your voice, just lay it on the line, and walk away. And don't ever talk to him again.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: cptsnapper
Date: 13 Jun 07 - 01:17 AM

Probably the most extreme criticism that I've ever received was in the shape of a letter written to Folk Roots in which the writer commented on the variety of music which can be found & that as far as the writer was concerned it was fine if people wanted to listen to Chinese folk music as long as he didn't have to listen to me! So I immediately contacted the magazine to announce my planned album of Chinese folk music!

Of course you can always ask the person who's making the comments to recite one of the pieces which they've commented on so that you can see what they mean thus ensuring that they either put up or shut up.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jun 07 - 02:49 AM

I envy those who feel they are above criticism
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,Young Buchan
Date: 13 Jun 07 - 05:09 AM

Northener, I think those correspondents are right who believe that your critic is less concerned with how you do what you do, and more with where you do it.
In the days before the revival, it was certainly the practice in social gatherings to take the attitude that what was going on was entertainment and there was no reason to confine entertainment to merely musical matters. Fred Jordan had a song in which at a similar entertainment a man says he can't sing but so as not to disappoint the company when it comes to his turn he is prepared to fight the best man in the room. I'm told that this is not entirely fanciful and happened occasionally in Suffolk. In comparison, wanting to tell a story seems quite mild.
In more modern times, of course, TV and other media have taken up the general entertainment needs of most people, and Folk Clubs were set up, in most cases, as a place in which to perform folksong/music rather than exactly reproduce the old general sessions.
This is not to say many clubs do not welcome, or failing that – accept, other 'turns'. I used to attend a club where occasionally, if we were short of singers, one of our non-singing members would do card tricks. Noone ever complained. But I think the crucial words here are 'occasionally' and 'when we were short of singers'. I doubt if we would have wanted it every week. And it was certainly not an invitation to the local Magic Circle to come and use us as an audience.
Likewise it occasionally happens at clubs I attend that someone who is usually a singer may choose on a particular occasion to tell a story or read a poem. Again, as an occasional variant, this goes down perfectly well. All Folk Clubs and all audiences are different. If I turn up at a Folk Club for the first time I am conservative. I sing a folksong. I don't perform The Green Eye of the Little Yellow God in BSL, or sing Agadoo to the tune of Mo Roisin Dhu, which are party tricks I have been known to perform in clubs that I attend more frequently. You need get to know your audience to be able to judge whether they will think a story is an entirely appropriate adjunct to a night celebrating the folk tradition, or a pain in the botty department.
Why should there be any hostility to a story teller?
The answer may be in why people go to the club. There are different types of folkie and in any club a different mindset may predominate.
Firstly there are those who go to sing (I'm sorely tempted to say 'to hear themselves sing'). They are only interested in how many times the MC can get round the room, because that determines how many times they will be allowed to sing. Deep in their hearts they really want all other singers to sing short songs, and all non-singers to pass. The last thing in the world they want is for someone to tell a long story.
Secondly there are those who go to learn by listening to others. Some may welcome the opportunity to broaden their horizons by being shown something entirely different. But many will think 'I'm a singer. There is nothing I can learn from someone who doesn't sing. How long before we get another singer on?'
Thirdly there are those who go to be entertained. They should be ripe for the picking – IF you are entertaining! Everyone has to learn. And everyone does badly when they learn. When a singer is learning and doing badly, the audience may hope he is suddenly struck down by lightning; but more realistically they know the torture will have a finite end which is approaching reasonably rapidly: unless they have decided to do a ballad in which case God help us all, and that is the reason beginners should beware of ballads. But with a storyteller – who knows when it is all going to end? I don't say that to be rude. I have heard some of the great Irish storytellers and part of the attraction is that they appear to ramble off forever only to suddenly and unexpectedly reconnect in the final line. But to get away with that you have to keep the audience enthralled all the way through. Few people who have been bored out of their skull for 15 minutes will then say at the end 'Oh, that was an interesting twist! I hope they do something like that again next week.'
Length of anything can be a killer. I mention ballads. I love the ballads, and would happily sing them all the time. But I know that is not what audiences want (unless you select your audience by announcing that it is a Ballad Session) and I select a variety of material accordingly.
[As a storyteller you probably know the story that Seamus Ennis used to tell of Henry Bohannon who when learning the pipes – rather badly – was approached by a Little Person who offered to help him learn to play, but with the condition that he could play only for his own satisfaction or that of others, but not both. He chose to play for his own satisfaction, and was delighted by how he played. But he continued to play in public and was always dismayed by how much he was criticised. One day the Little Person reappeared and offered him the chance, once and for all, to reverse his wish. He accepted, and became renowned as a great piper. But he was always himself dissatisfied by his performances. There are just so many lessons there for us all that I don't know where to start!]
I really think that if you are ever going to perform non-songs in a predominantly Song club, you need to build up the confidence of the audience that what you do will not be longer than your ability to sustain the interest. Even the best can make the mistake. I once saw the late Ernie Dyson (lovely man, did humourous dialect poems from Yorkshire) at a session where he did the opening verse of Macaulay's How Horatius Kept The Bridge. I looked forward to the amusing parody that it was bound to turn into. At the end of the second verse I was becoming a little impatient for him to get to the point. At the end of the third verse it suddenly struck my brain with an icepick that he was going to do all 70 verses. And 25 minutes later (exacerbated by the fact that he kept forgetting bits and going back to the previous couple of verses to 'get a run at it') that is what he had done.
I may have rambled on too much. I am a singer not a storyteller!


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Jun 07 - 05:47 AM

"Tell a story, sing a sang, show's yer bum or oot ye gang".

Never seen anyone take option 3 in a folk club yet, thought.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,Northerner
Date: 13 Jun 07 - 10:44 AM

Hello Unbiased Listener. I wasn't present at the club's founding so I don't know firsthand who started it and how. If I am wrong I apologise. However that may be, the fact remains that the principal organiser of that club is very happy to encourage my storytelling at that club, and likewise the principal organiser of the other club that I go to. I am careful not to tell a story every week, or even every singaround. Sometimes I sing a song or sit out the session and listen to other performers.

Hello meself. No, I can't avoid him altogether but I can sit somewhere else in the club.

Thank you JeremyC. I really do think the person concerned believes he is being helpful, but has a really poor way of delivery. I was taught at a residential workshop that the correct way to give criticism was always to start with a positive comment first. Developing a thicker skin would possibly help me.

Thank you M Ted. I will keep a note of how any further criticism is delivered. I am also keeping a watchful eye on his own performances.

Thank you Young Buchan. Yes, the type of folk club that we have now may well have a lot to do with what this man has been saying (and other critics, most of whom have now accepted me). I had a period when I lived in the north of Scotland and one of our regular performers was a storyteller as well as a fabulous ballad singer. He is now mentoring me (though informally). Hearing stories at a club therefore feels totally natural to me. I like the way in which the Traveller storytellers move freely between stories, song and music and aim to do the same myself eventually. I believe the man who is criticising me belongs to the culture where stories are something for children only. I am careful not to tell stories that are too long (I never go beyond 10 minutes or the length of two songs). As my skills develop it will also become easier for me to create material that is more entertaining.

I am going to more workshops up in Scotland in the autumn, and am investigating some more residential workshops that will allow me to develop in a nurturing envrionment. Thank you all for your comments and advice.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Skivee
Date: 13 Jun 07 - 11:56 AM

As a performer the most important critic of your work should be you.
There must be a balance between the inner voices that tell you,
"Look at me, I'm a performing genius", and,"Look at me, I'm a talentless dunce who should have stayed home."
You should have a good idea of what a professional level performance is and be able to measure yourself against that standard. You may fall short, but it will give you a good idea of what to aim towards.
The helpful criticism of your peer performers can be very useful, as you are all struggling towards the same goal.
Helpful critique from your audience can also be a good guide In all of these cases the standard should not be whether the comments are negative, but whether they are true.
An old teacher of mine once gave me great advice I didn't appreciate till years later. "Just because you worked long and hard on something doesn't necessarily mean that it's good." On the other hand, this advice came from a man who had lost 4 spitfires in the channel during the battle of Britain...none of them in combat.
What I learned from this is to take my teachers advice about writing, but not about how to pilot a fighter plane. Consider the source of criticism along with their strengths and weaknesses.                     
Northerner, I must say that I'm quite fond of Jack Campin's idea of performing a story about a critic of all things. I think it's simply brilliant.
Of course, this assumes that the fellow's criticism is offbase.
If this fellow's purpose is to really help you, then heed his words. If he's just getting off chatting to hear himself AND his comments are wrong, then blow him off.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: stallion
Date: 13 Jun 07 - 12:51 PM

It's a self esteem thing, I know a couple of people who think they are Gods gift to song writing, they have bags of confidence and self esteem, they are crap but seem totally impervious to any criticism, I have also witnessed a big name being sick in the toilet and muttering "I have to follow them", "them" were a local support act, this person, of course, was superb. So, place yourself in there somewhere between Rhino hide and tissue paper and go for it. Do it, do it.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,AW
Date: 13 Jun 07 - 03:07 PM

If the two clubs that Northerner frequents are the ones I suspect, then they are two of the oldest and most respected clubs in this part of the world, so could I just make one small suggestion that may be helpful? It may be that you are underestimating the experience of your audience, and consequently not connecting with them quite as sucessfully as you would wish.

I did a quick count up of storytellers that I have encountered in the last few years (some exclusively tellers and some who incorporate some stories into their singing performances) at clubs, concerts and festivals. I got easily into the 'teens and there are several others that I can remember and not name. A few I enjoyed very much and a couple are good friends of mine. I have no reason to suspect I am the only member of these clubs who has experienced a variety of storytellers, nor would I dream of assuming it without proof. I wonder if knowing this might enable you to trust us to listen to a more complex tale in future?


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Jim Lad
Date: 13 Jun 07 - 03:15 PM

Ah! Guest Aw: Not to try and spoil your fun here but if you read through this thread, I'm sure you'll agree that Northerner is most assuredly not seeking criticism.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to visit with some friends.
Kind Regards
Jim


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,AW
Date: 13 Jun 07 - 03:50 PM

Sorry, Jim (and Northerner!) previous post was not meant to be critical. My only intention was to offer food for thought. If my guess as to 'Northerner's identity is correct then I am happy to confirm that her performances have most assuredly improved over last last year or so, and I have enjoyed the last couple of stories far more than the first few. But she did state earlier in the thread that 'most people had not encountered a storyteller before' and I feel that if this is not true, then she may be working harder than she needs to, (thinking she needs to explain the medium as well as tell the stories) and may also be inadvertently conveying the impression that storytelling is neither understood nor acceptable, which would be a shame.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Jim Lad
Date: 13 Jun 07 - 04:21 PM

So, you're not the one?
Sorry AW.
Cheers
Jim


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,AW
Date: 13 Jun 07 - 05:47 PM

No, Jim - not guilty. I don't think Northerner has ever asked for, or received, an opinion or comment from me. I have enjoyed many storytelling experiences over the years and have no intention of offending anyone by being unnecessarily negative, especially on an occasion where it's clear that the performer has put a lot of work into their piece and is quite anxious that it should be enjoyed. I just felt I should point out that not all the audience members in this setting were quite as narrow-minded, or oblivious, as the 'gentleman' in the first post.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Bert
Date: 13 Jun 07 - 06:10 PM

I just love cptsnapper's idea of asking them to tell the story themselves.

Better still would be to wait until your turn comes around then call him up on the stage and announce to everybody that HE is going to demonstrate how the story should be told.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Jim Lad
Date: 13 Jun 07 - 06:12 PM

AW: You're just too nice to be the bully.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,Northerner
Date: 14 Jun 07 - 11:25 AM

"Most people had not encountered a storyteller before." Some certainly hadn't. I think it's probably true to say that as I have been to events up and down the country over the last four years I've probably seen a much wiser range of storytellers than audiences and performers at local clubs and have a good idea as to what I should be aiming for. My interpretation of "The Talkative Tortoise" earlier this year was a pale thing compared to the superb interpretation of that story that I saw done by an Egyptian storyteller (she had the most amazing facial expressions), yet surely that shouldn't stop me from trying to work out my own version of a story.


Thank you AW.   It sounds like you have seen me - now I have to try and puzzle out who you are...

It takes time to develop from a beginner. Some stories that I tell work out better than others. Some will go into permanent repertoire, others won't. Hopefully my storytelling will go up another level when I implement the teaching that I had in masterclasses earlier this year. It's all slow, so I will just keep plodding away, and going to the further workshops that I have booked later this year. And yep, my critic has even scoffed at my going to workshops that I am investing in to try and improve.

Thank you all for your patience and comments. I will keep persevering. I have high standards for myself, so if I don't have a song or story that I am comfortable performing I sit and listen to the other performers. Tonight I will probably just listen.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,Northerner
Date: 14 Jun 07 - 11:41 AM

Oops! That should have been "wider range" not "wiser" though it's an interesting typo...

AW - I WILL be tackling some more complex stories - they simply require more time to work them up to performance standard.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 14 Jun 07 - 12:10 PM

...............hhhhhhhhmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.........interestin' stuff.


From long experience of folk clubs,sessions,sars,etc, story tellin'/poetry's gonna initially face probs.


* when you first start off prattlin', a lotta folks'll be expectin' songs to follow, so [IMO] - its MOST IMPORTANT to EMPHASISE that you're gonna be doing A STORY!


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Carol
Date: 14 Jun 07 - 12:51 PM

And this isn't aimed at anyone in particular but don't make it too long, that also applies to songs and especially tunes!!


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Mike Miller
Date: 15 Jun 07 - 09:42 AM

I know that I can't be the first to mention that audiences are more accepting of song than they are of the spoken word. We can listen to and sing the same song over and over but just try telling the same story twice or, God forbid, the same joke. I am not certain why that is but, as a singer, I am not ungrateful.
Storytellers, unless their audience is very young, must come up with new material every time. Except in academic venues, the stories had better be entertaining, relevant and short. The agents who book senior facilities sell me as a singer/storyteller, which, to these customers, means humor and nostagia. I have had some success weaving story into song, thus, avoiding that awkward moment when the story ends and the audience is unsure of the applause cue. This requires a little thought on the art of the segue but a little thought is all that is needed. Here is the segue I use for the romantic story of "Believe Me, If All Those Endearing Young Charms".

....He read the note and he cried. In reply, he wrote a poem and someone put the poem to music and it became a song, and someone taught us the song when we were in grade school. He said, "Believe me....


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,Northerner
Date: 15 Jun 07 - 11:13 AM

Thank you all.

I always say I am going to tell a story, so there is no doubt about that. I always keep to a length that fits in with the programme (that is to say, no more than the length of two songs on a singaround night). I have never repeated my stories in the same club - always use new material. Mike, I hope to do some voluntary work with the elderly and I expect my sung material to play a significant part in that. I am a singer as well as a storyteller.

Having chatted to one club organiser last night he is very happy to see me perform at his club as he likes to see diversity at his club, and so he is happy to see spoken word alongside songs and music.

Interesting chatting to one performer who is not so happy with my stories though. Problem seems to be that this particular performer is not very imaginative - he rarely reads fiction apparently. So he has difficulty going into the worlds that I create. He is polite and friendly. I don't like all the performances that I see at a folk club - if most people enjoy a performance of mine then that is what I go with. I will chat this particular concern through with an experienced storyteller and see if they have any ideas on an approach. I had suspected that this might be the case but that doesn't make it any easier to resolve.

Got my copy of "Storylines" from the Society for Storytelling this morning. Some interesting articles including one that talks about storytelling in folk clubs. Worth another read...


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Jim Lad
Date: 15 Jun 07 - 11:17 AM

"Except in academic venues, the stories had better be entertaining, relevant and short"

Care to tell that to Gordon Bok, Billy Connolly..... ?


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Mike Miller
Date: 15 Jun 07 - 04:29 PM

Jim Lad is quite correct with the exeptions he noted. I would add to that list names like Mike Cross and Bruce Phillips. But, even the storytelling skills of these artists are tempered by their singing and by their segues. Besides, one would expect that their audiences are aware and prepared for stories. At an open mike, a lesser known performer is not so blessed. Also, unless I am mistaken, these performers tend to tell humerous stories in a highly entertaining way. Moose turd pie, anyone?


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 15 Jun 07 - 04:53 PM

I know I personally was so disappointed when I went to a Utah Phillips performance..I love his songs but all he did was talk it seemed...I would have liked to have had that information in advance because I wouldn't have been waiting so much for him to sing..and frankly I might not have gone...and I am sure he is among the finest of the fine storytellers..I am just not fond of stories...but if I know in advance I can reset my brain perhaps...mg


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,Unbiased listener
Date: 15 Jun 07 - 07:15 PM

Northener :-

from me ........ 'He is certainly NOT the club founder'

My apologies both to you and to him.

The person you are referring to IS the founder of that club.

I was assuming the wrong club as that is where I see you most often.

Again, I apologise :-(


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,Mr Impressed
Date: 15 Jun 07 - 07:22 PM

wow.. Northerner sounds so multi-talented..

if she/he can also cook up a decent veggie curry
and do face painting..

crikey.. a one person folk festival !!!!!!!!

.. and an inflatible castle would be an added bonus..!!!


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: M.Ted
Date: 15 Jun 07 - 07:53 PM

After reading some of the comments here, I would be very hesitant to perform anything in any of the clubs mentioned or alluded to here. Judgementalism seems to abound, with malice and antipathy not far underneath.   Is there any wonder that folk clubs are dying off?


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 15 Jun 07 - 08:07 PM

Well, I don't think it is bad to be judgemental, in a consumer way, when you are pressed for time and have very limited social outings, which is probably what most people these days are up against. If it is primarily a social club where you might hear jokes, might watch jugglers, might hear a few tunes, and might hear a few stories, great..but it might be more like going to a hockey match when you had your mind set on croquet..or going to a hockey match when you really wanted to go to a quilting bee...just advertise what you are going to offer, and if it is everything, great..the omniists will show up at your door. It is more along limited lines, say that too and people won't be either disappointed or they can decide if that is worth putting their snowsuit on for. mg


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 15 Jun 07 - 08:30 PM

dead right mg..

me & my mrs celebrated our wedding aniversary in a small victorian seaside town..

found a proper old fashioned woody kinda pub that served proper cider..

saw a poster advertisin "Folk Night" later that evening..

went out for a meal in a more modern pub

which on the same night was holding an 'acoustic night'

young local btec performance arts kids mainly doing grunge favourites
in an acoustic stylee..

So in the west country local public transport is non existant shite service..

last bus was befor 8 pm..

thought F@ck it.. its our anniversary...

theres a proper old victorian pub that serves real cider on draught
with a folk club tonoght..

f@ck it.. we'll go there and book an expensive taxi back home..


so went to 'traditional' pub folk night..

DISASTER ALERT !!!

there was one good old fella with a violin who managed to sneak in
the odd folk trad song

but mostly it was middle aged middle class twats in white shirts
with expensive acoustic guitars
poncifying away doing beatles songs..


so b@llocks.. i got cidered up..

and complained about hte lack of advertised 'folk music'

next morning i woke up with vague memory of being barred from thagt pub...


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: reggie miles
Date: 16 Jun 07 - 02:53 AM

mg, are you aware that Utah has had some trouble with one of his hands and it's affected his ability to play guitar? The last time I saw him perform he still offered some songs, but without his guitar accompaniment. I heard he was going to get it operated on. That's been a couple of years ago. Perhaps you caught one of his performances when he was unable to play.

With regard to your comments about advertising properly the type or approach of a given performer's show, like songster or storyteller or some combination of the two, perhaps one could counter that in the hurried pace of our modern lives if we hope to spend our hard earned dollars wisely, we should all take more time to ask questions before opening our wallets.

Before I had ever heard Utah play I had some idea about what I was in for when I went to see his show. I had a close friend who was a fan of Utah and he let me in on what I was in for beforehand.

Our shows will all change as we grow as performance artists. What I sounded like ten years ago or even three years ago is similar but not the same as I sound today. I've incorporated many more ideas in my performances.

My playing has changed but so have other aspects of what I do when I'm entertaining. I've added many story-like attributes to my song introductions. Now, I enjoy some of the introductions more than the songs themselves. I've written story-like portions of songs that appear in the middle of a song and are spoken, not sung. I've also written story-like parts that I've added at the end of some of my songs. Many of my songs are more like stories with guitar accompaniment. I don't sing them as much as recite them. This idea is actually a very old one that I've enjoyed revamping in my own way.

I can recall trying to work in a band format years ago where the other members backing me in the combo didn't understand my interest in talking to the audience before a particular song. So, as I began to introduce it in this way the two other guys in the band stood around behind me, lit up a smoke and flirted with the female bass player that I had invited that evening.

During our break it occurred to me that perhaps their lack of focus wasn't as much their fault as my lack of directing them as to how to follow along on that part of the song that had no music or singing. They knew how to play along as I played and sang but didn't know what to do when I wasn't. The song was a spooky minor keyed double entendre about vampires. So, the next time we had the pleasure of playing it together I asked the others to try make some spooky sounds during my intro. It worked like a charm and transformed the song in a magical way. That opened my eyes.

I had already been a fan of good storytellers before I had the chance to hear Utah. I think he does a fabulous job of mixing stories and songs. Many songs are simply stories cloaked in melodies. I think that there are a lot of songs that can stand on their own without the accompaniment of instrumentation.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,Northerner
Date: 16 Jun 07 - 06:30 AM

It's not all bad news. I've been well received up in Edinburgh, where I am going occasionally for workshops. The music pubs there have been really welcoming. I have played along with gentle percussion in a couple of them and was invited to tell a story in another. The one where I told a story was a fabulous experience - I was recognised and invited to tell a story. The audience were really attentive - they hung on every word - they were so longing to hear a story! Playing along quietly with an experienced ceilidh band, so polite and mature, was wonderful too. Well done Edinburgh!!!


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: M.Ted
Date: 17 Jun 07 - 02:08 AM

As Reggie Miles so compellingly points out, the line between story telling and singing folksongs is fine to nonexistant. Narrative ballads are stories, the jokes we tell between songs, the intros, the slightly exaggerated account of how we got lost on the way to the gig--all stories. As long as I can remember, a big part of every "folk/traditional music" performance consisted of storytelling, whether labelled as such, or not.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: mg
Date: 17 Jun 07 - 04:05 AM

folksongs have tunes. It's not a fine line..it is a quantum leap.   mg


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,reggie miles
Date: 18 Jun 07 - 01:46 AM

Entertainment is entertainment. You're either entertained by the method or style of a performer or you're not. As an entertainer you can please part of the people some of the time and some of the people part of the time, but you can't please some of them at all and you certainly can't please them all. That's just the way it is.

Some songs start out as just words, before they ever get joined with a tune. It may be a story, a poem, a rhyme, a thought, an idea, a question, a statement, a plea, a moan, a joke, a feeling, someone's pain, hurt, joy, tears, insanity, morality, cruelty, fantasy, ideology, spirituality…

Do we need tunes to express ourselves as entertainers? Nope. Tunes can help some of the messages we present become more palatable to listeners. We can dress our messages in many ways via music.

Does having musical accompaniment make our messages any more valid? Well, perhaps to those who feel strongly about tying messages to melodies, but again, not everyone agrees that this union is necessary to impart a message, thought, feeling, moan, angst, etc in the realm of entertainment.

There are many methods beyond music with which to present our messages, including this method we're using here, blogs, papers, letters, bumper stickers, fortune cookies, magazines, tv, radio, horoscopes, podcasts, newscasts, poetry slams, sitcoms, dramas, soaps, plays, stand up, improv, books, chat rooms, phone calls, IMs, PMs, emails, group therapy, infomercials, and yes, even stories. All of these methods and more are constantly being used every moment of every day to entertain and inform us. Music can also be a part of many of these mediums but the choice of whether to add it and to what extent is up to each individual entertainer, just as it's the choice of each listener to find what it is that is most pleasing to their ears.

Some folks are entertained by listening to somebody beating a drum. No words are needed, just rhythm. Some folks are in love with drama and the complexities of human emotion played out in a serious format. Some folks can't get enough comedy in any form. Some go gaga over the antics of world championship wrestling. Others won't be happy until they've slaughtered their neighbors and left their corpses to rot.

The choices that some folks make in this life are perplexing to me. How or why some can justify treating others with such cruelty and heartlessness is beyond me. They knowingly act out thoughtless and hurtful behavior toward others and then feign ignorance of their misdeeds while they celebrate their pointless petty victories. It is because these poor examples of humanity exist that our world is torn asunder by war and strife. They revel in the creation of this torment.

Is it any wonder why so many folks need to be entertained? To forget, if even for a moment, about the state of things today is such a release as to be worth the price of the ticket. Entertainment is an escape from the reality of life on the planet. As entertainers we sing, recite, rap, and speak in an endless procession of emotions, passionately, sweetly, angrily… to meet the needs of those listening and for our own sanity.

Can't we all just get along and be nice to one another? Sadly, I think not. Well, I guess that's just more job security for those folks who entertain. That'll be ten bucks in advance and fifteen at the door.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jun 07 - 02:35 AM

For the record,
In my opinion Reggie Miles is right, The English language tradition tends to be narrative - not just the ballads. During our work as collectors, singer after singer has told us that the most important thing about a song is its story and that the tune is a vehicle for that story and should be adapted to fit the words, not the other way round. Many have also emphasised that the songs should be sung so that, as near as possible, "the words should be pronounced as they would be spoken".
Nice quote from the jazz film 'Round Midnight' sums it up for me when the older musician asks the young one "Your notes are fine, but where's your story"?
Entertainment, while being an important aspect of singing, is by no means the only one. Singers have made, and have adapted existing songs to record events in their lives and to make statements about themselves and their communities. In the cases where the communities are under threat (eg Travellers), often the songs become an affirmation of those communities.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Jim Lad
Date: 18 Jun 07 - 02:49 AM

Nicely done, Jim.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,Northerner
Date: 18 Jun 07 - 07:15 AM

"Some folks are entertained by listening to somebody beating a drum" - I don't blame them. I'm in a drumming circle myself. It's great to see the enthusiasm of some of musicians from other countries. They seem so much less inhibited than Britons - sometimes they get up and dance spontaneously. They are so more connected with their roots than we are.

Well, I've enrolled for some more storytelling workshops. Looks like the best way for me to learn is by going to as many workshops as possible, particularly residential ones. One of them in the autumn is a 17-day one to celebrate Halloween. That should bring me on a bit... Hopefully these will not only improve my performing skills but also build up my confidence so that I become more resilient to criticism.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Mike Miller
Date: 18 Jun 07 - 12:16 PM

I would like to reply to those who see a sharp divide between song and story. Song and spoken word have been integral in entertainment since, ay least, as far back as Greek theater. Shakespeare's plays include many musical interludes. Poets, in my time, were accompanied by jazz combos. In my youth, I had a job as a guitarist, playing for Beat poets in a coffeehouse. Is "Alice's Restaurant" a song with a story or a story with a song?
Northerner's problem, I believe, is that the modern "folk" audience is used to songs and blanches at the thought of stories. The trick, with these people, is to not announce that you are about to tell a story. Hold on to an instrument (You might, even, want to strum it now and then but that is not, strictly, neccesary) and, if you really want to grab their attention, tell the story as if it happened to you or to someone you know. That is called personalizing.
If it is a story from long ago (and if you can't change it to fit you or a friend), localize it with place names, something your listeners can identify with. I tell tales about my family, back in the shtet'l, not all of which, are true. OK, none of which are true.
Once, I was doing a show at a Jewish senior facility, telling very entertaining lies about my grandparents, when I spotted my aunt and uncle in the audience. They never gave me away and, in fact, they were laughing as hard as anyone.

                            Mike


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,Wayne
Date: 18 Jun 07 - 01:22 PM

So often a "don't bore us, get to the chorus" mentality seems to pervade. Classic ballads get short shrift from many audiences however powerfully they're sung.

In this respect, storytelling might be an important tool in re-educating people in the art of listening (people bing generally less able to natter during a spoken word piece)>


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 04:43 AM

Can I just defend the clubs we're talking about please, with no judgement on either Northerner or the other people who have contributed to this thread, but rather just as an impartial observer to the picture that is being portrayed.

The clubs in question are two of the most respected, well run and knowledgeable clubs in the North of England. Ballads (the traditional variety e.g. Child, border etc) are often sung and always well received. Poetry is a frequent and welcome addition to many evenings and there are also members who have put historical poems to music and others who perform recitations. Whilst many of the tips offered here are well meant, and very useful in other settings, I believe these clubs have audiences who generally have a mature outlook and a broad knowledge of the many manifestations of what may be loosely termed 'folk' - definately not 'chorus only' clubs or ones with members who need to be taught to listen.

I do not wish to criticise 'Northerner' or make a judgement on her choice of material and presentation style, but I would hate to think that a false impression of these clubs was gleaned from the postings. Please don't be put off from visiting us. Any meaningful item, however obscure/long/complex is likely to be well received if offered honestly in the spirit of sharing with peers. Unbiased Listener.
    Please note that anonymous posting is no longer allowed at Mudcat. Use a consistent name [in the 'from' box] when you post, or your messages risk being deleted.
    Thanks.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,Northerner
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 07:54 AM

Thank you Mike.

Yes, I'd say we do have a divide in some of our clubs, between song and spoken word. I do in fact try to personalise and/or localize some of my stories, where appropriate, so that they are more relevant for audiences. It's a sad fact that in England the art of storytelling had largely died out before a revival started to take place 10/20 years ago. I am extremely fortunate that I had a period of my life when I was a regular at a club with one of the storytellers from the oral tradition, so my experience is different from probably many of the other performers at the clubs in this area.

One of the performers at the local clubs told me that there was no place for spoken word at a folk club. This person is a relative newcomer, but it does indeed show that we have a task of education before us. We cannot assume that all newcomers will understand the fuller implications of the folk tradition. An old-fashioned ceilidh, what we often strive to emulate during singarounds, would have had not only songs and music, but also people reciting monologues, favourite poems, even their own poems, jokes, riddles, and of course the occasional story.   It would have been much more diverse than what is emerging as the modern folk club. What I find exhilerating about the Traveller performers is the ease with which they go between the different artforms. They just don't seem to have these divides.

Guest/Unbaised Listener, yes, these are both excellent clubs. Most people are very welcoming to me. We do, however, have a few individuals who have, shall I say this carefully? little tact in their handling of other performances. I make very little criticism of other performers and try to be positive of their performances.

I am not a novice now, but I am still a learner. It takes several years to be a really good storyteller - what you would also expect of a singer or a musician. We don't become good overnight. I am sorry if a particular performance doesn't always hit the mark, but I learn from every performance. All I ask for is a little bit more forbearance while I learn and improve. I would try to give that to another performer.

I am in the middle of arranging more workshops for myself. I have stories that I practically bled over during masterclasses earlier in the year, and which were praised highly by top, highly experienced storytellers. In them I had integrated song and music with my stories. But can you wonder if I am hesitant about doing them at a folk club?


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: M.Ted
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 12:37 PM

I don't wonder at your hesitation at all, Northerner. As a performer, you must be sensitive to your audience, and it makes you vulnerable to those who make a point of discouraging any artist whose work is not to their taste--

And, Unbiased Listener, you should understand that, though a hundred may quietly approve, the one who vocally disapproves is the one who sets the tone for your venue.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 01:56 PM

Some of the best nights I ever spent at a club were the ones where you had a mix of singing and storytelling - particularly with guests like the Stewarts of Blair or Willie McFee. Some of the feature evenings around a theme worked superbly, with a thoughtful mix of song, story and poetry - 'Battle of the Sexes' 'Crime and Criminals' etc.
Having said this, traditional storytelling needs to be thought about - it can, and often is, extremely 'twee'. This is why, initially on this thread, I was pleased that somebody was thinking enough about it to actually comment on it.
Jim Carroll
PS Re. the narrative nature of song; here in the West of Ireland, some older singers used to talk about "telling" rather than singing a song.
    Please note that anonymous posting is no longer allowed at Mudcat. Use a consistent name [in the 'from' box] when you post, or your messages risk being deleted.
    Thanks.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Bert
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 02:42 PM

Regarding the line between a story and a song.

One time I had this idea for a song and no matter how hard I tried to write it, every time I added rhyme or rhythm to it, it sounded trite and contrived.

So I just gave up and told it as a story. A couple of weeks later someone came up to me and asked me about THAT SONG about the red rose.

Just goes to show ya!!!


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,Unbiased Listener
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 07:27 PM

MTed
And, Unbiased Listener, you should understand that, though a hundred may quietly approve, the one who vocally disapproves is the one who sets the tone for your venue.

I have not commented on her ability or the club in question.
But I take offence at YOUR patronising attitude towards me!
I take it you have not heard her story telling?
I have, many times!
I have not and will not comment on her performance. I have supported her in the clubs we are talking about!
Unless you are a regular member of the audience I do not see how you can comment on the 'tone' of the club. She is always listened to with no distractions and if some $%@t afterwards makes a private comment that does not mean the whole club should be condemned.
As was said by Guest 4:43 (NOT me) the two clubs are long established & respected ones and would continue without my, Northerners or your attendance. They are bigger than individuals.
Try keeping to the thread in future.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,Unbiased Listener
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 07:40 PM

Sorry to 'rant' but one thing I must add.

One of the venues Northerner attends regularly puts on concerts featuring Vin Garbutt.
Ever heard / seen him?
Local lad - might tell a story or two - you never know !!


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 07:49 PM

Look kid I don't beleive You Have IT!!

You are too self-conscious.

You are too intro-spective.

You are too in-secure.

For a performer (STORY-TELLER) the only feedback you require ... is from your audience.

change


MORPH


CONFUSE!

Do it over and over and over again Thirty times a week for 50 weeks a year for ten-years

You will develope the non-chalant hide of a rinosaurous, the witty-ironic teeth of an aligotor, and the guile of an unsavory politician.

Keep at it...you might get there.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Mike Miller
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 08:34 PM

The gargoyle is correct in one regard. A performer without a show of supreme confidense is a performer, doomed to failure. I was asked by a young, talented student if I thought he could make it as a professional folksinger. I told him that I doubted it and, when he asked why, I said "Because you asked." You can't doubt yourself or your talent because if you do, the audience will doubt you, too.

                        Mike


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 09:56 PM

As Garg says - for being a performer

You first need to fake an external show of confidence.

From there, it's an easy step to fake an external show of sincerity...

then you're made!

:-)


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Genie
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 10:34 PM

I have some ideas on how to handle criticism but I'm afraid to post them here because someone might find fault with them.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 10:46 PM

"I'm afraid to post them here because someone might find fault with them"

That's just the whole point, Genie - "without a show of supreme confidence ... a performer, (is) doomed to failure"

:-)


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Mike Miller
Date: 20 Jun 07 - 12:26 AM

Will someone buy Foolestroupe a sense of humor. Genie was kidding.
Well, wasn't she?


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: M.Ted
Date: 20 Jun 07 - 02:34 AM

Unbiased Guest--chill. Nothing against your clubs. What I am telling you is that. as a performer, the jerk that dumps on you makes a strong impression --which is why venues should make an effort to protect their talent from their weirdo contingent--

And, Gargoyle notwithstanding, performers tend to be sensitive about certain things. At some point, people have been known to decide that one or another venue isn't really very much fun , and they walk. I've done it myself.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,Unbiased Listener
Date: 20 Jun 07 - 03:17 AM

MTed
You are so patronising.'What I am telling you is that. as a performer, the jerk that dumps on you makes a strong impression'

After 30+ years of singing and performing I dont need you to tell me that.

As to calling somebody a weirdo just because they dont like stories ........???

You sound more like the d..khead who is the cause of Northerners problems!

Garg is right - develop a hard skin & be prepared to bite back from UNFAIR criticism.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 20 Jun 07 - 06:47 AM

As I said...

"You first need to fake an external show of confidence.

From there, it's an easy step to fake an external show of sincerity..."

You need to be fairly senitive to be able to work out HOW to do these.... :-)


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,Northerner
Date: 20 Jun 07 - 09:37 AM

Thank you for your thoughtful comments Jim. I've never seen Willie McPhee. I know Sheila Stewart though. I've seen her perform on a number of occasions. I'm not sure if she'd know my name but she would know my face as I was in her Conyach masterclass last year up in Edinburgh and also sang part of a song to her. She's a lady that I admire greatly.    Yes, there is a danger that some stories can sound twee. That's why I deliberately avoid telling stories with imps, elves and fairies in them to an adult audience - though it never seemed to do J R R Tolkein any harm...

My repertoire will become more adult in tone as I develop both my skills and my repertoire. In the meantime I am open to suggestions for finding/developing any stories for a themed evening or that will support another performer's work at one of the clubs. Storytellers quite often work in conjunction with both singers and musicians at events.

I am not blaming the clubs; the club organisers are very supportive of me. But private inviduals can be very damaging to what happens in a club.

I always loved folk tales alongside folk songs. I assumed that everybody else in a folk club would have that same connection. I assumed wrongly.

It may well be time to finish this thread as I don't see that it will progress contructively much further.   I have more workshops booked and will plod away at it.

Thank you all for your comments.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: M.Ted
Date: 20 Jun 07 - 12:09 PM

A person is not a "weirdo" because they don't like stories, a person is a "weirdo" because they corner the storyteller after each performance and then run through the same abuse litany of complaints.

I certainly don't mean to impugn anything against you, or the two clubs in question(which seem like wonderful places, really), or the Northern realms in general. My point is simply that there seems to be an individual who is undermining the clubs by harassing performers that he doesn't like.

You may admonish the performer to be less sensitive, but that, to my mind, is patronizing. You are likely to lose GUEST, Northerner, who is determined to perform, but sees no need to suffer slings and arrows.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Jun 07 - 01:43 PM

Northerner,
What is often forgotten is that traditional storytelling in the tradition was an adult activity and it really doesn't matter what the subject is.
MacColl used to tell of the time he and Peggy were recording Scots Travelling women in their home in Beckenham and when they started on ghost stories, the women wouldn't to go the few yards to the toilet on their own, they had so scared themselves with their tales.
We caught some of what must have been the last of the big storytellers here in Ireland and their stories ranged from a few minutes long to, in one case, two hours plus. These were Jack tales, ghost stories, wonder tales, trickster yarns, fairy stories and Fenian yarns.
The thing we noticed with all the tellers is their complete lack of self-conciousness and the ability to suspend their own logic while the story lasted, no matter what the subject.
None of them felt the need to put on funny voices or to use dynamics.
This, I believe, is the secret of good storytelling.   
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,Northerner
Date: 21 Jun 07 - 07:15 AM

Thank you Jim.

I now suspect that the person I mentioned orginally may have some current health issues, so I'll try to deal with this in a sensitive manner.   

I think a good part fo the problem is that modern audiences have forgotten part of the art of listening. So I have to find ways of making this easier for them. And I probably have a mixed audience - those who are struggling to listen to a story, and those who would prefer one that is more challenging.

Your experiences with the Irish storytellers sounds wonderful. I saw a number of them last year up in Edinburgh and was most impressed. Next month I am going to the Beyond the Border Festival down in Wales - I am looking forward to it. I will be seeing some more international storytellers.

I am working on another story. I've seen it performed a couple of times. It does have audience participation (which a folk club audience likes). There is quite a dark theme at the heart of it, so if I tell it in a way which shows its relevance to even modern issues, then it may have more appeal to an adult audience. The story is busy bubbling away inside me. The story does have a happy ending.

Thank you for your understanding.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,Wendy
Date: 21 Jun 07 - 10:44 AM

Northerner - Firstly, well done for standing up for your belief that storytelling can be a regular part of a folk club evening It Can be! but you're worrying me slightly. I've always found it best to pitch to the brightest. That way they don't feel patronised and anyone left behind might feel prompted to read up on a subject, or ask questions. Playing to those you feel may be less able or interested will alienate those who are bored by over simplification and if your audience is an adult one I'll bet the newcomers will realise things have been 'dummed down' for their benefit and still feel patronised. Even those you know to be less able or experienced may feel they are your peers and will appreciate bing treated as such. Of course, you can still fit in pieces of information that are unique to you by virtue of your experience in the field, but it is possible to do this as if you're just sharing with like-minded, informed people.
To my mind Jim Carroll has made the most pertinent comments here as there is a world of difference between the traditional tellers (particularly the Irish) and todays generation of childrens entertainers. I guess the best at the job will be able to change character as well as repertoire to do both jobs. Good Luck in your endeavours. You're doing all the right things by attending courses and listening to other people's experiences.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,Northerner
Date: 22 Jun 07 - 11:45 AM

Hi Wendy! No, I haven't dumbed down. I'm just trying to find ways of reaching those in the audience who have more difficulty with it. This could simply be by way of making sure that all my language is very evocative; making sure that I paint very clear pictures, for instance. And also by using clear gestures. And making sure that my telling is well-rehearsed and fluent. The big difficulty comes with adults who have forgotten how to listen, and how to use their imagination. How to spark their imagination, now that's a biggie.

I don't want to come across as a children's entertainer. I am quite an enthusiastic, fun person, who has already gone down well at a school where I did some voluntary work. I brought in props - I was wearing a green and black wig plus a witchy hat for a Halloween telling last year and the children were thrilled. All the signs are that I will do very well indeed with a children's audience, where my sense of fun and my imagination will really be appreciated. Most paid work is with children so this is very encouraging. However, I am a very intelligent person, with a large area of life experience behind me; some sad and some inspiring. I've beaten a rare and serious illness, for instance.   So I should eventually be able to add real depth to my tellings to an adult audience. But it probably takes time for this to come through in the stories. It may be that I have to look at the darker, more sensitive elements within stories when I tell them to an adult audience, and use them as well as the more fun elements that I have been showing more recently. The workshops that I attended this spring, led by Ruth Kirkpatrick may help in this regard, as we looked at existential dilemmas and mood maps.

The story that I am looking at at the moment has quite a dark heart to it, and was obviously intended for an adult audience initially. Even if I am not completely happy with my interpretation of it at present it could be a good choice to take with me to a workshop for further work. I think it would also work well with the addition of either a bodhran or a tin whistle at some stage.

Last night I simply sang a chorus song at one of the folk clubs. It got all the audience with me.

I'm also looking into more residential workshops to help me progress. Application forms for some more came in the post this morning. What complicated applications!! They are for Emerson College. One of my friends has attended the 10/12 week course there and has recommended it. Thought I'd give some of them a try.

Thank you for your interest and your comments.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: M.Ted
Date: 22 Jun 07 - 01:36 PM

Story telling really isn't about the story. Storytelling is about the relationship between the storyteller and the audience. The best story tellers never let on that they are telling a story, and they never let on that their audience is an audience--


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,AW
Date: 22 Jun 07 - 02:40 PM

Hi Northerner. I'm just curious ... how do you decide that your audience has 'forgotten how to listen'? I don't remember anyone saying 'that was a great story, but I lost the thread/was bored/didn't like it/fell asleep because I've forgotten how to listen', so I'm wondering if there are other clues that you are picking up and I am missing?

I've always sort of assumed that if I make a decent job of singing a song, (or reciting a poem or telling a story) and the piece has something interesting to say and is suitable for the venue, then the audience will find listening quite easy and enjoyable. If they don't, I tend to conclude that there is fault either with my ability or my choice of material (and on many occasions, in my case, both! But that's another story!) It's never occured to me to wonder whether the audience has been the problem, so advice you can give me for clues to watch for would be much appreciated.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 22 Jun 07 - 07:16 PM

I believe that Guest A.W. and Mr. Ted have pretty well wrapped it up.

StoryTelling is a much finer "art" than being a singer/musician. The singer/musician is bounded by restraints (tune,lyrics, traditions, instrument or accompanyment.)

The "Story Teller" has a much more than a recitation-type-repoirtore-recorded-Cosby-1965-vinyl.

Switch change find a common core....TellyTubbys are OUT (of the closet) with today's eight year olds

You listen, you feel, and you sometimes even make figurative love with the live audience....you can even stop - explain "this ain't goin nowhere for you...and it ain't goin nowhere for me....so let us backtrack a little...you don't know....and its me fault for not telling you....remember Little-Sally-Nicey at the beginning....well she wern't so little,(smaller elephants have been seen in the circus) and she sure weren't nice....(once twenty pairs of cats (for those who can't count that's 40 were rescued tied tale to tale over the powerlines - like you throw wornout sneakers on the last day of school and her given name was Solomon....but after he/her butts was wipped 400 times, and lipstick whiped off her cheeks a thousand times....folks just began referring to Nicey as Sally. Now....hold onto that picture in your minds a few minutes we will return....and see what happens when she meets Pecos Bill's girlfriend."

Look just tell stories - any audience you can find - steps of the courthouse, don't file taxes and ask for a audience with the IRS......there are even practice threads in the MUDCAT.

It is not the audience's fault there is an aerialist overhead, a juggler with fire a six yards away, and the line to the privy is moving slow.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

Worst case scenario - small venue - ask the managment to eject the offenders and take their cover out of your fee.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 22 Jun 07 - 08:28 PM

Been washing, and brewing, and cooking, and pulling weeds.



It was under the "weed pulling" that your SOLUTION came to across the prairee like a jackalope pronged by a horn-twisted antelope.



You Need a HOOK!!!



Your audience NEEDS A REASON to LISTEN.



It is the "hook" the "lead-in" into the tale - EVERY member of your audience needs to have the experience that "you are talking directly to them, personally, one-on-one."



Think of the lead-in from Radio Drama.



Cremation of Sam Magee - "Think back, for most of you it will be far, far back into filtered fantoms of your mind, the kind of thoughts you hoped you left far, far, far behind....to a promise made....5 years, 10 years, 20 years, 40 years, 60 years.....a paper you you would turn in, 50 cents you forgot to return from the change, a message left undelivered.....dig, dig, dig, deep, I want you to bring up some small , minute trivia, a gas tank left unfilled, a Salvation Army Kettle passed with the promise to return....remember, feel it, Doctor Laura of the Radio would say, 'now go out and do right.' For those who have lived with guilt, Guilt, GUILT.....they KNOW it has a code of its own.....



Etc.



(interrupted) - to logo, no later,



Sincerely,

Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,Northerner
Date: 23 Jun 07 - 09:31 AM

Hi AW.   People talk to me at a club after a story, and I get an idea of how well a story has been received. It takes a long time to develop as a storyteller so it is not surprising if I am not yet at master level!!! It also takes time to learn the art of listening to stories. And that shouldn't come as a surprise either. How many people could go to an opera or an evening of jazz, say, and really appreciate them when their experience of listening to them is limited/or of short duration? Knowledge of stories tends to increase with experience. I can listen to longer and more complex stories now than when I started four years ago. As one becomes more experienced one starts to recognise the different patterns in the stories that one is hearing. One starts to develop a sense of the larger picture of how stories relate to each other, and not just a sense of the invidual story. I do understand that someone who is unfamiliar with stories may find it difficult to understand the "rules" governing this artform initially.

It's definitely a two-way process. If I feel confident that everyone is with me, then I can stride forward confidently, improving breadth and depth in my storytelling. If I feel someone is a little lost then I have to backtrack a little and work out how to handle that.

Listening to stories is an active activity, not a passive one. Ideally when a story is being told a listener should be forming pictures in their imagination, visualizing it. It is harder than watching a soap-opera on television, say.

Some storytellers are able to remember a story from just one hearing. And be able to retell it. Some of us need more time than that.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,Northerner
Date: 23 Jun 07 - 09:36 AM

Thanks Gargoye. You're basically talking about telling the story in a way that an audience can relate to. And drawing vivid pictures in people's minds. Yep, I can get that. Thanks.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,Northerner
Date: 23 Jun 07 - 09:42 AM

Thanks M.Ted. What you describe is basically how Sheila Stewart performs. The story is just an aside inserted into a conversation. I'm not sure that it is particularly easy to do - it's just that she makes it look easy. Certainly something to strive for. Of course we have largely lost the more informal settings that storytellers once had. Nowadays we have an MC who is anxiously watching the clock to check that we performers do not exceed our allotted time-slot. It's all a bit rigid.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,AW
Date: 23 Jun 07 - 12:20 PM

Yes, but has anyone ever actually said that they were trying to follow the story but got lost? Or that they wished you'd go a bit slower? or that the ideas were too complex? Or have they just said, in answer to 'did you enjoy it? or some such question 'I don't know - I wasn't listening'. There's a world of difference between being unable to do something and choosing not to do it. And I'm guessing that the secret to engaging people in the first category is exactly the opposite to that of engaging the people in the second group.

I'm not trying to be mean here, but I think you are hoping for too much from the audience and worrying too much about the people who just 'sit back, smile and clap politely' (to quote your own post earlier in the thread). Just tell the stories to the people who look interested and the ones who look 'lost' might enjoy it despite themselves.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: Bert
Date: 23 Jun 07 - 03:18 PM

...It also takes time to learn the art of listening to stories...

Really it's up to the storyteller to hold the audience. You have to tell in such a way that they can't 'not listen'. Catch their attention and talk to THEM.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,Northerner
Date: 25 Jun 07 - 09:21 AM

Thank you both. I guess I still have a lot to learn.


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 25 Jun 07 - 09:39 AM

On Saturday I went to a 'Hippies on the Hill' thingie (Festival would be a bit strong...)

I haven't played for abouot 6 months, because of the Black Dog chewing at me, but I put Blondie (the 32 bass P/A) in the car, planning to just amuse myself while sitting at a friends stall - it also helps attract people.

Well, it was raining - but they had a large marquee there, with a stage and and a band and a PA, and a MC... so in a fit of madness I wandered up and asked if they wanted any extra musos.,,

To cut a long story short, I was on - a cod performance, totally unprepared... Some applause... well Me & Bobby Mcgee as a final went over well... :-)

The MC afterwards gave me his card and told me to keep in touch for any future events he would be at...

I defintely feel much better now... :-)

Not bragging, but when you can pull off technical things like that without panic (i.e. being able to draw on your capabilities), you must have done the proper hard yards in the past to be able to pluck out 'the goods'...

Just keep at it Northerner, till you get there...

You must do the hard yards - one day you will wonder why you worried that you were no good... :-)


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Subject: RE: How to handle criticism?
From: GUEST,Northerner
Date: 26 Jun 07 - 10:03 AM

Thank you Foolestroope. I was just pondering that very same thing. It's all the hard graft that is on just now. It's great at the beginning when you have been able to rejoice that you simply got up there and did your piece without falling totally flat on your face. Harder at this stage when the progress feels slower and the club has got used to you and and yet you haven't got up as far yet as you're aiming for. I have a number of workshops/events booked that should push me up a bit further over the next months. Patience, patience, is what is required.

I'm looking forward to my forthcoming storytelling festival. I've got brand-new wellies at the ready for it - yes, it's held in a field. Hurray for Beyond the Border!!!


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