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Where can bad singers go?

Dave the Gnome 20 Dec 08 - 04:28 AM
Gervase 20 Dec 08 - 04:59 AM
VirginiaTam 20 Dec 08 - 05:07 AM
Dave the Gnome 20 Dec 08 - 05:21 AM
Darowyn 20 Dec 08 - 05:29 AM
Paul Burke 20 Dec 08 - 05:48 AM
alex s 20 Dec 08 - 06:02 AM
Waddon Pete 20 Dec 08 - 06:10 AM
Dave the Gnome 20 Dec 08 - 06:30 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 20 Dec 08 - 06:31 AM
TheSnail 20 Dec 08 - 06:37 AM
The Sandman 20 Dec 08 - 06:42 AM
Acorn4 20 Dec 08 - 06:49 AM
Newport Boy 20 Dec 08 - 06:52 AM
Newport Boy 20 Dec 08 - 07:05 AM
Arnie 20 Dec 08 - 07:06 AM
Waddon Pete 20 Dec 08 - 07:23 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Dec 08 - 07:55 AM
kendall 20 Dec 08 - 07:59 AM
Dave the Gnome 20 Dec 08 - 08:56 AM
GUEST,Howard Jones 20 Dec 08 - 09:04 AM
skarpi 20 Dec 08 - 09:09 AM
Leadfingers 20 Dec 08 - 09:15 AM
Ian Fyvie 20 Dec 08 - 09:34 AM
John MacKenzie 20 Dec 08 - 09:39 AM
Waddon Pete 20 Dec 08 - 09:51 AM
DebC 20 Dec 08 - 10:10 AM
Dave the Gnome 20 Dec 08 - 10:23 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 20 Dec 08 - 10:34 AM
Bert 20 Dec 08 - 12:03 PM
wysiwyg 20 Dec 08 - 12:17 PM
Gedi 20 Dec 08 - 12:22 PM
meself 20 Dec 08 - 12:27 PM
kendall 20 Dec 08 - 12:30 PM
Stringsinger 20 Dec 08 - 02:38 PM
wysiwyg 20 Dec 08 - 02:43 PM
Big Al Whittle 20 Dec 08 - 02:52 PM
GUEST,bankley 20 Dec 08 - 03:18 PM
wysiwyg 20 Dec 08 - 03:24 PM
Stonebridge 20 Dec 08 - 03:26 PM
kendall 20 Dec 08 - 03:31 PM
romany man 20 Dec 08 - 04:46 PM
Bert 20 Dec 08 - 04:59 PM
G-Force 20 Dec 08 - 05:03 PM
Richard Bridge 20 Dec 08 - 06:27 PM
Peg 20 Dec 08 - 06:28 PM
kendall 20 Dec 08 - 07:17 PM
Bobert 20 Dec 08 - 07:51 PM
Bobert 20 Dec 08 - 07:54 PM
Big Al Whittle 20 Dec 08 - 08:30 PM
skipy 20 Dec 08 - 09:21 PM
Beer 20 Dec 08 - 10:10 PM
Jim Carroll 21 Dec 08 - 02:54 AM
Dave the Gnome 21 Dec 08 - 04:24 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 21 Dec 08 - 07:46 AM
Jim Carroll 21 Dec 08 - 07:51 AM
The Sandman 21 Dec 08 - 08:32 AM
Big Al Whittle 21 Dec 08 - 09:09 AM
Ian Fyvie 21 Dec 08 - 09:42 AM
breezy 21 Dec 08 - 09:46 AM
Bernard 21 Dec 08 - 11:33 AM
Stringsinger 21 Dec 08 - 11:55 AM
Will Fly 21 Dec 08 - 12:46 PM
Musket 21 Dec 08 - 12:57 PM
olddude 21 Dec 08 - 04:25 PM
Dave the Gnome 21 Dec 08 - 05:13 PM
olddude 21 Dec 08 - 05:17 PM
olddude 21 Dec 08 - 05:29 PM
Acorn4 21 Dec 08 - 06:49 PM
Melissa 21 Dec 08 - 08:03 PM
kendall 21 Dec 08 - 08:14 PM
Melissa 21 Dec 08 - 08:27 PM
Indrani Ananda 21 Dec 08 - 08:52 PM
Will Fly 22 Dec 08 - 04:05 AM
Paul Burke 22 Dec 08 - 04:20 AM
Big Al Whittle 22 Dec 08 - 04:46 AM
Faye Roche 22 Dec 08 - 05:25 AM
Newport Boy 22 Dec 08 - 05:42 AM
Bryn Pugh 22 Dec 08 - 05:45 AM
Newport Boy 22 Dec 08 - 05:48 AM
Bernard 22 Dec 08 - 06:42 AM
goatfell 22 Dec 08 - 07:08 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 22 Dec 08 - 07:53 AM
The Sandman 22 Dec 08 - 01:13 PM
Ian Fyvie 22 Dec 08 - 02:17 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 22 Dec 08 - 02:29 PM
Melissa 22 Dec 08 - 03:19 PM
M.Ted 22 Dec 08 - 03:58 PM
Melissa 22 Dec 08 - 04:37 PM
open mike 22 Dec 08 - 05:22 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 22 Dec 08 - 05:32 PM
M.Ted 22 Dec 08 - 06:10 PM
Ian Fyvie 22 Dec 08 - 10:32 PM
GUEST,Howard Jones 23 Dec 08 - 08:00 AM
TheSnail 23 Dec 08 - 09:03 AM
GUEST,PeterC 23 Dec 08 - 12:18 PM
Big Al Whittle 23 Dec 08 - 12:44 PM
M.Ted 23 Dec 08 - 01:07 PM
GUEST,Howard Jones 23 Dec 08 - 03:34 PM
Richard Bridge 23 Dec 08 - 04:52 PM
Acorn4 23 Dec 08 - 06:15 PM
Ian Fyvie 23 Dec 08 - 10:35 PM
Dave the Gnome 24 Dec 08 - 03:40 AM
Dave the Gnome 24 Dec 08 - 03:48 AM
Will Fly 24 Dec 08 - 03:50 AM
GUEST,green wellies 24 Dec 08 - 04:07 AM
Fidjit 24 Dec 08 - 05:00 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 24 Dec 08 - 05:48 AM
Faye Roche 24 Dec 08 - 11:01 AM
Dave the Gnome 24 Dec 08 - 11:08 AM
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Subject: Where can bad singers go?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 04:28 AM

Joe and the Mods - I am not starting this thread to create friction - I am trying to make your job easier. In three different threads now it has come down to bad perfomers causing problems at folk clubs. Lets make things simple (I like simple!) and keep to one place to discuss that topic. If you see anyone going off on one on any other thread - send them here. If you feel however that there is too much of this going on already feel free to get rid of it (but let me know please)

Other people - Keep arguments about bad perfomers off the Manners and dying or dead folk clubs thread. Stick them here. OK?

On the one hand we have the people that advocate that bad performers have the right to sing or play at folk clubs.

On the other we have ones who believe that some people should not be given the stage until they can perform adequately.

I believe that everyone should have somewhere to sing or play, regardless of ability. But I would restrict the bad performers to performing within a circle of friends and try to help them improve that way. I would not, as a folk club organiser, let them perform in front of an audience of strangers. For both the sake of the audience and themselves.

What do you think?

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Gervase
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 04:59 AM

Singarounds - organised by and for singers as opposed to paid-for entertainment - are one place where people can find their feet (or their voice). The informal free sessions in pubs or on the fringes at festivals are also excellent nurseries for talent.
And at home or at work or in the car. I sing nearly every day, but haven't sung 'in public' for many a long month. Maybe I'm lucky in that I work out of doors and alone (apart from a long-suffering dog), but I find that helps.
And, regardless of where anyone sings, there should always be a hyper-critical audience, which is the singer him/herself. That's the most difficult one to ensure, and one which seems to elude many dire singers. Many, I fear, are simply unaware that they are not doing any favours either to the material or themselves. Just as we are all above average in everything we do, so many singers will consider themselves competent to perform in public when, to the outsider, they're clearly not.
But it's difficult to separate the issue of declining folk clubs and poor performing. In my view they are firmly linked. As such I fear the same arguments will be trotted out on all the threads you mention, and nothing will happen. Internet forums do not change people's minds.


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 05:07 AM

Ummmm... Who is going to tell a singer or musician the he or she is bad and signpost them to where they can go?

What about taste? I mean what if the one making this decision simply does not like a perfectly good performer's style?


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 05:21 AM

Tam -

If a known poor performer ask if they can have a spot on one of our concert nights I say no and tell them to come back on a singers night. I think that is the nicest way I can tell them they are not good enough and point them to where they can sing at the same time.

Taste doesn't come into it. I don't like either Opera or Jazz but I know when it is being performed to a reasonable standard. We are not talking mediocre here we are talking BAD in capital letters...

DeG


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Darowyn
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 05:29 AM

Karaoke bars.


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 05:48 AM

The King's Head, on a Friday night.

(hope the landlord doesn't see this)


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: alex s
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 06:02 AM

Come to us, ye lost and lonely.
Burnley Folk Club welcomes allcomers.(is that a word?)

Merry Christmas.


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 06:10 AM

.....all well and good.....but first you need to define "bad".

In a long and happy career as a folk club organiser there are many people who I gave a chance to who would not have passed muster in the "court of Mudcat". Some are now professional musicians, storytellers and solid supporters of folk music. Supposing I had taken a hit at their fragile confidence when they were starting out? The folk world would have been the poorer, I guess.

No-one wakes up in the morning and says, "Hey, I'm a useless singer, I think I'll go to the folk club and ask for a spot!"

Best wishes,

Peter


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 06:30 AM

but first you need to define "bad".

No we don't! Bad is bad. It doesn't need any further definition. I have already said I don't mean mediocre and I am not talking about personal tastes. When someone cannot keep a song in key or time; when they do not know the words; when they cannot play the instrument they have brought and finaly and most importantly DO SO ON A REGULAR BASIS WITH NO SIGN OF IMPROVEMENT. Then they are bad. Why do we need to keep dredging this up?

DeG


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 06:31 AM

"Supposing I had taken a hit at their fragile confidence when they were starting out?"

For God's sake!! This debate has NEVER been about discouraging or ostracising beginners! I'm sure some people only read what they want to read.


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: TheSnail
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 06:37 AM

I know I'm going to regret this but....

How many of these BAD performers do you have at your Swinton singarounds Dave?


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 06:42 AM

go to workshops,
record themselves,then seek advice from people they respect and ask for suggestions.
learn to play amusical instrument,here is an example,I have ahalf brother,who was a terrible singer[thin john t], WaddonPete might remember him ,he was a room clearer,he couldnt stay in the same key for one song,however he took violin lessons for some years,the result was an improvement in his singing,he learned to hear intervals better,he managed to learn where to pitch songs,and learned to sing in tune,although not a good singer he became passable,providing he chose the right material.
Singers can learn to train their voices,by using an instrument singing scales with an instrument etc,and then doing breathing exercises,from the diaphragm,to improve their breath control,and then listen to themselves.


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Acorn4
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 06:49 AM

Perhaps all the bad singers could go outside in a huddle at the door,like smokers have to at the moment, or have a little tent in the garden.

Someone suggested a collective name for a group of outside smokers :- a "smuddle".

What could be a collective noun for a huddle of bad singers - I think a "cacophany" is already used for crows, isn't it ?


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Newport Boy
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 06:52 AM

I find the definition of 'bad' difficult. I can understand 'BAD', but I've not encountered many of those.

(Into Grumpy Old Man mode)

There seems to be a concentration today on polished performance - understandable, with the plethora of media currently available. It didn't used to be like that. In the second half of the 60s and 70s, I was one of the organisers of a successful club, meeting every Thursday evening. Usually we had about 50 or 60 in the club. We booked a guest about 8 or 10 times a year - those evenings were more concert performances than club nights, although occasionally the guest would only do the second half.

The normal club nights were filled with about 20 members, mostly solo or duo, doing short spots of 2 to 4 songs and a very few instrumentals. We also had another dozen or so from the surrounding area, who would drop in from time to time. The standard varied widely, from a few who took paid bookings and have subsequently recorded and performed on major stages, through the majority who were reasonable singers and could hold the audience, to a few who struggled.

They weren't BAD singers, or even bad singers, but they lacked either the confidence or the voice to hold the audience. We usually restricted them to one song. Some of them developed into competent performers, while others gradually faded away.

Starting this thread, DeG said: I believe that everyone should have somewhere to sing or play, regardless of ability. But I would restrict the bad performers to performing within a circle of friends and try to help them improve that way. I would not, as a folk club organiser, let them perform in front of an audience of strangers.
We had a folk club, mainly attended by regular members. That still seems to me the right place for aspiring or developing performers. I'm sure I'd feel at home in Burnley Folk Club, but it's a long way to go.

I think the other factor that helped was that we had no amplification - what we heard was 'real'. As to where 'bad' singers can go now - they could always join the rest on the endless TV shows, where flashy production and fancy electronics can disguise a lot of faults.

(Grumpy Old Man mode off)

I would distinguish folk club nights from concert nights. If you're advertising a performance, it's not appropriate to include singers of much lower ability. But for 'club' nights, I would accept almost anyone who is brave enough to try. I only rejected one volunteer in 10 years - he was rolling drunk. I still wonder if I might have missed a memorable performance!

Phil


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Newport Boy
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 07:05 AM

DeG When someone cannot keep a song in key or time; when they do not know the words; when they cannot play the instrument they have brought and finaly and most importantly DO SO ON A REGULAR BASIS WITH NO SIGN OF IMPROVEMENT

How many of those conditions have to be met to be 'bad'? Assuming it's not all of them at once, then I have recordings of respected performers demonstrating each of them, and on a regular basis. That doen't mean I think any less of the performance.

Phil


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Arnie
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 07:06 AM

I suppose one advantage of a bad singer is that when you're the following act, you've got to be an improvement on what went before! Seriously though, I think most clubs could manage with one poor performer but you really wouldn't want more than one otherwise they tend to drive away some of the audience, especially the non-regulars who may have just dropped in to see what the folk club is about. When the folk club is trying to attract a larger audience, it helps to put on a decent evening's entertainment and a poor performer is not going to help the cause. I know that most of us started out as nervous newcomers, but it really is a case of putting some effort into practising and improving with time. A poor performer who makes no effort to improve is basically just being rude by inflicting themselves on a usually courteous audience.


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 07:23 AM

While broadly agreeing with you, Arnie, ....I've yet to meet a poor performer who makes no effort to improve....

Maybe they all live somewhere else!

Dave

Two people looked through the prison bars....one saw mud...the other stars....

Best wishes,

Peter


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 07:55 AM

Why do they have to 'go' anywhere - why can't they buckle down and become better singers?
If people have trouble identifying a 'bad' singer (as distinct from a mediocre, middling, fair, good, excellent one) maybe they're in the wrong game.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: kendall
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 07:59 AM

It's a tough question. All I can say (for what it's worth) is, I can not make myself applaud a bad performance. To encourage someone who is obviously tone deaf and doesn't know it, or worse yet, does know it and still wants to torture an audience is beyond me.

Seems to me that the obvious solution is to simply leave when the no talent "singer" starts. If we all did that, they might get the hint.
Personally, someone singing or playing off key is painful to my ears and I just can't tolerate it.

That's a personal opinion. If I had control over it I would just ignore it until it was finished, but, it makes more sense to just leave.


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 08:56 AM

Bryan - I am sure you will not regret it and thanks for asking. Very sensible question. We have two regulars at the moment. We do get the occasional travelling song strangler but I am discounting those. This is amongst a core of over 20 regular performers including residents so, less than 10%. Some clubs have less and some, I understand, have more. I know it is a very minor issue but it is an issue all the same. In one of the other threads a group of people were put off by by poor performers and it could happen with any of us if we are not careful.

Pete Two people looked through the prison bars....one saw mud...the other stars.... Regardless of what they saw both the stars and the mud still existed. They are not mutualy exclusive. Just because most people that sing at folk clubs are acceptable does not mean they all are. Just as not all should be tarred as bad because there are a few that realy are. Unfortunatey it is a fact of life that when people have a good experience they may tell someone else. When they have a bad one they will tell 10 someone elses! :-( Ask any customer service provider to confirm that if you don't believe it.

Darowyn - Glad someone said it before I did:-D

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 09:04 AM

I've yet to meet a poor performer who makes no effort to improve....

Maybe they all live somewhere else!


Maybe they do, because I've met plenty. The sort who've learned the 3-chord trick in a couple of keys and learned a handful of songs, and think that's all there is to it. I know, and have known, a number of guitarists who can't pick up the key when playing in a session, can't even tell if it's major or minor, and then play a stolid on-the-beat rhythm which kills the tune stone dead. I've known singers who constantly recycle the same 3 or 4 songs, and still get them wrong (I still have a soft spot for one singer I used to know who would insist on singing "Black Velvet Band with the words, "I'll give you seven years penile servitude..." This wasn't a joke).

The professionals, and the better amateurs, are constantly striving to improve. So are many of the less good ones. But there are many who seem to be happy to reach a certain basic level and leave it at that.


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: skarpi
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 09:09 AM

I always that everyone can sing , but with his own nose , its a saying here in my home country, but if can , ask someone who have learn song
to teach you the basic ´s then practice you will improve in time .

I have heard many people who did not sound good in my ears
but have had some instrucions from teacher and vá how good they are
now .

All the best Skarpi


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 09:15 AM

No Names . No Pack drill !!
Tenth Anniversary singaround to remember a Defunct Folk Club , and the same people were doing the same things after ten years ! Being in a singaround circle and NOT realising that they are the next performer , NOT knowing their songs , and NOT having their instruments in tune ! No bloody wonder it was a defunct club !

The REALLY sad thing was the number of people who turned up !


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Ian Fyvie
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 09:34 AM

In early days of going to folk clubs the ones some would consider "Bad*" where the old blokes straight off the farm or out of the village Smithy.

Where would we be if the organizers said "low calibre - can't sing here". We would have lost the genuine traditional songs they often brought with them and at the very least the authentic singing style which some organizers would die for to hear now.

Luckily organisers tendy to swoon when they discovered these chaps were not beginers/perpetual beginners - but instead the real thing! But it does highlight a bit of hypocracy.

I'll include a lyric when I get a bit longer on the internet which makes the point.

Ian Fyvie


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 09:39 AM

Workshops.
Honest and constructive critique of the song and the performance.
Try to avoid Simon Callow wannabes though.


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 09:51 AM

Mud and stars......of course they both exist.....same as the glass half full and the glass half empty.

It depends where you focus, doesn't it?

Best wishes,

Peter


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: DebC
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 10:10 AM

I have always believed that there are no such animals as bad singers. Singing is such a joy that I have always believed that anyone who wants to sing should do so.

However, I *do* believe that there are bad performers. Maybe defining "performing" is what we might want to think about. I enjoy going to singers' nights and singarounds and hearing the singers. It doesn't matter what I or anyone else thinks of their contribution, if they derive happiness from that so be it and it is not my place to criticise and/or judge that contribution.

If I go specifically to see a "performance", ie; a person standing in front of a group of people to present a song to an audience rather than contribute a song among a group, I would expect that person to be a bit more polished.

I don't know if I made the distinction that I had hoped to make. I agree with my good buddy, Dick Miles though-there are places where singers can get feedback and assistance to become better singers.

But we do need to encourage singing and let people find the joy of making music with the voice.

Deb Cowan


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 10:23 AM

Pete - I don't have any serious argument with what you say so apologies for seeming to labour the point but it is a point I feel you are missing and if you are, then maybe other people are as well. You now say "It depends where you focus, doesn't it?" Well, why do you feel the need to focus on one thing at all? Can we not see the stars and mud at the same time?

Like the 'half full, half empty' argument. I have been accused of being pessimistic and portraying a dire picture of folk clubs. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am, by nature, a very possitive person. My wife has said that I would find the good in Adolf Hitler! But I am also a realist. It is no good pretending that all is coming up roses if the greenflies are eating them:-)

All I am saying is that there are poor performers and bad singers out there. We don't need to focus exclusively on them but they are still there even if we ignore them altogether. And it is them that, unfortunately, the press seem to find and the people who are new to folk clubs seem to meet periodicaly.

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 10:34 AM

I don't think that it is about 'polished performances' as such. For some years I belonged to a singaround circle. I don't think that any of us could be described as 'polished', and some members had styles which could be described as downright eccentric, but everyone was enthusiastic and put the work in. I wish I'd taped some of those nights - there were some extraordinary performances from people who were passionate about what they were doing.

Nowadays, I go to singarounds which are packed out with wanabees who mangle tunes, can't even sing in tune and can't remember the words unless they're on a crib sheet. They all think that they have a God-given RIGHT to sing even if they can't be bothered to learn how. The trouble is that these people are tending to crowd out the good singers. At our old singaround a good singer could get 3 or 4 songs in a night - now he/she is lucky to get one.


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Bert
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 12:03 PM

There's bad and there's awful.

One person at a certain venue obviously wanted to sing but protested that she couldn't. I persuaded her to sing and she was right, she couldn't. After going throught this scenario several times, she took singing lessons an improved dramatically.

Then there was this other person at an open mic. She was dressed to the nines, could play her guitar and could sing in tune. BUT, she had written some songs in her chosen style, very long songs I might add. She started off and was very dreary, halfway through her first song (about five minutes into it) she made a mistake and started over. Her three songs took about half an hour and she was dreadful.

So it isn't only being able to play and sing.


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 12:17 PM

Assuming anyone really wants an answer (and not just a a chance to whine about bad experiences), here are a couple of real examples. Oh, I realize that they are seldom where people WANT to sing, but they ARE great places to get better, learn to handle a mic, learn stagecraft, AND make a few people wildly happy:

<> Nursing homes
<> Senior daycare centers
<> Preschools
<> Mudcat gatherings
<> Festival INFORMAL song circles (campgrounds)
<> Church services (no you do NOT have the BELIEVE or act like it)
<> Campfires anywhere
<> Park benches

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Gedi
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 12:22 PM

Bert, I have to agree with what you say there. I have come across some truly bad performers, but the majority of people, even if they are not completely 'polished', can give acceptable performances. However one thing that really gets me is the singer/songwriter who can neither sing nor write decent songs. Especially when that song drones on for ages.

This is another reason why I tend to prefer the more trad style of club (although it has to be said there are some trad songs which drone on a bit as well!) rather than the more 'progressive' type of place.

Ged


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: meself
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 12:27 PM

Where the good doggies don't go.


(Sorry, couldn't resist).


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: kendall
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 12:30 PM

It's all so subjective, innit?


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 02:38 PM

Yes, what is "bad"? I used to hear that Woody Guthrie was a "bad" singer before he became well-known with "This Land Is Your Land". Bob Dylan was called "Hammond's Folly" named after John Hammond, the great record producer who brought us Count Basie, Billie Holiday,Bruce Springsteen, George Benson and so many great musicians.

I played a recording of Almeda Riddle for a music business class at a local university and
they all hooted without understanding what the style was.

Then there is the notion of the trained singers associations who have their own opinions
as to what constitutes "bad singing".

There are some singers who I would consider great performers but their voices turn me off.

I find that most of the popular groups on Saturday Night Live or even on American Idol
are what I would call "bad" but obviously the public doesn't agree with me.

I think that voice training is only part of the picture. Phrasing, personality, musicianship,
image and so many other elements have to be factored in.

I have known singers who study for years but are unable to communicate effectively with the public some who would probably consider them "bad" singers.

A lot has to do with finding the right audience for what you do. This takes a lot
of exploring. I disagree with Susan that "bad" singers are relegated to churches or Senior centers. Some of the people who work these venues are great singers who have found
their audience.

Pavarotti was undoubtably a great singer until he might have decided to sing jazz.
Renee Fleming and Eileen Farrell are great singers who don't do well with the jazz repertoire (in my opinion).

Louis Armstrong was a terrible, wonderful singer. His sandpaper voice captivated
everyone. I don't know of a single voice teacher who would have the nerve to teach
people to sing like Louis.

"Bad" singers can become good when they find the audience with which they can communicate.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 02:43 PM

...I disagree with Susan that "bad" singers are relegated to churches or Senior centers.


Oh no! I didn't say that. NotatALL. I think that I said it's a great place to DEVELOP.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 02:52 PM

Nursing homes!
Senior daycare centers!

haven't these people got enough to put up with, when their lives are blighted by age and infirmity?
whatever happened to Help the Aged?
A bit of compassion towards our senior citizens, please!


the truth is that some people really do think they are wonderful, and they make a really horrid noise. Perhaps its something to do with the way their ears are stuck on.....who knows?

One word of advice, being nice doesn't work. Because at some point you will have to level with them - and then comes the tantrums, because you have provided a ray of hope.

When I was gigging pubs I had a lady used to turn up at my gigs. She'd go the landlord and say, Al knows me really well - is it okay if I sang a song, if he backs me on guitar? At first I agreed - just to be friendly.

I'm not kidding she was like biological germ warfare. The place would go silent. then it would empty. People would swallow down their drinks in swift gulps, and run for the hills. Firstly I thought it was funny, then I strated getting the 'what the f--k are you up to?' calls from my agent

The next thing I knew, she'd set up a gig at a club I'd always wanted to go to, but never had much success in approaching. She invited me round to tea to rehearse - and I told her no, I can't do this.

Well you can imagine....floods of tears, who has turned you against me?, I thought you liked me, my singing teacher says I'm a great talent......

Like it said on Hill Street blues - just be careful out there....!


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: GUEST,bankley
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 03:18 PM

Michael Jackson was 'BAD"... I think he went to Brunei


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 03:24 PM

Nursing homes!
Senior daycare centers!

haven't these people got enough to put up with, when their lives are blighted by age and infirmity?

whatever happened to Help the Aged?

A bit of compassion towards our senior citizens, please!


LOL.


But the truth is, it isn't so bad to sing for people who are hard of hearing. They get as much, or more, out of our time setting up our gear as from the music itself. The stories they want to tell.... If going to "sing" gives them even one extra visitor or activity a year, it's more than many of them get already.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Stonebridge
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 03:26 PM

The shower or the bath.

It's not so much whether or not you are "bad", but more a case of whether or not anyone wants to listen to you.
If you are so bad that nobody does, then it's the bath or shower. If people, however few, want to listen, then go there and sing for them.
Really, it's not rocket science.


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: kendall
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 03:31 PM

Finding the right venue for what you do is right on the money.

I once did a gig that consisted of nothing but blue collar workers at the nuclear plant in NH. They had no clue what I was doing there. (Neither did I)

I also did a performance for the mentally handicapped. Same result. I'm sure neither group was impressed with me.

As I'm fond of saying, "Everything is relative. To a germ, good health is a type of disease".


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: romany man
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 04:46 PM

There are bad singers and bad singer, those that are still learning their craft, have as much right to try and hone their skills at the local club, where people should be trying to help them improve, get over their nerves what ever, and then there are the BAD singers, yes they have as much right as anyone but people should be constructive in the comments and yes be honest, try and steer them into trying to improve, or just tell them you are bad mate sorry but thats life. I wont go to clubs any more, mainly due to the inbuilt policies of nearly every club i have been to, however i have not been to any club for many years and will stand corrected if there is a club out there that dont have these stupid rules and regulations, but judgeing by the ammount of threads on mudcat bemoaning the club scene, boy im glad i dont go. id sooner pay to go to a venue thats non club, privately run, where i can go to the bar, loo, whatever mid song whatever without the folk police getting on my case, every one has to learn, ive been struggling with the melodeon for ages, but would not inflict my screeching , wrong noting, on anyone other than me. once ive got the hang of it , then i will be quite happy to play where others can hear,


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Bert
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 04:59 PM

You're right about Louis Armstrong, Frank.

I was talking to a neighbor one time. He said he wanted to be a singer but he didn't have a good enough voice. So I said "What about Louis Armstrong?".

He went straight out and started practicing.


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: G-Force
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 05:03 PM

I think the most important thing, if you're running a singers' night, is not to make the mistake of putting all the crap on at the beginning. The evening will never recover.

You can usually hide one duff performer on a guest night in the second half, last spot before the guest comes back on. (People are looking for their raffle ticket, going for a last drink/pee, etc.).

I think audiences are prepared to take the wheat with the chaff to some extent, on the basis that the chaff will gradually get better (it's the ones that don't who are the problem).


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 06:27 PM

I have today concluded that the music is not dying,

See my recent post here


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Peg
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 06:28 PM

I have heard some "bad" singers in my day who eventually got pretty good, or at least passable, with time. Thing is, it may not take the same amount of time for some as for others. How long are we willing to wait?

Everyone deserves a place to sing. And if a club or cirlce is open to the public, ya can;t throw people out for being lousy.

As for clubs hiring "bad" singers; that is their prerogative. One can leave, go drink in the next room, or sit quietly and wait for a better singer to come on.

It might be worth encouraging "bad" singers with advice or suggestions of material. Let them know you think that )insert title here) would be a good song for them. Maybe it's in an easier melodic range than what they normally sing. Maybe it's not as rhythmically or lyrically challenging as what they've tried in the past. (This can backfire, of course--especially if the singer has been led to think they really are worth being paid for what they do, or are hired/booked repeatedly).

I am not a fan of mediocrity. But no one should be denied the right of making music with others.


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: kendall
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 07:17 PM

I can't watch American Idol. Too painful.


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Bobert
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 07:51 PM

Well, yeah, Kendall... The first couple months of Idol are purdy much like the "Gong Show" resurrected but then the show turns into a much different show and most of the folks can flat out sing... I like both halves because it is like two shows...

Okay, truth be known, I like the first half better but, then again, I loved the "Gong Show"... Had a ggod friend who was on it 3 times... Yeah, he sucked but he workied very hard on suckin'... So don't feel sorry for some of them folks 'cause they ain't tryin' to sing... They are ***tryin'*** to suck...

I know it don't make no sense but, hey, we are both married men so we know all about stuff that don't make no sense... Right???

B;~)


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Bobert
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 07:54 PM

Opps... Sorry, Dave... American Idol ain' the only place for bad singers... There are millions of acres of desserted land in western and northwestern US and that's God's plan... These folks just need to move there and sing their little pea-pickin' hearts out...

B~


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 08:30 PM

How about Yorkshire?

a bracing climate and plenty of room for them to run around in....trenchant constructive criticism always at hand.....


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: skipy
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 09:21 PM

O/K I have stayed out of here long enough! I have read on this thread some of the most sanctumonius bullshit that ever graced a page!
Some of us are scared shitless when it comes to singing! That does not mean that we can't sing, but it often means that those who find it easy to sing have kicked the shit out of us who find it hard to sing! Where the fuck where you when we needed your help or just a good comment or two? I'll tell you, most of you had your heads up your arses, so next time someone "not quite as good as you or your mates" makes a little mistake or needs the words, why not give them a little support!
& just for the record there is someone on this thread (no names, no pack drill) who makes everyone in the room cringe when it is his/her turn, but still we listen & still we clap!
Skipy


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Beer
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 10:10 PM

I got on this thread way to late and will admit that I haven't read every post. Maybe tomorrow.
However, I will respond to David el Gnomo this way.

If you are a bad singer stay off the stage. Anyone who has payed bucks to enter a club or otherwise deserve to get their money's worth.
If it is an open mike and no one has payed to get in, than no problem, sing off key or whatever.
Beer (adrien)


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 02:54 AM

"....someone who is obviously tone deaf'
Can honestly say that in all the time I have been involved I have never met anybody who is genuinely tone deaf - though I have often heard it given as an excuse to not make the effort.
For me, the measure of a good club is one that is capable of taking inexperienced singers and helping to develop them into good ones.
The idea that there are singers who are good enough to sing on residents nights, but not on guest nights is, as far as I'm concerned, totally hypocritical, insulting to the regulars and it certainly can't do the confidence of the less experienced singer any good.
The best workshops I have been involved with are not those guided from above by a 'teacher', but those in which the whole group takes part in the process - that way, everybody develops at each session.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 04:24 AM

Stringsinger Yes, what is "bad"? Arrrrrrgggghhhhhhh! How many times do I have to explain. Please read my earlier comments. Bob Dylan is not bad. Woody Guthrie is not bad. Louis Armstrong is not bad.

Romany Man - yes, well. Swinton does not have many 'rules' but these are they, as can be seen on the web site -

Don't enter or leave the club while anyone is performing.

Quiet during all performances.

Respect other peoples point of view and shake their hand not your fist.

Respect all musical instruments and always ask the owners permission before using one. Don't be offended if they say no - We keep a club guitar for performers who haven't brought one.

Don't try and bribe the organizers for that extra song. We are of course open to bribery but we come very expensive.

If you are offended by the first two then sorry, but it is a small room with bad accoustics and most people would like to hear the artist performing. Surely you can wait a few minutes to top up your glass or empty your bladder can't you?

Peg - Nice to see you - Where have you been:-)

Skipy - You would be surprised at who finds it hard or difficult to sing. The bad performers I know have no concept of 'nerves' or, more accurately, the adrenaline surge, at all. Whereas seasoned professionals will always have that worry that they will get it wrong. I know one artist of over 30 years standing who is still occasionaly physicaly sick before a performance. Nice to know that you are 'scared shitless'; it means you care about what you are doing and you will do it well. We are NOT talking about you or anyone else who has stage jitters but those who are realy bad - See my earlier comments.

Nice to see that everyone is possitive and, even is in disagreement, is keeping it civil. Keep it up! :-)

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 07:46 AM

In my experience of workshops there are some people who take full advantage of the suggestions/help offered (as well as making constructive suggestions of their own about other people's singing - a good workshop is a mutually supportive exercise).

On the other hand there are singers who never seem to improve, often because they are not really listening to the suggestions/help offered. They never seem to do any work outside of the workshop environment and present the same problems at session after session, often 'hogging' sessions in the process. It's hard to see why they come to the sessions in the first place - although I suspect that they're really looking for either uncritical praise or 'magic', work-free solutions to their problems.

The first type of workshop participant tend to develop into interesting performers (and occasionally brilliant ones) who are worth listening to. The second type invariably don't ...


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 07:51 AM

Formally organised workshops are great for encouraging people into learning - but you do have to apply standards.... isn't this where we came in???
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 08:32 AM

yes, Jim,it was.
of course if singers listened to themselves it might help,its called critical self analysis.


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 09:09 AM

I think when you've got to the point where people are all laughing at you, or being horrible...and yet the performer persists.

Then its indicative of deeper problems.


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Ian Fyvie
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 09:42 AM

Not really this thread but the text I'm commenting on is here a few posting above.

David de - we changed from bar singarounds to funtion room singarounds about 18 months ago and adopted much of the etiquet you list. The problem was the learning curve for the odd one or two who thought they could carry on as if still in a Public Bar.


I summed up the new etiquet as LOFO - Listen or F*** Off!

Ian Fyvie


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: breezy
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 09:46 AM

Difficult to sell a poor product

Why do I rarely go to folk clubs these days

I can sing and play and I am booked regularly so therefore I must be doing something O K

I even sell the occasional CD

People sometimes applaud but in a pub setting you have to earn it.

I also am nervous before a gig

If I dont know it I dont do it, so the first time out for a song is always the 'bottle' job

Unfortunately folk clubs have become associated with poor singers through the advance of song sessions that are free access to Joe Public,so that in turn could contribute to the decline in the number of succesful clubs

I used to record myself in the early days I also used to take part in singing competitions, so I was left in no doubt about my limited abilities.
I would only sing in a 'safe' setting and practised a lot in private.

Bob Dylan was once quoted as saying something like. 'If your gonna sing, then sing'

Pete Seeger
'Sing out,sing loud sing often.'

So sing outdoors and watch for peoples reactions

But to all aspiring singers. Learn the song thoroughly first please, look the audience in the eyes and listen to the end response.


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Bernard
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 11:33 AM

As a teacher I've often come across the people who want a 'magic fix' as suggested by Shimrod.

The only way to be any good at music, whether singing or playing, is by hard work - unless you are dead lucky and naturally talented.

The place to do your practice is in private, and only to inflict yourself on your poor, unsuspecting public once you are satisfied you are up to the job.

If, as was also mentioned, you are in a small, select group of friends, it may then be acceptable to do your practicing in front of such an audience.

If you cannot judge your quality of performance from the reaction of others, then you aren't ready - or just too thick skinned!

I do wonder about people who seem to think singarounds and the like are appropriate places for the talentless to insult the intelligence of others. It's all very well saying people have to learn somewhere - but this thread is really about those who will never learn!

As a competent singer and musician I gain my pleasure from knowing that the audience enjoyed what I did. I'm puzzled, therefore, by what pleasure an incompetent performer must be gaining...

Anything I try on an audience that doesn't get the reaction I hoped for isn't kept in my repertoire - but that happens very rarely, because I've the experience to know what audiences like.
Karaoke bars combine two of the nation's greatest evils:
people who shouldn't drink with people who shouldn't sing...


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 11:55 AM

"Bob Dylan was once quoted as saying something like. 'If your gonna sing, then sing'

Pete Seeger
'Sing out,sing loud sing often.'

So sing outdoors and watch for peoples reactions"

Be careful or you will lose your voice like Pete did. Learn to sing correctly and save
your voice as you get older.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Will Fly
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 12:46 PM

Here's my routine for learning a song that I want to perform:

1. I transcribe the words (from whatever source) by hand into my song book.
2. I read/sing them continuously several times from the book, looking away and testing out my memory.
3. When I feel I've got the words in my head, I take up the guitar, turn away from the words and sing to the window or the wall, only looking at the words when I genuinely can't remember them.
4. I use the mental image of the handwritten words in my head as an aide-memoire in remembering.
5. Once I've got the words and tune and guitar parts in my head, I get into "performing" mode and perform it to myself as though I were in front of an audience - over and over and over again...
6. I usually get Mrs. F. or some friends to have a private listen.
7. I'll do the first public performance at an informal session or a singaround, and see how it goes as a musical entity.
8. After 40 years, I don't need feedback on whether my performance was good or not - this is not arrogance on my part - I know by now (age 64) whether I'm performing it to a reasonable standard or not!

Depending on the complexity of the song, the whole process might take several weeks, because it's surprising how quickly a quickly learned song can slip the memory. If you treat it as a slow, maturing process, the song stays better in the memory and "plays" better to an audience.

Just my 10-penn'orth for aspiring performers...


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Musket
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 12:57 PM

What concerns me...

There are many people, possibly a majority of performers who visit this website, who were asked by a friend to go to a folk club because there was somebody appearing who their friend thought they might like. (In my case, Bernard Wrigley in the late '70s.)

I saw Bernard, great. I also saw people, some of whom I knew, get up and sing a song as a floor turn. If I hadn't have seen that, I possibly wouldn't have practised the guitar and got around to getting up myself at a subsequent singers night. How many others fall into that bracket? Possibly a number of good artistes we all know and appreciate.

I fully accept that when you put on a big act, and your attendance is 5 times the norm, you want the strangers to enjoy a good night, so they may come again, preferably when you haven't broken the bank to get a top draw act.

I also know the agony when you feel responsible for letting old Joe with his reed cutting song have a bash in front of a big audience. He turns up week after week and deserves a turn on a big night. Why not? Without him, there would be no club to put the odd turn on

So.... I'm not convinced there is an answer to this one. We have all been there, as the organiser, the inexperienced floor turn and a "turn" and be buggered if I could give a definitive answer?


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: olddude
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 04:25 PM

All that comes to mind at the moment is Hazel Dickens
people once said her voice could curl milk (and probably right)
but I would hate to think of where we would be without her .. she is a treasure in the songs she has kept alive and songs she has written.

I am glad noone ever told her that when she was young or we would not have her .. That is the problem, there are people who cannot carry a tune but inside them may very well be hiding magic. That doesn't mean they should be booked as a feature act .. but an open mike .. let me try .. I think anyway ..

I was going through youtube. There are some people there that I think have no idea they are that far off key .. but looking past it at the song they wrote .. you can see it has real substance ..

not everyone will be a Lightfoot, but you never know what nugget is hiding under that rough stone


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 05:13 PM

That's fine if you want to go digging, olddude, and I agree with much of what you say; I enjoy finding the odd gems myself. But some people don't. What about those who can't, or don't want to, see past the rough stone. Shallow? Yes, maybe so, But lots of people are. Lots of people do not want their enjoyment to be hard work and if they come out to have a night of enjoyable, if rather trite, music then why should they have to put up with old Joes reed cutting song?

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: olddude
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 05:17 PM

David
I am not trying to contradict you,   especially if people pay to come there, I think an open mike with a limited amount of time is good for those folks. I hear what you are saying... I have been to places where someone really really bad wants to play for an hour. That is why when people pay they it should be people who have been reviewed and approved and think there is nothing wrong with that at all.

On open mike night, let them play but limit everyone to a song or two unless the audience wants more ..
that would be my solution ...


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: olddude
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 05:29 PM

also by limiting the open mike time, you are still not discouraging them to continue to work on their music. One thing they do here in town at the concert in the park series is they allocate time. Some people get a half hour, others get a song .. no one ever complained. I think it is a great Idea, if someone asks why so and so gets a half hour or 45 minutes the organizers say because they are very popular with the audience. That doesn't make others upset at all and i like that approach. I have seen people come back to do their 1 song again and again but it gives them a chance to perform out and the audience doesn't have to suffer through a whole set either. Yet those the audience really really like get to hear a bunch of their music ... seems like a good approach that works here that you folks may try


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Acorn4
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 06:49 PM

At Sidmouth Festival, a few years back, they ran an event called the "Song Slam Competition". It was like an open mike and the winner got a slot at the festival.

Performers were only allowed TWO MINUTES on stage, after which a large hook appeared from stage left and dragged them off.

I've never actually seen the format repeated, but it did have the advantage that the audience was kept engaged. Open mike events at festivals are a bit pot luck, and if the person before you has managed to clear the venue, it's one man and his dog again.


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Melissa
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 08:03 PM

At the gatherings available to me, helping the weak singers/players is my role. I am our sturdiest musician. This works well for us and would not be a practical approach in a one-at-a-time group.
I have been surprised at how much my playing has improved by carrying others. Even if I wasn't getting better, the pleasure of helping others grab the music and run with it would be well worth my effort.
So, around here, the bad singers go near me.

I have a question concerning the one-at-a-time type:
How do weak musicians learn solid timing and pitch by practicing alone at home?


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: kendall
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 08:14 PM

My first wife was tone deaf. Trying to explain music was impossible. Thank God she never tried to sing.


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Melissa
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 08:27 PM

Kendall, I have a tone-deaf question..maybe you have an answer?!

Sometimes a song will start on the radio and the voice/instruments don't sound like they're in the same key. I know they are and it's a fleeting thing (and I think it must be fairly common because it worried me and I asked people a 'leading' question to find out if I was flukey) Those first few notes do NOT sound pleasant to me and I wonder if that's what music sounds like to tone-deaf people.
Do you know?

If so, WHY would they enjoy listening to music?


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Indrani Ananda
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 08:52 PM

Melissa

                           BBC RADIO 2 Saturday; a singer with a "trained voice" was broadcast. His singing was sharp - no doubt about it!   This seems to be commonplace with his sort of music.
                           Indrani


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Will Fly
Date: 22 Dec 08 - 04:05 AM

Melissa:
How do weak musicians learn solid timing and pitch by practicing alone at home?

As far as solid timing is concerned, a metronome can be a great help. They can be off-putting, because they're so mechanical, but to play along with one set to the required tempo can be a great help. In the heat of performance - particularly when playing instrumental music - many of us speed up, and the metronome makes us aware of this.

As far as pitch goes, well, if you have a recording of the piece that you want to sing (in the same key), stick the needle on the CD (! :D), crank it up, as Albert Lee used to say, and singalonga CD track. Another way is to record yourself singing. I hate doing this because I always detect (I think) a slight flatness in the playback, and it's true that a plain recording with no reverb and flat EQ will reveal any flaws in pitch.

If someone can't tell whether they're singing in pitch or not, an hour with a professional singing coach, or more experienced performer, can be very revealing - and helpful...


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 22 Dec 08 - 04:20 AM

<> Nursing homes
<> Senior daycare centers
<> Preschools


Prisons!!

Get the warblers of self-penned angst, the Lykewake Dirge groaners, the Raglan Road Off A Crib Sheet And Still Get It Wrong artists, to "sing" to those justly convicted of offences against society, and watch the recidivism rate plummet!


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Dec 08 - 04:46 AM

'...and further, it is the sentence of this court that you be taken from hence to a place of (alleged) entertainment, and there you will be bored to death by the bollocks, in the manner prescribed by the statutes of 1954.'


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Faye Roche
Date: 22 Dec 08 - 05:25 AM

Don't have time to read all this, but I'll come back after Christmas.

Where do they go? Simple. They go home to practice until they become good singers!


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Newport Boy
Date: 22 Dec 08 - 05:42 AM


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 22 Dec 08 - 05:45 AM

The further away, the better.


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Newport Boy
Date: 22 Dec 08 - 05:48 AM

[Sorry - hit the wrong key]

WLD - WS Gilbert got it right again - the Mikado's song 'To let the punishment fit the crime'.

The amateur tenor, whose vocal villanies
All desire to shirk,
Shall, during off hours,
Exhibit his powers
At Madame Tussauds Waxwork.

and

The music-hall singer attends a series
Of masses and fugues and "ops"
By Bach, interwoven
With Spohr and Beethoven,
At classical Monday Pops.

Phil


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Bernard
Date: 22 Dec 08 - 06:42 AM

A good place to learn to sing is in your local choral society. If that doesn't float your boat, try joining in at singarounds.

A good place to practice an instrument is at a local session.

The trick is to blend into the background until such a time as your confidence and ability are strong enough to do a solo performance. Better still, find a friend or two and form a duo/band.

Most solo performers have been a member of a duo or band in their formative years, and some still are. It works wonders for your confidence, because there's always someone to lean on if you make a mistake.


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: goatfell
Date: 22 Dec 08 - 07:08 AM

almost anyone can sing, except if you're mute then you can't but most people can sing, ok sometimes not in tune or the right key or they sound a bit flat or whatever but they do sing.

there is no such thing as a bad singer, and people that do say these things a judgemental and superiour to every other singer.

wither they like it or not.

and if they are 'bad'singers whop to say that they can't join in with the sesion or the folk club or jut give us a song.

I tihnk it's great that people can sing no matter what they sound like.

it would a sad place if we got rid of these 'bad' singers and a quiter place as well.


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 22 Dec 08 - 07:53 AM

"I tihnk it's great that people can sing no matter what they sound like."

I don't! Trouble is the idea that everyone can sing and it's not necessary to work at it - even to learn the words or sing in tune - can spread through a club, or group of clubs, like a virus. In the end the good singers are drowned out by the bad. If you go to a couple of clubs or singarounds a month, as I do, it's no fun having to sit through hour after hour of lazy, boring, dismal dross! And if that makes me elitist, then so be it!


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Dec 08 - 01:13 PM

How do weak musicians learn solid timing and pitch by practicing alone at home?
they get a metrognome for rhythym,not perfect, but it helps.
they improve pitch by singing with a fixed note instrument,piano concertina,etc.[and recording themselves and listening carefully].


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Ian Fyvie
Date: 22 Dec 08 - 02:17 PM

Metronome? Yes and No.

Probably good to have a casual go at it - but religeosly using it to develop your singing / playing could leave you with a bland boring style devoid of any expression.

Sadly I 've seen many, many singers who sound like they've learnt to a metronome - they're typically the Clawhammer Residents who would never be able to entertain an audience for more than a floorspot.

The best way to improve timing, pitch and other aspects of performance is to sing or play with other people if at all possible - and it doesn't have to be Folk because what you learn crosses musical boundaries.

Another side of the coin cropped up at our singaround last night when we were discussing a couple of very good singers - but performers whose timing was so 'Personal' - its hard for anyone to join in with them; again - examples of people who would have benefited from playing in bands or singing in choirs when they were starting out.

Ian Fyvie


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 22 Dec 08 - 02:29 PM

It's worth bearing in mind that in story song, speech rhythms outweigh musical metre. So there are people with expert musical timing who nevertheless phrase story songs in ways that make it impossible for anyone else to join in (sometimes deliberately so ;-) Tom


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Melissa
Date: 22 Dec 08 - 03:19 PM

Will:
When you're picking up a new song, what's the process for making it your own?

I already know how I do it, but I get a little curious about how others approach it and you seem like a good guy to ask.


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: M.Ted
Date: 22 Dec 08 - 03:58 PM

I thought that folk music was supposed to be fun.

I think the problems that some of you all have with clubs dying or standards falling off, or whatever, come from the fact that you've forgotten that it isn't about your one sense that" I know by now (age 64) whether I'm performing it to a reasonable standard or not!", it is about singing together, playing together, and having fun together.

I'd rather hear someone forget lines, drop the beat on the guitar, and miss 3/4 of the notes and is having a good time, than some "competent singer and musician" who rolls through a polished rendition of the same old same old.


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Melissa
Date: 22 Dec 08 - 04:37 PM

M.Ted:
I think of Music as a type of conversation.

Generations ago, people didn't mingle much with their neighbors/community..until there was a gathering. Maybe they'd gather to butcher a hog or do some type of harvest task..whatever reason they worked together occasionally.
At those gatherings, they were amongst their friends who were also strangers.
If my cow stepped on your corn earlier in the year, you and I would both feel horrible about it. If you and I had an arrangement where we traded grain for milk..we're both going to have a skinny winter. When there's music at the gathering, we have a good way of avoiding arguments/tension and we can both get our dose of Community because of the distraction music offers. Fighting is not healthy and we both know we need each other (whether we like each other or not)

Dancing/singing works as a way to get some talk-conversation going, it thaws us out and helps break the isolation. It puts everybody on equal footing and it's a Cheerful Sound. It is also a sound made by other humans.

I think music should be fun.
When I'm not having fun, I take a break from it because I know it is supposed to make my life better. When it's a chore, I might as well spend my time otherwhere.
As a second language, music does a pretty good job of helping people from different places/background/etc communicate..

Things are different now and I suppose you'd sue me if my cow stepped on your corn..but life isn't any easier now than it ever was. It's just different--and it's good that we have music.

...which is the longway of saying that I agree with you.


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: open mike
Date: 22 Dec 08 - 05:22 PM

i thought this said where can bad sinners go...
we all know the answer to that one...


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 22 Dec 08 - 05:32 PM

"I thought that folk music was supposed to be fun...

I'd rather hear someone forget lines, drop the beat on the guitar, and miss 3/4 of the notes and is having a good time, than some "competent singer and musician" who rolls through a polished rendition of the same old same old."

The point is that what you describe IS NOT fun ... it's boring and embarrassing, especially when too many of the people who get up to sing are of that standard. And, again, it's not about polish it's about enthusiasm, commitment, practice and respect for the material and the audience. When someone sings well, polished or not, and the hairs stand on the back of your neck or they make you laugh or they make you cry - THAT'S fun!


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: M.Ted
Date: 22 Dec 08 - 06:10 PM

If "too many of the people who get up to sing are of that standard", perhaps it is the standard--and you are in the wrong place.

Audiences for floorspots, or open stage/open mike, or whatever you call them, should expect a very mixed bag from those who chose to perform for them.   If you got what you paid them for, you'd get exactly nothing--so if you're entertained by anything at all, you're ahead in the game.

The idea that all those other performers are "boring and embarrassing" can be rather self-serving--If I thought a performer was"slumming" just to show up singers and musicians who weren't as talented or experience, well, that would bore and embarrass me--

And it would really be embarrassing if they really weren't any better than the performers they were so smug about--Well, it wouldn't really be embarrassing, it'd be funny--


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Ian Fyvie
Date: 22 Dec 08 - 10:32 PM

Tom - I agree believeit or not!

I suggest that the route of learning - or at some stage playing with organised groups people, actually enhances your ability to add your own distintive interpretations when playing solo.

You have a bigger library of experience to draw on.

Both the performers I mentioned earlier are excellent at what they do. The dfference - it seems to me - is that they find it hard to be accompanied despite being excellent - for the above reasons; whereas many (most?) other performers I know can be well AND be accompanied through the playing-with-others experience.

Another little example that sits here is of a friend who needed a bass player for her folk band. A very keen supporter from a local club came forward - but gave up after one practice because his background was totally 44/country time. He had no experience of the more traditional Folky timings and complicated bar formats. He couldn't hack it because his musical playing experience was "sheltered" - despite being accomplished in the styles he knew.

Ian Fyvie


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 23 Dec 08 - 08:00 AM

Ian, I'm not sure I understand the problem with these singers you refer to. Are they attempting to perform with their own accompanist, but are unable to alter their style, or are they in a singaround where other would-be accompanists are unable to join in? If it's the former, then they need to practice singing accompanied, but if it's the latter then IMHO it's up to them to decide how they want to sing it and the accompanists should know when to shut up and leave them to it.

Nothing is worse than having a song which you've worked on hi-jacked by someone who thinks they know better than you how you should perform it.


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: TheSnail
Date: 23 Dec 08 - 09:03 AM

I wonder why there is this sudden outbreak of threads blaming BAD floor singers for all the ills afflicting folk clubs.

David el Gnomo sets pretty demanding criteria to qualify as BAD and is unfortunate to have two such people at Swinton. I don't think I've met that many in my life.

I'm with Waddon Pete ...I've yet to meet a poor performer who makes no effort to improve....

I wouldn't express myself quite as forcefully as skipy but I agree with his general drift that people need to look to their own performance before being quite so ready to condemn others. If you want to raise standards, the place to start is with yourself and not think "I can tune my guitar. I sing in tune. I can remember the words. Perfect. I'm far better than old Joe with his reed cutting song so that's all right."

The next place to look is at the booked guests. On the "Why folk clubs are dying" thread Faye Roche says The band were disappointing, but no more of that. WHAT? The booked guests who are taking up half the evening and getting paid for it were "disappointing"? If they can't be bothered to put in an adequate effort, why should the floor singers worry?

The idea seems to be that all the folk scene's problems can be solved by either silencing the "song stranglers" or organising workshops to bring them up to an acceptable level of mediocrity. Then the media will stop taking the piss, Arts Council funding will flood in and new clubs will be opening on every corner to accommodate the floods of new enthusiasts. Work on raising standards throughout then the BAD singers will improve as well or else they'll be an unimportant blip amongst the excellence.

Where can bad singers go? They can go to places where they can hear good performers who are capable of communicating their love of the music and making it clear just how much work THEY put in to achieve what they do.


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: GUEST,PeterC
Date: 23 Dec 08 - 12:18 PM

There are bad singers and there are inexperienced singers.

The former should have the self awareness to know when it is appropriate for them to perform. Unfortunately some don't.

As I gained experience as a singer I realised how much practice it was taking to be simply mediocre. Then I discovered that not only was I a qood dancer but that dancing involved a lot more physical contact with attractive ladies than singing. These days I sing in the car and join in with choruses.


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 23 Dec 08 - 12:44 PM

' wonder why there is this sudden outbreak of threads blaming BAD floor singers for all the ills afflicting folk clubs.'

I agree. sometimes you can learn more watching someone struggle with a song than watching a slick presentation.

where would folkclubs be without a few local weirdoes?


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: M.Ted
Date: 23 Dec 08 - 01:07 PM

Here is a performance From the Ukulele Cabaret, which is an open stage/open mike thing in NYC--I've never been, but through the miracle of the internet, I can listen any time I want--it is pretty typical of open stage stuff everywhere, a combination of the good, the bad, and the ugly--it's all good!


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 23 Dec 08 - 03:34 PM

One of the worst singers I've ever heard used to perform at folk clubs in Reading in the early 1970s - and always went down a storm. He was a Geordie, and sang Geordie songs ("Keep your feet still, Geordie hinny" and the like) without any two notes following in the same key. He was so bad that he was good, if you know what I mean. After the initial stunned silence not even normally polite folkies could restrain themselves, and of course at the university folk club I'm afraid we showed no mercy, and laughed throughout. But he didn't seem to mind, he was certainly always willing to come back for more, and people enjoyed his performance precisely because it was so bad.

Of course it couldn't last. With practice his singing improved to the point where it was merely bad, rather than hilariously awful, and his star faded.

I've always felt rather guilty about laughing at him, although it was impossible not to. But he was enjoying himself and entertaining his audience, so despite being a bad singer you could say he was a good performer.


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 23 Dec 08 - 04:52 PM

100


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Acorn4
Date: 23 Dec 08 - 06:15 PM

To sing in a "bunch of keys" is indeed a talent not to be scoffed at!


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Ian Fyvie
Date: 23 Dec 08 - 10:35 PM

Howard - I mean the ones who have a technical difficulty, from the aspect of timing, with the perameters of typical (competent!) folkies who'd normally do a bit of accompaniment (sounds more complicated than I intended!).

It doesn't mean to say they're bad or indequate. It means they're simply cut off from the enhancements accompaniament can add.

As you say, i'ts up to them how their song is performed - I've used the term "Song Manager" in a previous thread (and at the Folk Club) to handle situations where an audience person tries to impose their arrangement (and words sometimes!!) on the singer.

The crunch is, with my subject performer, s/he does not have the choice to invite others to join in.

Ian Fyvie


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 24 Dec 08 - 03:40 AM

olddude - Thanks for the idea. I definitely like the concept of giving everyone their '2 minutes of fame'. Well, I suppose 5 minutes would be more accurate but you know what I mean. We can 'reward' the ones who have put in the time and effort by giving them more later on while poor ones should get the message. Well, I guess some are so thick skinned they won't but we can onlu hope...

Paul and Al. For the first time in ages I can definitely say I was laughing out loud. Could be a sort of community service for repeat offenders? :-D

Bryan,

David el Gnomo sets pretty demanding criteria to qualify as BAD and is unfortunate to have two such people at Swinton.

I am realy pleased that you spotted it, It is indeed a very demanding criterea I set to be bad and not many people are bad enough to qualify! They probably have to work realy hard at it:-) I think it is what a lot of people don't understand when they say that there are no bad singers and they cannot be that bad. They realy are.

To give the due credit one of them can tell a good tale and if he stuck to narration would have no problems at all. He probably doesn't realise that he doesn't realy have to sing when he can tell such a good story:-) The other can sort of play guitar. As long as he is on his own and doesn't try to sing at the same time. Put him in a band and the guitar timing becomes obvously to a different drum and when singing we end up with the voice and guitar in differnt keys and anything from 4/4 to 11/3 in the same tune! On a side issue. Incidentaly the latter has not been for weeks. Maybe he is home practicing?

I am getting some good ideas now so thanks all (well, most...) for being sensible and helping.

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 24 Dec 08 - 03:48 AM

Oh sorry - was going on to say why many threads end up on this topic. I have said before and I think this only proves it, that it is the worst of things that get the attention. I like to think that I can personaly rise above such things to see the overall picture but the sad fact is that most people will only remember and report what is bad.

At the risk of repeating myself, ask any customer service organisation and they will tell you that people are like that. Ask yourself - How many times have you gone back to a shop to tell them everything was great? How many times have you complained about poor service or bad quality? It is always the latter that gets attention - possibly because it is unusual. But even if rare it is the thing that causes most people an issue. That is why it is being discussed.

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Will Fly
Date: 24 Dec 08 - 03:50 AM

we end up with the voice and guitar in differnt keys and anything from 4/4 to 11/3 in the same tune!

Free-form folk, eh? Sounds pretty good to me - can I bring my kazoo? :D

Will


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: GUEST,green wellies
Date: 24 Dec 08 - 04:07 AM

'Where can bad singers go?' - Radio 1


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Fidjit
Date: 24 Dec 08 - 05:00 AM

I went to Norway

Chas


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 24 Dec 08 - 05:48 AM

Slight thread drift coming up:

"Ask yourself - How many times have you gone back to a shop to tell them everything was great? How many times have you complained about poor service or bad quality?"

A few months ago I bought a new flat bed scanner to link to my computer. I found it to be an excellent piece of kit and great value.
I emailed the manufacturer's customer services dept. to tell them so.
Rather than thanking me for my comments they tried to sell me a 3 year warranty ... oh dear!


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Faye Roche
Date: 24 Dec 08 - 11:01 AM

The Snail- when I wrote that the band in the club that we attended were disppointing, that was a personal judgement- many of the audience seemed to like them. At least they played well, sang in tune and didn't stop because they'd forgotten the words.

The fact that we didn't like them much is neither here nor there- taste is a personal thing.


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Subject: RE: Where can bad singers go?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 24 Dec 08 - 11:08 AM

Will - Only if you can't play it;-)

Harkling back to another thread and getting ready to duck from the missiles hurled; I suppose he could always say it was jazz...

:D (eG)


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