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Performance Ability does it matter?

Sleepy Rosie 13 Mar 09 - 04:04 PM
MBSGeorge 13 Mar 09 - 12:50 PM
The Sandman 12 Mar 09 - 01:55 PM
BobKnight 12 Mar 09 - 12:56 PM
Rifleman (inactive) 12 Mar 09 - 12:11 PM
Sleepy Rosie 12 Mar 09 - 12:09 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 12 Mar 09 - 11:39 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 12 Mar 09 - 11:34 AM
John P 12 Mar 09 - 10:19 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Mar 09 - 09:54 AM
Banjiman 12 Mar 09 - 07:25 AM
Phil Edwards 12 Mar 09 - 06:54 AM
Sleepy Rosie 12 Mar 09 - 06:53 AM
GUEST,Will Fly, absent-minded, yet again... 12 Mar 09 - 06:39 AM
GUEST 12 Mar 09 - 06:38 AM
Banjiman 12 Mar 09 - 06:08 AM
TheSnail 12 Mar 09 - 06:00 AM
Jack Blandiver 12 Mar 09 - 05:58 AM
GUEST, Sminky 12 Mar 09 - 05:56 AM
Phil Edwards 12 Mar 09 - 05:38 AM
Sleepy Rosie 12 Mar 09 - 05:13 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Mar 09 - 04:33 AM
Phil Edwards 12 Mar 09 - 04:29 AM
Peace 11 Mar 09 - 09:42 PM
Jack Blandiver 11 Mar 09 - 07:36 PM
Richard Bridge 11 Mar 09 - 07:13 PM
Banjiman 11 Mar 09 - 06:57 PM
TheSnail 11 Mar 09 - 06:53 PM
Don Firth 11 Mar 09 - 06:29 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 11 Mar 09 - 05:33 PM
Phil Edwards 11 Mar 09 - 05:18 PM
Jack Campin 11 Mar 09 - 05:08 PM
TheSnail 11 Mar 09 - 04:34 PM
GUEST,PeterC 11 Mar 09 - 04:33 PM
Jim Carroll 11 Mar 09 - 03:46 PM
Sleepy Rosie 11 Mar 09 - 03:40 PM
Jim Carroll 11 Mar 09 - 03:34 PM
Sleepy Rosie 11 Mar 09 - 03:32 PM
TheSnail 11 Mar 09 - 03:31 PM
My guru always said 11 Mar 09 - 03:28 PM
Jim Carroll 11 Mar 09 - 02:30 PM
TheSnail 11 Mar 09 - 01:58 PM
Rifleman (inactive) 11 Mar 09 - 01:47 PM
Jim Carroll 11 Mar 09 - 01:25 PM
TheSnail 11 Mar 09 - 01:05 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 11 Mar 09 - 12:51 PM
Amos 11 Mar 09 - 11:48 AM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 11 Mar 09 - 11:44 AM
Phil Edwards 11 Mar 09 - 11:25 AM
BobKnight 11 Mar 09 - 11:09 AM
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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 13 Mar 09 - 04:04 PM

Anyone got links to sites discussing Unacommpanied Traditional English Singing online?

I'm still perplexed at a seeming dearth of easily accessible information about this subject in the public domain...

Jim C, I look forward to hearing more on the 'promised' teaching material front.

And Cap'n - Cheers, I bookmarked your YouTube channel long ago. In fact I learned (if I remember rightly?) Bushes and Briars from your rendering of it...


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: MBSGeorge
Date: 13 Mar 09 - 12:50 PM

There seems to be a lot more flexibilty coming through on this thread than when it started. Personnaly I think that can only be a good thing.

G


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 01:55 PM

Jim ,sounds like a good idea.Sleepy Rosie,yes youtube is good for learning.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AAzhyBxjes


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: BobKnight
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 12:56 PM

Mmm.. I AM a taxi driver Don.(Wysiwyg) :)


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 12:11 PM

The clubs will be run as they will be run, by the respective members of the said clubs, and not by outsiders. You want to change the way a club is run? Become a member of that club and you'll be in a responsible position to do something.


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 12:09 PM

John P: "Perhaps the more experienced members of folk clubs could hold informal beginners' sessions that would include some teaching of how to present a song, and be held in private homes."

If there were such informal 'venues' for experienced singers offering guidance to beginners, I for one would be more than pleased to participate.

While I appreciate that intensive multi-day courses in traditional singing require the investment of serious skill, cost, time and effort on the part of those who hold them, unfortuately - though I would love to get involved in such courses - at present I simply could not afford the hundreds of pounds that it would cost me to do so.

For anyone wanting to reach a wider, and indeed younger audience, making use of contemporary mediums like YouTube IMO, should also be considered?

I also feel that as a learner myself, I aught to make comment regards Sinister Supporter, who appears somewhat dismayed at much of the discussion here of late! For whether some others here feel that his style is not in accord with 'correct folk form', this person in particular has been of much aid - via his postings and comments here - to my own learning, discovery and exploration of traditional song over the last few months.


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 11:39 AM

""Perhaps the more experienced members of folk clubs could hold informal beginners' sessions that would include some teaching of how to present a song, and be held in private homes.""

It IS an excellent idea John, but, in my experience the very worst singers are almost always the ones who firmly believe that they have nothing left to learn, and for that reason wouldn't attend.

After fifty years, I'D be there like a shot to find out what worthwhile tips and wrinkles I could glean.

Such is life, I'm afraid.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 11:34 AM

""Unless you have some medical problem, such as short-term memory loss, there is absolutely no reason why people cannot remember lyrics. It all depends on how much time you are willing to invest in memorising them. Failure to memorise the lyrics is, in my opinion down to laziness.""

Memories, like any other stored archive, need a certain amount of space, and there is a limit also to the total that can be stored, and indexed, such that it is readily and logically useable.

If, for example, a taxi driver is learning songs, there comes a point at which each input is matched by a loss in some other area, and it is quite ikely to be in the area of the 10-15,000 streets that a city taxi driver has to remember.

As an ex taxi driver for over twelve years, I can vouch for that. Since I quit, it has been much easier to learn song lyrics quickly and retain them indefinitely.

No medical professional worth a damn would be so quick to assume laziness as the obvious and only cause.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: John P
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 10:19 AM

Perhaps the more experienced members of folk clubs could hold informal beginners' sessions that would include some teaching of how to present a song, and be held in private homes.


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 09:54 AM

"I still like to think that we encourage the good rather than discourage the bad."
Why do we have to deal in such emotive and inaccurate terms.
Nobody has ever suggested discouraging anybody; on the contrary, I can think of nothing more discouraging than being thrown in at the deep-end and allowed to make an arsehole of yourself in front of an audience. I believe allowing and even encouraging this to happen is an irresponsible cop-out on the part of club organisers. It is not good for the club, the future of the music and certainly not for the individual concerned - been there, done that and still cringe at the memories.
I have been thinking for some time of putting up some thoughts on teaching, based on what is happening here in Ireland (a little disturbing), and my own experiences in The Critics Group and London Singers Workshop. I am due to be laid up for some time from the middle of next month so might get down to it then; in the meantime, I would appreciate any thoughts and personal experiences on the subject.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: Banjiman
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 07:25 AM

Pip,

I get you now, interesting point. I'll give it some thought.

Rosie,

Nice idea, we did a trad singing comp at our last weekend event..... people seemed pretty enthused by it. We offered a performance opportunity at the club as a prize. Here's the winning entry Andy Broderick . I had assumed that something English would win but Andy just blew the audience and the judges away (I didn't judge as I am keen to keep my friends!). He will be duly booked for a slot at our next weekend in November.

Cheers

Paul


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 06:54 AM

I'm still not cleat why advertising a session as "mostly (but not exclusively) traditional" (not saying this is not a good thing BTW) raises performance standards?

Not just trad - I think advertising a session as anything is likely to result in higher standards than advertising it as "Gasworks Croft Folk Club, all welcome". I don't think there's anything actually wrong with the Gasworks approach, but I don't think there's anything wrong with encouraging people to raise their game a bit.


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 06:53 AM

What about county wide, amatuer folk competitions between clubs?

On exactly the same level as pub Pool or Darts, or indeed The Best Strawberry Jam award at a village fete...

A bit of friendly competition between clubs might be good fun and inspire folk?


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: GUEST,Will Fly, absent-minded, yet again...
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 06:39 AM

Bugger - 'twas me again - at a strange computer...


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 06:38 AM

If we can encourage people to do "the right thing" (however you define it) by complimenting them on it when they do it - and not complimenting them when they don't, then that's one way forward.

I run a monthly session where we regularly get some couples in their 20s attending. There's one couple in particular where the girl has a gentle, but sweet voice and her partner plays very nice melodic fiddle and good guitar fingerstyle work. Two or three sessions ago I commented to him, in passing, that his guitar would ring out more (IMHO) if he put some new strings on it. It turned out that he hadn't put on new strings for over 6 months. At the session after that, I jokingly asked him if he'd put new strings on - he said he'd bought some but hadn't put them on yet, and I said that his "homework" for the next session was to put the new strings on! At the last session, the new strings were in evidence and everyone commented on how clear and pleasant his guitar sounded.

Now, if this sounds a bit cheeky on my part, all I can say is that the conversations were done tongue-in-cheek and that, as I'm old enough to be his granddad, I took the liberty of old age - and he grinned and took it in part. You may think this is all a bit trivial, but I believe that example and encouragement are important. And I recall, over forty years ago, being helped, encouraged and criticised (sometimes quite bluntly) by older and more experienced players. It was all part of the game - perhaps we're too wary of doing that these days.


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: Banjiman
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 06:08 AM

"But (on the third hand), I do think clubs with definite expectations are a better thing. If I was starting a session now I'd advertise it as "mostly (but not exclusively) traditional". (Fortunately, I don't need to.)"

Pip,

Thanks for responding. I think there are 2 seperate questions that you are commenting on here. Style AND competence. I'm still not cleat why advertising a session as "mostly (but not exclusively) traditional" (not saying this is not a good thing BTW) raises performance standards?

Personally I can enjoy trad or other stuff.... but think we should encourage a high standard of performance for all.


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: TheSnail
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 06:00 AM

I still like to think that we encourage the good rather than discourage the bad. It may amount to the same thing but I feel it's a more positive mindset and seems to be what Rosie experienced at her recent club visit.

Several people have been making complimentary remarks about the Lewes Saturday Folk Club and the scene in the Lewes area in general especially the excellent Royal Oak Folk Club. It gives me a warm fuzzy glow. Maybe we are getting something right. Perhaps we should all share our experiences, not to say "Do it this way" but to say "This is what we do and this is the result we get."

It would be nice to be able to do this without fear of coming under attack from those who have a different way of doing things.


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 05:58 AM

There's your problem - you weren't meant to be enjoying it!

I realise this now, Pip; 35 years of actually enjoying all levels of variously motivated ability in folk clubs has ill-prepared for the sudden hike-up in standards which people are now calling for. Has anyone suggested auditioning yet? The way things are going they'll be auditioning for the audition.

Anyway, it's 9.55am and I still haven't recovered the will to pick up an instrument and practise something for tonight's sing at The Steamer.


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 05:56 AM

The worst thing is not to sing at all.


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 05:38 AM

Banjiman -

I think to try and assert that people take more care over trad songs than others is well, tosh, quite frankly!

Yes, and that's not what I meant to say. On reflection, I've also been to singer/songwriter sessions where the atmosphere was like a hiring fair (to borrow from another thread) - an MC who not only gigs regularly but sells CDs, a couple of lesser names further down the bill, and if you're not a 'name' you work very hard & just hope you don't let yourself down.

I think it comes down to regulars having high expectations - people know what they've come for, and they've come to hear something almost as good as X. Whether X is Bob Copper or Roy Harper (or Robin Williamson or Jez Lowe or...) is secondary. I think that standards slip - or go out the window - at "come along and have a go" sessions; if the stylistic expectations are wide open, the quality expectations tend to be too.

On the other hand, I don't want to get this out of proportion. I've had some very, very good nights at sessions with a wide range of material and an even wider range of abilities; I myself have got up in front of a folk club audience and done songs by Robyn Hitchcock Peter Blegvad Ivor Cutler Terry Jones And Many More. Clubs where anyone can do anything they want, to whatever standard they feel like, are basically a good thing.

But (on the third hand), I do think clubs with definite expectations are a better thing. If I was starting a session now I'd advertise it as "mostly (but not exclusively) traditional". (Fortunately, I don't need to.)


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 05:13 AM

Pip Radish: "I think the experience of the Lewes Arms club shows that it's not necessary to explicitly ban or discourage bad performers, but also shows that it is necessary to have quite a lot of peer pressure, in the shape of a lot of good performers. On another thread you (Snail) objected to the idea that you discourage bad performers, but I think that is what you do - not directly, simply by putting on a lot of good performers who they're forced to compare themselves with."

That makes perfect sense to me.

I would also have thought that subtle cues given by the individual running the club, might be quite enough to tip the balance towards generally improved performances? When I went to a club recently, the organiser asked me to sing again at the end. This of course makes me feel positive about the efforts I have made thus far, and it motivates me to keep making the effort to do the best job I can.
Extrapolating from this, I imagine that exercising a simple and subtle psychology of public 'reward' (however small) for those evident efforts individuals do make, must I think inevitably (eventually) encourage those who are perhaps 'just going along for the ride', to dedicate a little more time and effort to making the best of the pieces they plan to do in future?


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 04:33 AM

"Jim appears to be deeply confused."
Yes, I most certainly am. I wonder why in gods name we can get involved in a worthwhile enough thread like this and end up turning it into meaningless mush by playing infantile word games - "you said this - I said that - no I didn't...." until the mind slams shut; we really should be ashamed of our childish behaviour.
Question - Does performance ability matter - Answer IMO - Yes, it most certainly does; we owe at least that much to the Sam Larners', Harry Coxs' and Phil Tanners' and all those who were generous and caring enough to have passed it on to us - and to those who turn up to listen to it. I'm with Shimrod; there should be no difference between a guest night and a resident's night in aiming for quality; anywhere our music is performed publicly it should never fall below an acceptable standard, and that standard should be set and maintained by the organisers.
Anybody running a successful club should be passing on their secret to those of us who would like to see all the clubs improve.
As Rosie suggested, we should be discussing how to improve the clubs, not whether it is necessary to do so. How about approaching these questions from that revolutionary angle in future.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 04:29 AM

or if my unwitting enjoyment of them is in any way justified

There's your problem - you weren't meant to be enjoying it!


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: Peace
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 09:42 PM

Great post, Sinister Supporter. My biggest laugh of the week. Thank you.


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 07:36 PM

I'm losing the will to live here - or else the will to folk; you've beaten it to within an inch of its perilous life. I'll never be able to go to a Folk Club or singaround again without worrying over whether the quality of any given individual contribution is indicative of indulgent idleness and incompetence or inspirational commitment and talent - or if my unwitting enjoyment of them is in any way justified. A far greater fear, of course, is whether or not for my own efforts I'm about to be dismissed as just another crap pop singer by some other level of folk-form criteria which even after 35 wasted Folk Years I appear to have no understanding of whatsoever.

And there I was just about to run through a song for tomorrow night but after reading through this thread I put the telly on instead to watch FM on ITV2, thus enjoying Ladyhawke's contribution whilst lamenting that I didn't stick to rock music in the first place. Still, now that Rapunzel's got her banjo it means I can dedicate my musical brain (such as it is) to figuring out harmonies to her Gillian Welch covers (such as Caleb Meyer, which she's just uploaded to her Myspace Page) and leave folk music to the experts.

Sinister Supporter - An Imminent Ex-Folkie.


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 07:13 PM

I've got an idea. Why don't you who think you are better than the rest of us go and fom a society - something like Mensa, but without the brains?


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: Banjiman
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 06:57 PM

"In other words, I suspect that clubs that don't have a problem with quality are also clubs where traditional material dominates and where participation's expected; that way, the standard maintains itself, or is maintained by the regulars."

Pip. I really don't follow your logic with this one...... I've seen lots of very good and very bad performances of Traditional songs and equally lots of very good/ very bad performances of self penned/ cover songs. I think around here I've seen more people using song sheets for trad songs than anything else.

I think to try and assert that people take more care over trad songs than others is well, tosh, quite frankly! There are people out there who will murder anything.


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: TheSnail
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 06:53 PM

Pip Radish

On another thread you (Snail) objected to the idea that you discourage bad performers,

I like to think that we encourage good performers and encourage performers to be good but I'm not going to make a big deal of it. Neither am I going to get drawn into a contemporary v. traditional debate. Each to their own.

I just think that when someone within the folk scene insists on telling the world how dreadful UK folk clubs are he is doing far more damage than any number of outsiders and that when I get lines like "he is prepared to advocate bad practice for other clubs" thrown at me I am entitled to defend myself especially when it comes from someone who has previously said "From what I have heard of your club, I heartily applaud what you are doing and wish that other clubs could learn from it". Jim appears to be deeply confused.


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: Don Firth
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 06:29 PM

What Shimrod just said. Amen!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 05:33 PM

"For a singaround the point is participation, you don't go there to listen to a "performances"."

What utter rubbish! I go to singarounds both to participate AND to listen to performances. I know several excellent singers who attend singarounds and I always relish their performances. I also enjoy the performances of those who may not be quite so accomplished but are obviously making an effort. What I object to is those who seem to think that they have a 'right' to sing but no RESPONSIBILITY towards their audience or respect for the material.

At this point its worth repeating what 'Hawkerladdie' said further up this thread:

"Unless you have some medical problem, such as short-term memory loss, there is absolutely no reason why people cannot remember lyrics. It all depends on how much time you are willing to invest in memorising them. Failure to memorise the lyrics is, in my opinion down to laziness."

And laziness implies lack of respect. "Oh, it's good enough for folk."

NO IT FOLKING ISN'T!!!


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 05:18 PM

Well, I agree with both of you - or I don't agree with either of you, whichever you prefer! I think the experience of the Lewes Arms club shows that it's not necessary to explicitly ban or discourage bad performers, but also shows that it is necessary to have quite a lot of peer pressure, in the shape of a lot of good performers. On another thread you (Snail) objected to the idea that you discourage bad performers, but I think that is what you do - not directly, simply by putting on a lot of good performers who they're forced to compare themselves with.

A couple of singarounds I've been to. In one, most of the singers play guitars; most of the material is by Dylan, McTell or Gordon Lightfoot, or by the singer him- or herself. A few people use song-sheets; nobody joins in on choruses, or not without a lot of prompting.

In the other, there are only a couple of guitars, and only a couple of songsheets. Trad song follows trad song, ranging from club standards to newly-arranged obscurities, and everyone pitches in on the choruses.

If singaround 1 doesn't have some sort of quality policy, its quality is likely to suffer - if "Dylan off a songsheet" is OK, what's wrong with "a song I've just written and haven't learnt yet off a songsheet"? And if that's OK, what's wrong with "a song I've just written and I may get the chords wrong so bear with me"?

If singaround 2 doesn't have a quality policy, so what? No one in their senses is going to follow Come Write Me Down, Glorious Ale and Seeds of Love with "a song I've just written [etc]".

In other words, I suspect that clubs that don't have a problem with quality are also clubs where traditional material dominates and where participation's expected; that way, the standard maintains itself, or is maintained by the regulars.


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 05:08 PM

A few comments on previous messages.

Can someone explain to me why there are 'taboo' songs in clubs, which unofficially 'belong' to certain members?
I can't get my head round why only one person (unless perhaps they wrote the thing themselves) is allowed to sing certain songs - because somehow through performing them repeatedly - they have laid claim to them?


This ticks me off too. There are some things I'd like to do at one venue which I know I can do a better job of than a certain regular (let's call him Torquil). Yes, I could do other stuff, but why should Torquil be allowed to get away with presenting his own expressionlessly bellowed and utterly humourless version with a third of the verses forgotten as the way the song ought to come across? It might not be good manners towards Torquil for me to cut in ahead of him, but what about respect for the song? Don't I owe it something? Why can't Torquil go away and learn some new stuff, and learn it better?

Go and read what Belle Stewart had to say about the necessity of good singing

Can't remember what that was. But I have heard Sheila Stewart describing her approach. She thinks of herself as a storyteller who sings some of the time. It seems like the point of that is to explain her vocal quality, which is unattractive in the extreme and could probably, at some point, have been improved a lot by some conscious effort. The result is still compelling to listen to, but she doesn't think of "good singing" as part of the recipe.

For me, the best example was a Steeleye Span recording of the ballad Lamkin which I found it on the juke box of a pub I was working at. I put it on in my lunchtime and remember thinking - "Jesus, this is booooooring". Then, half way through the ballad they went into an Irish reel and I realised they'd become bored with what they were doing as well.

I started a vigorous thread on Footstompin about that issue a few days ago: over-arrangement of songs


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: TheSnail
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 04:34 PM

Jim Carroll

put into practice a crap policy like 'you don't have to be a singer to sing at our club'

I don't know of anyone who puts that policy into practice.

There is no evidence that quality begets quality

Yes there is. I see it every week.

The lady I first described...

That was at the Singers' Club thirty years ago, right? Who was running it then? I would have told her she would get the same deal as everybody else.

Sorry, Pip, but it doesn't look as if Jim agrees with your analysis.


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: GUEST,PeterC
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 04:33 PM

I really can't be bothered to trawl through all 215 posts but the original post explicitly referred to singarounds and sessions not floor spots.

For a singaround the point is participation, you don't go there to listen to a "performances".

For a session you have to have the ability hold the attention of the room or you will just be drowned out by the chatter at the bar.

Once you stand up at the front of a room of paying customers then that is another matter entirely


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 03:46 PM

Rosie,
Marry me and have my babies!!!
or in other words yes-yes-yes
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 03:40 PM

Would it be helpful for a thread suggesting:

'practical measures to ensure good standards'?

Ahh, I thought not... ;)


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 03:34 PM

Sorry, one I missed
"Crap begets crap. Quality begets quality."
Crap certainly begets crap; put into practice a crap policy like 'you don't have to be a singer to sing at our club' and you are encouraging bad singers.
There is no evidence that quality begets quality; some of the worst singers I have heard actually believed they were good - even in the company of good singers. The lady I first described who was incapable of making two notes relate to each other pitchwise wrote to the club committee complaining that she was given only one song - how would you have handled that one?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 03:32 PM

Does Mudcat do Polls?

Might be worth a thought?


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: TheSnail
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 03:31 PM

Jim Carroll

Presumably if all the bad singers I and others (including those described by the lady above turned up at your club you would not only allow them to sing but "The residents will stand back to make time if necessary."

Yes. You really do seem to have trouble grasping this fundamental point. Of course they would have to take their turn with all our other excellent floor singers. I hiope they would benefit from the experience.

Was there anything else?

You still haven't answered my question "Do you think we should change our policy or just keep it secret to avoid corrupting other clubs?".

Nor have you commented on what is possibly the most important point - "What I am essentially saying there is that the policy promotes the pre-existing standard. Crap begets crap. Quality begets quality."

Perhaps you would like to consider that in conjunction with Pip Radish's post of 11 Mar 09 - 11:25 AM.


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: My guru always said
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 03:28 PM

Phil Williams: That's an excellent thought about people recording their offerings & listening with an 'audience ear'!! I've so wanted to suggest exactly that when I've experienced singers who don't seem to feel the need to improve their performance. I've held back mainly due to my well-known lack of social graces.....


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 02:30 PM

"The evidence you produce yourself can be a little, shall we say, quirky. Citing an American guitarist playing what he described as jazz numbers on YouTube as an example of the parlous state of UK folk clubs was particularly bizarre."
Misunderstanding on my part - nothing to do with the main point of this argument
"My statement was about the practices at our club so this is a distinction without a difference. Do you think we should change our policy or just keep it secret to avoid corrupting other clubs?"
Your statement was in response to a question of what standards, if any, should be applied at clubs - no specific club was cited.
Presumably if all the bad singers I and others (including those described by the lady above turned up at your club you would not only allow them to sing but "The residents will stand back to make time if necessary."
Was there anything else?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: TheSnail
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 01:58 PM

Yes, Jim, I was speculating. Would you care to respond to the other points in my post?


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 01:47 PM

I don't mind helping a singer through a song, they'll get it right the next time, then again I may not be as picky as some. As I believe I've said, elsewhere, we all had to start somewhere. Oh look I said all of this in four lines *LOL*


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 01:25 PM

" For instance, in the post you refer to, the poster commented that the booked guests were disappointing. Perhaps they were the ones setting the standard for the floor singers.."
This is now embarrassing - you are speculating wildly in order, apparently, to get out of the hole you have dug for yourself, and you continue to misrepresent what I am saying.
"You seem not to believe that such places exist."
I have never claimed good clubs don't exist; I have opposed what I believe to be an attitude, if adhered to, which would do much to turn good clubs into bad ones.
This is the posting that started it all which echoes experiences I, and apparently others, have had in some clubs and which contains much of what this discussion is about,
Jim Carroll

"I took a group of friends with me to a club not very far from where I live, but not in my home town (no names, no clues, no accusations of trolling please.) The guests were a band that I wanted to hear and my friends were keen to hear what I've been up to since I started singing this stuff.
The band were disappointing, but no more of that; it was not them that made my friends vow never to grace a folk club again. It was the rest of the evening.
First a selection of floor singers ambled on and after the usual false starts ("oops- a bit high; I'll try that again", etc.- haven't these people ever heard of pitch pipes?) a singer came on who stumbled to the end of the first verse of her chosen song, then forgot the rest and had to be helped through it by members of the audience. As she sat down, to cries of "Well done" and "We got there in the end", one of my friends whispered to me "People actually PAY to listen to this???" in astonishment.
I was so angry that, like my friends, I almost vowed to give up folk music and do something else. Why is it that this sort of thing is tolerated in folk clubs when in any other music venue the performer would be taken off?
So, four people who may have been converted to this music have now decided to steer clear of it. And people come on this message board and debate about where the deckchairs whould be while the ship sinks lower and lower in the water.
Sorry about the rant- it's most unlike me, but I couldn't contain it. FFS- why can't club organisers impose some kind of quality control; ban crap singers from appearing again, or at least only invite known good singers on guest nights?
I'll close with a personal message to any singer who thinks that it's OK to stand up in public and hack his/her way through a song without learning and rehearsing it properly first: YOU'RE WASTING MY TIME AND MY MONEY! GET IT RIGHT OR STAY IN THE AUDIENCE!


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: TheSnail
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 01:05 PM

Yes,Pip,that is the point I was making. We will have to wait and see whether Jim agrees. As for someone starting a new club, that's entirely up to them but it raises all the problems of deciding who is or is not allowed to sing and risks accusations of cliqueyness(?) right from the start.


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 12:51 PM

"It is also true that classical musicians play from the scores most of the time, and nobody belittles THEIR talent for that."

Quite apart from various points raised in this thread on which I have no public opinion, it's always worth pointing out again that this is analogy is erroneous.

Solo classical singers almost never read the words. Orchestras and choirs do, but this doesn't matter because the words are either missing or secondary. But a singer, specially one singing a story, is, technically, talking to the audience - albeit in modulation, and so a whole set of behavioural 'rules' kick in, whether we like it or not, which do not apply in classical, choral, and other types of music.

Once, people had to read speeches and the news while maintaining as much audience eye contact as possible (a special and rare skill), but once autocues were invented they became ubiquitous for a very good reason. This is that it's actually quite uncomfortable to watch someone talking to you who's not looking at you. This an instinctive animal response (I used to do lectures on the role of eye contact in TV).

Singers who close their eyes can, strangely, still maintain a connection, but readers can't, and that's all there is to it.

I don't, myself, mind singers reading their words, but this is the reason so many people hate it - even if they may not unbderstand why.


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: Amos
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 11:48 AM

That was excellent advice, for the reasons you state, TJ.

BTW, if you register as a member you can get PMs. Seems silly we never have played together, dunnit?


A


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 11:44 AM

When I began singing in public, in small coffee house venues mostly, I was an awkward, shy and pretty insecure young fellow of around 17 and 18. My performances tended to be quiet and introspective. I had no formal training in either performance or in music - I was totally self-taught. I tended to let audience distractions bother me. Over time, watching others perform and having people tell me I needed to "connect" more with the audience, I got over simply doing it for myself and started to reach out and share with them. You'll find your own way.

One small piece of advice I never forgot came from an old entertainer with whom I had a chance meeting. He said, "Dare to be ridiculous." He didn't mean that I needed to be silly on stage, but that it helps to "let it all hang out," as we said in the sixties, and enjoy the synergy between you and the folks out there. Of course, if there isn't any, you might want to re-examine your choices...


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 11:25 AM

Jim says that to take the desire to perform as sufficient reason to give someone a floorspot is promoting crap standards. I know from personal, practical experience that he is wrong. That's all there is to it.

Not quite, because you also say

We have a group of residents who care very nuch about what they do. We have a loyal following of floor singers who have an equal commitment to what they are doing. That is the environment that new floor singers meet.

So your policy doesn't result in crap standards, because you've already established a high standard. The policy itself could lead either way - it depends what's there already. Which means that anyone setting up a new club would be well advised to have a more restrictive standard, to stop an anything-goes standard getting established.


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Subject: RE: Performance Ability does it matter?
From: BobKnight
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 11:09 AM

Unless you have some medical problem, such as short-term memory loss, there is absolutely no reason why people cannot remember lyrics. It all depends on how much time you are willing to invest in memorising them. Failure to memorise the lyrics is, in my opinion down to laziness. I have no wish to offend anyone, and I haven't got the greatest memory in the world,(ask my wife)but I know the words to at least a few hundred songs, of all types, and I don't carry a folder around with me to gigs. On the odd occasion my memory lets me down, I sweat buckets, just like everybody else. :)


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