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Is it OK to praise performance standards

Arthur_itus 08 Nov 10 - 02:51 PM
dwditty 08 Nov 10 - 02:56 PM
olddude 08 Nov 10 - 03:06 PM
Arthur_itus 08 Nov 10 - 03:07 PM
Arthur_itus 08 Nov 10 - 03:12 PM
Tootler 08 Nov 10 - 07:02 PM
Tim Leaning 09 Nov 10 - 01:10 AM
Crowhugger 09 Nov 10 - 01:27 AM
GUEST,FloraG 09 Nov 10 - 03:52 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Nov 10 - 05:34 AM
Will Fly 09 Nov 10 - 05:50 AM
Arthur_itus 09 Nov 10 - 05:56 AM
Valmai Goodyear 09 Nov 10 - 06:25 AM
MGM·Lion 09 Nov 10 - 06:48 AM
Marje 09 Nov 10 - 08:19 AM
Arthur_itus 09 Nov 10 - 09:01 AM
C-flat 09 Nov 10 - 09:55 AM
Flashmeister 09 Nov 10 - 10:28 AM
dwditty 09 Nov 10 - 10:35 AM
tritoneman 09 Nov 10 - 11:04 AM
C-flat 09 Nov 10 - 11:12 AM
MGM·Lion 09 Nov 10 - 11:20 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Nov 10 - 02:06 PM
Arthur_itus 09 Nov 10 - 02:18 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 10 Nov 10 - 05:03 AM
Bernard 10 Nov 10 - 05:44 AM
Arthur_itus 10 Nov 10 - 06:46 AM
GUEST,Desi C 10 Nov 10 - 08:29 AM
Marje 10 Nov 10 - 08:33 AM
Arthur_itus 10 Nov 10 - 10:55 AM
stallion 10 Nov 10 - 11:14 AM
Marje 12 Nov 10 - 09:42 AM
Arthur_itus 12 Nov 10 - 10:12 AM
jennyr 12 Nov 10 - 12:33 PM
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Subject: Is it OK to praise performance standards
From: Arthur_itus
Date: 08 Nov 10 - 02:51 PM

I always think it's important to give praise to performers.

However sometimes no matter how much you try to give praise, you are unable to, as the performance standards are just not good enough.

Without naming any performers, how have you dealt with a feedback on what might be called an aweful performance.


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Subject: RE: Is it OK to praise performance standards
From: dwditty
Date: 08 Nov 10 - 02:56 PM

From my own experience, I pretty much know when I have laid and egg in a performance. People are generally polite and say, "Nice job" but I can tell when they mean it as opposed to when they are being nice.


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Subject: RE: Is it OK to praise performance standards
From: olddude
Date: 08 Nov 10 - 03:06 PM

I am blessed with good friends who say, "needs work" that tells me, put it in the bottom drawer to live and don't try to play it again. Hmmm my bottom draw is pretty darn full


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Subject: RE: Is it OK to praise performance standards
From: Arthur_itus
Date: 08 Nov 10 - 03:07 PM

dwditty, you show an awareness to your own performance and that is good, as you obviously reflect on what you do.


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Subject: RE: Is it OK to praise performance standards
From: Arthur_itus
Date: 08 Nov 10 - 03:12 PM

Dan you do some very good songs and I do believe you are a person who will listen to positive appraisal and that can mean negative comments as well.

That is not always possible with some artists. They take offence, becuase they believe they are the dogs boll**** and are not used to somebody deflating their ego's..


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Subject: RE: Is it OK to praise performance standards
From: Tootler
Date: 08 Nov 10 - 07:02 PM

Research has shown that in general people will do better in future if they are given praise, so it is always OK to praise a performance if you feel it merits it. On the other hand, if you thought the performance was poor it is usually best simply to say nothing unless the performer specifically asks for comment. Then you need to think carefully about what you say and equally important how you say it.

I think most people who care about their performances know when they have given a substandard performance - though sometimes they may not like to admit it to themselves.

Of course it is always possible that a muted reaction to a particular song may be because the song itself was not particularly liked rather than the performance was particularly poor. There are times when I have given what I felt was a reasonable performance and the reaction was polite applause. I then made a note to myself not to sing that song again, at least not in that location.

On the other hand, there have been times (admittedly, not many) when I have not been particularly happy with my performance of a song only to have someone come along and tell me how much they enjoyed it.


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Subject: RE: Is it OK to praise performance standards
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 09 Nov 10 - 01:10 AM

There is usualy something positive to find in any performance.
Hey that's a groovy music stand Tim.
Or
I heard "X" stuff that one up last week.
I bet that is good when you remember the words.

Etc
Oh and the imortal. Do u wanna sell your guitar?


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Subject: RE: Is it OK to praise performance standards
From: Crowhugger
Date: 09 Nov 10 - 01:27 AM

Tootler,
Your post mentioned "muted" audience response, which brings to mind the experience my quartet has when we've sung monthly at various retirement residences over the last year. Admittedly it's a different audience than a pub or concert for the general public. We've invariably found that there are those who look bored, don't sing along as others do, don't move to the music, etc., what I would call a very muted response: just sitting there, they maybe appear to be listening, sort of. And every time, those are the people who have come up and thanked us at the end and expressed appreciation for the music and the memories it brought back. So, in that environment the muted response has come to mean something quite different that I had presumed. It's the oddest phenomenon.

Please pardon if that's a bit of thread drift.


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Subject: RE: Is it OK to praise performance standards
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 09 Nov 10 - 03:52 AM

What a nice thing to do, crowhugger. Were doing a Christmas Carol do for the old folks and we have produced some big print word booklets - I think it helps get the message accross to join in - and helps with verse 3 - the one that everyone forgets- including us. Its good fun to sing well known songs. This is a repeat booking so I think there is a degree of appreciation there.


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Subject: RE: Is it OK to praise performance standards
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Nov 10 - 05:34 AM

Story told by magnificent fiddle player Kevin Burke
"I got a tune from an old fiddle player, and every time we met, the old man asked me to play it for him.
This went on for years, till one day I asked him why he kept asking me to play it.
""I'll keep asking till you get the ******' thing right""
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Is it OK to praise performance standards
From: Will Fly
Date: 09 Nov 10 - 05:50 AM

LOL! Jim!


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Subject: RE: Is it OK to praise performance standards
From: Arthur_itus
Date: 09 Nov 10 - 05:56 AM

he he Love that Jim


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Subject: RE: Is it OK to praise performance standards
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 09 Nov 10 - 06:25 AM

Yes, praising people when they've done well is very valuable. Tootler is spot on here; it's dishonest to praise people when they haven't done well.

It's also helpful to create a friendly, relaxed atmosphere so that the nervous feel the listeners are on their side. Throats tense, fingers sweat and breathing gets out of control when people are apprehensive and they don't do as well as they might.

A chilly, critical atmosphere is not at all helpful or pleasant to spend an evening in. Downright direct rudeness to any performer, good or bad, is inexcusable. You can be as scathingly witty as you like about someone's abilities out of their hearing, but doing it to their face will not help them improve - it will either hurt them badly and put them off altogether, or it will fill them with justifiable anger at your rudeness, but it won't encourage them to get better.

Valmai (Lewes)


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Subject: RE: Is it OK to praise performance standards
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 09 Nov 10 - 06:48 AM

... and even then, Valmai, your scathing wit is liable to get back to them thru some officious interloper who thinks they 'ought to know' what is being said about them. I feel that 'least said soonest mended, can be the watchword.

That is not to say that implied criticism can't be expressed. If such a one asked to sing a second time at the club I sued to run, I would say something like "I'll try to fit you in. I don't expect you'll be quite as nervous as you seemed to be last time." But I would certainly always praise a good effort, ask for another round of applause, & so forth.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Is it OK to praise performance standards
From: Marje
Date: 09 Nov 10 - 08:19 AM

I often try to thank or praise other floor singers at a club if I've enjoyed what they've done, because I know how much it means when you get a bit of encouragement. I do it with guests too, if I get a chance at the end of the evening, because being professional doesn't mean you don't still appreciate compliments. I'm still annoyed at myself for failing to praise a singer who sang really well at a club the other night, and am reminding myself to try to have a word with her if I see her again soon, adn tell her how much I enjoyued her singing.

But I don't do it if I think they're rubbish - that would devalue everything else I said. I can be quite scathing about bad performers behind people's backs but not to their faces. Does this make me a hypocrite? I'm not sure. If they asked me straight out, I'd make some of my reservations clear, but this really doesn't happen - certainly not with those performers who regularly sing out of tune, mumble, sing too slowly, choose songs that don't suit them, etc etc. I think I can usually tell which problems are due to nerves (as I'm quite familiar with them!) and I make allowance for those. The faults that annoy me most are the ones that display some sort of mental laziness. You know the sort of thing: can't be bothered to tune the guitar, to learn to sing in tune, to learn the words, to choose the right key, to learn a new song instead of doing the same few songs to death, to find out anything at all about the song's background ... laziness is behind a lot of this. The perpetrators are unlikely to seek feedback, as they don't care enough.

The people who do look for feedback from others are generally those who are already aware of their shortcomings and just want to fine-tune their performance a bit more. They're the ones that will go on improving because they're trying to keep a bit of self-awareness, and, however confident they may seem, they'll always appreciate a bit of positive "stroking" from others.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Is it OK to praise performance standards
From: Arthur_itus
Date: 09 Nov 10 - 09:01 AM

"they'll always appreciate a bit of positive "stroking" from others"

hmmm the mind boggles Marje :-)


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Subject: RE: Is it OK to praise performance standards
From: C-flat
Date: 09 Nov 10 - 09:55 AM

It's pointless being overly honest with floor singers unless you know them well enough to know how they would respond to constructive criticism.
Otherwise, just say "well done" and "thanks for your contribution to the night".
Encouragement is more important


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Subject: RE: Is it OK to praise performance standards
From: Flashmeister
Date: 09 Nov 10 - 10:28 AM

At the session I run we have a number of very good unaccompanied singers and one chap who used to bury his face in a lyrics sheet, throw the tune out of the window and generally was in dire need of some friendly advice so he could improve and feel better about what he was trying to achieve (as well as not becoming the loo/bar/cigarette break performer in the circle!)
One of our veteran singers did just this in a very tactful and supportive manner and the chap never came back!!
As an open session, unlike a folk club or spot singers you have little or no quality control!
It is a tricky issue really as you don't want to utterly discourage someone even if they are painful to listen to but some people can take any criticism however well meaning completely to heart even though saying 'yeah that was great!' would be an utter lie - i think it's about finding the middle ground and trying to be tactful about it.
I'll always praise those in the session who really stand out with a great performance, otherwise everyone no matter what quality does get a clap for at least trying.
I was probably bloody awful when I started out so I'd hate to think those who can improve and are learning would be put off but then there are always a few hopeless cases too.....!


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Subject: RE: Is it OK to praise performance standards
From: dwditty
Date: 09 Nov 10 - 10:35 AM

When I first started playing out, I picked up a little book called ART OF THE SOLO PERFORMER from this site. I have mentioned it several times before. The main point of the book is that performance is all about the audience, not the performer. If you think back to performances you have seen, you can usually tell when the performer really and truly cares about the audience having a good time. Regardless of the level of musicianship, if the audience has a wonderful time, you can rest assured that it was a great performance. Sure, critics can pick it apart, but I say critic schmitic.


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Subject: RE: Is it OK to praise performance standards
From: tritoneman
Date: 09 Nov 10 - 11:04 AM


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Subject: RE: Is it OK to praise performance standards
From: C-flat
Date: 09 Nov 10 - 11:12 AM

I couldn't agree more dwditty.
I've seen tremendously talented musicians who lack the ability to entertain and average players who can bring the house down.
It's ok for the out-and-out muso-types (like me) who will happily watch a great player do his introspective thing with scant regard for anyone else, but there's a whole world of people who, quite rightly, expect the person on the stage to entertain them.
But we're talking on a more professional level than floos singers and open-mic nights.


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Subject: RE: Is it OK to praise performance standards
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 09 Nov 10 - 11:20 AM

But "critic-schmitic" ~~ nay nay, a facile smear, surely!


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Subject: RE: Is it OK to praise performance standards
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Nov 10 - 02:06 PM

"Is it OK to praise performance standards"
It is quite often impossible to do anything else as today's scene seems to have more of its share of prima dons and donnas who clamber onto their nearest high horse should anybody offer anything other than praise of their singing (ably reinforcedby an army of sycophants ready to administer a verbal kicking in defence of their idol).
Yes - of course it is permissable to praise performance standards - if it is merited, but this has to go alongside being able to criticise <1>positively performances that don't hack it.
In the long run it is the performer who should be their own severest critic, but that shouldn't stop the rest of us expressing an opinion,
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Is it OK to praise performance standards
From: Arthur_itus
Date: 09 Nov 10 - 02:18 PM

"but there's a whole world of people who, quite rightly, expect the person on the stage to entertain them"

Exactly, and any decent organiser will make sure they go back to their audience and get appraisals of each act who has been on.

Entertaining is the requirement and some people do not have that in them.

However, I know many people who sing and play so nicely, the entertaining is in their songs. Sometimes that is enough.


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Subject: RE: Is it OK to praise performance standards
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 10 Nov 10 - 05:03 AM

I have always found that workshop sessions, outside of the normal club/singaround session, can be very useful. If these are conducted in the right way everyone, from beginners and struggling singers through to seasoned performers can benefit.

One format that seems to work is that at each workshop sessions one or two participants bring a song that they are struggling with and ask for feedback on their performances. The other participants then help the singer to resolve any problems that he/she may have with that particular song.

Although it's important that everyone taking part is as honest as possible, all participants should aim for a constructive and mutually supportive atmosphere.


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Subject: RE: Is it OK to praise performance standards
From: Bernard
Date: 10 Nov 10 - 05:44 AM

I always think the way the audience reacts is a better indication of how 'good' a performance is.

If you can see people squirming and looking at their watches, even though the performance may technically be acceptable, then you should try to tactfully advise the performer of this... 'Did you need to play a long solo between every verse?' or something similar.

On the other hand, and I can think of a duo who visit our club from time to time who fit this category, the audience reacts very positively even though the actual performance is less than perfect (!!). When the banjo player almost gets the instrumental break right, everyone stands up and cheers! There is obviously no need to criticise the performance, because there is something else that the audience picks up on, and it's often difficult to put your finger on exactly what that is!


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Subject: RE: Is it OK to praise performance standards
From: Arthur_itus
Date: 10 Nov 10 - 06:46 AM

"When the banjo player almost gets the instrumental break right, everyone stands up and cheers!"

Love it Bernard. That is all part of the entertaining and you are so right about the audience.

Some people have the gift for entertaining without necessarily being perfect.


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Subject: RE: Is it OK to praise performance standards
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 10 Nov 10 - 08:29 AM

Oh good question
I well remember dying the death half a dozen times, wanting to just walk off, once did just that as my brain just froze! I then trudged off to what I call the awful 'sympathy applause' you know, that polite putting together of hands which says "poor sod he really screwed that up"
Touch wood I've come through that stage. Now running my own club, I always try not to patronise when a beginner screws up. Best advice is to point out that very likely all performers have done the same at some time, and you can't really learn to be any good without doing it wrong first. And either I try work with them or get another good player involved in helping them. One of the most common things I've found in beginners who die the deatj, is they often sart, especially those who play guitar or other instruments, by trying to do songs that are way beyond their capabilities and/or try too many songs too soon. My advice which in turn someone gave me, aim for just a ten song repertoire, that alone will get you a fair way, learn one, don't move on till you can perform it with ease, once you have ten, repeat them and look to better them each time. Then add new songs only when and if you feel ready, stick to simple chords to begin with, finally practise at every opportunity. One piece of advice of mine I'd add, as one who only added an instrument in recent years. You Tube is great for learners. But too many folk get the original version of a song in there and try to copy it. Not a great idea 'try 'copy'any performance. I always look up the more amateur cover versions and settle one I feel more suited to me, it's good advice even for experienced performers as it leads you on to trying to put your own identity into a song and/or trying to do something new with it. A recording is just one persons interpretation even if they wrote it, don't be afraid to tailor it to yourself


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Subject: RE: Is it OK to praise performance standards
From: Marje
Date: 10 Nov 10 - 08:33 AM

If you're going to be assessing the audience reaction, you need to be looking at them in the first place. Some of the worst performers stare fixedly at the floor or a word-sheet, or close their eyes throughout the song, so they wouldn't notice if half of us tiptoed out of the room (and believe me, there are times when I'm tempted!).

But to get back to the positive reinforcments: Arthur, I'm sure you will understand that "stroking" was meant in the purely figurative, psychobabble sense. I haven't tried physically stroking performers to show my appreciation, and fear it might be misinterpreted if I did.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Is it OK to praise performance standards
From: Arthur_itus
Date: 10 Nov 10 - 10:55 AM

Indeed Marje. Hopefully you noticed my smile :-)

I realise you were being serious.


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Subject: RE: Is it OK to praise performance standards
From: stallion
Date: 10 Nov 10 - 11:14 AM

We gave the club the money back for the one and only stinker we did! (have to say that is my opinion! others may differ)

We sing new songs in the back of the taxi home and when the driver says " I like that one" we add to the repertoire! The latest taxi driver joins in which is fun.


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Subject: RE: Is it OK to praise performance standards
From: Marje
Date: 12 Nov 10 - 09:42 AM

Can I take my tongue out of my cheek now, Arthur? :-)
I don't use smileys much, tending to hope I've made it clear when I'm not being serious. Sometimes, apparently, I haven't, but that's not your fault. Consider yourself stroked. (Is there a smiley for "stroking"?)

Marje


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Subject: RE: Is it OK to praise performance standards
From: Arthur_itus
Date: 12 Nov 10 - 10:12 AM

LOL


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Subject: RE: Is it OK to praise performance standards
From: jennyr
Date: 12 Nov 10 - 12:33 PM

I know whose praise I most value, and for very specific reasons. I have a couple of friends who are sparing in their praise, and will maybe complement one or two songs over the course of an evening, but aren't afraid to do so publicly. They're specific about what they like - sometimes it's a general 'well sung', but if it's the song, or the interpretation, or an unusual tune, or... they'll say so. And they pay attention to their fellow singers, so they complement people who excel themselves and spread the praise equally between unconfident newcomers and seasoned professionals. (The last point might be related to the fact that they are/were all teachers...)

I've seen people literally glow after this praise, and I do think it improves performance standards.


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