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comhaltas examinations [discussamicably]

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The Sandman 17 Oct 06 - 03:19 AM
GUEST,Come Wet Along the Road 17 Oct 06 - 03:45 AM
nutty 17 Oct 06 - 03:50 AM
GUEST 17 Oct 06 - 04:01 AM
The Sandman 17 Oct 06 - 06:05 AM
Paul Burke 17 Oct 06 - 06:21 AM
The Sandman 17 Oct 06 - 07:23 AM
GUEST,Patrick Costello 17 Oct 06 - 07:38 AM
Richard Bridge 17 Oct 06 - 08:38 AM
GUEST,dax 17 Oct 06 - 09:16 AM
Richard Bridge 17 Oct 06 - 12:26 PM
An Buachaill Caol Dubh 17 Oct 06 - 01:22 PM
Big Mick 17 Oct 06 - 01:43 PM
MartinRyan 17 Oct 06 - 02:25 PM
Big Mick 17 Oct 06 - 02:32 PM
Brían 17 Oct 06 - 02:38 PM
The Sandman 18 Oct 06 - 08:21 AM
GUEST,dax 18 Oct 06 - 08:56 AM
Tootler 18 Oct 06 - 07:17 PM
The Sandman 19 Oct 06 - 04:34 AM
GUEST 19 Oct 06 - 04:54 AM
The Sandman 19 Oct 06 - 06:50 AM
GUEST,memyself 19 Oct 06 - 08:53 AM
The Sandman 19 Oct 06 - 09:08 AM
brioc 19 Oct 06 - 05:43 PM
Silas 07 Jun 11 - 06:56 AM
GloriaJ 07 Jun 11 - 07:47 AM
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Subject: comhaltas examinations [discussamicably]
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Oct 06 - 03:19 AM

I feel that the introduction of examinations by comhaltas is a progressive step, if they eventually replace competitions in importance.
There are a couple of weaknesses in their present examinatrion system. 1.They dont allow for differing difficulties of a tune for different instruments[unlike the classical boards exams]
2.Unlike the classical board exams, once you have started at a stge you cant skip certain grades.
examinations are less subjective than competitions,and can provide a focus for children, retired people, elderly people [who wish to keep the brain active], of course it doesnt mean that those who have passed an exam, are any better musicians than those who havent taken an exam.


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Subject: RE: comhaltas examinations [discussamicably]
From: GUEST,Come Wet Along the Road
Date: 17 Oct 06 - 03:45 AM

Typical comhaltas crap. They want everybody to play the same, like a 7 year old's recorder class. I've been to comhaltas run sessions where the committee outnumbered the musicians 4 to 1, and they were still telling us we were getting it wrong when they couldn't play or sing or whistle a note between them.


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Subject: RE: comhaltas examinations [discussamicably]
From: nutty
Date: 17 Oct 06 - 03:50 AM

While I admire the concept of keeping tradition alive, I personally think that over the past 50 years the initial aim has been lost.
Examinations have no place (or relevance)in the transmission of traditional music.


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Subject: RE: comhaltas examinations [discussamicably]
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Oct 06 - 04:01 AM

Sorry Cap'n,
Breathnach summed Comhaltas up perfectly for me when he said;
"it's an organisation with a great future behind it".
Competitions can ruin your (musical) health
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: comhaltas examinations [discussamicably]
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Oct 06 - 06:05 AM

DEAR JIM , That is why I am hoping exams, replace competitions in importance.
howeverCOMHALTAS have given a lot of pleasure to peoPle [ many go to the national fleadh [ without entering competitions] and play in the pubs and on the streets,who wouldnt have gone to the fleadh if it hadnt existed . SO THE COMPETITION SYSTEM does produce much good music as a spin off.


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Subject: RE: comhaltas examinations [discussamicably]
From: Paul Burke
Date: 17 Oct 06 - 06:21 AM

When I've gone to the fleadh, it's been entirely for the sessions- it acts as a great magnet to draw musicians together. I have looked in on competitions, but found the performances artificial, the atmosphere grim and the judging criteria incomprehensible. And it's these wooden criteria that I would fear would be imposed on Comhaltas-run lessons.

Session players ought really to organise their own get- togethers. Sometimes a town or promoter organises an 'independent' fleadh, but they are mainly interested in drawing the paying punters, not the musicians, so you get pop band performances more than trad music.


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Subject: RE: comhaltas examinations [discussamicably]
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Oct 06 - 07:23 AM

but thats my point the spin off,the fleadh acting as a magnet for musicians, so comhaltas are doing some good.
comhaltas run examinations are based on the same criteria as the classical board examinations[ do you condemn classical music examinations]i suggest people go and study the comhaltas examination coures as I have done before condemning them.
now I too have some cricisms of the Comhaltas competition system, but again it has produced good musicians Edel Fox [ springs to mind]. AND good musicians have participated and won [Julia Clifford].
to Jim CARROLL what year did Brendan Breathnach make that comment.has he not been dead for a number of years[ so its surely not relevant ]to new innovations like the exam system.


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Subject: RE: comhaltas examinations [discussamicably]
From: GUEST,Patrick Costello
Date: 17 Oct 06 - 07:38 AM

If you really understand how and why traditional music works the idea of competitions or exams will strike you as sick, sleazy, deranged, stupid and a whole bunch of other nasty adjectives.

The fact that "traditional" music around the world has devolved into a bunch of robotic cretins pounding out memorized tunes while staring morosely at the floor is pretty good proof of that.

You can't tame what is meant to be wild.

-Patrick


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Subject: RE: comhaltas examinations [discussamicably]
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 17 Oct 06 - 08:38 AM

What do the comhaltas examinations examine? In the law subjects I teach the course guides set out the examination criteria.


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Subject: RE: comhaltas examinations [discussamicably]
From: GUEST,dax
Date: 17 Oct 06 - 09:16 AM

101 rules listed. I hate rules!


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Subject: RE: comhaltas examinations [discussamicably]
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 17 Oct 06 - 12:26 PM

Where are these rules listed?


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Subject: RE: comhaltas examinations [discussamicably]
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
Date: 17 Oct 06 - 01:22 PM

Yes, where?   Having competed in C competitions, while I must agree with some of what the Capt. states re some good musicians, nevertheless must also record that I too have had reservations over some aspects (being very vague and general); but I think to mention "robotic cretins" is a bit much. Sometimes staring at the floor is the best way to get into the privacy of music (to allude to a Scots poet).


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Subject: RE: comhaltas examinations [discussamicably]
From: Big Mick
Date: 17 Oct 06 - 01:43 PM

I am not sure where I come down on this. I love anything that encourages tuition in the folk arts. But being a piper (or at least trying to be one, calling myself by this name is a bit presumptive) I know that no two pipers play the same tune the same way twice. In fact, the same piper rarely plays the same tune the same way twice. Paddy Clancy was known for this. I would say that fiddlers would be the same. The way one colors a tune with grace notes and incidentals is completely interpretive. One could judge based on usage, but even that is completely subjective as to what the judge likes or dislikes.

I guess that these things are good up to a certain level, to judge basic competencies, but the music and the musician are completely intertwined on a personal level, and based on what is going on in the moment. The only judgement that is relevant is that of the audience and the musicians around the piper, IMO.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: comhaltas examinations [discussamicably]
From: MartinRyan
Date: 17 Oct 06 - 02:25 PM

Speaking of competition, did we ever get a set of words for Joe Mulheron's "Free State Adjudicator"? I can't see examinations providing the same inspiration...

Regards


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Subject: RE: comhaltas examinations [discussamicably]
From: Big Mick
Date: 17 Oct 06 - 02:32 PM

I just popped off an email to Fintan Valelly to see if he has the lyrics. He references the song on his Balcony of Lyrics site.

Mick


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Subject: RE: comhaltas examinations [discussamicably]
From: Brían
Date: 17 Oct 06 - 02:38 PM

Culture is promoted through a series of both formal and informal networks. I don't think CCE could begin to replace the vast wealth of collective memory, archiving and encouragement that goes on in kitchens, pubs, church halls and other nooks and crannies. I don't get the impression that CCE wants to do that. It would be safe to say Comhaltas has contributed to a general level of competence and literacy about traditional music. Musicians with as diverse styles as Seamus Eagan, Matt Cranitch and Seamus Connolly are all products, in part of Comhaltas instruction and competitions. It is really up to ameteurs to worry about variation, diversity and all the neglected imformation. Amateur botanists and astronomers make valuable contributions to science all the time. Any musician who wields a fiddle or puts their fingers around a whistle is making a significant contribution.

Brían


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Subject: RE: comhaltas examinations [discussamicably]
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Oct 06 - 08:21 AM

there are now other very good fleadhs,noThing to do with comhaltas. BUT comhaltas have to be given credit for starting the fleadhs , for providing 60 years of pleasure[musicians meeting at the fleadh as a focal point   is one of them].
many people, get pleasure out of competitions and exams. we are all different,[ even those of us who share a general liking for traditional music,][[ apart from defining it]] and we have differencesof opinion and we should be tolerant of those differences.
   please let those people who enjoy the competitive side of the fleadh enjoy it , and those who enjoy the social side, and the sessions enjoy it , but remember we do have something to be grateful to COMHALTAS FOR.
what I dont like to see is children becoming despondent, because they dont win, the examination system is more private and allows more winners and is just as good a focus., and is an alternative for the less competitive .


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Subject: RE: comhaltas examinations [discussamicably]
From: GUEST,dax
Date: 18 Oct 06 - 08:56 AM

Rules here:

http://www.comhaltas.com/fleadh/index.htm


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Subject: RE: comhaltas examinations [discussamicably]
From: Tootler
Date: 18 Oct 06 - 07:17 PM

I am not familiar with Comhaltas exams, but I am familiar with the exams conducted by the Music Colleges in England, having taken some myself.

They have advantages and disadvantages. The grade exams do provide a structure which is useful for measuring progression and developing technique. I think that is their strength.

They do not make a musician out of anyone, you need to develop a feel for the music, whatever style of music you enjoy and the music examining bodies do cater for a range of music, including Jazz.

I found taking recorder grades was useful because it gave me a measure of my level of playing, but I found them very stressful and I have no intention of taking any more.

If you want to find out more about the Classical music grade system, there are links here to Trinity College and the Associated Board.

I think a graded exam system for traditional music (however you define it) will have the same strengths and weaknesses as those that currently exist for classical music. In fact if they were to be established in the mainland UK, I would suggest the existing exam bodies are probably as good as anyone to conduct them. They have the experience and a working model that could be readily adapted.


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Subject: RE: comhaltas examinations [discussamicably]
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Oct 06 - 04:34 AM

Iagree.


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Subject: RE: comhaltas examinations [discussamicably]
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Oct 06 - 04:54 AM

Why the need to "measure" everything?
The only rule I go by is that when I play I bear in mind that there's someone in the audience who is better than me. Keeps my feet on the ground and motivates me to do better. Sod competitions and examinations. Leave it to your peers to decide how good you are.


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Subject: RE: comhaltas examinations [discussamicably]
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Oct 06 - 06:50 AM

some elderly people, enjoy keeping the brain stimulated and get a sense of acheivement from the focus of an examination, why should they have their choice restricted to classical music.
I suppose that goes for people of all ages[ the main problem is that children lack maturity,] and occasionally may be doing an exam because their parents have made the decision.


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Subject: RE: comhaltas examinations [discussamicably]
From: GUEST,memyself
Date: 19 Oct 06 - 08:53 AM

One of the problems to my mind with competitions, formalized courses and exams (for trad. music) is that they tend to lend an unwarranted prestige to those who come out at the top of them. So, if a promoter has a chance to book Joe Smith, First Place Winner in the Big Competition & Top-Of-the-Class in the Trad. Music course, or Bill Jones, Who People-In-the-Know Seem to Think is Great Even Though He Was Disqualified From the Big Competition & Never Had a Lesson, well, who do you think will get the gig? Young players coming up see which way the wind blows and consciously or unconsciously start tailoring their playing to achieve success in the competitions and the exams. I've seen trad. musicians - real ones - who have internalized standards from "outside", that have nothing to do with their own tradition and the context from which it emerged.


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Subject: RE: comhaltas examinations [discussamicably]
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Oct 06 - 09:08 AM

good points.


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Subject: RE: comhaltas examinations [discussamicably]
From: brioc
Date: 19 Oct 06 - 05:43 PM

ah come down off the high horses!! The thrill of being under 11 and chosen ot go on stage to show a public what you had achieved on your instrument.................
and that without being steeeeeped in competitiveness like life today.


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Subject: RE: comhaltas examinations [discussamicably]
From: Silas
Date: 07 Jun 11 - 06:56 AM

Have to ask just where the chieftans and Paddy Maloney would be without music competitions...


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Subject: RE: comhaltas examinations [discussamicably]
From: GloriaJ
Date: 07 Jun 11 - 07:47 AM

Didnt know they had introduced examinations - and I teach flute for comhlatas.There's always been the fleadhs of course, which have a strong competitive theme. Anyway, I'm not a member of comhaltas, and to be honest I'd become completely tired of irish instrumental music until someone asked me to teach.But I find the kids enjoy competing at the fleadhs and it gives them motivation, and their enthusiasm has reawakened mine.I dont find there's a house style or any attempt to direct what I teach.


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