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Poll: The Future Of The Totm


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Poll: TOTM's future (50 member(s) have cast votes)

My participation in the Tune of the Month:

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If you are not participating, why?

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#1 Jim Besser

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 07:29 AM

Folks -
 
I've enjoyed moderating the Tune of the Month forum for the past 17 months, and I appreciate both your recorded contributions and the discussions about the tunes, but I think it's time for a change.
 
Participation remains low.  This month, we've only had 5 actual recordings - two of them mine. Last month a similar number.  We haven't achieved the kind of critical mass it takes to make a forum like this really work.
 
So I'm conducting this poll to determine if it's worthwhile to continue.  You can select more than one option.
 
It may be that our numbers just aren't great enough to justify continuing. Or it may be that many of you are silently participating - learning the tunes, but not recording and posting. That's OK, but I'd like to know before continuing to hunt for good tunes, prepare the monthly polls and post the results.
 
This isn't meant as a complaint; I know everybody is busy, and many of us undoubtedly want to spend what limited time we have for music pursuing our specific interests.  And if interest has faded, that's OK, we've had a good 17 month run, and I've totally enjoyed it!
 
Feel free to PM me your ideas about the TOTM, or discuss in this thread.

Edited by Jim Besser, 23 September 2014 - 11:08 AM.


#2 blue eyed sailor

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 08:24 AM

Hi Jim,

 

there seems to occur a technical issue as follows:

 

My vote was not accepted because I didn't vote in both polls (which wouldn't make any sense due to my answering the first question).

 

Best  - Wolf



#3 Jim Besser

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 08:30 AM

Hi Jim,

 

there seems to occur a technical issue as follows:

 

My vote was not accepted because I didn't vote in both polls (which wouldn't make any sense due to my answering the first question).

 

Best  - Wolf

 

 

Hmm. I added a response to the second poll: "this question is not relevant to me."  So hopefully you can select that and your vote will be recorded.


Edited by Jim Besser, 23 September 2014 - 08:32 AM.


#4 blue eyed sailor

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 08:40 AM

very good - thanks!



#5 Alan Day

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 08:48 AM

My interest hasn't faded at all and I look forward to hearing the tune recordings submitted.I have been very busy this past year and time really has stopped me being active here, but please keep up the good work.

Al



#6 Stephen Mills

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 08:59 AM

Although I have participated only twice, I have also made a few other runs at it that were not worthy of posting, but useful to me, so I vote for its continuance.  However, the second question remains relevant to participants as well, and my answer would be all of the above (excepting the new "not relevant" response.)  Sometimes the tunes appeal to me and sometimes they don't, which is to be expected.  At my level of skill and time, a month is often not long enough to produce a respectable recording.

 

I might also note the general lack of melody-only submissions (Jim Lucas and a few other excepted) and that those who vote tend to mostly disfavor the so-called ITM repertoire.  I find these trends unfortunate and hope that the TOTM is not perceived to be incompletely inclusive.  Of course, the Theme of the Month can help here.



#7 Jim Besser

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 09:17 AM

Although I have participated only twice, I have also made a few other runs at it that were not worthy of posting, but useful to me, so I vote for its continuance.  However, the second question remains relevant to participants as well, and my answer would be all of the above (excepting the new "not relevant" response.)  Sometimes the tunes appeal to me and sometimes they don't, which is to be expected.  At my level of skill and time, a month is often not long enough to produce a respectable recording.

 

I might also note the general lack of melody-only submissions (Jim Lucas and a few other excepted) and that those who vote tend to mostly disfavor the so-called ITM repertoire.  I find these trends unfortunate and hope that the TOTM is not perceived to be incompletely inclusive.  Of course, the Theme of the Month can help here.

 

Stephen - thanks for the response.  I have been somewhat mystified by the ITM question. When I've included Irish trad tunes in polls , they almost always come in at the bottom of the voting,  Yet I know there are many ITM players here.

 

It could be that my limited knowledge of the Irish genre leads me to make poor selections in the polls.

 

The 'melody only' issue is one I haven't thought about, and probably should.



#8 alex_holden

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 09:38 AM

There have been several months when I've started to learn the tune but due to lack of time and skill I've failed to reach a standard that I felt comfortable posting. Other times the tune seems either way above my ability or not to my taste, and I haven't attempted to learn it. Hopefully at some point in the future (if the feature continues) I'll either find more time to practice or become quicker at learning new tunes.

#9 Don Taylor

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 09:42 AM

In general, it is summertime where most of us live so it is quite normal to see a drop-off in indoor activities. I think that it is a bit premature to pronounce judgment on TOTM. Maybe review the situation in January?

But, I think that Stephen has a point about melody only submissions. Anyone who is still a beginner, which certainly includes me, when faced with a TOTM tune has the problem of learning the melody from the dots and then working out some sort of credible arrangement from thin air.

Two suggestions:

1. Maybe we should have a beginners showcase like they do on melnet:http://forum.melodeo...pic,9228.0.html

2. I would really appreciate it if somebody would do what Clive Williams occasionally does on Melnet and that is to slowly walk through their submission and explain how the accompaniment works. I know that this is asking a lot of somebody else but I think that there are many like me who would benefit from this so that they too can think seriously about making TOTM submissions in the future.

#10 maki

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 11:05 AM

I love TOTM.
It has been wonderful listening to other play tunes.
The techinal difficulties of posting have hindered me from submitting.
More over, I'm a terrible musician and rather embarrassed by my playing.

Now that my wife has a smart phone I hope to be able to put something up.
They will be humble efforts though.
I think I have learned 4-5 tunes from this forum.
While I normally play ITM many of the TOTM
selections have been very appealing to me.
I find great value here, thank you for all the work that has gone
into it.
Signed, Lurky-Lou

#11 Łukasz Martynowicz

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 11:35 AM

I've participated only when tune was appealing to me and I had enough time to learn, practice and record it. I can recall only a single time, when I haven't at least voted in a poll. I have no doubt, that future months would bring at least a couple of tunes a year that I'll consider worth my time and effort.

 

That said I must say I am a bit dissapointed on how TOTM works in general - this may be because of so few participants or the huge difference in experience between them, but what in theory should encourage concertina playing and be an opportunity to learn new skills is very often very discouraging or intimidating. In my case this was becuse very, very little feedback (and I know that I'm not the only person here feeling this way). There is no reason to record and post anything if no one cares to say a word about it - good or bad, whatever. And don't get me wrong, I don't complain about "not recognizing my genius":D, simply saying, that I have lost my interest in participating in a collective activity that is not building any collectiveness.

 

I don't know if there are any technical possibilties within this forum, but simple "like"/"don't like" counters under posts could be a partial solution for this. Anonymous or not, at least there is some kind of a quick feedback.



#12 JimLucas

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 11:37 AM

there seems to occur a technical issue as follows:
 
My vote was not accepted because I didn't vote in both polls (which wouldn't make any sense due to my answering the first question).

 
Hmm. I added a response to the second poll: "this question is not relevant to me."  So hopefully you can select that and your vote will be recorded.

 
While perhaps technically the same thing (and I did select that response), I felt like I should have chosen, "But I AM participating," (although not as often I meant to).  ;)



#13 Steve Mansfield

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 11:55 AM

I've participated only when tune was appealing to me and I had enough time to learn, practice and record it. I can recall only a single time, when I haven't at least voted in a poll. I have no doubt, that future months would bring at least a couple of tunes a year that I'll consider worth my time and effort.
 
That said I must say I am a bit dissapointed on how TOTM works in general - this may be because of so few participants or the huge difference in experience between them, but what in theory should encourage concertina playing and be an opportunity to learn new skills is very often very discouraging or intimidating. In my case this was becuse very, very little feedback (and I know that I'm not the only person here feeling this way). There is no reason to record and post anything if no one cares to say a word about it - good or bad, whatever. And don't get me wrong, I don't complain about "not recognizing my genius":D, simply saying, that I have lost my interest in participating in a collective activity that is not building any collectiveness.
 
I don't know if there are any technical possibilties within this forum, but simple "like"/"don't like" counters under posts could be a partial solution for this. Anonymous or not, at least there is some kind of a quick feedback.


Łukasz's post pretty much identically mirrors what I was about to write, and very neatly summarises why I've stopped participating in TOTM. Sorry, but there you go.

#14 JimLucas

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 01:14 PM

Feel free to PM me your ideas about the TOTM, or discuss in this thread.

 

Discuss in this thread, definitely. Here's a start on my thoughts.

  • I have participated, though not nearly as much as I intended. Other pressing matter keep sidelining my attempts to arrange, practice, and record. To prepare and record for this month's Tune and Theme of the Month before month's end, I have three "free" days left, two of which are also being taken up in final preparations for a shipboard folk festival on the ferry between Stockholm, Sweden and Åbo/Turku, Finland. I'm still hoping to squeeze in (pun acknowledged) at least one contribution... but then I'd better stop writing and start practicing. B)
  • I also have a backlog of unfinished contributions from previous months, that I hope one day to find time to finish and submit. With that in mind I would suggest -- especially to those who have said that a month simply isn't time enough for them to work something up -- that taking longer and then submitting should be just fine... "much better 'late' than never." I think it might be best to think of ToTM not as "TLtOM" (Tune Limited to One Month) but as "TBiM" (Tune Beginning in Month).  If a tune -- or theme -- really interests you, work on it as long as you like.  Any you skip require no apology or explanation.


#15 Jim Besser

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 01:18 PM

I've participated only when tune was appealing to me and I had enough time to learn, practice and record it. I can recall only a single time, when I haven't at least voted in a poll. I have no doubt, that future months would bring at least a couple of tunes a year that I'll consider worth my time and effort.

 

That said I must say I am a bit dissapointed on how TOTM works in general - this may be because of so few participants or the huge difference in experience between them, but what in theory should encourage concertina playing and be an opportunity to learn new skills is very often very discouraging or intimidating. In my case this was becuse very, very little feedback (and I know that I'm not the only person here feeling this way). There is no reason to record and post anything if no one cares to say a word about it - good or bad, whatever. And don't get me wrong, I don't complain about "not recognizing my genius":D, simply saying, that I have lost my interest in participating in a collective activity that is not building any collectiveness.

 

I don't know if there are any technical possibilties within this forum, but simple "like"/"don't like" counters under posts could be a partial solution for this. Anonymous or not, at least there is some kind of a quick feedback.

 

I agree that the lack of feedback is discouraging.  

 

I have tried to limit the feedback I give because, as moderator, I don't want to imply that I have any special expertise.  But I, too, have felt the lack of response to my postings, since what I hope for is feedback that will help me improve my playing.

 

What can we do to encourage more active involvement in responding to posts?  I do not believe the forum software includes anything like a 'like' button.  

 

Thanks for your suggestions.



#16 Jim Besser

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 01:22 PM

 

Feel free to PM me your ideas about the TOTM, or discuss in this thread.

 

Discuss in this thread, definitely. Here's a start on my thoughts.

 

  • I also have a backlog of unfinished contributions from previous months, that I hope one day to find time to finish and submit. With that in mind I would suggest -- especially to those who have said that a month simply isn't time enough for them to work something up -- that taking longer and then submitting should be just fine... "much better 'late' than never." I think it might be best to think of ToTM not as "TLtOM" (Tune Limited to One Month) but as "TBiM" (Tune Beginning in Month).  If a tune -- or theme -- really interests you, work on it as long as you like.  Any you skip require no apology or explanation.

 

 

Agree. This is something I should stress in the initial postings.



#17 maki

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 01:34 PM

My lack of feed back is due to my limited experience/knowledge.
So much of what you great players post is over my head.
I suspect many nOObs feel the same.

#18 tona

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 02:37 PM

We can see TOTM in two different ways. : teaching/learning for beginners or exchange of different aesthetic views and playing about a tune for more « advanced » players. Both are interesting. But as Don Taylor said, perhaps we can separate in two topics which may allow beginners to feel more comfortable and less shy. A place to find help, advices and to show the progress. And the possibilty for other to post comments not only in the way of liking or not liking but more in a way of giving advices when it is a beginner attempt.

Comments are a big problem. I have no perfect solutions for that... Everyone who posts a recording whatever his/her experience waits for a comment. Perhaps the rule could be to post only recordings during the month of the totm without comments from anybody and discussions would start only the month after in an other topic « discussions about the totm of …. » A distance to relativize the lack of a comment for one or the other recording…

(sorry for my english…)

In any case, thanks Jim for what you did and do.
 


Edited by tona, 23 September 2014 - 02:43 PM.





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