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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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#37 brandon

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 05:39 AM

Titillating Thought:  What about a shift to making it, "MY" TOTM?  Like, "Monthly Tune Show-and-Tell?"   A deal where everybody just shared a tune THEY had selected and worked on to share for that month?  People could post about the backstory for the tune, where they sourced it, why it drew them, etc., along with their sound clip.  And then the next month, everybody would pick another one and share-and-tell about that one...... :rolleyes:

 

 

.....So I propose that he/we extend the September selections -- there are two, after all -- through October.  That will give some of us the time we need to come up with contributions and give all of us more time to continue this discussion before coming to a "final" decision.

 

And to give Jim a bit of a rest (or time to consider all the posts in this thread), maybe we could/should even try the same with Theme of the Month?

 

Without starting a new poll, what do you all think?

 

 

Both these notions seem perfectly reasonable...



#38 Łukasz Martynowicz

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 06:02 AM

A quick glance at the whole listing of "tune and theme of the month" subforum sorted by a number of replies shows, that contrary to what have been said by some of previous posters, ThOTM doesn't draw more attention at all. The highest listed one is "Tunes in 3", which I think was the most "in the comfort zone" for traditionalists. It is on the 5th position (I omit the pinned threads). The second and third most popular ThOTM are 12th and 13th and they are polkas, waltzes and mazurkas. Within the first 10 TOTMS, 8 are from 2013 and they haven't been much revisited, usually TOTM lives for two months only, with very few exceptions. 

 

Another finding was, that the core of posters in both TOTM and ThOTM is the same few people who keep it all going.

 

@ceemonster: I think that for majority of posters here, especially not playing ITM on an Anglo, there is no other option to get a feedback on their progress. Outside of UK and Ireland and maybe US concertinas are very rare in general, but with duets it gets even harder to find anyone who is interested in the same approach to using this instrument and can give you appropriate lessons. I think that the same might go with less straightforward techniques on Anglo and English (as Geoff said earlier about his EC playing). ITM players OTOH have a lot of different opportunities to gather and play together and get a live feedback. And for Morris being the most dominant genre in TOTM polls - one can hardly blame Jim for promoting what he's most into...



#39 Łukasz Martynowicz

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 06:22 AM

@ MyTOTM: I think that this idea might indeed draw some more posters to show their work, but at the same time I fear that there would be even less feedback for individual entries. Some folks here do post their recordings in separate threads, and more often than not, get very little replies.

 

Maybe the answer to increasing attention would be to mix TOTM and ThOTM together? For example: voting for the theme each month (two months) and then have a single common tune of the theme for anyone to try (maybe "tailored" for players less experienced or new to the genre), but keep it as open as ThOTM now for different examples of the same theme? I imagine, that in at least some cases, ideas from other tunes of the same genre may in fact lead to some fine additions to the common tune. 

And to encourage beginners more, I think that this might be a good idea (as much as I hate having great ideas for others to realize) to post a simple, melody only rendition as a starting point. I know that working on some simple dots when all renditions on YT are full of ornamentation and accompaniment can be discouraging...



#40 Tradewinds Ted

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 06:49 AM

I appreciate hearing the different approaches to the tunes, but I don't often actually listen to very many postings simply because most of my internet surfing is done when I would rather not disturb others, and I usually can't be bothered to use earphones.

 

I haven't yet posted anything either.  I selected the te first three responses for question 1.   Sometimes I do intend to post something, sometimes I just like to work on the tunes by myself, and sometimes just enjoy looking over the new tunes, but they don't grab me enough to want to work on them.

 

Since only one response was possible for question 2, the reason I selected was that I found it difficult to record and post.  This is true, but probably only because I haven't even looked into how to do it.  I know that several people have outlined some options, and I imagine one of those explanations would work for me.  A strong second would be that I haven't had the time.   This is true both for learning the tunes, and for learing how to post them.  If I am inspired to learn the tune, then that is how I spend my time, and I don't have time to bother with the recording.  If I'm not inspired by the tune, then why would I bother learning how to record and post it? 

I do admit that my beginner abilities also make it a bit less attractive to bother figuring out how to record and post anything, when I compare myself to some of the excellent recordings others have offered.  On the other hand, I'm not that easily intimidated, so that didn't really seem like an accurate choice.

 

In short, I do hope tune of the month continues, and at some point I will probably get around to posting!

 

Edit:  One detail that occasionally limits my participation is that I usually play a 20 button Anglo, so anything outside of C or G or the relative minors or modes can be difficult ( although I can transpose) and anything with much in the way of accidentals simply isn't possible.


Edited by Tradewinds Ted, 24 September 2014 - 06:55 AM.


#41 Defra

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 07:15 AM

I'd like to add my voice to the majority of TOTM fans that get a lot out of it without actually getting round to posting anything, for the reasons mentioned by others. I've learnt a lot from other people's submissions and learnt some great tunes that i probably wouldn't have come across anywhere else. I feel a bit guilty for not actively contributing and hope to do so as I improve musically and technically… if it still exists!  



#42 Stephen Mills

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 07:54 AM

I’d be wary of extending any TOTM’s to 2 months.  My sense of excitement grows toward the end of the month in anticipation of the new tunes and themes to be announced.  If there is particularly low participation, as this month, it might be that the tunes, despite being selected by fair vote, are farther from the mainstream interests of members than usual (as I believe to be true for this month).  Extending them for a month would in my opinion be counterproductive. 

 

I also think interest naturally wanes as time progresses.  As partial evidence, I observe (without complaint) that my last posting, done on the last day of the month, has apparently been listened to only two times (one of whom might be me, depending whether Soundcloud counts the poster.)  I observe in myself a decline in likelihood of listening to the postings of others as the month ticks down.  When a new entry pops up months later, on the other hand, it seems fresh again.



#43 Jim Besser

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 08:13 AM

I’d be wary of extending any TOTM’s to 2 months.  My sense of excitement grows toward the end of the month in anticipation of the new tunes and themes to be announced.  If there is particularly low participation, as this month, it might be that the tunes, despite being selected by fair vote, are farther from the mainstream interests of members than usual (as I believe to be true for this month).  Extending them for a month would in my opinion be counterproductive. 

 

I also think interest naturally wanes as time progresses.  As partial evidence, I observe (without complaint) that my last posting, done on the last day of the month, has apparently been listened to only two times (one of whom might be me, depending whether Soundcloud counts the poster.)  I observe in myself a decline in likelihood of listening to the postings of others as the month ticks down.  When a new entry pops up months later, on the other hand, it seems fresh again.

 

I agree, which is why I just posted a poll for October.

 

Great discussion here, lots of stuff that will shape the evolution of the TOTM. Keep it going!



#44 Alan Day

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 11:14 AM

I wonder if you have considered to ask a regular poster to provide three tunes of the month with recordings for members to have a go at.

Not I quickly hasten to add "Party Pieces " that few of us can play, but a small selection of tunes of varied types .It need not be a regular feature but once in a while may be interesting.

Al



#45 Jim Besser

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 12:20 PM

I wonder if you have considered to ask a regular poster to provide three tunes of the month with recordings for members to have a go at.

Not I quickly hasten to add "Party Pieces " that few of us can play, but a small selection of tunes of varied types .It need not be a regular feature but once in a while may be interesting.

Al

 

Good idea.  And you're the first I'll ask! (I remember a Northeast Squeeze In about 15 years ago when we sat around the parlor and played your "Chocolate Rabbit."  My plan was to record it - on cassette! - and send it to you, but the recorder malfunctioned.)



#46 Alan Day

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 01:29 PM

That's quick off the mark Jim I didn't suggest it for me to do it.

If you send me your Email I will send some recordings over and you can then decide.

With your suggestion how about Astley's Ride, Lady in the boat and The second of the Gentianne Mazurka set Waltz  with the lovely repeating chorus ?

Any excuse to play that one my all time favourite.

Four tunes one of which you should all  like to record ,or all of them.

Happy to change them if there is a popular vote against.

Al :blink:



#47 ceemonster

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 07:15 PM

[[I'd like to add my voice to the majority of TOTM fans that get a lot out of it without actually getting round to posting anything,]]]

 

yep.  also, i really like it when people say what system/maker/model they're playing on.  sometimes it's quite surprising.  there are folks out there sounding like duet players and it turns out to be their ec.....



#48 ceemonster

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 07:20 PM

[[[@ceemonster: I think that for majority of posters here, especially not playing ITM on an Anglo, there is no other option to get a feedback on their progress.[[[

 

i didn't propose that it shouldn't happen.  on the contrary, i proposed that perhaps it should be by request, and caveat emptor.... :ph34r:

 

[[[And for Morris being the most dominant genre in TOTM polls - one can hardly blame Jim for promoting what he's most into...]]]

 

for God's sake. there were two posts referencing Morris, one was not by me, and neither post "blamed" anyone for anything.   i most certainly did not "blame Jim" for anything.  au contraire, i explicitly and expressly stated I was not faulting anyone regarding tune selection and voting and all that....



#49 cboody

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 01:00 AM

 

[[[@ceemonster: I think that for majority of posters here, especially not playing ITM on an Anglo, there is no other option to get a feedback on their progress.[[[

 

i didn't propose that it shouldn't happen.  on the contrary, i proposed that perhaps it should be by request, and caveat emptor.... :ph34r:

 

[[[And for Morris being the most dominant genre in TOTM polls - one can hardly blame Jim for promoting what he's most into...]]]

 

for God's sake. there were two posts referencing Morris, one was not by me, and neither post "blamed" anyone for anything.   i most certainly did not "blame Jim" for anything.  au contraire, i explicitly and expressly stated I was not faulting anyone regarding tune selection and voting and all that....

 

 

I was the other one posting about Morris, and I didn't blame anyone as ceemonster correctly states...  I blamed the non voters, if in fact they don't like Morris tunes, and I specifically stated I did not fault the diversity of options. Harumph! :)


Edited by cboody, 25 September 2014 - 01:01 AM.


#50 Łukasz Martynowicz

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 04:20 AM

 

[[[And for Morris being the most dominant genre in TOTM polls - one can hardly blame Jim for promoting what he's most into...]]]

 

for God's sake. there were two posts referencing Morris, one was not by me, and neither post "blamed" anyone for anything.   i most certainly did not "blame Jim" for anything.  au contraire, i explicitly and expressly stated I was not faulting anyone regarding tune selection and voting and all that....

 

 

Maybe I have used improper words - my post wasn't intended to imply any bad intentions on your side, I was trying only to point out, that there will always be some bias caused by personal views of the person who's behind TOTM. Nothing more. I'm sorry, tha you felt it as a personal attack.



#51 John Wild

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 03:27 PM

I might find myself retiring next year. That would give me more time to attend to this type of thing.

 

Keep up the good work.

 

 - John



#52 Sarah Swett

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 04:19 PM

I have loved the TOTM from the beginning and have added many new tunes to my repertoire -- often the tunes that didn't win the poll.

 As many have said, however, actually recording and posting can be a fraught business for us relative newbies, so I much appreciate all the thoughtful comments on how best to make a 'safe' place for all styles and levels.   

 

Personally, I find giving comments awfully hard -- how to be both even-handed and enthusiastic? Who wants to risk hurting anyone's feelings? And how could my simplistic comments be helpful anyway?

On the other hand, my cello teacher used to have a charming approach that, as an adult beginner, I much appreciated.  She always begin with a compliment:  "My, Sarah, I just love the way you are holding the bow,"  then go on to, "Now let's talk about your intonation on the third measure.  That C# is just a touch flat."  Of course it was way more than a touch flat, but it didn't seem so mortifying when she put it so nicely.

 Happily, I now play the concertina so intonation issues are less of an issue, but I do notice how bellows work can really effect  the clarity of notes and want to work on that.

At any rate I like the idea someone mentioned of actually ASKING for feedback on a specific thing.  One time I did just that (an issue with honking low notes) and was delighted to be reminded to record in a less acoustically lively space.  Duh. 

 

Also, I've really liked the addition of the theme of the month though find when I work on something for the theme I tend to ignore the tune, and vice versa.  Indeed, this month I am slaving away on a classical piece that I'm terrified but determined to record at least part of,  if only because I love it and want to get to know it better as a concertina tune.  But that means I've ignored the tunes of the month though have definitely enjoyed the posts.

 

So, Jim, Thank you for doing this.  It is clearly a positive feature of CNet.

 

And now I'm going to go listen to the selections for October with the hope that I'll have a clear favorite AND that it won't interfere too much with my desire to attempt a few recordings of the September theme.

 

Sarah



#53 Jim Besser

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 04:20 PM

Some conclusions I'm drawing from this productive discussion:

 

- There is a critical mass of people who want TOTM to continue, and not all of them will be posting regularly. That's fine with me, it's just good to know!

 

- We  (I) need to do more to welcome newbies and make it clear that their recordings are not being judged against the very experienced players we have in our midst.

 

- I need to provide more detailed FAQs to help people record and post. I struggled with the tech details, and need to do more to help others who are going thru the same thing.

 

- If possible (ie if I know the tunes) I will try to post slow, melody-only versions each month. This won't always happen, since I'm sometimes learning the tunes myself. In those cases I'll appeal to you all - maybe someone else can do it!

 

- I will do more to remind people that the end of the month is not a deadline, and that posting months later is just fine. From now on I'll leave each month's TOTM pinned to the top for at least an extra month.

 

- I thought about a Beginners Showcase, but that didn't work very well on melodeon.net, and we have a smaller base of players that I don't want to divide further.  But I think it would be a good idea in some months to include in the polls only very basic tunes.

 

- one third to one half of the tunes in the polls have come from your suggestions, either in the thread on that topic or by PM.  I'd like that to grow, so please continue sending your suggestions. I'm open to any genre, and especially value tunes from genres that are outside my areas of interest, including Scandi and Irish. The only limitations: the piece can't be too difficult for a group of participants that ranges from beginners to professionals, there must be examples of the tune on the Web for people to listen to / watch before voting in the polls and notation must be available online without violating anybody's copyright. We don't want to get Paul in trouble, after all..

 

- More feedback on posted tunes would be a big plus for the forum.  From all of us.  Even a quick "good job" will give posters a sense that their recordings are being heard. I hear the disappointment of those who post and then hear nothing - it's happened to me more often than not.  Asking for feedback on particular aspects of a recording might be an effective way to generate more feedback on our postings.

 

Thanks for all the feedback. This really is a group endeavor. 


Edited by Jim Besser, 25 September 2014 - 04:45 PM.


#54 Tootler

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Posted 27 September 2014 - 05:03 PM

I like tune/theme of the month as it's a way of getting me to play my concertina more as I have neglected it in recent times. I have some personal observations.

 

I participate in similar activities on two other websites and both operate slightly differently.

 

One has a weekly theme. A different (volunteer) hosts each week and he/she sets the theme and participants submit songs within the theme. It is very active and is getting around 100 contributions each week. It has reached a critical mass where it is also a social site and there is a lot of discussion, banter etc. goes on and has a very friendly atmosphere. It is based on uploading to You Tube and the host sets up a play list of all submissions for the week. Most do a "talking heads" video but some are more creative.

 

The other operates in a way similar to TOTM but on a two monthly cycle. Suggestions for themes are made and there is a poll where two themes are chosen for each two month period.

 

Both are based on themes rather than single tunes and I like that idea. My personal preference here is for the Theme of the Month as it gives some flexibility in choice of what to submit and it makes it a little easier to contribute regularly because if you don't particularly like the choice of tune for the month you are unlikely to participate that month. Be that as it may I actually think that having both is a good idea and worth keeping going.

 

One other observation is feedback. Both the sites I referred to operate a "comment and be commented" principle. This is explicitly stated in one of them. I think feedback on posts is very important, otherwise participants feel their efforts are being ignored and get dispirited. However feedback needs to be constructive and it needs to have something positive to say in it otherwise you are liable to upset people. This is especially true on these forums as you cannot see the person's body language or hear their tone of voice so it's much easier to misunderstand someone and take offence when none was intended.

 

My thoughts for what they are worth.






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