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Jan 23, 2021 - 12:27:06 PM
11700 posts since 9/23/2009

Honestly...I was wondering about this concerning my own playing. Do I listen to advice? Am I hurt by criticism? Do I like compliments? Mainly I'm thinking the general answer is no. I mean, yeah, I hear advice and I might keep it in mind...in case I'm doing something so doggone egregious and terrible that it's painful or depressing to hear me play...lol...which might be the case at times. Hopefully not too often...but yeah, I hear advice and I might think on it some...but...I weigh it pretty heavy against my own feeling about my playing...if I absolutely love what i'm doing...then I can't change it because somebody better than I am advises me to. This is what happens so much when I've gone to Bluegrass jams...seems so many who hear me play want to change what I'm doing...yeah, I hear their points out...but if I love what it is I'm doing more than their advice hits me, which, I confess, has been more often the case, then I don't pay attention...lol. Maybe I'm not teachable. Then, criticism...I must say it has always quasi-amused me to be criticized for anything...all of my life...either I agree with the criticism, knowing all too well what case is being made against whatever I'm doing and just having hoped the other person just didn't notice (once I had to play an organ for a church service...I made the chords with my left hand and poked out the melodies with my right hand...I hit the major bass notes with my fumbling foot, where I could and thought i did good enough that maybe nobody'd notice I knew nothing whatsoever about playing the organ. Right after church, a woman came up to me and really let me know I was missing the whole point of how organ is supposed to be played, especially the foot pedals...lol...ooops...I hoped nobody'd notice), or sometimes I'm shocked at the content of what was said or shocked I didn't even think about what was being said, maybe really good criticism I needed to hear. Usually not hurt...sometimes I listen to wonder if I'm as bad as what was said, and still somehow find it unexpectedly interesting that anyone would give me enough attention and thought as to offer some type criticism. I might even learn something from it. How 'bout compliments. It's not the same as criticism...I mean...I am personally very touched and encouraged if someone says my music did something to inspire them...inspire in any way, but especially if they tell me they picked up an instrument or plan on it...then it's like super fun sharing...that makes me really happy. But if nobody said a word...what would I feel like? And my whole question is...how reflective is your playing to the attitudes or comments expressed by others???? For whatever reason, I'm just wondering about this today. And if everybody hated my playing and told me so...no, i wouldn't like that, but I would still play the way I love to play, because I do love so much to play. But it adds to the fun to feel like you were successful in sharing something you love that much. Ok...just blabberin' out loud on the world wide web...penny for your own thoughts. How much is your playing reflective of the opinions and feedback of others? Or, how obstinately do you continue on in the face of feeling not-so-welcoming opinions or downright neglect??? How personal to you is your playing?

Edited by - groundhogpeggy on 01/23/2021 12:34:49

Jan 23, 2021 - 1:10:19 PM
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8933 posts since 3/19/2009

Two years ago at Clifftop I was giving a lot of lessons.. Non students would sit around and listen in and 'learn?" from me...or not.... Anyway, this one time, after a lesson an audience member said, "Would you mind if I gave YOU a lesson?"...Hmm, wasn't expecting that.. The speaker was our Own, GAPBOB..whose fiddling style I greatly admire... He pointed out a discrepancy in my bow angle which I'd never noticed......It was humbling.....but I understood that the feedback was politely applied and justified.........(Love you, Bob!!!)...

On another note (pun intended) I remember that early on in jams I was quick with a compliment..to everyone no matter what skill level they had.....After a year or two...or three, I occurred to me that Never had anyone complimented ME.....!! I was deeply hurt..There was nobody to actually blame, but didn't anyone notice that I was playing my heart out??..... a little feedback now and then would have been nice...Now, decades (literally) later,  it is water under the dam.. I do NOT  need approval from others....as much..?   Anyway, what performer doesn't  want a little applause.

Edited by - TuneWeaver on 01/23/2021 13:16:17

Jan 23, 2021 - 1:50:05 PM
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177 posts since 11/28/2018

I always appreciated the compliments, even when I was a rank beginner and knew it was patronizing rather than complimenting. Most folks don't criticize. But it has happened and when it did I tried to use it as motivation to do better (I suppose to show them --- or myself --- that I can).

BTW Peggy, our church was without an organist many years ago and I was asked to fill in while they found a new one. Made so many mistakes that everyone thought I was "playing in tongues".

Edited by - Woodcutter on 01/23/2021 13:51:09

Jan 23, 2021 - 2:05:27 PM
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8933 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Woodcutter

I always appreciated the compliments, even when I was a rank beginner and knew it was patronizing rather than complimenting. Most folks don't criticize. But it has happened and when it did I tried to use it as motivation to do better (I suppose to show them --- or myself --- that I can).

BTW Peggy, our church was without an organist many years ago and I was asked to fill in while they found a new one. Made so many mistakes that everyone thought I was "playing in tongues".


Playing in tongues.. Now THAT is funny..

Jan 23, 2021 - 2:09:06 PM
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11700 posts since 9/23/2009

Lol...that's good, Woodcutter! I'll have to remember that one!

Interesting thoughts, guys.

I wanted to play something so bad today but just couldn't think of anything to play...boy is that frustrating. So I cleaned out the fridge...boy, is THAT frustrating...lol...but, good to have that done. We kinda put that one off too long...I used to give it a quick swipe and toss-out treatment once a week, back when I did the "Fly Lady" style upkeep on the house...but got lazy, then broke the arm...now all well...so if I can't think of something to play, I must catch up on house hold chores...so...gotta hurry and think up some good tunes to get me outta that situation!

Jan 23, 2021 - 2:53:17 PM
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2202 posts since 10/22/2007

There is nobody more critical of my playing than me. I've been trying to make a second disk of tunes for my father. It turns my stomach in knots. If I want to keep any cuts, I have to essentially surrender.
On the other hand, strangely, the places I go, and the people I play with, and the listeners, are so greatful to have a fiddler in the house, it's nearly embarrassing.

I can't believe how rude people must be elsewhere. All I can say.

Jan 23, 2021 - 3:00:35 PM
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1738 posts since 12/11/2008

I take every bit of feedback a different way. If the giver is nothing more than a Don Rickles I either give them a dirty look or I laugh if the insult is genuinely funny. If the feedback is beneficial I do my best to take it into account. If the feedback giver is able to play the proverbial pants off me, I thank them for the analysis. In any event, I am usually pretty aware of how good or bad I am at any given moment. I work like a dog in the effort to improve my craft.

Jan 23, 2021 - 5:16:38 PM

5012 posts since 9/26/2008

I'll ask band mates and other players who I like as peers or superiors, but otherwise who's criticizing anyone? It is rare. The only thing I get is "you oughta play thus and such" or "you should listen to more of what's it" type of thing.

Jan 23, 2021 - 5:26:08 PM

639 posts since 8/10/2017

I'll admit that criticism hurts but I try not to react and to just accept that I need to learn better, try harder, not do whatever I'm doing wrong. I can't always stop doing whatever I'm doing wrong though.

Jan 23, 2021 - 6:22:53 PM
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11700 posts since 9/23/2009

I guess my main point, concerning how i feel...and your first instinct is to figure there must be others who think along the same way...whatever anybody says, good or bad, it would be hard to make me do things any differently, because I love playing however I can or want to. I've never been that affected by criticism of anything, music or othewise, although it sometimes can sting a little. Harassment, yes, I'm affected by that...I'm destroyed by that...but I've never been musically harassed...I'm talking just people saying you don't bow it right, you don't play that song right, you're going too slow, you've got the melody wrong, you're just flatout playing that wrong, that kinda thing.
And people sometimes do say similar things...well, the BG community has seemed to want to tutor me...lol...which I'm just resistant to and instantly stop enjoying myself...and...I don't see myself as really wanting to listen to that...rather just have my fun and play music anyway I can. Tell me I'm doing it all wrong...ok...thanks for sharing your opinion, but I'm having so much fun it's ok with me if I do it wrong.

Jan 23, 2021 - 7:51:32 PM

310 posts since 6/11/2019

A fellow blockader once told me I was too greedy, cutting too early into heads and too deep into tails, thus compromising traditional standards and pushing my craft towards pop-skull bush likker. I was much obliged for his observation.

Edited by - Flat_the_3rd_n7th on 01/23/2021 19:52:13

Jan 23, 2021 - 8:41:10 PM

2202 posts since 10/22/2007

Yep, playing them fills sounds to me like a smart-alec kid. Always chirping and talking over the others. So I sat back and played chords. I got, "hey, where the heck are you?" And "c'mon, let's hear that fiddle!" So. . . .

Jan 24, 2021 - 5:07:27 AM

11700 posts since 9/23/2009

Sometimes you can't win.

Oops, I forgot about the time in college when I played a banjo and a buncha guys told me how wrongly I played the banjo. A few years later, when I got my hands on another banjo, I tried to learn the scrugg's rolls that those guys told me you have to do or you're being an embarrassingly bad banjo player...lol...by that point, I threw that whole idea out and went back to playing my own way...Scruggs might be one good way, but it ain't for me, I finally got brave enough to realize...but that one hurt bad, and took years for me to come back to terms on the banjo in my own way. Maybe that one experience was what helped me not care whatever anybody else thinks about my playing...lol...don't know. All I remember was how bad they embarrassed me over my banjo playing and how stupid I felt.

Jan 24, 2021 - 6:16:40 AM
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banjopaolo

Italy

135 posts since 9/14/2010

I think that mostly dependance on wich is the situation, I’m a music teacher and I always try to be nice with my students and encourage them by appreciating their work, but of course I must also tell them when I see something tnat they could do better in another way...

Sometimes it happened me ti ask for advices on my playing to more expert musician (when I started playing banjo about 15 years ago I had many help from italian banjo picker Silvio Ferretti)

In other context I never criticize or give unasked advices, expecially here where I meet people I don’t know at all! If I listen something I dislike I just don’t write... it’s so simple!

Jan 24, 2021 - 7:41:20 AM

11700 posts since 9/23/2009

yes, it is that simple, seems to me. If you have a teacher, you are there for advice. If you play anywhere else, you're not necessarily asking for advice willy-nilly...some people might like it and some might not...which is ok. If I comment on someone else's playing, I'm well aware that I could inadvertently quench their fire and take that joy away from them by my comments...if they ask for my advice...I hope to try to carefully explain that I know nothing but have opinions that get me through ... but to me, everyone who plays has some serious soul put into it, otherwise would they play at all? Maybe that soul speaks to some listeners, maybe not to all.  Nobody should ever mess with that...lol...leave that alone.

Edited by - groundhogpeggy on 01/24/2021 07:42:50

Jan 24, 2021 - 7:48:05 AM
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494 posts since 9/1/2010

quote:
Originally posted by banjopaolo



In other context I never criticize or give unasked advices, expecially here where I meet people I don’t know at all! If I listen something I dislike I just don’t write... it’s so simple!


This is my approach too, Paolo.  My mother taught me early on...if you don't have anything nice to say, then say nothing at all.

Like farmerjones said, I am my worst critic.

I appreciate compliments, but I don't feel there is anything negative someone could point out that I'm not aware of already.  I am more inclined to ask advice from those whose playing I admire in order to overcome my weaknesses.  My reaction to a negative comment depends on who it is coming from.

Jan 24, 2021 - 7:54:17 AM
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51 posts since 9/4/2007

Feedback is Ok, but it really depends on who it's coming from. If it comes from someone I don't know there is no context for me. If it's some one I respect as a musician then it can make sense to me. (or it least I'll try to figure out the sense of it.) Otherwise it's kind of like the internet and I don't know if the information is valid or not. Anyway, best feedback has come from people who had experience teaching, in workshops or whatever, and had some idea about what to look for and comment on. And, by the way, we're really good at their respective instruments. Stray comments at a jam?? Not all that meaningful in general, though I'm sure there is something to be gleaned there occasionally.

Jan 24, 2021 - 8:49:06 AM
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Earworm

USA

169 posts since 1/30/2018

In the context of judging for high school speech contests, I was told to try to give students 3 positive comments for each negative one, and to be specific. I find it to be good advice for life.

Jan 24, 2021 - 9:40:51 AM
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Old Scratch

Canada

680 posts since 6/22/2016

Peggy, I'm surprised by the content of your initial post for a couple of reasons: 1) I think your playing is wonderful, based on what I hear from your youtube videos, and can't imagine why you would encounter so much criticism - now, I'm not an aficionado of what I think of broadly as 'Southern fiddling', so maybe I'm missing something, or maybe there are a lot of people that play a similar style - but I haven't heard them; 2) I've never experienced nor witnessed people delivering blunt criticism of someone's fiddling to their face, outside of a workshop, where it's a teacher-student situation. A few times in my earlier years, I had comments that I realize in retrospect were indirect criticisms (didn't get through my thick skull at the time, though, unfortunately); e.g., "You play that one pretty fast" (i.e., too fast for your ability), "That's a hard one" (stick to the easy ones for now), etc.

Maybe you have an open, friendly, somewhat-vulnerable demeanour that appeals to blowhards and bullies. I seem to have a stern and miserable look that keeps people at their distance ... !

Jan 24, 2021 - 12:17:22 PM
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639 posts since 8/10/2017

I have witnessed blunt criticism to my face. Maybe Peggy has also. Nobody on the internets would witness that. It hurts even if it is true, maybe because it is so rude.

I do not know Peggy at all. She seems really nice and not abrasive, but I do not know her or how people in her circle of real people see her. Maybe some people don't like her because she is nice or because she is a good musician. Who knows?

I think people don't like me because I'm not afraid to step up and make a decision or speak the truth while everybody else is cowering and afraid.

Jan 24, 2021 - 12:37:49 PM

11700 posts since 9/23/2009

I'm not meaning to whine about criticism, here...that's not my point. I've had my share, but I've had more compliments than I'll ever deserve too, so...my point was just that I was wondering how people think of it...when you get criticism or compliments either one...how does that affect your playing...or does it at all? If somebody said your playing was terrible, would you stop playing? Or is your love of playing too strong to let yourself listen that much? Also, if somebody compliments you...what does that do to your playing...help, or maybe hurt?

But yeah...I'm not whining here, just wondering. i've had some strange comments that quasi-amused me, puzzled me and surprised me just at the local BG jams around here. That shouldn't be too surprising, because BG just isn't my thing, so I'm sure I don't play in any way they expect. I had one guy tell me I could never know Cowboy Waltz, as he led a jam where nobody could know it...I joined him because I did know it...he seemed upset that I knew it...I was puzzled by his reaction ... I mean...what????? How can you sit there and say nobody could know this one but you???? Does that mean the rest of us are supposed to pretend we don't know it???  I don't get it.  LOL...weird.

But just by my musings here and wondering how others feel about this (I don't know any other musicians in person at the moment)...then...well, really online is the only way I hear people's stuff...then I wonder how my reaction to people's music affects their playing, if it even does...or should it? How personal to you is what you play on the fiddle or other instruments...how much are you affected by what anybody thinks or says about it? Just thinking aloud here.

Diane, I have the same problem as you...sometimes I speak up when it would be more socially acceptable to say nothing...lol...I just talk too much. Maybe that's the problem with the BG jams...don't talk, just play. But usually concerning anybody's music...I feel it's a sensitive area and wonder what effect what we say or how we react might have...I would never wanna take that away from somebody. I really miss the old jams from back home...we didnt' care how anybody played...we just found a way to have fun playing together and that's all we wanted.

Edited by - groundhogpeggy on 01/24/2021 12:39:18

Jan 24, 2021 - 1:03:48 PM
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Old Scratch

Canada

680 posts since 6/22/2016

All compliments gladly accepted. Back in my busking days, a young woman on her way home from work - she was wearing a hard-hat - said to me, "Your music blesses me". Still makes me feel good.

Jan 24, 2021 - 1:46:40 PM
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11700 posts since 9/23/2009

Yes, for sure, Old Scratch. When somebody says something like that, you feel like you're actually giving someone the gift of music when you play. That's awesome.

To clarify my comment about saying something not so socially acceptable...I can think of one example that really happened...regarding Hillary Clinton drinking blood in the basement of the pizza shop. I mean, I have to speak up in those situations...whatever somebody thinks of H.C., maybe don't like her policies, her ideas, her clothes, her personality...let's be truthful about it...if for some reason you don't like her, but that doesn't mean you can say she drinks blood in the basement of the pizza hut. I think it's not good for people or society in general for people to choose their reasons for disapproval or even approval of something or someone by believing ridiculous things instead of confronting the real reasons, head-on, for their disliking of the person or thing. I can't sit quiet when I'm around that sort of thing...in person or online...have to speak up...you're not confronting your own reason if you choose to accept ridiculous lies and conspiracy and base opinions on that. No...I can't be quiet...that's what I meant. I don't say bad stuff about people's music though. I don't have to always like it, but I can appreciate what it took to do it and what it means to others.

Edited by - groundhogpeggy on 01/24/2021 13:47:53

Jan 24, 2021 - 1:53:09 PM
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RB-1

Netherlands

11 posts since 9/28/2020

quote:
Originally posted by banjopaolo

Sometimes it happened me ti ask for advices on my playing to more expert musician (when I started playing banjo about 15 years ago I had many help from italian banjo picker Silvio Ferretti)


You mean, the guy I'm talking to in this picture?

What a wonderful day out, back in Oct. 2002, a guided tour through Portofino.

Now I see, I was starting to loose my hair too...laugh

Jan 24, 2021 - 1:56:32 PM

11700 posts since 9/23/2009

That's a really beautiful looking spot you guys were in.

Jan 24, 2021 - 2:31:03 PM

LukeF

USA

82 posts since 10/15/2019

Being on the receiving end of criticism hurts but it makes me want to improve.

I generally don't criticize anyone in my bluegrass jam group but there was one time where the bass player was so far off he couldn't find the right notes. I couldn't help myself and blurted out "just stick with the 1 and 5 notes on each chord" . In retrospect I should have been kinder and gentler.

I like Earthworm's advice 7 posts above.

Edited by - LukeF on 01/24/2021 14:32:08

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