Monday, October 3, 2011

Standards and comments

What standards do you set for yourself? Are they reflected in the comments you give to others?
  • If you tell someone not to get off tempo but then you're prone to it yourself, why should they take you seriously?
  • If you bring attention to a small detail of kata or formation when there are bigger issues at hand, don't you think it's fair if people question your judgement?
  • If you don't act on the comments other people give you, why should they listen to yours?
  • Do you listen only to the comments you get that fit nicely into your priorities? Or do you make a note (physical or mental) about all the things you've gotten comments about?
Hell, no one's perfect. We can't all be the best, shining example for everyone every time. But there are some things you can do.

When you give a comment to someone or to the group about an issue, best to ask yourself if you're guilty of it first! If you are, then you might want to admit to it as you give your comment. However, even if you're not guilty of it, don't be smug about it.

When you're watching something to make comments about it, first ask yourself, what details are really important here? If people are having issues with sequence and you're mentioning one person's bachi angle, who does that help? Are you burning to tell your comment because it's really going to help or because you just want to sound knowledgeable?

When you get comments, do you only pick the ones you like? Only the ones that are convenient? Or do you try to also implement the ones that are going to be harder and require work? If people see you trying to implement others' comments, you're showing that you take comments seriously.

It's not just what your comments are, it's also how you present your comments. And to top it off, it's then also about what you do with the comments you get, as well.

The standards that you expect other people to meet you should also impose on yourself.

1 comment:

  1. I've evolved a couple of rules re: giving feedback on others' playing. Easier to remember in taiko than in other music groups though.... :)
    1) No exaggerating other people's "mistakes" or tendencies to heighten contrast with the "correct" way. If you were teaching English, you wouldn't exaggerate somebody's accent or syntax error - that's just substituting YOUR mistake for what's really said. People need to hear themselves accurately to make appropriate adjustments; your exaggerations are distorting, rather than informing. If you can't reproduce the error/tendency exactly, use another method of drawing attention to it.
    2) Take ownership of your perceptions: "I hear [problem X] in that spot" instead of "You are playing [problem X]." You're only one pair of ears.
    3) Try closing your eyes or watching only the metronome, when analyzing a problem spot. It's easy to assume that the ensemble is tearing in a certain passage because a junior player is playing something wrong, but objective listening can reveal experienced players to be just as much at fault.

    Thanks for finding interesting stuff to blog about week after week!

    Cheers -