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For Beginners: Under Development

Discussion in 'New Forum Stuff' started by pete, Aug 24, 2009.

  1. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    All righty, then.

    The WF staff has been talking a little bit about this. While our membership is overwhelmingly from the professional set and we want to cater to them, we also don't want beginners to feel too outta place. However, we also don't want to see or answer 500 questions about, "What's the best instrument for a beginner?"

    So, the idea, that was initially mentioned by $CE (that person can come forward to take the praise/blame) and expanded on by me, is to try to have a FAQ for beginners, so if a common question is asked, someone can say, "Check out the FAQ thread at <link>" and I can close the thread.

    Now, I can easily cover saxophone and clarinet. I really don't feel comfortable enough making recommendations for equipment for flute, say, or turkey feathers for oboes (they still use those to clean 'em, right?), but I do think I can make some good general comments about, "Choose a good teacher, get a decent instrument, etc."

    I'm going to make it into an entire forum area over the next few weeks, but I already had started some writing on my neglected Wiki awhile back at http://www.thesax.info/mediawiki-1.10.0/index.php?title=Info:for_beginners

    Please tell me if there's a topic that's missed that you'd like to see/should be covered. We can talk content when I get the area up.
  2. tictactux

    tictactux Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    Okay, I'll bite.

    What about a - necessarily personal - thread about "combinations that worked for me", like "Vito V40, Fobes Debut, Mitchell Lurie #2.5..3.5, Rovner Dark" or "Yamaha YTS-23, Yamaha 5C, Selmer Primo #3, generic Ligature". Keep price ballpark in the beginner budget range (eg < $500 for the whole shebang)

    What we want is to provide the clueless noob with a combination of stuff that doesn't cost an arm an a leg yet is better than buying some "house brand" equipment that won't survive the first year. Focus on currently available parts.
  3. Dave Dolson

    Dave Dolson Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    In one way, I'm relieved that we don't have to go through the continuous repetitive questions posed by new players like does that OTHER site. Yet, I sure wish there had been a source like this available when I first started (1956).

    And, the recent posts of that nature actually resulted in some posting for a change, other than to discuss which rack is bigger - or better. I don't think it is so bad that new players ask questions - many of us are willing to respond. All that I ask is that the new posters write clearly and acknowledge the advice.

    I'm betting that after all the work is done on a FAQ, newbies will continue to miss that feature and post their questions. True, we could then refer them to the FAQ, but that process may remove the personal touch that comes from a direct answer. DAVE

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

    There's no harm in doing all of that ("and stuff like that there" as La Midler put it once), but I fear that all of the labor will go for nought, and we will still be assailed with "I want to know, and I want to know NOW, and don't refer me to no friggin' FAQ file, you pencil necked old geek, you!", more often than not.

    I did one of these once, an internal DOL system that was used by a host of "professional" users, and yet I got the same sort of response. It was enough for me to swear off similar efforts in the future as just not being worth the time.

    In the case of "new" saxophone players, we are not going to be dealing with "professionals", but rather with hordes of very young, very moderne, very "I don't like to read, like 95% of the rest of the North American population" folks. Most will be much more comfortable with IM's and Tweeting than they will with writing a cogent sentence in any language. Not a good population from which to choose one's potential auditors, is it?

    I hate to be such a wet blanket about this sort of stuff, but from what I see on a variety of other sites where "It's in the FAQ's!" gets slung about (and almost as frequently ignored), I just don't want anyone to put out all of the effort.
  5. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    For the real hard cases, like Terry and Dave mention, I'm just going to tell them that they MUST get an Inderbinen saxophone and Guardala mouthpiece -- or whatever is the equivalent most expensive for the respective instrument class. And say if they have anything else, they're not serious musicians.

    And I get to ban more people.

    My 14-year-old daughter was texting her friends on her phone while I took her to dinner last night ....

    I do get your point, SOTSDO, but I think if I can keep it very specific -- not havening a FAQ for every item in the universe, but just one for beginners and other newbies -- it might help. A bit. Maybe. I'd like to try. I don't mind occasionally failing :).
  6. Groovekiller

    Groovekiller Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    I checked out a recording studio website a few months ago. They had a strictly "newbie" section that seems like a good idea. My only problem is, all the "newbie" posts are way above my head (Doh!)

    I don't want to be a musical elitist. Young, enthusiastic players deserve internet help, but I'm reluctant to address the usual "what mouthpiece/reed/horn should I use?" threads because it is impossible to determine what level the questioner is currently operating on.

    I've gotta see the kid and hear him play
  7. Merlin

    Merlin Content Expert/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    Hmmm....I'm studying jazz guitar with Jimmy Bruno on his online site at the moment. Students make webcam videos of their lessons, and Jimmy either types back comments or makes a vid with a critique and suggestions.

    If a kid REALLY wants to get some feedback on m/p, setup, tone, whatever, we should tell them to youtube it and link it here.
  8. If we provide support for that demographic, we will attract that demographic, and WooF will become, well, you know what it will become.

    I suggest you build a page of links to sotw threads where such advice is asked for and offered. When the newbie comes here to learn what kind of cork grease will make him sound like Dave Koz, point them to the thread that discusses that choice.

    As new entry-level questions are posed, find appropriate links. Send them where they will find eager advisors.
  9. fox


    I like this idea, Al Stevens. I have a couple flute faq links.
  10. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    I agree and disagree, Al and fox.

    Agree: if you have some good linkage, send it my way and I'll see what I can do with it.

    Disagree: if you have linkage to another forum, you're forcing the person to possibly register twice. At least to post. That'd dissuade me from searching a FAQ, especially if the FAQ doesn't answer my question.

    Again, the main problem with SOTW is that they're in sore need of a lot of "librarians" to clean up the place -- and they need staff to help direct some of the early beginners.

    The WF is small enough and we have enough staff to do the cleaning and directing.

    The other thing is, Al is associating "beginner" with "10-year-old 1337 kid who enjoys Twitter way too much and posts like it." Not all beginners are like that and the folks that essentially throw up posts everyplace get talked to, here. Not so much on SOTW, but they also have a membership, what, 20x ours -- and with less staff?
  11. The issue as I see it is whether you wish to encourage or discourage an influx of beginners, irrespective of age and maturity. Make that choice and proceed accordingly.

    Keep in mind, however, that when New Posts serves up mostly newbie questions that have been asked and answered scores of times elsewhere, many seasoned hands will find other ways to fritter away our idle time.

    You can have the most comprehensive of FAQs, and many folks simply will not use it. My nefarious tactic encourages them to do just what you don't seem to want them to do. Go somewhere else.

    I guess it's clear that I prefer the emphasis of this forum to remain about where it is.

    In other words, it ain't broke. Don't fix it.

    But it's not my call. Only you proprietors can decide which direction you wish to take. You didn't really ask for our opinions about doing this. This is mine, nonetheless. There is a better place for beginners. That it doesn't have the staff to deal with them is not our problem.

    I didn't quite understand that. If you are dissuaded from searching a FAQ, how will you know it doesn't answer your question?
  12. Gandalfe

    Gandalfe Administrator Staff Member Administrator

    A reduced set of FAQ topics aka thread would be nice by me. Easy to find and point to would make them very usable.
  13. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    > I didn't quite understand that. If you are dissuaded from searching a FAQ, how will you know it doesn't answer your question?
    Posting a bit too quickly. Sorry.

    So, you point me to a FAQ on a different website. I read it and find that the FAQ doesn't answer my questions. I really don't want to register on that website, too, so I come back here and post, "That FAQ doesn't answer my questions! I don't wanna post there!" Or I decide to give the whole thing up.

    > My nefarious tactic encourages them to do just what you don't seem to want them to do. Go somewhere else.
    An alternate, and valid, translation of this is, "I want to actively dissuade people from becoming members here and when non-pro players come by, I want to chase them off" On one level, that's just not nice. On another level, Jim, Ed and I never consciously said, "We want the WF to be 'professional only' or 'by invitation only' or 'no dealers allowed'". I believe we said we wanted a place where we wanted to share our knowledge.

    I wish to ponder this more.
  14. Groovekiller

    Groovekiller Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    By the way, I have a $7000 Interbinden saxophone, and I'm using an $800 Theo Wanne 10* mouthpiece. I've been playing for almost a week. What reed should I use? And where should I buy it? I don't want to spend too much.
  15. saxhound

    saxhound Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    Don't worry about the reed, but you must have an original Harrison ligature!
  16. I'd call that an inaccurate interpretation rather than a valid translation. Which only means I wasn't clear in my meaning. 1. I prefer to dissuade rather than encourage the posting of questions and observations that reflect zero knowledge and experience and that have been posted countless times elsewhere. 2. Your characterization of my perceived elitism is extreme; a wide chasm exists between a neophyte and a professional player. Within that range are many players, technicians, teachers, etc., who already know what kind of ligature they want or which end of a leak light glows.
    Which implies that members bring at least some knowledge to share. Whatever, it became what it is, which is a reasonable refuge from other, less mature discussion groups, more focused, better attended. But, as I said, it's your show.

    I guess from the responses, or lack thereof, that my position is either a minority one or reflects that of a silent majority. I'm betting on the former.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2009
  17. Someone who gives up that easily sure isn't going to practice their long tones. Serious research in any endeavor is 90% frustration.
  18. tictactux

    tictactux Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    Hmm. In that light, my typical workday appears to be spent with very serious research. :emoji_rolling_eyes:
  19. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    we should develop a video game where one gains points on selecting and "using" the correct techniques and equipment ... then their playing level increases, et all .... of course the newbies may play the game much more than they actually practice .....

    But most newbies who "want to" learn will try and put some effort into it. It gets alot of push from trying to be better than their fellow newbies too. Others simply think it's too difficult and drop off. You can't do much for those types .. of for the types that want to spend no more than $100 and have a professional level instrument.

    we can't filter out those two types and simply have to cater to both of them.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2009
  20. Helen

    Helen Content Expert Saxophones Staff Member Administrator

    I was the CE who suggested the FAQ section for each of the woodwind sub-forums of The Woodwind Forum. Before suggesting the FAQ section, I gave it a great deal of thought, because as Dave pointed out, it would sure have been nice to have resources like this available to me when I first started out. However, as the CE/Mod for the sax section, I too don't want this to turn in to SOTW Light.

    As Pete pointed out, SOTW is in desperate need of some librarians. As someone who teaches, and holds a Masters in Education, I do not ethically feel comfortable just referring people that I do not know, to a site that has some very valuable info, but also contains some very bad misinformation. I am not in a position--when I'm dealing with someone on-line--to assess if my message to them is getting through, or if it has been misinterpreted in some way. I might say: Beware of X, Y, & Z, but in the end, if they end up in a thread that says for example: Buy horn X with m/p A, use reed B, with lig Z, and you'll sound like Sandborn, and they actually do it, I personally would not feel that I behaved in the most ethical manner as someone with an advanced degree in education.

    I believe we have a wealth of knowledge on this site. This knowledge is not just held by the few CEs we have here. Our membership is, IMHO, among the most experienced, knowledgeable, and giving of any in the on-line woodwind communities. When I suggested the FAQs, I believed that some of our more experienced members would support this endeavour. I thought, hopefully not naively, that perhaps if there were areas that our members had a lot of experience in, that maybe they might consider contributing to the FAQs.

    In the end, I personally see what I do on-line now, and what I did as a saxophone instructor before I became ill, as a way of giving back. When I was just starting out as a young player, pros and instructors gave me lots of info. I just soaked it all in. Now, although the medium may have changed, I like doing the same for the next generation of players.... Whether that be through my website, via email, through a discussion board, or in person at a show I just finished performing at.
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