The ethics of giving advice on tmp

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by bardsandwarriors, Nov 29, 2006.

  1. Is it wrong of me to offer advice on tmp? I think some members of my band are lurkers here, and they may criticise me for doing that, when I'm clearly not a teacher, or a great player, or anyone important.

    But I make no claims to being a great player; I'm good at certain things, and not so good at others. I just like to make a useful contribution to the discussions when I can. Is that wrong?
  2. Ffion Flugel

    Ffion Flugel Member

    Has anyone in your band criticised you for giving advice?
  3. Not openly!
  4. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Absolutely nothing wrong with proffering advice - but there's a caveat.

    Advice has to be taken as such rather than as a total solution to a problem. Internet forums are faceless and anonymous (to an extent). Certain things should only be approached by qualified people (I'm talking for instance about the medical type threads here) and although it's great that people offer opinions and solutions that have worked for them (in what may be similar circumstances) such things should not IMO be taken as read that "It says XYZ on the internet so....."

    Things like playing / musical / technique advice etc again can be of benefit - but I have to agree that the best thing to do if you've got a problem is seek out a 'teacher' (IME they don't have to be qualified, just experienced)...which is the advice that is given (quite often (and rightly)) by Trumpetmike and Brassneck amongst others ;)

    My personal opinion is that you can learn something off everyone - but you've got to be able to discriminate between what's good advice and what, er, isn't :D
  5. Thanks Keith, those are my thought aswell. I've been a very prominent member of a cycling forum for quite a few years, and that is how it works there. We say (tongue in cheek) that anyone who cycles to the end of the road once a year, is a de facto 'cyclist' and is welcome to talk about anything. The regulars know who is who, so it isn't a problem; and in any case, only people who are serious about it stick around. But casual lurkers may be more confused about it. I did wonder if the attitude was the same here, or if I would have to adjust my expectations.
  6. Di

    Di Active Member

    Absolutely nothing wrong with it all. tMP is a discussion forum. Asking and answering questions is all part of discussion. If someone seeks advice, there are, as KMJ says, those who are more qualified than others to answer, but there is no harm whatsoever in offering your personal experiences/preferences.
  7. Bones

    Bones Member

    A friend of mine is a retired teacher, musician and all round good guy. We became close friends through the local big bands in the Nottingham Area. People used to comment on how close a friend he appeared to be to me even though he is 45 years older (or young as the case may be) than I. In some cases people often thought he was my father, which I was immensely proud of bearing in mind the spineless so and so who is my father ******ed off when I was 2 and my brother 9. Since I have known my friend he's treated me like a total adult and I once asked him why, taking into consideration the age difference. He replied, "younger people sometimes don't have enough experience to make them cynical, therefore their advice is well meant, sincere and often invaluable"

    You give as much advice or opinions as you want. If people find them valuable they'll take it on board, if they don't they'll ignore it. If they're cynical they'll respond adversely. Don't be put off.
  8. Lawrencediana

    Lawrencediana Member

    Keep it up:clap: , if we stopped individuals from voicing opinions or proffering advice with the benefit of experience, then we should be rounded up and shot.
  9. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    Indeed... this is exactly what tMP is all about and is fundamental to any online community. Feel free to offer whatever advice you have...
  10. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Well-Known Member

    The advice you can find on tMP (and other brass forums) can be excellent and very relevant, but there is a huge limit as to what can be achieved without actually seeing/hearing what someone is doing.

    As has already been pointed out, I tend to recommend seeing a good teacher when it comes to playing matters. Sadly, good teachers are not always available (I have had many teachers, observed even more and I would class very few of them as good), so online advice is all that many people have to refer to.

    If someone is not happy with you giving some thoughts online, it is possibly their problem. If you are coming on here and saying "player X in our band is a real ****" then I can see that they might have a point.

    If you are wanting advice online, you ask - who replies is a lottery and whether they actually know what they are talking about is something else. Anyone can give advice and don't need to give any credentials - I almost never say what qualifications or experience I have - if the post helps, that is what matters, not what the person who is writing may have on paper.
  11. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Indeed; almost the only drawback with the wealth of info available on any topic imaginable on the internet, is the large pinch of salt required with some of it. It's beholden on the consumer of this information to sift it carefully before acting on it, especially in the case of people seeking medical advice, or trying to write a university dissertation, for example. I'm sure that everyone on tMP gives their advice with the best of intentions, and I sincerely hope that continues to be the case - the onus is on those who would act on that advice to weigh it carefully before taking action. Things like changing an embouchure (which I've seen recommended on here before) should only really be considered IMO with the help of a good teacher - and I take TM's point about the scarcity of those.

    So I'd say by all means, everyone should chip in with their 2 penn'orth - that's the beauty and power of the internet. The real responsibility lies with those who want to use the information to assess its worth.

    I know; thinking for ourselves? Using our brains? ;) Are we still allowed to do that? :D
  12. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    Be very wary of anyone who has the temerity to gainsay your right (and your responsibility) to contribute your own opinions and experiences (however small) on a public forum. They belong to the thought police!

    You are just as entitled to offer your opinions and insights as anyone else and as you can see from certain threads on this forum, most people are fairly free and indiscriminate with their advice.

    I've even done it myself on occasion ;)

    As several people have already said, it's up to the people who ask for the info/advice to judge whether it has been helpful or not and to check the veracity of anything useful that they garner from t'Internet.

    If your colleagues are too scared to do more than hover in the background on here they have no rght at all to criticise you for actually contributing.

    Good luck.
  13. Thank you all for your support. Mike Lyons, you are right - I should be wary of them; but it did give me pause for thought and self-reflection. The problem may be that those people don't really understand internet forums. They see tmp as a kind of higher social echelon on the revered and glorious world wide web. Some of them may be aggressively snobby types, who tend to judge people that way anyway. And the number of very good players and top advice here may well reinforce that view!

    Hypotheticaly speaking, mind you. Perhaps they don't realise that forums like the tmp are actually a cross between a very very big local pub and an ancient greek agora, for everyone from philosophical roadsweepers and band tea makers down to grade 1 learners and Sop players ;). The main requisite skill is the ability to type and form recognisable words.
  14. Ffion Flugel

    Ffion Flugel Member

    Sorry, but I'm still not clear what's actually been said by any of your band members - or are you just assuming that they will comment?
  15. I am deliberately not giving out any clues to their identity, Ffion. I have no interest in starting personal wars; I only wanted advice. I hope they will not comment.
  16. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    The main thing to remember that it is ONLY opinion. How that opinion is validated is another. I tend to value opinions as ideas. Ideas that may or may not work. Whether to use the ideas or not has to be backed up with knowledge that no damage will result from trying them. If I was an althete on a sport's forum the last thing I would want to try is a posted exercise that may cause more damage than improvement. It is just as easy to antagonise an unseen injury as it is to overide it.

    As brass players, we don't see all what is going on when we play. Not everybody has a cut-away mouthpiece rim to examine lip vibration and response during playing. The majority of us do not know our lung capacity and air pressure exerted when producing notes. What about jaw structure and dental support? Intercostal as well as other muscle group use and a myriad of other factors interact and change when we play our instruments. We are all unique in how we try to approach the same goal of good brass performance. Teachers should be aware of personal circumstances of the person needing remedial help. Trumpetmike is correct in saying that those teachers are few and far between. That, possibly, is because of the lack of academic teaching in those areas (or lack of agreement amongst academics).

    It's only when you had somethng going then you lose it that you begin to understand the mechanics of how you play! My tuppence worth!
  17. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Well-Known Member

    I think the lack of agreement is a bit problem. Many of the finest teachers I have encountered (especially in the UK) are very much of the "this approach is the ONLY one that works." This leads to a very blinkered view of what might be happening and not always to the best way of tackling problems. On the internet, this blinkered approach can lead to some very dodgy advice being given which might not work for the individual in question.

    It is not helped by the fact that most of the teachers you will encounter (especially as a younger student) are frustrated performers. They went to university/music college expecting to leave as a performer and get into an orchestra. They didn't and so fell into teaching. There are then very few that take the teaching seriously. I consider it part of my teaching life to keep up with latest teaching trends and methodologies - I owe it to my students. I owe it to them to keep my playing up to a high standard (after all, if I am asking them to practice hard, surely I should be settinig the example). Sadly I know that many teachers do not have this attitude towards their teaching, they think that because they once studied to a high level that their advice is Godlike. Of course, most of their students are not musically capable of knowing that what they are being taught might not be the best thing for them.

    Apologies for the off-topicness of this reply, but some of this discussion has hit a nerve with me about teaching.
  18. BrianT

    BrianT Member

    I agree strongly with this. But does this mean you discourage all but the top 1% of your students from following a career in music because you know that precious few will get to be soloists or get the really good orchestral jobs? Or do you explain to them in no uncertain terms how their career will probably go (not how they'd dream it would go...).

    When I was deciding whether or not to study music, my Dad painted the blackest possible picture of life on the tour bus, playing third trumpet in some unfamous orchestra, playing music I didn't like just to pay the bills, and rarely being at home. I realised I didn't want a musical life that much, and kept the music as a hobby instead.
  19. Goodnight Irene

    Goodnight Irene New Member

    I am new to tmp and have been browsing the various forums. This thread caught my eye - according to the Oxford dictionary a Lurker is someone who remains hidden waiting to ambush. Is this really the kind of people who play in your band?

    You admit that so far no one has made any comment. Tmp is a forum where anyone is welcome to read or join and post so why refer to these people as Lurkers? Maybe a better word for you to use would be paranoid!
  20. Dear Goodnight ;)

    A "Lurker" in internet parlance is merely someone who reads a forum without ever posting anything - usually through shyness, or through being so rivetted by what the other posters say, that they think they couldn't possibly add anything to it.
    There is no intention to pounce - just an intention to read things, which isn't realy so bad. But thank you for your comments :D