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why do singers take so long to start?

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Jack Campin 13 Aug 15 - 06:06 PM
GUEST,Pete from seven stars link 13 Aug 15 - 07:06 PM
Steve Shaw 13 Aug 15 - 07:43 PM
MartinRyan 13 Aug 15 - 07:51 PM
GUEST,GUEST: Lowly Strung 13 Aug 15 - 08:02 PM
Deckman 13 Aug 15 - 08:27 PM
Joe Offer 13 Aug 15 - 08:55 PM
ChanteyLass 13 Aug 15 - 09:14 PM
Deckman 13 Aug 15 - 09:35 PM
GUEST,bardan 13 Aug 15 - 10:34 PM
vectis 13 Aug 15 - 10:47 PM
GUEST,# 13 Aug 15 - 11:06 PM
Big Al Whittle 13 Aug 15 - 11:38 PM
Joe Offer 14 Aug 15 - 12:38 AM
Deckman 14 Aug 15 - 01:00 AM
Joe Offer 14 Aug 15 - 01:30 AM
Acorn4 14 Aug 15 - 03:33 AM
GUEST,andiliqueur 14 Aug 15 - 03:41 AM
GUEST,andiliqueur 14 Aug 15 - 03:43 AM
Megan L 14 Aug 15 - 04:16 AM
Jack Campin 14 Aug 15 - 04:25 AM
Tattie Bogle 14 Aug 15 - 04:40 AM
GUEST,Peter 14 Aug 15 - 04:45 AM
GUEST,patriot 14 Aug 15 - 04:46 AM
Will Fly 14 Aug 15 - 05:11 AM
Steve Shaw 14 Aug 15 - 05:15 AM
MartinRyan 14 Aug 15 - 05:21 AM
Big Al Whittle 14 Aug 15 - 05:28 AM
GUEST,Ripov 14 Aug 15 - 05:55 AM
GUEST, DTM 14 Aug 15 - 06:18 AM
Johnny J 14 Aug 15 - 06:18 AM
GUEST, Sol 14 Aug 15 - 06:31 AM
BobKnight 14 Aug 15 - 07:29 AM
Ged Fox 14 Aug 15 - 07:42 AM
Mary Humphreys 14 Aug 15 - 08:31 AM
Big Al Whittle 14 Aug 15 - 08:48 AM
Will Fly 14 Aug 15 - 08:58 AM
Big Al Whittle 14 Aug 15 - 10:17 AM
Jack Campin 14 Aug 15 - 10:50 AM
GUEST,phil cooper on spouse's laptop 14 Aug 15 - 10:50 AM
GUEST, Sol 14 Aug 15 - 11:05 AM
GUEST,crazy little woman 14 Aug 15 - 11:32 AM
GUEST,crazy little woman 14 Aug 15 - 12:26 PM
GUEST,Pete from seven stars link 14 Aug 15 - 04:12 PM
Steve Shaw 14 Aug 15 - 06:04 PM
Don Firth 14 Aug 15 - 06:17 PM
Steve Shaw 14 Aug 15 - 06:51 PM
Don Firth 14 Aug 15 - 07:45 PM
Pamela R 14 Aug 15 - 08:39 PM
Big Al Whittle 14 Aug 15 - 11:06 PM
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Subject: why do singers take so long to start?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Aug 15 - 06:06 PM

This was mentioned in passing in a thread on Rise Up Singing: singers who use books or folders can take a very long time to get started when their turn comes in a singaround. I find this very frustrating. Ask me to play or sing something and I can be off within a second; if I was going to pick something from a book, the delay caused by finding it would only be seconds rather than minutes. And I don't add even more delay mumbling about how I haven't played or sung this in years.

The fatter the book or folder the singer carries around, the worse the problem is. You'd think it should be the opposite: if you've got a folder two inches thick you should be able to find something that suits the moment within a few pages of where you open it.

I don't go to singarounds to spend the evening watching somebody trying to find their chord chart.

Has anybody had any success in remedying this sort of dithering around? You don't get it in notation-free tune sessions, but it isn't just a problem of dependence on paper; a lot of singers seem to have a badly indexed and blurrily printed folder in their brains and need to talk their way through accessing it for longer than it takes to sing the song.


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: GUEST,Pete from seven stars link
Date: 13 Aug 15 - 07:06 PM

I don't suppose we will ever eliminate the time wasting, but it would certainly be thoughtful, especially at busy singarounds, if the instruments were already tuned and the song on the stand ready to go.


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 13 Aug 15 - 07:43 PM

It isn't possible to tune all instruments in advance, in spite of all the "once you eventually get the bloody thing in tune I'll have it welded for you" jokes. It Is possible to get in the ball park though, although the incessant tuners have to take the poor bloody fixed-pitch guys into account (we do exist, you know). As for stands...really? If I can learn all the tunes, why can't you learn all the words?


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 13 Aug 15 - 07:51 PM

Nerves.... or the need to allow an audience to settle down.

Regards

p.s. More constructively: I can happily understand "classical" singers working from a sheet but find it hard to understand its use in a traditional or quasi-traditional context. The least such a performer should do is suggest that listeners close their eyes...


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: GUEST,GUEST: Lowly Strung
Date: 13 Aug 15 - 08:02 PM

I agree about the nuisance of delays. There are some who don't prepare and some who do. I expect the fear of losing members, in a climate when clubs can't afford to lose even their crap performers, is part of the issue for organizers and MCs, etc. And, they can't risk being seen as harsh on people who probably aren't trying to inflict a probem on others: that's part of the democratic-ness that the folk-world values. Clearly, JC doesn't see the solution as "just b----y well tell them" (unless he DOES, but he's not gonna enact it!!)
As for instruments, while you can tune some to "close enough for folk" levels, you can't easily tune perfectly while others are performing; if you leave the playing-space to do so, you miss part of the previous song (and potentially create a disturbance by getting up and moving out) but others' songs might be what you've gone along to hear: that's part and parcel of a singaround.
I favour being upfront and telling the offender on the quiet: thay're not going to slap you round the face, nor raise the issue aloud with the rest of the room, in case the room disagrees with them!


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: Deckman
Date: 13 Aug 15 - 08:27 PM

Over here in the Seattle, Washington (USA) area, I have found the perfect solution that works for ME. This might not work for you, but it sure works for ME. I simply won't attend any "sing-a-round event" that allows the use of books. bob(deckman)nelson


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Aug 15 - 08:55 PM

I think some people need to take a moment to get composed, and to get the tune straight in their heads. They may seem to be fooling with other things, but that's just a cover for getting their composure. This is especially true of a cappella singers. I find if I rush too much to start a song, I often botch the melody and sing something strange for the first verse.
Some say I sing something strange for every verse.
Patience, Jack, patience....
As for books, some of us feel more confident if we have them (even though we may not look at them), and we apologize to those who think us inferior.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 13 Aug 15 - 09:14 PM

If you want to be at a song circle that welcomes people who are trying to get over a fear of singing in public, you will enjoy yourself more if you can accept their need to have written lyrics. I would rather that people use a lyric sheet than freeze in the middle of a song. Choral groups use written lyrics; people use hymnals in church; and I have seen some seasoned professional performers use lyric/music sheets, but I won't name names!


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: Deckman
Date: 13 Aug 15 - 09:35 PM

Joe ... with GREAT RESPECT ... I wouldn't use the term "inferior" but rather "ill prepared" CHEERS, bob


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: GUEST,bardan
Date: 13 Aug 15 - 10:34 PM

Well, it could be shyness. Or they might be waiting for the room to quieten down. Making sure they remember the lyrics in that tricky verse. Trying to find a key that works. I've almost never sang at a singaround and I don't use sheet music or lyric sheets, but when called on to sing I often take a couple of minutes to choose a song that fits, remind myself of the lyrics, find a good key, (especially if I know someone else might come in with a harmony or there's backer and I don't want to force them into accompanying a song in f sharp minor or whatever) and so-on. Hopefully it's worth the wait. If it isn't then people should really stop asking me to sing.


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: vectis
Date: 13 Aug 15 - 10:47 PM

If you have to use a book or sheet, get the thing out and set up before it is your turn. If you need a specific note take a tuner with you, if you haven't got a tuner ask some one to play an A (or whatever) for you and launch.

One man's long introduction/setup is another man's song.

I think farting around is attention seeking and a bloody pain in the arse.

Off hobby horse and calm again. Got coat too...


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: GUEST,#
Date: 13 Aug 15 - 11:06 PM

Related threads:

Performers' showcase etiquette (7)
Session etiquette solutions please (57)
Concert Etiquette (69)
'Rules' for group singing (5)
Band Etiquette Question - Am I a prat? (69)
Singaround etiquette (64)
Singaround Etiquette (18)
Singaround etiquette ? (70)
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Weird open mike etiquette (85)
Hoot Etiquette (76)
Jam Etiquette (49)
Rules of the Session (20)
Talking and other session etiquette (37)
Session Etiquette (24)
Festival workshop etiquette question (12)
Music Etiquette Thought For The Day (33)
Song Circle Etiquette for Dummies (74)
Etiquette question #2 (44)
Etiquette question (106)
Music etiquette: the answer (19)
Etiquette for slow-jams (6)


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Aug 15 - 11:38 PM

I must be the odd one out. I always enjoy it if the singer introduces the song and explains its significance to him or her, and how they come upon the song.

I also think if you want other people to join in with their instruments you should tell the company what key you are going to try and sing and play in.

after all we are 'folks'. our relationship with each other is not a 'given'. if you wish to astonish the world with a tour deforce that will amaze and mystify -fuck off into the desert and sing to the cacti.


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 12:38 AM

Some of us who sing from hymnals or sheet music, are actually pretty good singers - and we can sing quite well using a lyrics aid and feel more confident doing so. Or maybe we want to try something new, outside or the twenty or thirty songs in our usual repertoire. Or maybe we've witnessed the agonizing moments when singers forget their lyrics and the audience waits uneasily for them to remember.

And yes, many of those who use books are pretty awful singers - but I think that's more because of their ability, not their state of preparation. I've been at camps and singarounds where people pull out the Blue Book and struggle through a song - but that's usually because singing is a struggle for them, and they're trying their best to fit in. Maybe they'll never get any better - but at least they're trying.

You who condemn other singers may have all sorts of rationalizations in your heart to convince yourself that it's really the other person's fault that he/she doesn't fit your image of a suitable singer. But you're lying to yourselves. You're simply being unkind and exclusionary, closing the door to would-be singers because you think them unworthy.

No wonder people don't sing any more. If they try, they're going to have to endure some really awful scrutiny until they finally pass muster and earn the right to be snooty and judgmental themselves.

Most people think I'm a very good singer, and I certainly think I've earned a reputation as a song researcher. But there are music gatherings I avoid because they're just too damn judgmental. I sing to have a good time, not to face judgment from snooty singers.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: Deckman
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 01:00 AM

Thank you for that Joe. bob


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 01:30 AM

I go to Mass twice every Sunday, and I still can't recite the friggin' Nicene Creed from memory. And the Apostles' Creed, which we use sometimes, is even tougher. They're very similar to each other, and we've had at least two "official" translations of each in my lifetime. Now, I can remember it in Latin, especially if I sing it, because I've known only one version of the Creed in Latin. But if I try it in English without a book, I get confused.

We had a priest who chastised the congregation for stumbling on the Apostles' Creed. I was ready to stand up in front of the congregation and explain how the priest had his head up his ass, but I restrained myself. I told him privately later that I thought he was wrong...

Sometimes, you just can't get the lyrics straight unless you get a little help from a piece of paper.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: Acorn4
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 03:33 AM

What I find irritating is those who persistently thumb through their folders while other are singing and playing.


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: GUEST,andiliqueur
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 03:41 AM

Oh yes Acorn 4. They are the worst!


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: GUEST,andiliqueur
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 03:43 AM

Also,the thicker the folder the more songs they don't know!


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: Megan L
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 04:16 AM

So let me get this right everyone is supposed to memorise both the music and lyrics.

They are supposed to have any instruments perfectly in tune even when they have moved from one area of temperature or humidity to another.

They should never gather their thoughts before launching into a song or tune and definitely never try to introduce their contribution.

If they do use written song words or music they should have it ready for their turn to start.

Oh and they should never look up anything during the evening.

So that means if you are new and nervous don't bother going. If you have had a head injury that affected your memory stay at home,and if you are older and your memory is starting to fail don't even bother getting out of bed.

The welcoming face of folk music.


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 04:25 AM

If you want to be at a song circle that welcomes people who are trying to get over a fear of singing in public, you will enjoy yourself more if you can accept their need to have written lyrics.

I don't have a particular problem with people using paper so long as they can use it effectively. And a lot of the people I had in mind got over any fear they might have had about singing in public 30 years ago.


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 04:40 AM

Several people talking about different things here.

I don't really mind if people use lyric sheets or music notation, provided they know what they are going to sing/ play reasonably well.

But it also irritates me if, in a "round the room" session, where people KNOW when their turn is coming up, THEN when their turn comes, they start thumbing through the thick folder for the song they can't find, have to get out of their seat to retrieve guitar from somwhere else, adjust seat position 3 times over, adjust capo 3 times, then still decide they've started in the wrong key, re-start, give a long explanation, etc, etc, etc.
Oh and yes, Acorn4, no flicking through folders while others are singing (or in the present tech age, scrolling through IPads, tablets and mobile phones - and PLEASE, no texting or Facebooking/Tweeting!) just do your fellow-sessioners the courtesy of LISTENING!

As for tuning instruments, I would do mine before the evening starts, and make any fine adjustments during applause, before my turn comes round- if you are using an electronic tuner thus should be possible in the presence if bacground noise.

But agree with Al, it may be nice to have a SHORT explanation of what inspired the writing of a particular song, or other background to it - but that is a very different scenario from what Jack and others were complaining about. Such an intro should never be longer than the song!


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 04:45 AM


So let me get this right everyone is supposed ...

It depends on the circumstances. What would be OK in a singaround may not be appropriate when on stage.


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: GUEST,patriot
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 04:46 AM

What about using a tablet or suchlike device- at least you'd be spared the rustle of papers while other folk are singing.... don't see how you'll get people to stop faffing about at the crucial moment
for whatever reason.
In another context, how many times have some of us stood at a supermarket checkout while the person in front, having done everything else, suddenly realises that he/she also has to pay, and that their purse/wallet is buried deep in their bag or pocket? It's just human nature to faff, so get used to it!


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 05:11 AM

An appropriate, short-and-to-the-point intro to a tune or song can enhance the listeners' appreciation of it, if done competently. No harm in that. That's quite a different matter from the time-wasting exercise of shuffling through a wodge of papers in plastic sheets inside a ring binder which is coming apart on a music stand which is not quite opened properly... and you know the rest.

The issue, to me, is to ask yourself why you're where you are as a performer. Surely the prime reason for being there is to entertain or enlighten, and to bring some joy or reflection to the audience - not just to put yourself in the spotlight for your own personal amusement?

My own session/singaround welcomes everyone of whatever standard and with music and mini-stands but, for those who are worried about music stands, music, etc., in public performance, I offer this:

1. You know that you're going to get probably two - at most three - songs for a floor spot at a folk club, so ...
2. Concentrate on learning only those two or three songs and getting them as fixed into your head as possible.
3. If you can only do two, or even just one, without getting worried - then just elect to do two, or even one.
4. Don't repeat the same stuff at the next session - learn two more new ones.
5. If you can't learn two new ones - don't elect to do a floor spot until you have learned some more.

Many of us of a certain age learned these quite sensible rules - in my case fifty years ago - and the discipline of that approach has stood the test of time.

Here's a little story: Everyone who attends my monthly caper knows that I always encourage people to put aside the paper and sing and play without it. A friend of mine who attends my session always sings and plays from typed out sheets. He has a nice voice and is a competent, if basic guitarist. When we discuss playing from paper or memory, he asserts that he just finds it difficult to perform in front of people without paper there as "the words disappear". I can understand that fear. In conversation recently, I set him a challenge: the next time he attends a particular local folk club (which I don't attend as they all shuffle paper around on music stands), he has to get two songs under his belt to perform without benefit of paper. I will go along with him as his backing guitarist and - if need - word backup. If he fucks up, it won't matter because I'll be with him to keep us going. To my delight, he accepted the challenge and seemed quite bucked by it. And, hopefully, I won't fuck up either!

Now, might it be a good idea if those who feel happy and confident without music can help those who do have a difficulty - by teaming up with them now and then and boosting their performance confidence.


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 05:15 AM

It's fine to credit briefly the writer of a song or the person who inspired you to sing it. Over and above that, sing it and let the song speak for itself. Faffing around in an Irish tune session is unacceptable, as is the use of printed music, yet there are people who can play thousands of tunes without hesitation. If you have to flick through sheets of paper in order to prevent your forgetting the words, your commitment to the song is questionable. As are your manners!


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 05:21 AM

Sensible stuff, Will Fly. Maybe his first step would be to try singing the song - with a blank sheet of paper on the stand in front of him! Retains the comfort blanket, hide-behind-the-stand element but exercises the memory...

Regards

p.s. By way of thread creep... I've seen many accordionists, in particular, who seem to use the instrument to keep an audience at bay! ;>)>


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 05:28 AM

i remember the good old days when folksingers used to piss about with ringbinders. nowadays - you have wait for them to set up their little stands with an ipad and then bugger about on the floor to plug in the thing to turn the pages over.....

back in those days we never waited more than ten minutes for them to find the song they wanted to sing, and their false teeth, and put them in...
we need to get that macrobiotic thing back.


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: GUEST,Ripov
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 05:55 AM

The problem is not taking a long time to start sorting the paperwork out, but taking forever to sing the song because they have a written record of all 31 verses - and they're not even funny!


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: GUEST, DTM
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 06:18 AM

My biggest bugbear is when a singer chants a verse and a half of a song, gets stuck then announces that they'd be better singing another song. They then proceed to waste another 5 minutes of our lives digging through their binder(s) before treating us to yet another classic.
Just as bad is when they get half way through a song, screw up and say "I'll start again".

By that time, I've usually lost the will to live.


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: Johnny J
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 06:18 AM

Ripov has a good point.

Maybe the question should be "Why do singers take so long to finish?"


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: GUEST, Sol
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 06:31 AM

Can I just say, if you read from a crib sheet you will never learn the words of the song. I know a guy who has sung the same song week in week out for more than 20 years and still can't do it without the lyrics in front of him.

That said, I usually have a lyric sheet in front of me because, at my age, now and again my mind goes blank & I need a cue for the next verse or line. At that point I take a discrete look down at the table always trying to make it look like a natural head movement or with half-closed eyes.


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: BobKnight
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 07:29 AM

1.Tune your instrument before the session starts - at the very least take the bloody thing out of it's case.
2.Decide what songs your going to sing before the evening starts - that way you don't have to flick through sheets - if you need them.
3.Don't try to sing songs you don't really know - if you don't know them, keep them at home until you rehearse them enough to know them. 4.It's bad manners to inflict your half-arsed, unrehearsed efforts on other people.
5.Keep your intro's short-you may love the sound of your own voice, others rarely do.
6. Learn the words - no excuses for not apart from laziness. Case in point; my brother has gone onstage for forty odd years with a sheaf of lyrics. He's been having eye problems lately, cataract, etc, and suddenly he's managing without the lyrics because he HAS to - he can't see the sheets.


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: Ged Fox
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 07:42 AM

I generally use the crib sheet on the first occasion, at least, that I sing a song to an audience, even if I think I know the song. In such a case, I'll have the crib handy in the front of the folder.

I don't usually know exactly what songs I'm going to sing, sometimes right up to the moment when I start singing, because I like to complement or contrast with the stuff that's been sung or played before me. It may be that the most apposite song requires me to use a crib sheet, in which case, shock! horror! I might spend a moment looking for it.


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: Mary Humphreys
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 08:31 AM

I think that for everybody's sake, anyone wanting to sing a song in a sing-around should have a song they are able to sing without any comfort blanket and without eternally faffing about key and finding pages. Never mind if it is something you have sung before, do it again. Some 'old boys' only had one or two songs they were happy to sing. Do the same as them.
Grow your confidence in this way.
It makes sing-arounds much more enjoyable for both listeners and participants.


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 08:48 AM

2.Decide what songs your going to sing before the evening starts - that way you don't have to flick through sheets - if you need them.

absolutely not! have some consideration for your audience. if there has been three epic ballads already, just because you've prepared one don't feel the audience should be obliged to sit there appreciating.

similarly if there have been several comic songs, you shouldn't feel obliged to try and top the last one.
its about an evening out...hopefully that people will want to attend again. there has to be balance, or at least there should be, and experienced singers must provide this. the rookies have a limited repertoire - us guys should know what we're doing.


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 08:58 AM

But surely it's the rookies we're talking to here, Al. You and I are certainly experienced enough to be able to pull stuff out of the bag on the evening as required But...

... A beginner or tentative performer may not have the scope to do that, so better - perhaps - that they stick with what they have confidence in. Which may be just two or three well-rehearsed songs, for example.


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 10:17 AM

i dunno Will , are we?

to tackle one of the big ballads takes committment, skill.......+etc. anything you can give it. but there are some times when you have to accept that the thing you planned to do....just doesn't fit into that evening, or in my mind you should.

sometimes i wanna do some really downbeat blues - but if some buggers been going on about the first world war for fifteen minutes. irealise that the audience has had enough depressive stuff and they need lifting.
to burden an audience with what you've got planned is not always a rookies mistake. similarly a certain kind of singer songwriter will demand attention. at a point when the audience is totally overloaded and needs a bit of lightness.

i'll tell you this the audience always rewards you for engaging with their mood. it can be frustrating - if you've worked hard on a piece, or if you've got an album to plug and some asshole has bored their pants off and demanded their attention. but you must honour your skill as a performer in the first instance.


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 10:50 AM

Decide what songs your going to sing before the evening starts - that way you don't have to flick through sheets - if you need them.
absolutely not! have some consideration for your audience. if there has been three epic ballads already, just because you've prepared one don't feel the audience should be obliged to sit there appreciating.


Agreed. It's not too difficult to assemble a repertoire of four songs, one epic, one lyrical, one funny and one polemical, is it? That should cover pretty near any context.

I don't think most of the shuffling timewasters manage to categorize their repertoire that way - if they did, it would cut down the time it takes to decide what to do.


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: GUEST,phil cooper on spouse's laptop
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 10:50 AM

I've seen people at song circles that didn't use books still dither when it came time for their turns. It may drive me up the wall, but I figure that's how they are. I've seen others use books without too much wasted time. I have participated in a regular workshop where one of the performers (who should have known better), showed up, had to tune their banjo and then still decided what to do. And that was at a festival with other performers waiting to do their turns and a fixed time allotted.


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: GUEST, Sol
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 11:05 AM

I agree totally with the points made by Ged Fox & Big Al.

I tend to try & sing the opposite of what my predecessor has sung. That usually entails having a 'light' and 'heavy' song at the ready.
I once saw a folk band toiling with dreary ballads in a bar full of drunken rugby supporters. I was asked to sing and did a rendition of some spirited drinking song which oddly got their immediate attention.

It should be generally horses for courses - or you could just do your own thing and stuff the rest of mankind.


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: GUEST,crazy little woman
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 11:32 AM

I agree with you, Sol. Variety is important, so is being aware of the mood of your audience.

Another factor: I bet that if the impatient people timed the people who fail to sing immediately, that the impatient people would discover that the delay is a matter of a few seconds. Probably less than 30.

Where do people get the idea that their needs should be met immediately, if not before? I suppose it comes from watching TV. On TV, the announcer announces a singer, the camera goes to the singer's face, and the singer starts immediately. We get used to that. Never mind that it's all preprogrammed, rehearsed and videotaped. And the singer isn't gazing earnestly into our eyes, but into a teleprompter.

(I guess that there's very little of that kind of programming any more. Nonetheless, we're used to it.)
======
I used to get very irritated when babies cried in church until a priest pointed out to me that when they cry, they cry for only a few seconds. I'd never even thought of that.


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: GUEST,crazy little woman
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 12:26 PM

I thought of something else.

Nobody can do everything. Maybe the people who don't have their songs memorized are perfectly fit and their homes are utterly uncluttered. Have you ever thought of that?

;-)


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: GUEST,Pete from seven stars link
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 04:12 PM

On reflection, and as been mentioned in this connection , there have been times when I have not began immediately, even though ready, as I was waiting for at least some people to stop talking !.


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 06:04 PM

So why were they talking when they knew you wanted to sing?


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: Don Firth
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 06:17 PM

After going with a young woman who was really into folk songs when I was in my early twenties and hearing, then subsequently meeting Walt Robertson (who really got me started on the guitar—and taught me a great deal about singing for audiences, which stood me in good stead later on)—I set about building a career for myself as a singer of folk songs.

Although I never became nationally famous, I was well-known around the Pacific Northwest, and made a decent living as a modern-day minstrel. I was heavily into learning the backgrounds of the songs I sang, and as a result, I was asked to do a series on local educational television, funded by the Seattle Public Library ("Ballads and Books"—without teleprompter or cue cards), and this led to many other singing jobs, one of which was in one of Seattle's first coffeehouses, run by the owner of an art and foreign film theater, who ran a clean place (your elbows didn't stick to the tables), and he paid reasonably well.

Over the years, I have sung many concerts, usually at colleges in the area, but also in local concert halls, such as The Playhouse at the Seattle Center, where Richard Dyer-Bennet sang three concerts during the Seattle World's Fair in 1962. I also sang regularly every Sunday afternoon at the United Nations Pavilion along with about a dozen other local folk singers, and the following year at the Seattle Center Hootenannies every Wednesday evening, which drew crowds of up to 15,000 people!

And along with this, perhaps a thousand or so "hootenannies" in private homes, along with other singers, just for the fun of it.

No song books, song sheets, or three-ring binders appeared at any of these events until sometime late in the 1970s at the Seattle Song Circle. Up until then people would not think of taking up the time of others with a song book or crib sheet in their hands. It was an unspoken "no-no!" People just didn't do it. Learn the song. Then do it.

A few newcomers to Seattle Song Circle began bringing copies of Rise Up Singing to meetings and singing out of the book—or out of three-ring binders they had prepared. We spent a great deal of time at some meetings listening to someone riffle through pages and mumble their way through songs that they sometimes hadn't even read before.

My wife and I—and all of the other real singers who first started the Song Circle—over a brief period of time, dropped out.

The moral of the story is:

Learn the damned song before you get up in front of an audience, bore the hell out of people, and generally make an ass of yourself!!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 06:51 PM

Amen, Don!


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: Don Firth
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 07:45 PM

Back before I got into singing folk songs, I was an opera fan. I listened to the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts on Saturday afternoons, and on the rare occasion when a local entrepreneur produced an opera (usually built around a nationally known singer, along with some pretty good locals), I was there.

Then a friend of mine acquainted me with a small, local opera company (this was some years before Seattle Opera was founded and Seattle got its own opera company—which is now the fourth largest in the country!). A Mrs. Towers, a local voice teacher reasoned that young singers would do a lot better in opera auditions if, instead of just knowing a few well-known arias, they knew a few entire roles. She started TOPS, "Towers Opera Production Studios," and she would produce four or five operas a year, with the casts made up of her young students.

She and her students would put on an entire opera on the small stage of a "decommissioned" movie theater in Seattle's Broadway District. The young singers would sing an entire opera, complete with sets and costumes, with Mrs. Towers playing the orchestral part on a grand piano. I saw productions of several operas there: "Faust," with a sixteen-year-old Marguerita, a seventeen-year-old Faust, and a seventeen-year-old-Mephistopheles; "Rigoletto," with the same sixteen-year-old girl as Gilda, an eighteen-year-old Duke of Mantua, and a twenty-five-year-old Rigoletto; other productions of full-length operas with often—usually—teenage casts, such as "I Pagliacci" and "Cavalleria Rusticana."

Some of these kids carved out pretty good careers for themselves. The sixteen-year-old girl who I saw—and heard—doing both Marguerita and Gilda—wound up singing for Seattle Opera, is now retired from singing, and is on the Seattle Opera's executive board.   

And the point of this particular spasm?

If these kids could memorize the score of an entire operatic role—which could extend for as much as three or four hours—what is the matter with some folks who can't get through a three minute folk song without referring to a book or crib sheet!??

Don Firth

P. S. Ancient skops, skalds, and bards used to sing—from memory—songs and ballads that ran to hundreds of verses. Beowulf takes several hours to recite. It's the medieval equivalent of a television miniseries…..

Don't dishonor an ancient tradition by being slap-dash!


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: Pamela R
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 08:39 PM

Wow. REAL singers. Shouting in bold. Most clarifying.

(end sarcasm)

I can understand being angry when song circles don't go the way we hoped. Especially when we started them. It's disappointing and frustrating. I've been there, and I get that. But I don't see a lot of value to anyone in venting.

I think people come to song circles motivated by different, equally legitimate but sometimes conflicting goals. The posts above offer good evidence of this. So if the overarching goal is for all of us to receive more of what we wanted out of song circles, maybe it would help to clearly identify our own goals, understand the other possible goals people might have, and think about how best to cultivate different types of circles that are dedicated to serving these different goals.

I'd be glad to discuss that sort of thing with anyone interested, but perhaps that should be a separate thread.


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Subject: RE: why do singers take so long to start?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 11:06 PM

i suppose different countries have different traditions. in England , probably our most famous folk singing family, the Coppers have a tradition of having books with the words in front of them.

i've never used a crib sheet, but i don't feel theres any sort of moral imperative not to use one.


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