Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

do we sometimes forgot the pure joy of singing?

Expand Messages
  • Gary Davis
    I think I understand the passion for excellent singing, and I agree that we benefit from trying to sing better. Yet I worry about choruses who are told they
    Message 1 of 11 , Jun 5, 2013
      I think I understand the passion for excellent singing, and I agree that we
      benefit from trying to sing better.

      Yet I worry about choruses who are told they have scored "in the 50s." Those
      barbershoppers remember that high school and college, a score of 50 was a
      failing grade.

      When choruses go crazy as their winning district competition scores are
      announced, I'm pretty sure we've overdone our emphasis on excellence. I've
      seen this happen more times than I would like to admit.

      Daniel Levitin is a professor of psychology and behavioral neuroscience at
      McGill University. He's the author of "This is Your Brain on Music," and
      also a book called "The World in Six Songs." He is featured on this recent
      "Talk of the Nation" NPR program called "Imperfect Harmony."

      http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=1
      88355968&m=188355961

      Here's what Dr. Levitin says about our modern emphasis on competitive
      singing:

      "For most of human history, people sang together, and it wasn't seen as a
      competition or a contest or any kind of a judgment of who was better or who
      was worse. It was a joyful, communal experience. And, of course, some people
      were better than others, but there was very little emphasis on that. And
      still today, throughout most cultures, it's not seen in any competitive
      light.

      "Related to that is that it's only been in the last 500 years that we've had
      concert halls, which set up a separation between the performer and the
      audience that didn't exist in human history before that."

      As for me, the joy of singing together will always outweigh the joy of a
      score in the 60s. It's best when I can do both. But I will always be glad
      for the guys whose lives have been enriched -- even though their little
      chorus only sang in the 50s.

      I wonder whether O.C. Cash ever worried that the competition factor might
      get out of hand?

      Gary Davis
    • Jeremey Johnson
      I m a bit skeptical of Dr. Levitin s implication that competition in music has only arisen in the last 500 years. My recollection of music history (and a
      Message 2 of 11 , Jun 5, 2013
        I'm a bit skeptical of Dr. Levitin's implication that competition in music
        has only arisen in the last 500 years. My recollection of music history
        (and a quick Google search to confirm) is that music competitions have been
        around since at least the 5th century BC. -- and that's just in the records
        available from the western world!

        This doesn't really affect your position or change your point, but I
        thought it would be helpful to clarify that the competitive environment in
        music has been around quite a bit longer than Dr. Levitin would imply.

        *Jeremey Johnson*
        *Composer | Arranger | Conductor | Clinician*
        www.HighNoteMusicIndustries.com <http://www.highnotemusicindustries.com/>
        765-313-1699
        <http://www.twitter.com/HighNoteMusic> <http://lnkd.in/FKUAYp>
        <https://www.youtube.com/user/icompmusic/>
        <http://www.arrangersagainstcopyright.org/>
        <http://www.highnotemusicindustries.com/>


        On Wed, Jun 5, 2013 at 4:20 PM, Gary Davis <gwdavis44@...> wrote:

        > **
        >
        >
        > I think I understand the passion for excellent singing, and I agree that we
        > benefit from trying to sing better.
        >
        > Yet I worry about choruses who are told they have scored "in the 50s."
        > Those
        > barbershoppers remember that high school and college, a score of 50 was a
        > failing grade.
        >
        > When choruses go crazy as their winning district competition scores are
        > announced, I'm pretty sure we've overdone our emphasis on excellence. I've
        > seen this happen more times than I would like to admit.
        >
        > Daniel Levitin is a professor of psychology and behavioral neuroscience at
        > McGill University. He's the author of "This is Your Brain on Music," and
        > also a book called "The World in Six Songs." He is featured on this recent
        > "Talk of the Nation" NPR program called "Imperfect Harmony."
        >
        >
        > http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=1
        > 88355968&m=188355961
        >
        > Here's what Dr. Levitin says about our modern emphasis on competitive
        > singing:
        >
        > "For most of human history, people sang together, and it wasn't seen as a
        > competition or a contest or any kind of a judgment of who was better or who
        > was worse. It was a joyful, communal experience. And, of course, some
        > people
        > were better than others, but there was very little emphasis on that. And
        > still today, throughout most cultures, it's not seen in any competitive
        > light.
        >
        > "Related to that is that it's only been in the last 500 years that we've
        > had
        > concert halls, which set up a separation between the performer and the
        > audience that didn't exist in human history before that."
        >
        > As for me, the joy of singing together will always outweigh the joy of a
        > score in the 60s. It's best when I can do both. But I will always be glad
        > for the guys whose lives have been enriched -- even though their little
        > chorus only sang in the 50s.
        >
        > I wonder whether O.C. Cash ever worried that the competition factor might
        > get out of hand?
        >
        > Gary Davis
        >
        >
        >


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Jim Stahly
        If winning is placing first, then there s only one winner each year and the rest are losers. I sure don t view competiton that way. It s a way to measure
        Message 3 of 11 , Jun 5, 2013
          If winning is placing first, then there's only one winner each year and the rest are losers. I sure don't view competiton that way. It's a way to measure progress of your group. Let the chips fall where they will. If you score better than you did last time, you're better. If not, you know how to improve. If you don't wish to improve, don't worry about scoring 50.

          Sent from my iPhone

          On Jun 5, 2013, at 3:56 PM, Jeremey Johnson <highnotemusicindustries@...> wrote:

          > I'm a bit skeptical of Dr. Levitin's implication that competition in music
          > has only arisen in the last 500 years. My recollection of music history
          > (and a quick Google search to confirm) is that music competitions have been
          > around since at least the 5th century BC. -- and that's just in the records
          > available from the western world!
          >
          > This doesn't really affect your position or change your point, but I
          > thought it would be helpful to clarify that the competitive environment in
          > music has been around quite a bit longer than Dr. Levitin would imply.
          >
          > *Jeremey Johnson*
          > *Composer | Arranger | Conductor | Clinician*
          > www.HighNoteMusicIndustries.com <http://www.highnotemusicindustries.com/>
          > 765-313-1699
          > <http://www.twitter.com/HighNoteMusic> <http://lnkd.in/FKUAYp>
          > <https://www.youtube.com/user/icompmusic/>
          > <http://www.arrangersagainstcopyright.org/>
          > <http://www.highnotemusicindustries.com/>
          >
          >
          > On Wed, Jun 5, 2013 at 4:20 PM, Gary Davis <gwdavis44@...> wrote:
          >
          >> **
          >>
          >>
          >> I think I understand the passion for excellent singing, and I agree that we
          >> benefit from trying to sing better.
          >>
          >> Yet I worry about choruses who are told they have scored "in the 50s."
          >> Those
          >> barbershoppers remember that high school and college, a score of 50 was a
          >> failing grade.
          >>
          >> When choruses go crazy as their winning district competition scores are
          >> announced, I'm pretty sure we've overdone our emphasis on excellence. I've
          >> seen this happen more times than I would like to admit.
          >>
          >> Daniel Levitin is a professor of psychology and behavioral neuroscience at
          >> McGill University. He's the author of "This is Your Brain on Music," and
          >> also a book called "The World in Six Songs." He is featured on this recent
          >> "Talk of the Nation" NPR program called "Imperfect Harmony."
          >>
          >>
          >> http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=1
          >> 88355968&m=188355961
          >>
          >> Here's what Dr. Levitin says about our modern emphasis on competitive
          >> singing:
          >>
          >> "For most of human history, people sang together, and it wasn't seen as a
          >> competition or a contest or any kind of a judgment of who was better or who
          >> was worse. It was a joyful, communal experience. And, of course, some
          >> people
          >> were better than others, but there was very little emphasis on that. And
          >> still today, throughout most cultures, it's not seen in any competitive
          >> light.
          >>
          >> "Related to that is that it's only been in the last 500 years that we've
          >> had
          >> concert halls, which set up a separation between the performer and the
          >> audience that didn't exist in human history before that."
          >>
          >> As for me, the joy of singing together will always outweigh the joy of a
          >> score in the 60s. It's best when I can do both. But I will always be glad
          >> for the guys whose lives have been enriched -- even though their little
          >> chorus only sang in the 50s.
          >>
          >> I wonder whether O.C. Cash ever worried that the competition factor might
          >> get out of hand?
          >>
          >> Gary Davis
          >
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
          >
          >
          > ------------------------------------
          >
          > Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
        • Gary Davis
          Thanks for the feedback. Let me put this in a more positive way. When our District encourages barbershoppers to get to know each other and to support one
          Message 4 of 11 , Jun 5, 2013
            Thanks for the feedback.



            Let me put this in a more positive way. When our District encourages
            barbershoppers to get to know each other and to support one another - even
            if the other guy sings a chorus that scores in the 50s - it's doing the
            right thing.



            Among the more competitive choruses there's a lot of natural "game face"
            behavior at district conventions. It's expected. It comes from the intense
            quest for first place. But if we aren't careful, that natural intensity will
            soak up all the air in the room and that would be sad.



            The "eat our dust" attitude of the blue ribbon singers needs to be
            intentionally balanced by more humanistic, sharing approaches to singing and
            meeting. Smile and say hello to somebody you DON'T know. Get to know a
            member of another chorus. Sing with him. Learn his story. Look for
            something to congratulate him and his chorus for -- even if his chorus
            finished in the 50s. Plan activities that encourage these things.



            Several of my District leaders get that -- and I thank them for their
            efforts.



            Gary Davis







            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Robert Dunn
            I remember a talk given by Dave Stevens back at Harmony College at St. Joe in 1979 where he said, Beware of the Hot Shots.  They will ruin the hobby .  As
            Message 5 of 11 , Jun 6, 2013
              I remember a talk given by Dave Stevens back at Harmony College at St. Joe in 1979 where he said, "Beware of the Hot Shots.� They will ruin the hobby".� As the bar is raised higher and higher, it should not be a mystery as to why membership is declining.� Are we becoming a singing society that is afraid to sing, because, OMG what if I am not GOOD enough to sing with the Hot Shots?� Hello?

              Bob Dunn
              37 Years as a Baritone

              --- On Wed, 6/5/13, Gary Davis <gwdavis44@...> wrote:

              From: Gary Davis <gwdavis44@...>
              Subject: [bbshop] do we forgot the pure joy of singing?
              To: bbshop@yahoogroups.com
              Cc: bbshop@yahoogroups.com
              Date: Wednesday, June 5, 2013, 6:34 PM

              Thanks for the feedback.

              Let me put this in a more positive way. When our District encourages barbershoppers to get to know each other and to support one another - even if the other guy sings a chorus that scores in the 50s - it's doing the right thing.

              Among the more competitive choruses there's a lot of natural "game face" behavior at district conventions. It's expected. It comes from the intense quest for first place. But if we aren't careful, that natural intensity will soak up all the air in the room and that would be sad.

              The "eat our dust" attitude of the blue ribbon singers needs to be
              intentionally balanced by more humanistic, sharing approaches to singing and meeting. Smile and say hello to somebody you DON'T know. Get to know a member of another chorus. Sing with him. Learn his story. Look for something to congratulate him and his chorus for -- even if his chorus finished in the 50s. Plan activities that encourage these things.

              Several of my District leaders get that -- and I thank them for their efforts.

              Gary Davis
            • David
              I agree with you about encouraging and supporting other barbershoppers, but I must take issue with one statement: The eat our dust attitude of the blue
              Message 6 of 11 , Jun 6, 2013
                I agree with you about encouraging and supporting other barbershoppers, but I must take issue with one statement: 'The "eat our dust" attitude of the blue ribbon singers ...'

                Yes, I have known a few top competitors who were self-important jerks. And yes, I've known competitors who play those silly mind games back stage as if the only book they ever read was "Winning Through Intimidation". But they're in the minority. I've known far more who help out and encourage their fellow competitors, even back stage during the contest.

                Did I mention 1979, when Grand Tradition unexpectedly made the top 10 and had to scramble to put together a finals package? We had previously sung a Boston Common song, but one of us couldn't remember his notes (I shall not name names ...). Well, we tapped on their dressing room door and humbly explained our dilemma, and after they finished laughing, they invited us in and gave us an impromptu coaching session, even though it meant sacrificing some of their own prep time.

                I've always strived to "pay it forward" in later contests, and so, in my experience, do most competitive barbershoppers. Also, I don't mean to sound cliche, but YOU are the one who decides whether you're a winner, not the judges. They give you a number representing their educated opinion of how you did, and they will do their best to help you improve if you want to. But I truly believe that if you put your best out there and feel good about it, you're a winner, wherever you place in the rankings.

                Dave Garstang

                --- In bbshop@yahoogroups.com, "Gary Davis" <gwdavis44@...> wrote:
                >
                > Thanks for the feedback.
                >
                > Let me put this in a more positive way. When our District
                > encourages barbershoppers to get to know each other and to
                > support one another - even if the other guy sings a chorus
                > that scores in the 50s - it's doing the right thing.
                >
                > Among the more competitive choruses there's a lot of natural
                > "game face" behavior at district conventions. It's expected.
                > It comes from the intense quest for first place. But if we
                > aren't careful, that natural intensity will soak up all the
                > air in the room and that would be sad.
                >
                > The "eat our dust" attitude of the blue ribbon singers needs
                > to be intentionally balanced by more humanistic, sharing
                > approaches to singing and meeting. Smile and say hello to
                > somebody you DON'T know. Get to know a member of another
                > chorus. Sing with him. Learn his story. Look for something
                > to congratulate him and his chorus for -- even if his chorus
                > finished in the 50s. Plan activities that encourage these
                > things.
                >
                > Several of my District leaders get that -- and I thank them
                > for their efforts.
                >
                > Gary Davis
                >
              • Mark Schuldenfrei
                ... In a word, No. I ve belonged to other organizations that have had visible and intrinsic competition as a vital part of their activities. It didn t hurt
                Message 7 of 11 , Jun 6, 2013
                  On 6/6/2013 3:58 AM, Robert Dunn wrote:
                  > Are we becoming a singing society that is afraid to sing, because,
                  > OMG what if I am not GOOD enough to sing with the Hot Shots?

                  In a word, No.

                  I've belonged to other organizations that have had visible
                  and intrinsic competition as a vital part of their
                  activities.

                  It didn't "hurt them none", either. :-)

                  Not very long ago, I had a chance to meet a "hot shot":
                  Dr Jim Henry of Ambassadors of Harmony and Crossroads.
                  He was in Boston on an academic/work visit, and I
                  had the pleasure of being part of the barbershop
                  community which helped him and his student singers.

                  He also brought them to one of our local Youth in
                  Harmony programs, where he taught a master class
                  and helped coach our barbershop youth chorus.

                  I'll never be as good as he is: but he and everything
                  he did/does, makes me want to be the best singer I
                  can be. And, the beautiful thing is, I became
                  convinced that he wants nothing more than for every
                  singer to be the best singer they can possibly
                  be.

                  If this is what competition brings to barbershop,
                  bring me more competition.

                  Mark Schuldenfrei
                • Robert Farnham
                  Well said!! ________________________________ From: David To: bbshop@yahoogroups.com Sent: Thursday, June 6, 2013 5:59 AM Subject:
                  Message 8 of 11 , Jun 6, 2013
                    Well said!!




                    ________________________________
                    From: David <garsinger@...>
                    To: bbshop@yahoogroups.com
                    Sent: Thursday, June 6, 2013 5:59 AM
                    Subject: [bbshop] Re: do we forgot the pure joy of singing?



                     
                    I agree with you about encouraging and supporting other barbershoppers, but I must take issue with one statement: 'The "eat our dust" attitude of the blue ribbon singers ...'

                    Yes, I have known a few top competitors who were self-important jerks. And yes, I've known competitors who play those silly mind games back stage as if the only book they ever read was "Winning Through Intimidation". But they're in the minority. I've known far more who help out and encourage their fellow competitors, even back stage during the contest.

                    Did I mention 1979, when Grand Tradition unexpectedly made the top 10 and had to scramble to put together a finals package? We had previously sung a Boston Common song, but one of us couldn't remember his notes (I shall not name names ...). Well, we tapped on their dressing room door and humbly explained our dilemma, and after they finished laughing, they invited us in and gave us an impromptu coaching session, even though it meant sacrificing some of their own prep time.

                    I've always strived to "pay it forward" in later contests, and so, in my experience, do most competitive barbershoppers. Also, I don't mean to sound cliche, but YOU are the one who decides whether you're a winner, not the judges. They give you a number representing their educated opinion of how you did, and they will do their best to help you improve if you want to. But I truly believe that if you put your best out there and feel good about it, you're a winner, wherever you place in the rankings.

                    Dave Garstang

                    --- In bbshop@yahoogroups.com, "Gary Davis" <gwdavis44@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Thanks for the feedback.
                    >
                    > Let me put this in a more positive way. When our District
                    > encourages barbershoppers to get to know each other and to
                    > support one another - even if the other guy sings a chorus
                    > that scores in the 50s - it's doing the right thing.
                    >
                    > Among the more competitive choruses there's a lot of natural
                    > "game face" behavior at district conventions. It's expected.
                    > It comes from the intense quest for first place. But if we
                    > aren't careful, that natural intensity will soak up all the
                    > air in the room and that would be sad.
                    >
                    > The "eat our dust" attitude of the blue ribbon singers needs
                    > to be intentionally balanced by more humanistic, sharing
                    > approaches to singing and meeting. Smile and say hello to
                    > somebody you DON'T know. Get to know a member of another
                    > chorus. Sing with him. Learn his story. Look for something
                    > to congratulate him and his chorus for -- even if his chorus
                    > finished in the 50s. Plan activities that encourage these
                    > things.
                    >
                    > Several of my District leaders get that -- and I thank them
                    > for their efforts.
                    >
                    > Gary Davis
                    >




                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Ronald Weaver
                    The fact that this question has to be asked, tells tons. It s a hobby. I don t care what anyone says. It s a wonderful way to share time and energy with
                    Message 9 of 11 , Jun 6, 2013
                      The fact that this question has to be asked, tells tons.
                      It's a hobby. I don't care what anyone says. It's a wonderful way to share time and energy with friends who also share the love. If others care to listen? Even better.
                      Love it for what it is. Live with it for what it does. Make it what you want it to be. BUT keep it barbershop...or it will become something else.
                      Ron W



                      -----Original Message-----
                      From: Gary Davis <gwdavis44@...>
                      To: bbshop <bbshop@yahoogroups.com>
                      Cc: 'Gary Davis' <gwdavis44@...>
                      Sent: Wed, Jun 5, 2013 4:21 pm
                      Subject: [bbshop] do we sometimes forgot the pure joy of singing?




                      I think I understand the passion for excellent singing, and I agree that we
                      benefit from trying to sing better.

                      Yet I worry about choruses who are told they have scored "in the 50s." Those
                      barbershoppers remember that high school and college, a score of 50 was a
                      failing grade.

                      When choruses go crazy as their winning district competition scores are
                      announced, I'm pretty sure we've overdone our emphasis on excellence. I've
                      seen this happen more times than I would like to admit.

                      Daniel Levitin is a professor of psychology and behavioral neuroscience at
                      McGill University. He's the author of "This is Your Brain on Music," and
                      also a book called "The World in Six Songs." He is featured on this recent
                      "Talk of the Nation" NPR program called "Imperfect Harmony."

                      http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=1
                      88355968&m=188355961

                      Here's what Dr. Levitin says about our modern emphasis on competitive
                      singing:

                      "For most of human history, people sang together, and it wasn't seen as a
                      competition or a contest or any kind of a judgment of who was better or who
                      was worse. It was a joyful, communal experience. And, of course, some people
                      were better than others, but there was very little emphasis on that. And
                      still today, throughout most cultures, it's not seen in any competitive
                      light.

                      "Related to that is that it's only been in the last 500 years that we've had
                      concert halls, which set up a separation between the performer and the
                      audience that didn't exist in human history before that."

                      As for me, the joy of singing together will always outweigh the joy of a
                      score in the 60s. It's best when I can do both. But I will always be glad
                      for the guys whose lives have been enriched -- even though their little
                      chorus only sang in the 50s.

                      I wonder whether O.C. Cash ever worried that the competition factor might
                      get out of hand?

                      Gary Davis







                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • John Witmer
                      The problem is not that the hot shots aren t willing to help the also rans . The problem is that the also rans are so sensitive that they become
                      Message 10 of 11 , Jun 6, 2013
                        The problem is not that the "hot shots" aren't willing to help the "also rans". The problem is that the "also rans" are so sensitive that they become discouraged easily. A quick departure which is regarded as a snub is probably nothing more than a "hot shot" being late for a rehearsal. These wonderful singers are only too willing to help the rest of us, "if they are asked", but often the rest of us are too intimidated by their success to "presume" to ask for help. The efforts of some districts to encourage "mixing" are an opportunity to break down these walls of misunderstanding. Let's have more of them. Let's do some more singing!

                        Chordially,
                        John Witmer, Clemson Downs

                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Marty Israel
                        Dave, That s really a great story. Thanks for sharing!! Canto ergo sum Marty Israel Long live the 7th To: bbshop@yahoogroups.com From: garsinger@yahoo.com
                        Message 11 of 11 , Jun 6, 2013
                          Dave,

                          That's really a great story. Thanks for sharing!!

                          Canto ergo sum

                          Marty Israel
                          Long live the 7th

                          To: bbshop@yahoogroups.com
                          From: garsinger@...
                          Date: Thu, 6 Jun 2013 09:59:08 +0000
                          Subject: [bbshop] Re: do we forgot the pure joy of singing?


























                          I agree with you about encouraging and supporting other barbershoppers, but I must take issue with one statement: 'The "eat our dust" attitude of the blue ribbon singers ...'



                          Yes, I have known a few top competitors who were self-important jerks. And yes, I've known competitors who play those silly mind games back stage as if the only book they ever read was "Winning Through Intimidation". But they're in the minority. I've known far more who help out and encourage their fellow competitors, even back stage during the contest.



                          Did I mention 1979, when Grand Tradition unexpectedly made the top 10 and had to scramble to put together a finals package? We had previously sung a Boston Common song, but one of us couldn't remember his notes (I shall not name names ...). Well, we tapped on their dressing room door and humbly explained our dilemma, and after they finished laughing, they invited us in and gave us an impromptu coaching session, even though it meant sacrificing some of their own prep time.



                          I've always strived to "pay it forward" in later contests, and so, in my experience, do most competitive barbershoppers. Also, I don't mean to sound cliche, but YOU are the one who decides whether you're a winner, not the judges. They give you a number representing their educated opinion of how you did, and they will do their best to help you improve if you want to. But I truly believe that if you put your best out there and feel good about it, you're a winner, wherever you place in the rankings.



                          Dave Garstang



                          --- In bbshop@yahoogroups.com, "Gary Davis" <gwdavis44@...> wrote:

                          >

                          > Thanks for the feedback.

                          >

                          > Let me put this in a more positive way. When our District

                          > encourages barbershoppers to get to know each other and to

                          > support one another - even if the other guy sings a chorus

                          > that scores in the 50s - it's doing the right thing.

                          >

                          > Among the more competitive choruses there's a lot of natural

                          > "game face" behavior at district conventions. It's expected.

                          > It comes from the intense quest for first place. But if we

                          > aren't careful, that natural intensity will soak up all the

                          > air in the room and that would be sad.

                          >

                          > The "eat our dust" attitude of the blue ribbon singers needs

                          > to be intentionally balanced by more humanistic, sharing

                          > approaches to singing and meeting. Smile and say hello to

                          > somebody you DON'T know. Get to know a member of another

                          > chorus. Sing with him. Learn his story. Look for something

                          > to congratulate him and his chorus for -- even if his chorus

                          > finished in the 50s. Plan activities that encourage these

                          > things.

                          >

                          > Several of my District leaders get that -- and I thank them

                          > for their efforts.

                          >

                          > Gary Davis

                          >



















                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.