Do ýou find competitions distasteful?

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PlatedDrake
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07 May 2010, 10:03 am

I actually brought this up, in a round about way, on the AS/NT Hotline thread (About stress, which lead to deadlines and competitions). In a way, you are right about art competitions being ridiculous . . . but at the same time, art is about personal taste and how its expressed. Judging this is more along the lines of, "Is this work unique, expressive, and convey a message/moral that the public/onlooker would find aesthetically pleasing?" In the end, its still a case of, "One man's crap is another man's art," however, there are some artistic competitions that were a bit more "realistic." I recall from a college music appreciation class one a medieval competition for four metal plate artists to create a plaque depicting the story of the guy who was ordered by god to kill his son, but god sent an angel to intervene and save the kid (forgot the story). The plaque had to have: the father, his son, shepherd, sheep, angel, and mountain setting. The one that was the most realistic (meaning the positioning of the figures made it so the shepherd couldnt see the father about to kill his son) was the winner.



Lightning88
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07 May 2010, 10:37 am

Well, coming from someone who has two parents that are very much into sports and competitions, I can honestly say I do not think competitions are rediculous. There's nothing wrong with striving to be the very best you can be and the very best you can do. I compete in beauty pageants (doing a big one tomorrow!) and I cannot tell you just how wonderful the feeling is when I go up there, have fun, and do everything correctly. It's a really great feeling and I feel really proud of myself. And it's always fun to see what I win! :wink:



serenity
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07 May 2010, 11:10 am

Lightning88 wrote:
Well, coming from someone who has two parents that are very much into sports and competitions, I can honestly say I do not think competitions are rediculous. There's nothing wrong with striving to be the very best you can be and the very best you can do. I compete in beauty pageants (doing a big one tomorrow!) and I cannot tell you just how wonderful the feeling is when I go up there, have fun, and do everything correctly. It's a really great feeling and I feel really proud of myself. And it's always fun to see what I win! :wink:


I hope that you didn't find my post offensive. Just because I don't like something doesn't mean that I feel everyone else shouldn't, either. To each their own.
Good Luck tomorrow!



fiddlerpianist
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07 May 2010, 11:11 pm

Lightning88 wrote:
Well, coming from someone who has two parents that are very much into sports and competitions, I can honestly say I do not think competitions are rediculous. There's nothing wrong with striving to be the very best you can be and the very best you can do. I compete in beauty pageants (doing a big one tomorrow!) and I cannot tell you just how wonderful the feeling is when I go up there, have fun, and do everything correctly. It's a really great feeling and I feel really proud of myself. And it's always fun to see what I win! :wink:

Why do you need a competition to be the very best you can be and the very best you can do? Why can't that simply be your only motivation? Why does there have to be an external ranking? I guess that motivates some people, but it certainly never motivated me.


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08 May 2010, 3:26 pm

Competitions that are judged subjectively are overwhelmingly influenced by the looks, personal magnetism, previous successes/failures, and social/political connections of the competitors.

And then there's whatever ridiculous current standard the judges have for what the "right" or "best" way to do something is, which is a moving target that foolishly rewards those that follow what's trendy in their area of expertise as opposed to those with greater skill or innovation.

In my personal life, I don't like to compete because it's, well, a no-win situation: If I win, it doesn't gain me anything, not even pleasure since I don't care, and those who are emotionally attached to winning are now resentful towards me. If I lose, I've had the unpleasant sensation of losing, of investing time and effort in failure, and people look down their noses and revel in the chance to be condescending to someone who can usually talk circles around them.


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katzefrau
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08 May 2010, 7:43 pm

i find the nature of competition distasteful, especially when the idea is to broadcast the competition on television and show the response of the losers when informed of the results. who watches this crap, and why? voyeuristic desire to watch someone win / lose? or does it feel like it's you?

but what i find far more distasteful is competition in interpersonal relationships.


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08 May 2010, 7:49 pm

It depends on the competition. If people go into it with good will, it's fun. If everyone's too serious, and nasty to opponents, it's ridiculous.
And art competitions aren't meaningless.



ruveyn
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08 May 2010, 8:32 pm

I like to play chess and go. How can one play these games and not compete?

ruveyn



fiddlerpianist
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09 May 2010, 12:43 am

ruveyn wrote:
I like to play chess and go. How can one play these games and not compete?

ruveyn

Of course these are competitive... see the original post for what I was getting at.


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catherineconns
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09 May 2010, 12:59 am

I've been in vocal music competitions before. I don't mind the ones that I was in because the judges really break down the logic behind why one person got a good rating and why another got a bad rating. They handed out sheets with scores on them for different categories such as articulation, pitch, tone, phrasing, etc. The scores from those categories added up to the overall rating. It didn't seem too subjective to me. Technique is fairly cut and dry.

However, that was a performance competition, with the performing being of works of music that already existed.

In the case of the works of music themselves being scored, which would be comparable to rating works of art or creative writing pieces, I find that while technique still factors in, there is also too much personal preference and bias to make those competitions legitimate.



AngelRho
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09 May 2010, 3:26 pm

fiddlerpianist wrote:
ToughDiamond wrote:
have a hard time knowing how good I am.....audiences and individuals don't often give accurate feedback, though often folks approach me to say they liked my stuff, which can't all be sycophantic drivel.

I make the music that I do primarily for myself. If there are people out there who like what I'm doing, then that means that I'm good enough for them.

I honestly don't care (or even know how to begin accounting for) how good I am on a broad perspective. In fact, I think the whole question is invalid. It all depends on what you value.

Classical music has a tendency to value intonation first, technique second, and artistry third. That is, however, definitely not a universal standard. There are fiddle masters out there who are exceptional musicians, yet those who would apply the classical version of "good" to their playing would run screaming (i.e., they can't get past less-than-perfect intonation). In some fiddle traditions, in fact, if you play in "perfect" intonation (from a classical music perspective), you are actually playing the tune with less aptitude.

To put this into a little context... I recently had a huge spat with a relatively famous violin player over the internet. At every turn, he threw his credentials in my face (that he had played for multiple presidents, that all kinds of well-respected musicians thought he was the best violinist in the world) and that, conversely, I had neither talent nor musical career to judge what he was doing. What a thing to say about someone you've never heard nor met! His arguments proceeded to get even worse and more ridiculous, and I actually had to block him from contacting me.


The thing with intonation is that if your intonation is too far off, nobody wants to listen to you! I briefly taught violin for a while (I'm a clarinetist but taught violin because there was no one around at the time willing to do it) and I was always scared to death because of the difficulties of perfect intonation on violin opposed to a keyed or woodwind instrument. What really made me feel much better about it was that my last violin student before I stopped teaching it was just starting to develop a good ear for the instrument.

"Perfect" intonation on clarinet is a little bit easier than violin because you can "voice" harmonics more easily in the upper registers. It has taken me SEVERAL years, even after grad school, to really just start to get it, but it has inhibited neither my aptitude nor my technique. I can't make the same claim for my violin-playing because the fingers must be placed PRECISELY for the first note. But it's easy to tell classical violinists apart between those who have had the years of professional experience and those who don't (poor intonation). I'd much rather hear someone with good intonation and knows how to use the bow correctly for beauty of tone, all at the expense of florid technique, than someone who can play a lot of rapid scales and arpeggios at the expense of playing long notes off-pitch.

I once taught a band class that only had 9 players. When I took that group to concert festival, I got very positive remarks on intonation (I'd written some transcriptions of Chopin and Schumann). I can't count the hours we spent practicing Bach chorales and chord progressions, not to mention finding the occasional alternate fingering, to pull that off. Intonation isn't something you really worry about with large ensembles. But 9? We got superior ratings for making something that people WANT to hear. Play fast and you'll impress a lot of people, sure. But for slow, chordal, lyrical passages? People are going to know instantly if intonation is less than spot on--the fewer performers, the worse it is--and that's not how you want to represent yourself or your small ensemble.

Contests and ratings festivals are GREAT if they're the kind that gives feedback. Even though I don't do the whole band thing anymore, I still rely on any kind of professional feedback I can get if I do public performances.