Dim Sum Trad ~ the joys and perils of digital tutelage
I have been throwing this around in my head like raw dough for ages, and it is well fermented sourdough, but it needs some seasoning from elsewhere, your contributions, on and off topic of course. While I love the open doors of the digital world, I also see the need for screens. I really don’t want every bluebottle or blood sucker coming through my windows and doors. But what has this got to do with learning ITM? It’s all bloody DOTS!!! They’re pixels, they’re pixelated, they’re DOTS!!! It has limits, it is compressed. What is being offered is Dimensionally challenged, DIM, weak, limited, vague, in that they can not substitute for the one-to-one, face-to-face sharing and passing on of knowledge and skill. These are little digests, mini-vids, 2-dimensional, usually no bigger than your palm, and the quality is generally pretty poor. The same is true of the audio. The graphics are drastically reduced from millions of colours to a couple of hundred for the convenience of a quick internet, compressed. The sound is similarly put through compression, reducing it to the smallest acceptable file size. Things are lost in that processing. Then we have to consider the SUM of it all. Is it just video, is there text to explain and warn of limitations, to direct the neophyte to other sources ~ like LIVING ones?
I decided to review a number of tutors designed to pass on ‘tradition’ via print and accompanying recording. I also checked out some Videos and DVDs. On the whole, these proved to be better in almost every way than what I find scattered across the Internet. Yes, there are some good sites, such as Ryan Duns whistle vids, which I don’t have much other than praise for, but a lot of what I have stumbled across online is awful. I’m sure the intentions were generous, but I won’t go so far as to say ‘honourable’. There are bad players with poor technique teaching badly played tunes. There are some nice things too. But much of it makes me wince, knowing how hard it is to reteach, retrain someone who has taken on some bizarre way of playing, or thinking about this music. I wish and want, personally, for people to be able to enjoy this lovely stuff till they drop. I’ve actually known a few who have done just that, dropped in the middle of a tune… I wouldn’t mind going that way, though I wouldn’t want it to be a bother to anyone, or to bring things to a halt. 😉 If you are taught badly, or choose to just depend on such imperfect media sources, whether in print or online, you risk developing tensions and bad habits that could interfere with your enjoyment of this tradition somewhere down the line. That bothers me. If I were to trap some Leprauchaun and be given a few wishes, confined to our concerns here ~ I’d wish that everyone was given the best start in answer to their curiosity and passions, the best start learning anything.
I know and have seen bad teaching, it can destroy passion, it can cripple.
So, given the limitations of the media, what must it have to do the best job it can? How best do we avoid bad teaching given there isn’t a direct link. In most cases you just watch and copy. What elements must be included in such detached teaching, sharing? Some would say that this medium is only good for sharing tunes, not for learning technique, that the latter is always best learned from and nurtured by a living instructor, not a 2 dimensional mini vid on U-Tube…
So, ideas, how best can this media be used to pass on the traditions? Where does it fail?
Examples of good and bad would be welcome too…with comment of course…trying to be ‘constructive’… 😏