Little Geese: The Ocarina Forum
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The state of the community
http://www.littlegeese.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=975
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Author:  Robert Hickman [ 29 Sep 2019, 13:33 ]
Post subject:  The state of the community

At least from my point of view, since I got involved with the ocarina around 2011/2012, the state of the English speaking community seems to have shifted massively in the 'non-serious' direction, at least from what I can see. Many of the serious players that were around when I got into this have moved to other instruments and nobody has taken their place.

In fact, I largely shifted to other instruments that were more suited to the music I wanted to play, and since writing Serious Ocarina Player was taking all my time, I stopped playing music and have mostly lost interest in it. The instrument that the ocarina actually is, is very different from what I thought it was when I started playing. Given the music that I want to play, had I been aware of the technical constraints of the ocarina, and what is actually involved in learning to play an instrument, I most likely wouldn't have bothered with the ocarina at all, and instead gone directly to flute or fiddle.

I suspect that much of the problem with player attitude is due to those marketing the ocarina as 'easy to play', which it appears to be to someone that is inexperienced, but in reality this is a trap leading to bad approach. Some of the challenges of the ocarina may not be obvious to a beginner, especially those relating to breath curves and intonation. Plus playing music well is far more complex than knowing a fingering system. A lot of the challenge is in understanding music in a larger sense, what could be called musicality, and that is a much more complex issue than the physical mechanics of any instrument.

As far as I can see, to 'fix' this problem would entail either flipping the attitude and approach of many people in the existing community on its head, or attracting a completely new community with a different attitude. The first would be difficult, if not impossible, as it would be working against the innate tendencies of the social group that has been drawn to the instrument. The second would also be hard as 'the' ocarina presents a non-serious image due to the existing player base. The name 'ocarina' being so ridiculously ambiguous doesn't help anything.

Due to this, I question if it's worth trying to promote the ocarina as a serious instrument. I became aware of the problems of the 'easy to play' attitude pretty soon after I started playing, and have made posts about them to create awareness. However, the state of affairs that I was trying to avoid has mostly come to be the state of things.

This forum was started with the view of being a serious ocarina community, but hasn't been active tor around 4 years. Most of the community has moved to facebook, but attitude seems to have shifted towards non-serious, and there aren't any facebook communities with an equivalent intent to this forum that I'm aware of. I'm inclined to think that facebook isn't that well suited to such a community, due to the lack of support for subcategories that forums have. Everything gets mashed together in a big mess.

I wanted to document what I have learned about the ocarina, as not doing so felt like a big waste of time. That project turned into "Serious Ocarina Player". Now the book is essentially done moving on is a serious consideration.

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