Welcome to the third installment of the Internet Forum Field Guide, a look at the wildlife that inhabits woodwind-related online message boards and forums. (Be sure to check out the first and second episodes as well.)
Today we look at common questions that are asked on the message boards. The diverse and varied answers as they appear in the wild are a discussion for another day; for brevity’s sake I will just provide the simplest, most accurate answer for each question.
Q. Hi you guys, rather than getting lessons with a teacher in my area, I figured I would become an amazing player by asking vaguely-worded questions here and getting a bunch of conflicting and possibly poorly-informed replies. Is this going to go well?
Q. Hi you guys, I have ill-advisedly acquired an instrument of some make or model with which I am not suitably familiar. Can you please tell me that it was a really great find and is rare and desirable and “worth” some fantastic and precise amount of money?
Q. Hi you guys, I do not by any stretch have sufficient disposable funds to obtain an instrument of playable quality. Can you recommend a model that is of the highest professional caliber but can be purchased for an unrealistically low cost?
Q. Hi you guys, I am a student at one of the finest music schools, and I have weekly if not daily access to a very distinguished and successful teacher of my instrument. Since you all are perfect strangers and have undetermined credentials, would it be a good idea for me to ask you for suggestions on repertoire, equipment, and technique?
Q. Hi you guys, if we each made a detailed list of all the instruments and accessories that we individually use, and posted them publicly here for some reason, would that be in any way interesting or useful?
This concludes another episode of the Internet Forum Field Guide. Be careful out there.
Welcome to the second installment of the Internet forum field guide, a look at the inhabitants of the various woodwind-related message boards, forums, and email lists. (Read the first chapter here.) Today we will examine how the indigenous wildlife deal with conflicts.
One of the most common sources of conflict is the introduction of a dangerous threat into the community. It generally starts with an honest question:
Hey guys, just wondering which alloy gives an instrument a darker sound: 93% silver with 7% copper, or 97% silver with 3% copper? Thanks in advance.
Enter the troublemaker
Suddenly the herd’s status quo is endangered, unthinkably, by one of its own:
Well, actually, it turns out there’s over 100 years of well-documented, peer-reviewed scientific research that says the material makes no significant difference to the sound of a wind instrument. I know this because I went to the library and read actual books and journal articles about it.
The herd stampedes
This kind of affront is clearly unacceptable to the community, and they respond swiftly to correct the errant behavior. The alpha male is often the first to weigh in:
I have been playing for 40 years with some groups whose names you think you vaguely recognize, and I say the material does make a difference, so that should pretty much settle it.
He is followed shortly by a rival who will try to discredit the original poster:
If you frequent any of the various woodwind-related Internet message boards, forums, or listservs, you have undoubtedly encountered some of the wildlife I will describe here. Remember that they can be dangerous creatures, and that it is often best not to attempt interaction with them.
One of the most common animal behaviors witnessed on the message boards is the exchange of gear recommendations. There are two primary families of wildlife the participate in this ritual: the askers and the answerers.
The askers all share a common behavioral trait: a proclivity for asking total strangers to blindly recommend instruments, mouthpieces, reeds, and other items. Their calls are varied.
Some prefer to remain hidden in the underbrush, offering no clarifying details: