I decided to leave a space in the survey for general comments, and many of you took the time to remark on a variety of subjects. Many of them were directed to me personally or seemed otherwise non-public in nature, so I’m not going to list them all, but I’ll share a few and summarize the rest.
Some of you politely made suggestions on how the survey could be better:
- There’s a big gap between “casual dabbler” and “semi-pro”. I suggest an additional category: “serious amateur” or something like that.
- It would be good to have a skill level between casual dabbler and music major (something along the lines of “good amateur”). As the poll currently is, it suggests that I play recorder to the same standard as sax. I would consider my recorder and flute playing better than “not at all” but my sax and clarinet playing not to be at the level of “music major”, hence they all closest to “casual dabbler”. I guess it’s too late to change the poll now, but I thought I’d offer my opinion anyway :).
- maybe ask music arranging abilities. Small ensemble writing for different woodwinds is necessary in my working fields.
- Not sure what your intent is with this data, but I do think that there are some fields that would be nice to have/know of (of course maybe for the next time you do this)… For example,
-“what do you consider your strongest/primary instrument”,
-consider having three columns in the instruments section like: own/play/don’t own
- Didn’t know how to answer some of the questions because I’m still a high school student
I think these are all good suggestions, and ones that I would probably take if I could do the survey over. (At this point I have no specific plan for future surveys, but haven’t ruled the idea out, either.)
Some other comments made me think of other questions I wish I had asked. A number of respondents took the opportunity to share some goals and ambitions (everything from getting a first paying gig to making it in the Broadway pit orchestras), which were fun and inspiring to read, and some shared accomplishments of which they are particularly proud (gigs, graduations, retirements, etc.). Others noted the non-woodwind instruments that they also play: piano, guitar, trumpet, valve trombone, tuba, percussion, and concertina were among those reported.
Many of you were kind enough to leave personal notes, or to offer compliments to me about my website, the survey itself, or other things. In particular, people seem to enjoy my list of woodwind doubles in musical theater and my fingering diagram builder. I very much appreciate all the kind words and support, and I can’t thank you enough for your survey participation, emails, RSS subscribes and Twitter follows, and just for stopping by to visit.
I was honored but surprised that several people referred to my website in their comments as a woodwind doubling “community.” While I flatter myself shamelessly that bretpimentel.com is the premier destination for woodwind doublers on the internet, I’ve resisted the idea of starting up discussion forums or other similarly open ways for site visitors to express themselves. If you’re interested in something more like that, check out some of my links to woodwind- or doubling-related forums. I personally skim those forums fairly regularly but post only occasionally. They can be great resources and are run by great people but be aware that their strength and their weakness is that anyone can share an opinion. I encourage you to check the forums out, and to maintain a healthy skepticism about unsourced information that you find there. My website is also full of errors and ill-informed opinions, but they are all my own.
A bunch of awesome people made general offers to help. I very much appreciate the enthusiastic support. Here are a few ways you can help out around here, if you’re so inclined:
- Leave relevant comments on blog posts that interest you. Brilliance and pithiness are optional but welcome.
- Subscribe via RSS or email, or follow me on Twitter. Those things help by persuading me that someone out there might actually be reading what I have to say.
- Share favorite blog posts and stuff via Facebook, Twitter, email, or whatever. A number of new visitors landed here thanks to the efforts of those of you who shared links to the survey. The more, the merrier.
- Contribute information to the shows list, the blogroll, the lists of woodwind players’ websites, and anything else that seems to be incomplete or inaccurate.
- If it feels right to do so, donate an amount of your choosing to help defray the costs of hosting the website. The costs, luckily, aren’t huge so far, so even the cost of a cheap clarinet reed or two makes you a major contributor and my BFF.
- Just drop me a note and let me know what you like, what you don’t like, or what you would like to see on this site. Or just say hello, or ask a question. I try always to respond to comments and questions. Sometimes people email me questions and the answers turn into blog posts.
Thanks once again for your participation in the survey, and I hope you’ve found the results as interesting as I have. I’ll wrap this up with one final survey comment, which I think sums things up nicely:
Life is too short to play only one instrument