Thursday, July 15, 2021

 I am somewhat frustrated.  I am getting some flack because i am going to make my music package truly exclusive.  At first, I thought that the general call population just did not understand the economics involved in the productions of square dance music I have come to believe, however, that it is simply those who are complaining are whining because they are not getting their way.  As it turns out, the general American caller population would rather have an inferior product just to have their way.  I raise 3 children who were all like that at age 2.   

BUT I have come to realize that that is not the case either!  I think that that same group really cannot tell the difference between good and less good square dance music.  Unfortunately, they are happy with music that is comparable to their own abilities.  Now i wonder why they keep going back to the Rhythm and Royal standards when they want to sound good.  Could it be that really good music makes them sound better?   What a novel idea!

There is a reason why the quality of music is improving faster that the quality of singing, I have to laugh when I hear callers blame the pitfalls of SSD on the dancer.   What a crock!!   The dancers do not care.  It is the callers who are incapable of entertaining the dancers without the use of complex choreography. 

I wonder if the general caller population will ever realize that they cannot sing for crap!  Good music will (sometimes) make them sound good.  Sometimes, only tolerable.  If they would only stop pouting long enough to use the tools available to them.   The music contained in the Rhythm and Royal packages will go a long way to make them sound goo but, unfortunately, most of them are not wise enough to know that.

I will produce quality (and expensive) music until I no longer at least break even and then I will quit.  Sting already has, If the callers do not wise up, very soon they will have something less than excellent music because most of the producers cannot get past their egos to learn how to produce quality music.


Thursday, May 20, 2021

 If anyone who reads this has any suggestions relative to solving what I see as a problem, please let me know.   Problem:  convincing other music producers that the increased investment necessary to produce a quality product is worth it.  this creates problem #2:  getting the producers to recognize that they just might not be putting out a quality product.  and problem #3: getting them to recognize the difference.

I think we are back to the "ugly baby syndrome" .   In other words every producer thinks his music is wonderful simply because he produced it.  when a song is mixed it is a little (very little) like having a baby but it is one that can be edited.  It is very easy to immediately become enamored with it even though it might be somewhat ugly.  We forget that we can edit it.  I oft times wonder if the reason that produces do not make improvements in a piece of music is because it 1) costs more money  2)  they don't know how or 3) they do not recognize the need.  Normally the money issue is small because an adjusted mix is sometimes all that is needed.  I think most producers would welcome help  if offered except for the fact that they most times don't see the need.

This sounds ego driven but it's actually not.   Most of the label send me comp copies of their music which I deeply appreciate and I try to use them all.   Some, however, are not useable for a variety of reasons, mostly in quality and/or arranging.  It is almost Never due to bad music.  That kind of narrows down the source of the problem.  There are, as a rule, multiple ways to arrange a given song but only one correct one.  If the producer make a good arrangement, the musicians can almost always pull it off,.  

I find myself using 98% of the music for my dances from1 to 3 labels.  Reasons are these:

1.    Arrangement is bad

2.    Sounds nothing like the original

3.    Not danceable  (the rhythm track should be decided by the producer)

Sometimes, I have actually take a piece of music and, using my software, rearranged it to a useable form.

I told a producer about doing this once and he has not spoken to me since so I won't be doing that anymore.  It is easier to just record it again on my own label.

Oh well,   Perhaps, I am wrong  Could be, but don't think so.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

 I am in a real quandary...What to do with my Rhythm Exclusive Program.   I am not even breaking even but I don't want to stop making quality square dance music. The callers, of course, want to pick an choose the one or two songs they want and leave the rest. Whether or not I lose money is of no concern to them, nor should it be. Unfortunately it does have to concern me.

This was the reason that I started the program originally... to try and at least break even.  It was named "Exclusive" because it was originally designed for callers who wanted all the Rhythm music, no matter the song.  I somehow got talked out of that premise but I think it is time to go back to it.  If I am going to lose money, it will be while providing quality music to those callers who have supported me these past 45 years.  If it gets too expensive,  I will simply have to stop providing music for this activity.  I am unsure if a great many of the callers can tell the difference anyway!

I think it is time to make the music available in the package only with no single being offered, ever!  Those who genuinely appreciate good music will continue to purchase the package, and those who do not just won't.  And that is OK!  Every store cannot be a Neiman-Marcus and every automobile cannot be a Rolls-Royce. There must be a Walmart and a Toyota. I simply choose Neiman's and the Rolls.

I think it is time to make a new flyer.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Thursday morning, I had a procedure on my spine that, according to my surgeon, will allow me to return to normal today. So far, so good.  I have been having some issues over the past few weeks that have become debilitating and I am tired of it.  It is nice to walk without pain or numbness. 

Next Tuesday, I will begin teaching a new set of beginner square dance lessons.  I will be using the SSD list of calls and teaching from standard positions only.  My goal is to have the new dancers graduate and join my club in 12-13 weeks.  In today’s world, no dancers are not going to allot any more than that to join any activity. I think everyone agrees that is a given.  My plan is a 12-week plan in the middle of which I will have a halfway party at our club dance. I hope to make the entire learning experience one of fun and dancing, not work.  My club is a Mainstream club and will remain a Mainstream club.  The integration is quite simple.  After graduation, over the next few club nights, I will introduce the remaining 8 calls from the Mainstream list but in a dancing atmosphere, not a teaching mode.  From that point on, the club will dance Mainstream with no intention of moving to Plus.   It will remain a Mainstream club.  During the second six months of the year, we will repeat the process.  It is my job to make the dancing enough fun to retain the dancers as club members. 

Now, I understand this approach is frowned up by the proponents of SSD as all saving solution to the square-dancing attrition rate.  Frankly, I do not care because their solution does not fit the dynamic of my area.   I have been in favor of the SSD program for years but, now that its followers have become so rigid in its execution, I find that I disagree with its implementation.   As a destination, no.  As a teaching too, excellent.   Shorter time to dancing and keeping it fun and simple.  Those are the keys, in my opinion.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

 I have fallen into the same trap as so many others.  In an effort to help (I thought) I have offended people with my words on facebook.  Some very big problems with that, the biggest being the inability to take it back or explain it.  Correcting a mistake on FB is akin to walking on quicksand.:  the more you move, the deeper you sink.  In this case, the more you write, the worse it gets.

I have said, and I think rightfully so, it is not what you say but what is heard that really matters.  You would think I would be wise enough to heed my own advice.  But no.

I think it is time to stop adding any commentary to Facebook.  It has become a habit, similar to cocaine.  It is very hard to not add your opinion (s).  It is hard to realize that those opinions are unwanted and many times useless.  I think we all want to "matter" but fail to realize that sometimes we just don't.

It is time to shut up.  Boy, it is hard to do that.  I never realized how hard it is to say nothing.  I will try to wait until I am asked and then, choose my words wisely.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

In My Not So Humble Opinion.................

I cannot begin to describe how appalled, disgusted, and disappointed I am with some of my fellow "Americans" today.  Immediately after President Biden's inauguration address, I began to read posts for my fellow conservatives on Facebook.  I had truly, though obviously misguidedly, hoped that the conservatives would have learned from how the liberals had so rudely treated President Trump when he took office.  Obviously, they are just as ignorant as they previously were.

Everyone wants progress but at the same time do everything in their power to block it.  Amazing!   The words:  ignorant, cowardly, traitorous, stupid, un-American, and many others that are too vulgar to list come to mind.  The American public is so used to getting their way that they just cannot consider following someone just in case they might be right.  What a horrible thing that would be, huh?

As I see it, we are going to have four more years of accomplishing nothing and going nowhere (but down). Then, after the 2024 election we can have four more years of the same.  Who is elected will not matter because 49% of this country's population is going to pout and act like spoiled two-year-olds that cannot get their way.   Disgusting!
People disrespecting 1) police - even though they have never worn the badge, 2) military - even though they have never worn a uniform 3) public servants - even though they have never held office 4) medical experts - even though they have no medical training and, basically, no nothing of which they speak 5) teachers - even though all they have done is cause trouble in class and have never taught anything to anyone.

Again, disgusting!!

I wonder where we could go if we all were a team.  What a concept, huh?!!!   Gee, we could stop assuming our leaders were all out to destroy the country and began to pull together.  We might could lick this Covid 19 thing, at least in this country.  We might could solve our immigration issues.   We might could begin to treat everyone equally - again, what a concept!

PROBLEM:  It is never going to happen because Americans are just too darn stupid!!!!!!
Just my opinion.....

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

 In 1957, when I learned to both dance and call, the choreography was simple, and the calling was fun and exciting.  To dance required a desire for fun and laughter.  To call required an ability to entertain...period.

As new callers developed, their work ethic diminished as did their ability to entertain.  I have discovered that when an aspiring caller first begins, he is now relying on his or her ability to solve a puzzle rather than entertain the dancer.  It has become more and more about the caller.  Problem is, the more that mentality insinuated itself into our activity, the more fractured it became.  Dance levels became social castes and created the misguided assumption of ability, therefore intelligence, levels.  Ergo: if I dance C1 and you dance Plus, I must be smarter therefore better than you.  As ridiculous as that sounds, the existence of that belief is an absolute fact.

Through all of this, I have concluded (right or wrong does not matter because it is my opinion) that callers with no entertainment skills (no talent) rely on difficult choreography to make them look good.  Choreography has become the crutch of untalented callers.

Now, is it really a lack of talent of a lack of work ethic?  I choose the latter!  I have known many extraordinarily successful callers over the past 63 years who could not sing. and had the personality of a stump.  Yet, somehow, through practice, hard work, and planning were able to successfully entertain at both small and large venues.

Now we are having the battle of the acceptance of SSD vs the level system we have used for the past 40+ years.   First, the current system has deteriorated into an unworkable process.  For many, many cultural reasons, the current system just WILL NOT work.

It appears to me that it is not the dancer who is vehemently fighting to installation of SSD as process to learning square dancing, but it is the callers.   The question is...WHY???

My opinion:  In order to properly utilize SSD as a progression to club dancing, be it SSD, Mainstream, or Plus, all callers must learn how to call a square dance and not just memorize some complicated piece of choreography.  And, have no doubt, SSD or a similar process by some other name is the future of MWSD or there will be no future at all.

Callers must learn how to present singing calls!  Callers must learn how to smile and be pleasant to dancers.  In other words, they must learn how to do the same thing over and over and over while entertaining the dancer enough to make them want to come back

It is amazingly easy to call HARD.   It is extremely hard to call EASY!

If you are a caller today and wish to keep your job, you had better learn how to call and not just how to solve puzzles.  It is time to go to work and earn your paycheck.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

 December 9, 2020

It has been more than two years since my last post.  This is not due to a lack of activity but, rather, a lack of motivation.   Actually, that is not true.  A lot has happened but I have been too preoccupied to write about it.

2020...what can I say?  With the onslaught of COVID 19, the world has been turned upside down.  Combine that with U.S. politics and the result is nothing short of total chaos.   A very disappointing chaos at the very least.

I am truly disappointed to the point of disgust in the American people.  The level of petulance, and selfishness has far exceeded anything I thought possible.  For years we have referred to the "Me First" generation.  I think, sadly, it has become the "Me Only" generation.

First, the pandemic.   As if it weren't bad enough on its own, our reaction and response to it has been horrendous!   Millions have been infected yet many are claiming it is a hoax.  Ludicrous!  The shouts of "No one can make me wear a mask" are about as stupid as anything I have heard in my 82 years on this planet.  No one should have to "make" you wear a mask.  You should do so out of compassion for your fellow man.  Oh, that's right, we have no compassion.  That is a lost emotion!  In February, I contracted the virus and carried the illness and its symptoms for about seven weeks.  It is no hoax!   Now, I hear "I won't take any vaccine, it will only make me sick"  That is taking stupid to an art form.  I do not understand the compulsion to avoid doing the right thing.  It does not make you weak.  Doing the right thing only displays your strength.  Sadly, far too many are unwilling to recognize that truth.

Second, American politics.  Wow!  I grew up believing in the democratic process:  State your beliefs, feelings, and stance.  Vote.  Accept the results as the mandate of the population and support those results because you are an American.  Where you were born should not matter if you are an American citizen. If you are not, then you are a guest and you accept the rules of your host.    Unfortunately, after almost any election today, 49% of the voters will be disappointed!  We have reach a level of parity from which I am concerned we will not recover.   Also, if the final score shows your side losing, accept defeat, support the winner, and try harder next time.   Yeah, right!  Again, I am thoroughly disappointed and disgusted with the American people.   We are, unequivocally, the most spoiled and childish people on earth.  I hate to say this but we deserve the fate we receive. If the American people want to see the real problem, go find yourself a mirror.

Third, Square Dancing.   Sob!   The activity which has provided me and my family with so much enjoyment over the past 63 years is dissolving in front of my eyes through no fault of its own.  Square dancing is a totally social activity and the pandemic is rapidly destroying the social aspect of life as we know it.  I strongly applaud the efforts that are being made by callers and dancers, especially in the USA, to keep it alive through Zoom and other media activities.  I am afraid that many callers and dancers will not return to dancing for a very long time, if ever.  It will take a monumental effort to revive dancing once this pandemic eases up.  

I really hope that next month, when I post my next blog, will be a much happier time.  I would dearly love to write "good stuff"

 I am somewhat frustrated.  I am getting some flack because i am going to make my music package truly exclusive.  At first, I thought that t...