Netography 11 – Participation and critique

Here is my post, verbatim, on the Drumeo Student Progress Forum. I am playing along to the February “collaboration” track.

“Hello all,

My plan to do Smoke on the Water this week is falling by the wayside as I need to do a load of interviews for my job instead. Bloody proper job getting in the way of my drumming.

Anyway instead I found the time to play around with If It’s Silent. This was the result of about half an hour’s experimentation. Critique would be much appreciated.

A few things that I am already aware of however:

* My set up is far from ideal for recording, both in terms of the kit and recording gear. This video was done off my wife’s digital camera placed on top of a coffin case next to the bass drum. Hence it shaking each time I use the kick.

* I missed a change over into my latin idea at the end. I meant to start doing the clave on the cowbell once the extra percussion came in.

* I look kind of stressed at times, probably because I am. First time I’ve ever done a video. Plus I can’t make too much noise where I live.

* At 1.13 the first time round the latin idea I was a bit awkward as I forgot the tam tam hit at the end of the motive (?), I decided to keep with that idea and then switch in the next 4 bars. It then started working better.

* I managed not to hit a cymbal at 1.36. The consequences of having to hold back whilst playing quietly.

* I’m not so consistent playing with sticks at this volume. I think I dig into to the heads a bit as well.

Man, this was interesting. First time I’ve ever videoed myself. I thought this would be a horrifying experience hence having avoided it for so many years. It sort of was horrifying but I can see how it is useful. As ever I notice how much my hair line is receding these days. Another reason for avoiding video.”

I got 3 responses, 2 quite brief. All were positive. Despite me pointing out that I knew my recording set up was not ideal a lot of the comments focused on that I was encouraged me to mic up my drums, splice the recording of my drumming with the audio from the track, as well as edit the start and end of the video in keeping with the style of other people’s videos on the forum.  These comments can be classed as cultural norm enforcement (Kozinets, 2010) and the fact people made them despite me implying they didn’t have to demonstrates how strong the social impulse to make these kind of comments are.

Another interesting thing to note is that the person who I had offered the most comments on their playing was also the person who commented most on mine. The reciprocal, social aspect of getting peer feedback is crucial. On a commercial platform like Drumeo community members cannot be forced into doing this in the same way MOOC students can i.e. by making it a compulsory part of their assessment. Some may argue there is an opportunity here to further incentivise feedback by offering user rating systems  or discounts on the subscription fee so that those who write in depth critiques are rewarded for the value they add to the community forum. However I do not approve of this approach as it removes the chance for people to be altruistic as well as implying that critiquing others is not rewarding in itself, which is really not the case. You can learn a lot from it.

I have to admit it was nice to get some positive feedback from other drummers. More often than not what few comments I get from my playing are from people who do not play drums (my wife and my band mostly). As they don’t have the same level of expertise on the instrument as their comments are often a little unspecific i.e “that’s cool” or “that doesn’t work”. Trying to get them to say why they think that or suggest other ways the beats could work takes a lot of coaxing and engagement (if it ever works).

On the other hand, non-drummer feedback is still always useful as for the most part most people who may listen to your music don’t play your instrument. An ideal beat would satisfy both groups.