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Is this mean or am I oversensitive?

Posted by lori nitzel on Thursday, April 24, 2008

I posted a new banjo video on youtube a few days ago and the most recent comment on it was "You look miserable."

Feeling bad and wanting more info, I emailed the person who commented and asked if I indeed looked that miserable.

Here is the response I got:

"As I said earlier, you looked completely miserable.
I wasn't being mean. I was just pointing out that you've managed to take a simple and happy instrument and present yourself like the little match girl.
Your technique isn't bad. You've got potential. You just have to stop and realize that hitting every note isn't as important as enjoying yourself.

So tell me - is that mean, or am I just too sensitive and I should learn to take criticism better?

:) Be honest! I can handle it, I promise (even though I'm whining about this). ;-)

On another note, my FL trip was great...beach, banjo camp, lovely people. Of course I am still reworking everything I knew about playing the banjo - the positioning of my hand and the instrument itself...yikes (thanks a lot, Dan :) ) but it's good stuff.

Hope all of you lovely people are doing well!! :) lori

19 comments on “Is this mean or am I oversensitive?”

Joanchek Says:
Thursday, April 24, 2008 @10:33:34 PM

There's risk to exposure.  And when we post something for the public to see, we need to take the good with the bad.  I don't think the comment was mean;  I think the poster was just being, as we say, "brutally honest" with emphasis on the "brutal."  It's easy to forget that the person we see on a videoclip online is a real person with real feelings who might not appreciate our brutality of honesty.

But, does he have a valid point?  Were you trying so hard to play well for the camera that you forgot to have a little fun?  If you WERE having fun, ignore the guy.  We're not all perky.  If you weren't, take a step back and let loose.  It took me a long time (and a few similar comments!) to learn how to do it;  it's not easy.  Banjoism is a skill, and that takes focus and concentration to learn.  But it's not work;  we don't call it PLAYING music for no reason!

You *could* post your videos here on the BHO.  These folks are very skillful at posting encouraging comments along with more positively phrased suggestions.  I've never found them to be otherwise!

stanger Says:
Thursday, April 24, 2008 @10:43:23 PM

As a novice, you naturally are taking EVERYTHING seriously! You WANT to hit all the right notes! I haven't seen the vid, but I suspect you looked like you were in deep concentration. Maybe you were a little afraid, too... it's real hard for beginners to present themselves oftentimes, especially to a camera. Would you have looked better with a phony smile pasted on your face? Next time, try recording yourself several times while playing one tune, then pick the one you like best. Often, the 2nd or 3rd try is better and more relaxed than the first. Don't be too hurt; criticism often comes straight and blunt, and , criticism, no matter how gentle, can be painful. Congratulations on your bravery... go in next time ready to whip tigers, and you'll do fine.

A Rich Taylor Says:
Friday, April 25, 2008 @1:59:44 AM

It was mean...AND your being too sensitiv!


You look great!!


regards, bud

banjotef Says:
Friday, April 25, 2008 @4:46:07 AM

Hello Lori:
   After reading this post,  I watched some of the videos.   I enjoyed the "squirrel" tune the most. I think you have a good voice for your style.   A camera lens, or even a microphone itself,  can be intimidating.   You are better than you think.  We tend to be our own harshest critics.  You might have a friend stand behind the camera and make goofy faces at you.  You have  a pretty smile.    I had a choir director in college who would make silly faces that only the choir could see,  and it helped us to relax and enjoy our own music more.
  Keep postin'!   

Badger Says:
Friday, April 25, 2008 @4:49:57 AM

Hello Lori,
I doubt it was meant as mean. You were probably just concentrating on your playing. When my stepfather (who plays a wicked piano) concentrates he gets an expression that looks a bit like a sulking child. When I concentrate I look as if I were about to burst into tears. Some of Earl Scruggs' videos make him look like a statue--no expression at all.
So, look at your video. If you plan to perform before an audience at any time, evaluate whether you need to also practice your presentation. If you think that you do, practice presentation with a song that you know well. Relax and enjoy the song, think happy thoughts and let the smille be natural.

mainejohn Says:
Friday, April 25, 2008 @5:14:27 AM

I haven't seen the video, but I have heard the tunes you have posted on the HO, so I know that you are very good. It sounds to me as if the commenter has some personal issues and feels a need to overly criticize. I suspect if you were to read other comments by the same person, you'd see a pattern.

frailin Says:
Friday, April 25, 2008 @5:36:41 AM

Lori.  Like most of us, Patrick probably intended well.  It just came off as a bit harsh.  I can understand your oversensitivity right now, too. 

But strip out his core message:  A banjo is fun.  One of the key understandings of being an entertainer is, you must be having fun in order for others to have fun.  if you're not having fun (playing) and I'm watching, I'M not having fun!  Therefore, YOU have to have fun so I can have fun.  Ok?  Now HAVE FUN or I'll smack you one.  Oh, I guess I got carried away.  :)

A Rich Taylor Says:
Friday, April 25, 2008 @8:19:14 AM

Be yourself kid. Take a look at JD Crowe and Ron Block....they could care less how they look when they play. I take you as someone who takes their music seriously.....that is pure and not in need of any phony entertainment schtick add ons..... regards, bud

Gosam Says:
Friday, April 25, 2008 @3:59:36 PM

My girlfriend ask me if I could dance, We was dancing at the time!

lori nitzel Says:
Friday, April 25, 2008 @9:33:06 PM

Thanks, everyone, for the thoughtful comments. I really appreciate it! You've made me feel a lot better and you've helped me learn what to take away from something like this. Thank you! :)

R.D. Lunceford Says:
Sunday, April 27, 2008 @12:15:13 PM

Nothing at all wrong with what you are doing.  Playing since 2007? You've made amazing progress.  Full speed ahead!

I was once told that my Drop-Thumb CD was boring, unimaginative, and that my intonation was bad (I guess that means I can't tune a banjo because it was fretted!)  Well, it was honest criticism, so I guess you take what you can from it and keep going. 

Keep posting and doing the YouTube thing- you're doing well.



MountainBanjo Says:
Sunday, April 27, 2008 @6:36:17 PM

10$ says it was Patrick Costello, who is known for his, "honesty" and was banned from the hangout at least once. In fact, I'm willing to guarantee is was him....there is no way for him to not be Patrick.  He doesnt mean to be mean and a jerk, he just is! Class A, too.

You can go mailbomb his website, but I'm not going to do him the favor of linking to it. :)

Aonach Says:
Monday, April 28, 2008 @4:19:54 AM

Lori,posting a video is a brave thing to do because its there and a permanent record-but you make lovely videos and that tradesman sounds good so do please carry on-its inspirational to the likes of me-I find playing in public very nerve racking and I invariably make mistakes as a result but...its a nice rosy glow we get when it comes out ok ! So keep on posting!By the way -my Lurcher,two greyhounds and my newly rescued wheaten terrier all say hello to a fellow animal friend!-All the best-Andy 

BAZ Says:
Tuesday, April 29, 2008 @7:51:38 AM

Hi Lori. Just keep doing what you're doing. My kids tell me I make funny faces when I'm concentrating on playing. You have a fantastic voice and I just love listening to you play. Keep it up! 

jamie_t123 Says:
Wednesday, April 30, 2008 @6:08:48 AM

Hi Lori,

I just watched it and thought it was great! I think some guys want to see us girls in a full face of makeup, heels and a skirt with a big smile and big hair...kinda like Dolly!! I enjoy your playing and think that you're doing a great job

fatbanjo Says:
Thursday, May 1, 2008 @2:14:31 AM

So how do you get to watch your video, what is the title on you tube and stuff

fatbanjo Says:
Thursday, May 1, 2008 @12:35:25 PM

Ok Lori here goes, I think " the little match girl " comment was throw- away and insensitive and you would be right to feel narked at that. I used to stick my tongue out when i started playing and like yourself I have what one would call a character face, which I hasten to add I would much rather have, It is a symbol of your individuality and be proud to wear it. I'm sick sick sick of what the media tell us we should look like, that aside you have a great tone that will get better, it must be difficult sitting infront of the camera and well done you, if i was being hyper critical, maybe a couple of minor and only minor timing things with the thumb-drop but as you play with more  people this will be history in no time at all, keep playing and love your banjo and thanks for putting the banjo out there....hows that for a diplomatic and truthful response....paul

switchback Says:
Monday, May 12, 2008 @7:03:19 AM

HA!  Don't look miserable to me - honestly, I would never have thought that by watching the video.  Even so, it's better to look miserable in a YouTube video than to BE miserable.

 I know "don't worry about what other people say/think" is easier said than done, but that is my suggestion (and please keep putting up the videos/songs).

meritcooper Says:
Monday, May 12, 2008 @3:00:48 PM

Hey Lori. I saw your video on Youtube, and I saw the comment last week. I don't think you looked miserable. I think you play with feeling. I hate the way I look when I play because I concentrate too much and haven't made any good videos in a long time. I am getting up the courage to get after it again because I have made much progress since the last videos.

I loved your version of Annabelle. It was the one I favorited. Girl, you can sing and play so ignore the haters.

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