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Mentoring


Mentoring  

5 members have voted

  1. 1. Are interested in being mentored?

    • Yes
      2
    • No
      2
    • Doesn't apply
      1
  2. 2. Are you interested in being a mentor for others?

    • Yes
      4
    • No
      1
    • Doesn't apply
      0


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hey guys

We've spoken a little about this before as a possibility for more experienced writers to mentor new writers....

I'm not entirely sure how this would work, perhaps a board only visible to people taking part? Maybe more use of the friends system? I know there is a pending board upgrade that reworks the entire board system and it has some promising features.

Is there much interest in this?

As poll options I have added a 3rd option in each question "Doesn't apply". So if you are an experienced writer, rather than say No to the first question say "Doesn't apply" that way the yes and no answers are based on inexperienced writers. The same is true for teh second question although there the yes and no answers are really intended for the experienced writers. Make sense?

Cheers

John

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??? sorry lost me Nick

What ?

Where ?

Did he delete another post again ?

Nick - I wish you would stop doing that.

John - mentoring is an appealing concept but one about which I have doubts in this context.

I have benefitted immeasurably from mentors who have contributed support, encouragement, and education. Their help has been fundamental and irreplaceable. But it seems to function as a personal face-to-face relationship in which reciprocal understandings can be established and developed, ambiguities resolved, confusions clarified, and examples demonstrated, etcetera. The crucial aspect appears to me to be the impossibility of aiding someone to move forward without a more exact knowledge of where they’re at as well as where they are aiming. We can achieve that through direct personal dealing, but I don’t believe that such knowledge is established easily, if at all, through internet dialogue.

I am not saying that the internet is an absolutely impossible medium for this – obviously it can be convenient at times and perform many valuable supporting functions in communication – but just bloody difficult and immensely time-consuming.

Just look at the issues we attempted to confront during the failed workshop exercises.

Another question would be about who here is actually qualified as mentor.

Is there anyone who would seriously presume to that status ?

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hey Lazz

Thanks for the reply. :) Funnily enough Nick I think was trying to make a similar point to your last one though it seemed to me in a derogatory manner. It wasn't very clear the point being made so I can't be sure.

A few things that occurred to me when I read through your reply:

I agree that mentoring is best done face to face, although exactly how much depends on the subject being mentored.

Is some help and advice better than no help? After all help and advice is offered all roads on music fora and across tables in bars. True a mentor is a trusted advisor in some capacity, but if you think that members don't trust more what one member says more than another based on their experience of that individual I think that would be wrong. True what advice is offered currently allows the individual to pick and choose from replies and for others to comment, but still I think members do weight comments according to subject and their perspective on who is offering that advice.

The Songwriting workshops were messy and pretty well free-form. It was a pretty uncontrolled experiment that was patchy in what help it offered and much of that was confused and confusable... mainly because of the method of conducting the workshop was poor (not just that it was done across the internet but that even within that realm it lacked facility)

People actually qualify as mentors? I say that not to be anything more than what it seems. Inexperienced people in any field generally benefit from input from more experienced people. In most cases I would guess that most people who become mentors become one through experience, or because someone perceived them as having experience in an area that they felt they could get help in. In professional environments there are mentor schemes, in society there are both formal and informal arrangements between individuals or groups.

Perhaps mentor is an incorrect word but it was requested before by more than one person (not of me, but that if the site offered something like that it would be of benefit to them). There are mentoring schemes of all sorts and kinds. This topic is not intended as "we are setting up a mentoring scheme, please sign up". I am hoping that the subject can be explored and yes it may well be decided that there are no suitable mentors, or that no one would be willing to mentor in this medium or in this subject, or that mentoring is not what is needed but something else but without exploring that is not even a possibility.

Scope has not been defined yet, but obviously scope would greatly effect the end offerings. For example say it was very limited mentoring to help someone get started? Perhaps we should change "mentor" to "coach" or some other word dependent on the scope that is feasible? Perhaps we will abandon the idea altogether?

People join sites like Songstuff for a diversity of reasons, from a wide range of backgrounds, with varying levels of experience. One person can arrive thinking they know it all, another that is too timid to post their work, 14 year olds in school, wise old codgers (Steve :) ) etc. Point is I am not saying that anyone should or could be a mentor, or could or should be mentored. Fundamentally it comes down to a personal decision based on trust and perceived ability. If you don't feel there is anyone capable of being that sounding board for you then you wont be interested in being mentored. If you feel you can't offer genuinely useful advice that would be of benefit you will not want to be a mentor. If someone asked me to mentor tennis it would be doomed to failure for many many many reasons, if they were to ask me to mentor them about writing long winded answers then I think I would be adequately qualified :)

Lastly, and critically, I am loathe to spend time working with others to try look at it in detail or to put mechanisms etc in place if there is no fundamental grassroots interest in both directions. If we find it cannot be done, whatever it is, then that is another issue I think.

ok I've blabbed enough. :D

Cheers

John

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John

There was nothing in the least derogatory in my comment. I deleted it because, if it made no sense, then it added not a thing to the thread. Given the level of posting on the thread I don't think it materially affected anything

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I agree that mentoring is best done face to face, although exactly how much depends on the subject being mentored.
Just to clarify then, which subjects are we talking about in this case ?

I had been presuming songwriting – but I have been wrong before.

Workshops were messy… patchy … and much …. confused and confusable... mainly because of the method of conducting the workshop was poor (not just that it was done across the internet but that even within that realm it lacked facility)
For me, the challenge lay in discovering the different taken-for-granted assumptions of individual ways of making sense, multiplied by the chatter of potential misunderstandings across each other. (On those occasions where there were participants, of course.)

a diversity of reasons, from a wide range of backgrounds, with varying levels of experience. One person can arrive thinking they know it all, another that is too timid to post
Exactly.

I thnk that’s my point.

Without the ability to assess a level of concept and ability, identify individual needs and goals, it seems tough to find a mutual place to start.

At least the one-to-one of mentoring reduces the noise.

But it still looks difficult to me.

if they were to ask me to mentor them about writing ….
Long-winded or not, mentoring through the written word is arduous.

A heavy commitment.

People actually qualify as mentors?
I didn’t mean that there is an official test for certificated competence.

And you probably didn’t think I did either.

But I Just wanted to clear that up.

Is some help and advice better than no help?
It can often be far worse if it isn’t the ‘right’ help.

That’s the crux of the qualification question for me.

I recently watched this same topic being debated on another site and observed that those rare few with the temerity to suggest their own qualification for the role were not actually best equipped to do it. The words ‘dangerously misinformed’ hover temptingly. How can someone offer guidance if they themselves are lost without a map ?

Perhaps mentor is an incorrect word
No – I think it is not only the perfect word but also a noble respected institution to which I am indebted.

I merely question whether we truly have the resources to perform the function effectively.

Effective mentoring relationships in my personal experience are self-selecting.

They need to be cultivated.

I haven’t voted yet.

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hey Lazz

Yes i am thinking songwriting, although I am keeping my mind open to other possibilities at this point. For example arrangement, or specifically lyrics writing/melody writing. It could also expand into other areas like making videos, marketing and promotion etc... but I think the main area that there would be interest would be in Songwriting.

Ah. I wasn't necessarily thinking of selecting mentors... I was thinking of looking at the system we have and supporting mentoring where people are self-selected. What we do is help that cultivation and hopefully make it easier. True it could be done via email or PM or even on the telephone. What I was thinking was providing a mechanism that would perhaps make it easier for people to select a mentor, although maybe not initially. :(

For example, someone on the boards sees someone giving advice on the board. They respect their opinion and think "I wonder if they would mentor me and help improve my lyrics?". They approach the possible mentor and they agree to help. If that mentoring is done on a board then others can see what is suggested, perhaps they like that too and ask the same mentor. We could restrict general posting but still allow the conversation to be visible? Maybe it is done in private and people measure their progress by results? Perhaps there is a way we could find to rank mentors? That could be helpful or just hell :D I don't know, they are just ideas. If you see a problem, feel free to fire in solutions or possible solutions... if we are going to discuss it we might as well look at possible solutions and not just the issues. After all, it's just ideas rattling around in my head :)

I agree it would be harder to do in written form. Perhaps we look at more immediate forms of written contact like private chat channels, or even one to one video conferencing. Either way I would think that in addition to the actual support tools we should consider guidelines and/or rules.

So rather than reasons why it wont work (I can think of many and you have raised several of your own), is there any way you could see it working? What do you think should be put in place? Do you think it preferable to select mentors? If there isn't a feasible way to support mentoring, fair enough we don't pursue it.

Bear in mind that people do select mentors to some extent already. They may not ask them, they simply seek their opinion and generally listen to it. That might be a less complete mentoring experience, but it happens. True actual mentoring might be a far more involved entity, with more responsibility, but that step up is I think what I am hoping we could support so it is less hard work for mentors (for example looking at providing support materials, articles explaining subjects, tools to use, glossary entries) and a way for mentors to discuss mentoring with each other.

Ok lots of ideas out there, probably crap, but I hope others have more.

If I think it's going to be half assed then I don't think it is something we should do. Whatever we do should be genuinely beneficial, even if the scope is limited. It should also not be too difficult to implement or time consuming to support! :D

Not much of a wish list then.

Cheers

John

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