How to promote the ocarina as a serious instrument

Note:This summarises some points from the article Improving the poor approach of players learning the ocarina .

Promote the ocarina using skilled performances, not visual gimmicks

  • These performances must appeal to and wow a mainstream audience, giving people a baseline of the ocarina can do in skilled hands.
  • Publicly visible skilled performances can draw in new players, and serve as role models. I believe that people attracted in this way will be more willing to put in the effort to learn to play well.
  • Performances must include a wide verity of music, at high and low tempo, and from a wide range of genres.
  • The higher visual complexity, and added range of multichamber ocarinas may help to appeal to both the general public, and to musicians.

Promote the ocarina to skilled players of other instruments

  • Tell them how the ocarina's pure sound is very good at attracting attention, this is exactly what bands want.
  • Try to get features in media targeting at skilled musicians, such as magazines or blogs.
  • Actively contact players of wind instruments in existing bands.

This is potentially effective as skilled players will already have an audience and know how to practice. Having some good performances to point to will definitely help.

Teaching the ocarina to children

This has some obvious pros and cons:

  • It could lead to very good players in the future, as children easily learn things that adults find difficult.
  • But it is risky and could lead to the ocarina being viewed as a child's instrument and incapable, if approached as the recorder has been.

These things can be addressed as follows:

  • It is exceptionally important that children have access to good teachers, who actually play to a good standard themselves.
  • They should be taught in a setting conducive to noticing and correcting mistakes, i.e. NOT in a group, at least not initially.
  • Create awareness of everything that goes into playing, and do not obsess over fingerings.

I believe that this is best approached one to one, in the same way as other instruments are taught. The issue with perception can be mitigated if virtuosic ocarina performances exist and the general public is aware of them.

Make good instruments available

  • Ensure that ocarinas are available which are designed as musical instruments from the start.
  • Ideally, these should be available in general music stores, so that people can actually try them.
  • If visual features are included, they must not compromise playability.

Make required information available

A lot of information is needed to understand and get started playing ocarinas due to the number of variations that exist, so:

  • Make sure that people can easily find the learning materials and music collections that already exist.
  • Create new teaching materials to fill any known gaps. Teaching materials should cover all aspects of playing well.
  • Good players should offer teaching services. Teachers can help to point out common mistakes, offer encouragement, and provide accountability to push people through challenging times.

Organise more in-person meetups

  • A great deal can be learned from talking to other players in person, and opportunities to do so need to be easier to access.
  • A larger number of player meetups are needed in different countries, so that players can get to them easily.
  • Events like Budrio festival are too infrequent, and too expensive for many to travel to.

There is a chance that people in the general public would see and become interested in playing through groups like this.

Accept that there are places where the ocarina is not a good fit

Ocarinas are often forced into situations that they are not terribly appropriate for, such as:

  • Playing by one's self for personal enjoyment. Ocarinas are loud, assertive, and do not respond well to muting.
  • As a first instrument without guidance. The ocarina has a number of technical challenges which are difficult to notice by intuition, and will limit progress if left unknown.
  • Some types of group performance. Ocarinas tend to cut through other instruments, and often do not work well if they are not in a lead role.