Imagine that you've heard an instrument that captivates you, it's so pure and unusual. You find out that this instrument is called an 'ocarina' and want to learn it, so you buy one. But without realising it you bought an instrument that is unplayable, you struggle for some time, but regardless of what you do, you cannot make it sound like the music that inspired you. Or perhaps you cannot find the guidance you need to learn, or cannot find music that interests you. Sooner or later, you quit.
I think scenarios like this are all too common in the ocarina community. In promoting the ocarina, it's important that we recognise that musical instruments require an ecosystem to thrive. Me and my partner created the following diagram to show the main aspects of the ocarina's ecosystem:
To promote the ocarina, it is essential that we work on building this entire ecosystem, as people currently seem to be too focused on just putting the ocarina in front of people and attracting new players. But that alone won't go anywhere. You can bring people in, but without ready access to instruments, teaching materials, human teachers, and music, only the most determined will progress.
To me, there are some clear aspects of the ocarina's ecosystem that are severely underdeveloped in relation to others, which are:
None of these problems are difficult to solve, we just need to be aware of them, and to encourage people to solve them. Rather than only trying to attract players, we also need to attract people to be makers, teachers, authors, and composers. They are all different skills, and all are important. A lot can be done to make this easier, for example:
Making real progress on any of these points will require persistence. It requires a change in social habits, and one person creating one article or video is unlikely to have a noticeable effect. We need multiple people putting things out persistently. But, with awareness of the needs of the whole ecosystem, the ocarina community will be able to grow.