The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #158212   Message #3741877
Posted By: wysiwyg
05-Oct-15 - 09:17 AM
Thread Name: Need input on youth in folk music
Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
I've seen several ways young adults get involved. Some of them are probably not what the OP and above posters probably want, but the topic is the topic.

1. Raise them in the tradition. US examples: Jenny and Becky Armstrong, daughters of George and Gerry Armstrong; my "folkbaby" Katarina (search for 'folkbabies' thread); Mudcatter Dan Schatz (if I recall right).

2. Give them electric guitars for church music, and then encourage their tastes towards the folkie songwriters. Leave them to their tastes, and hope they follow those tastes towards good, classic folk.

3. Accept and encourage their generation's 'everyone knows this song' choices, regardless of genre. For an example, yesterday's song circle was most heavily attended by young adults wanting to sing current pop chart-toppers. "I'm so glad you came! It's your turn in the circle to pick a song. (Girl names a title.) No, I don't know that song, can you teach it to me?" I explain that in a song circle, we go around picking songs. People are expected to lead the songs they choose. After much shy giggling (and my story of how i got over my shyness), she whips out her cellphone, plays a YouTube video just loud enough for her to hear the melody, and sings! (After warning us not to look at her while she sings.) Her friend and I praise her singing. The next pick is her friend's, who is equally shy. They encourage each other back and forth thru 5 songs! I name this form of singing along as 'foneoke,' which they like. Then they remember that I haven't had a turn, and demand I play and sing several from my book. They like all of this enough to want to do it again, and happily sign the mailing list to get flyers to bring friends.

It ain't what I'd have considered 'folk'.... but it got them involved enough to come back. For my turn, then, I'll introduce similarly-themed songs to their picks (love songs mostly), and set out an extension cord for their fone chargers. The next flyer will break out an hour for young adults, who are bored easily and will do this for an hour at most. The first hour goes to family/children's songs.

It's on me to listen to their fave radio station to pick up on songs I can like enough to arrange. (Two or three.)


The age group most of us long to reach are all about having something of their OWN, as they explore their identities away from their parents. They will seldom want to follow what they perceive as 'parental,' tho they often will like whatever old, classic music genre their parents DON'T like. If you can present Folk in a way they think their parents would dislike..... murder ballads for example.