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Where have the musicians sessions gone?

Betsy 27 Jul 08 - 08:05 PM
The Fooles Troupe 27 Jul 08 - 09:14 PM
Gedpipes 28 Jul 08 - 03:23 AM
Big Al Whittle 28 Jul 08 - 03:28 AM
Richard Bridge 28 Jul 08 - 04:13 AM
Acorn4 28 Jul 08 - 05:07 AM
Mr Happy 28 Jul 08 - 05:23 AM
Richard Bridge 28 Jul 08 - 05:50 AM
Scabby Douglas 28 Jul 08 - 06:01 AM
GUEST,martin ellison 28 Jul 08 - 06:08 AM
Big Al Whittle 28 Jul 08 - 06:08 AM
Leadfingers 28 Jul 08 - 07:32 AM
GUEST,LTS pretending to work 28 Jul 08 - 07:38 AM
GUEST,martin ellison 28 Jul 08 - 07:45 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 28 Jul 08 - 08:48 AM
Paul Burke 28 Jul 08 - 09:15 AM
Big Al Whittle 28 Jul 08 - 09:38 AM
Leadfingers 28 Jul 08 - 10:08 AM
GUEST,martin ellison 28 Jul 08 - 12:00 PM
TheSnail 28 Jul 08 - 12:16 PM
bubblyrat 28 Jul 08 - 01:51 PM
GUEST,martin ellison 28 Jul 08 - 02:51 PM
GUEST,blokeincorneron holiday 28 Jul 08 - 03:01 PM
Leadfingers 28 Jul 08 - 03:30 PM
Betsy 28 Jul 08 - 03:42 PM
paula t 28 Jul 08 - 05:23 PM
Alan Day 28 Jul 08 - 05:35 PM
TheSnail 29 Jul 08 - 08:19 AM
The Fooles Troupe 29 Jul 08 - 08:24 AM
TheSnail 29 Jul 08 - 08:30 AM
The Fooles Troupe 29 Jul 08 - 08:30 AM
Mr Happy 29 Jul 08 - 08:40 AM
GUEST,Betsy at work 29 Jul 08 - 09:21 AM
Steve Gardham 29 Jul 08 - 09:42 AM
Les from Hull 29 Jul 08 - 09:43 AM
TheSnail 29 Jul 08 - 09:50 AM
GUEST,LTS pretending to work 29 Jul 08 - 10:27 AM
Mr Happy 29 Jul 08 - 10:40 AM
Tattie Bogle 29 Jul 08 - 11:03 AM
Tootler 29 Jul 08 - 11:11 AM
ossonflags 29 Jul 08 - 11:16 AM
Alan Day 29 Jul 08 - 12:15 PM
Betsy 29 Jul 08 - 02:17 PM
ossonflags 29 Jul 08 - 04:17 PM
The Fooles Troupe 29 Jul 08 - 07:56 PM
Tattie Bogle 29 Jul 08 - 08:20 PM
The Fooles Troupe 29 Jul 08 - 08:32 PM
MaineDog 29 Jul 08 - 08:37 PM
The Fooles Troupe 29 Jul 08 - 08:58 PM
Black Diamond 30 Jul 08 - 10:10 AM
Betsy 30 Jul 08 - 02:02 PM
Black Diamond 30 Jul 08 - 05:21 PM
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Subject: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: Betsy
Date: 27 Jul 08 - 08:05 PM

I went to Helmsley, musician sessions - Nowt . Eric and Gedpipes will vouch. Beverley Shanty Festival - Nowt - although to be fair it was a Shanty festival, Durham Folk Party - Nowt.
York Peaseholme Green - 1st Class session - 1st Class musicians - Tom Napper deserves a special mention.
Staithes - I arranged with cohorts prior to going, and we had a good sesh and were joined by people who were desperate to to discover a musicians session.
Organisers , will you please cater for musicians sessions, gainfully employ a decent musician as Tom Napper , or Tom McConville , Tony Wilson or other to lead such sessions.


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 27 Jul 08 - 09:14 PM

... long time passing ...


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: Gedpipes
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 03:23 AM

thats cryptic foolestroupe can you enlighten those of whom can only understand plain speak?
Cheers
ged


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 03:28 AM

Start again........

What is the matter?


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 04:13 AM

Surely that starts "Oh dear what can the matter be...?

And it might be a folk song.

Nonetheless it is probably a good idea to have a designated diddling session (with a suitable leader, not a certain banjo player who just drives on endlessly, no names no pack drill) and a separate designated song session.

Once could also have "voices only" sessions and/or mixed sessions.

I agree that sessions are very important to a festival. Sunday night at Ely made the festival for me.


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: Acorn4
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 05:07 AM

Interesting that at Warwick this weekend they changed the format slightly. Last year they has a session and a singaround in separate pubs but this year they had both venues doing a combined session/ singaround. It did work well and generally took the format of a song then a tune.

Everyone seemed OK with this and from the point of view of the pubs, the resulting variety was probably better for the casual punters.


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 05:23 AM

Why do you need anyone to lead a session?


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 05:50 AM

Because otherwise you get the breakneck banjo brigade stampeding relentlessly onwards, and nothing other than a 180 bass piano accordian can be heard over them, so there is no chance of anyone less cocksure getting to lead and as or any chance of a song, forget it!


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: Scabby Douglas
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 06:01 AM

well, we don't see so much of the breakneck banjo in this neck of the woods (Glasgow, Scotland). We do however know of the FiddleBorg, against whom resistance is futile.


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: GUEST,martin ellison
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 06:08 AM

Agree totally with Mr Happy although it's good to have a regular nucleus to keep things going.
For me music sessions have been ruined by the tendency to go around the room like a singaround (tunearound?). Of course it's fair that everyone gets a turn but the opportunity to join in, learn and improve by playing along with other, maybe more experienced musicians, far outweighs the benefit of playing the tune you've been working on all week and isn't quite ready for public performance in my opinion. Of course you can do this as well and a good session will encourage this. And - shock, horror - there was singing AS WELL!!
The format has become stilted and toe-curlingly self-conscious stifling any spontaneity. Sessions used to be gloriously haphazard social occasions with lots of banter and now seem more like meetings for the terminally politically correct.
I used to love coming away from a session sweaty and laughing but now feel lucky if I've played three tunes all evening - depending on the size of the gloomy inevitability of the circle.

Oh dear that's a rant isn't it? Maybe I'd better put a hard hat on now and take the flak.

Martin


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 06:08 AM

well surely all we are talking about is a need for a little restraint and mutual respect for each other. Perhaps if we ratcheted the down the rhetoric about how bloody wonderful, unique, and pre-emptive of all other claims of authenticity our view of folk music is - it might be a start

At sessions and indeed folk clubs generally, I think theres a sort of natural control system at work - when the obsessives take over - everyone else buggers off.....


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 07:32 AM

The whole point of someone 'running' a session is to ensure that one Ego tripper doesnt force HIS choice on the room ! And thatTwo things dont try and compete !!


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: GUEST,LTS pretending to work
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 07:38 AM

Well in Stratford, east London, the regular Thursday night session is in danger of being turned into a strip joint/lap dancing club.

Which beggers the question - how do you lap dance with a melodeon in the way?!

LTS


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: GUEST,martin ellison
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 07:45 AM

"Which beggers the question - how do you lap dance with a melodeon in the way?!"
Very, very carefully.


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 08:48 AM

So where in Stratford is the Thursday night session and what flavour of music is played?


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 09:15 AM

I find, speaking JUST for myself, that it's better tto separate tune sessions and song sessions. If the tunes keep flowing, the players get much more into the swing of things than if there's a stop- start. And in my experience, a significant proportion of the singers resent the time given over to tunes- and vice versa. And session "leaders" are useful because they (or in the case of a festival, the organisers) have done the necessary sounding out of the venue, negotiation over place and time, and (should be) there on cue to launch things off, and hopefully to give anyone turning up some idea of the broad parameters- e.g. it might be Irish, Old Timey, Bluegrass, French, English, mixed etc., it can be concentrating on favourites or trying new tunes, it can be turns-about-the-room or as inspiration takes- and a good session leader will have an instinct for what the participants want.


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 09:38 AM

just the opposite with me, I like a mixture. Unless the musicians are really good though - it can get to be the same tunes every week.

which is okay up to a point. I'd rather play with someone who definitely knows the tune than someone who is trying to remember it. But you need to introduce new tunes and songs.

Why is it that you only get to play three tunes Martin?. I'm sorry I couldn't follow that bit. Unless the tunes are very long.


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 10:08 AM

We have an ALL tunes session at The Seven Stars , Knowl Hill Berkshire Second Monday of the month ( Same Pub as Maidenhaed Folk Club on EVERY Thursday) , A MIXED session in The Jolly Gardeners in Old Windsor , and a number of very agreeable Folk Clubs within easy reach , but NOT a purely SONG session that I am aware of . The Clubs have Singers nights , but they are Club Nights , not Sessions as such .
Personally . I like a Mixed Session , such as the one I help run at The New Tavern in Sidmouth , and tend to steer clear of the All Unaccompanied scene (Middle Bar , Wareham Wail , etc) , but am certainly NOT averse to unaccompanied song , as long as there is SOME instrumentation somewhere long the way .


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: GUEST,martin ellison
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 12:00 PM

WLD
Yes that does sound a bit daft doesn't it - I was in the throes of a sort of aggresive nostalgia and liable to exaggerate. What I meant was that I only lead maybe three (OK it may be more) because of the long gaps while people decide what to play (don't they know it's their turn next??) so the circle is circumnavigated only 2 or 3 times.
Now to qualify my second sentence - the word "lead" - I don't mean to imply that I want to lead tunes or indeed a session, music should be a shared experience with a mutual direction. However in the tunearound scenario everyone is expected to lead in turn and this puts added pressure on the "leaders" and does, in my experience, lead to excessive nerves and a less than satisfactory rendering of a tune.
If a tune is thought of as a template then surely it is better for a less experienced musician to try to fit to that template rather than the rest of the room having to diverge from that template to accommodate a beginner's/learner's hesitant rendition. It's how I learnt anyway - noodling behind other players until I could join in with confidence.

I hope none of this sounds arrogant - I appreciate that everybody has to learn and there should absolutely be occasions, possibly in private, when this can happen. But if it's a "session" and open to Joe Public in the bar or wherever I feel that the tunearound will look and sound totally false and stilted.
Martin


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: TheSnail
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 12:16 PM

Martin, as a highly experienced musician, you perhaps don't realise (or have forgotten) how intimidating it can feel for even moderately good musicians, let alone beginners, when a session becomes dominated by the experts. Virtuoso tunes hurtle past you because nobody wants to play the standards. When there is eventually a break, you pause to clear your mind of the previous tune, do a quick silent fingering of the first few notes of your party piece and... the chance is gone as the next turbo-charged reel hits in.

As a musician who aspires to comepetence, I can still remember what it was like to be a beginner and how impossible it all seemed. If you want an exclusive jam with other top players, then advertise it as such but a session should give everyone a fair chance.


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: bubblyrat
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 01:51 PM

I went into Warwick on the free bus on Saturday, hopeful of finding a tune session. Couldn't really find much going on, except at the "Zetland" pub, where it ( the "session" ), was dominated by the usual "whizzkids" , playing fast and furious and generally looking very snooty, superior and scornful of anyone over 25 who dared to think of attempting to be even half as good, or as fast,as they were. I soon noticed, as I left,which was quickly, that there were more people with instrument-cases leaving that pub than there were going in !!! But I think my friend Tim Brooks had a good time later that evening in the "Roebuck", so there was hope, apparently.


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: GUEST,martin ellison
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 02:51 PM

Snail - I can understand why you might think that but no, I haven't forgotten.
I'm really not talking about an "exclusive jam". I dislike the hogging of a session as much as anyone else. I echo an earlier call for restraint and courtesy, and would add to that list, support and encouragement. I'm really talking about an alternative method to improve and gain confidence (and perhaps I didn't make that clear) in a more stimulating and relaxed atmosphere and, at the same time presenting a less dour, more vibrant peek at the "scene" to outsiders (and in my experience some of those outsiders become hooked).
Martin


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: GUEST,blokeincorneron holiday
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 03:01 PM

Come to North Lincs/Beverley, sessions generally include some songs but are mostly tunes. Particularly the Six Bells session in Barrow on Humber,every Tuesday, going now for over ten years in a couple of venues, there is NO leader, NO tut-tutting, virtually NO putting down of instruments and sighing when a singer starts - mark you, that singer is often Karen Thompson accompanied by her husband Colin on guitar - ALL present are treated with courtesy and allowed to join in/play their tunes/sing without censure. It all comes down to the usual crowd being welcoming and polite, NOT having their heads in their own rectal sphincters, and remembering that OUR music - traditional music - belongs to us all.


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 03:30 PM

The late Bill Eddy used to be a main man at The Newt - More than once I have seen him , after a particularly strenuous set of Five Fast reels in five different keys turn to a youngster with an instrument and say " OK - that was too much for you , now YOU play something at YOUR speed " And we we would all play along nice and quiet and sedate , and another youngster woud later float out with Mom and Dad , knowing that the session had played with THEM . Thats what a session should be like , Totally Inclusive , and thats why GOO sessions need someone to control things .


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: Betsy
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 03:42 PM

I know there are some great sessions around in the UK (there's a great one on Sunday afternoons in Groningen in Holland which I went to a few weeks ago )but the point I was trying to make, is, that when I have visited festivals recently, they don't seem to cater for anyone wanting a musicians session. Plenty of singarounds / song gatherings , but I wish Organisers would make a fuss of the would-be musicians.
Even those of you who have a good local session it can become a little predictable as to which tune is following which, so, it's nice to get out with a bunch of relative strangers and not know which tune / and what key is coming next.


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: paula t
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 05:23 PM

bubblyrat,
I'm sorry you left so early. We were running the session on Saturday. I know the group you mean. They were hard work.When we arrived I went around the garden asking all the musicians and singers how they wanted to play it.At the time there were not many, and they were extremely diverse ( a group of singers with guitars, two violinists and this young group. )There was an attempt to get people to take turns in starting a tune / song for everyone to join in, but the 2 violinists didn't feel comfortable starting , the young "band" wouldn't join in with anyone else and then played everything at double speed when they took a turn - which stopped the others from joining in.I had thought I was going to have trouble with them from the start when they had said the session didn't need to be led and that they would leave if we took turns.I decided after about twenty minutes that the most comfortable scenario for all would be to give everyone a turn to sing or play - with the condition that anyone could join in with anything.Needless to say, the young group didn't leave and took their turn like anyone else - except that they took their time to start a tune when asked and needed "persuading" to perform. I cured this by asking someone else to take their turn when they took too long.(Not being able to smack legs nowadays I thought this the best alternative)
By the end of the session we had been treated to some great singing and playing. One group of people had just come in for a drink but volunteered to sing as a group if Stuart could play for them. They didn't know all the words but worked them out between them , with most other customers joining in.
As I say. I'm sorry you didn't feel you could take part - but I did my best to make the session enjoyable and inclusive , despite some opposition from some youthful egos.


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: Alan Day
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 05:35 PM

There are two types of session those that a number of musicians turn up to and as Martin says when there is a break in playing you fill it with a tune or set of tunes.There are no rules ,but if someone in the group starts playing you shut up and hear the tune and join in if you know it.There are never long gaps between tunes and nobody dominates the session ,providing there is a reasonable flow of tunes being played.
Martin will remember the wonderful all night sessions at the Balfour Arms Sidmouth.Great times.
The other type of session is similar to that which I used to run at Sidmouth which was a play around and it just required finding out before or during the evening who wants to play and lining them up ,one to play after another. Either method works well with the latter at least everyone who wants to play gets a turn.
Al


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: TheSnail
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 08:19 AM

GUEST,martin ellison

I'm really talking about an alternative method to improve and gain confidence (and perhaps I didn't make that clear) in a more stimulating and relaxed atmosphere.

Sorry Martin, I'm still not sure what you mean. Are you saying that is what sessions should be or that there should be some other environment to provide that?


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 08:24 AM

"as a highly experienced musician, you perhaps don't realise (or have forgotten) how intimidating it can feel for even moderately good musicians, let alone beginners, when a session becomes dominated by the experts. Virtuoso tunes hurtle past you because nobody wants to play the standards. When there is eventually a break, you pause to clear your mind of the previous tune, do a quick silent fingering of the first few notes of your party piece and... the chance is gone as the next turbo-charged reel hits in."

Right on brother!

Once a couple of decades or so ago, there was 'A Celtic Club' in Brisbane - it died due to lack of interest in keeping it running - they HAD a "beginner's whistle session" that I attended - quite a few total beginners with no music experience at all attended that - and many of them are now some of the fastest whistle players around.... :-)


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: TheSnail
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 08:30 AM

Back to Betsy's original question. I notice that the festivals she mentions are all in Yorkshire so maybe it's a local phenomenon. The festivals I know in Soutehrn England - Towersey, Chippenham, Tenterden, Fareham & Gosport, doing Wadebridge this year - all have musicians' sessions programmed in some of which we in Spare Parts help to run. We do run them as "tunearounds" because we think it is fairer on the less experienced who may be brilliant in the safety of their own kitchens but find the cut and thrust of a spontaneous session a bit intimidating.


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 08:30 AM

"Why is it that you only get to play three tunes"

Because there are 350 musos who have fronted up... and we gotta go to work on Monday...

:-)


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 08:40 AM

A frequent prob I find with led seshes, particularly at fests, is that its often a band leading who do stuff from their latest cd that noone knows


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: GUEST,Betsy at work
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 09:21 AM

Hi Snail - perhaps you are right - but e.g. Hardraw seems ( after reading reviews) to have a good sesh - but I unfortunately elected to go to Durham which is obviously not Yorks. but I know what you mean.
"Tunearounds" sounds good to me, it sounds like that it might cater for all levels which a session DOES need so that we can all improve though I also could do without the "speed merchants".
Put simply I play when I know the tune , or go to the bar / stretch your legs / go quietly through the motions when you don't, but above all enjoy it,have a laugh and try to iron out the mistakes in time for the next sesh, whenever that maybe. Sometimes there's a few too many serious faces amongst the musicians.
Mr Happy - good observation re groups doing the leading - for me better to have an individual to start it, let it run , and kick some energy into it if it starts to run out of steam / ideas. No need to dominate the choice of every tune and good individuals like those I mentioned do the job right.Have fun.


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 09:42 AM

Sorry to disagree with most folks here as I much prefer a very mixed session, i.e., singing, tunes, beginners, advanced, everybody welcome to sing/play/listen/whatever, BUT, morally, if not legally, the session belongs to the regulars who have set it up and advertise it. If that means solid fast wall-to-wall reels, or singer dominated or anything else, that's their prerogative, and I would treat my presence there accordingly, either ask if I could join in or sit and listen or go elsewhere, or set up my own session using my rules!!!!


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 09:43 AM

Yes, going back to the original post, we did have musicians sessions at the Beverley Beck Shanty Festival, on the Saturday and Sunday afternoons at the Grovehill pub. I'm sorry you didn't find them. As you say Shanty Festivals don't usually have musicians sessions (didn't get there myself as we were a bit busy elsewhere) but if there's a need that can be satisfied (cheaply!) then there's no reason not to do so.

All the same Betsy (no she he, Snail!) and others raise some excellent points. Maggie and I prefer general sessions, with tunes accompanied and unaccompanied songs, plus monologues, poems and hopefully a visit from a rapper team! Now this seldom happens (although it did at the Roebuck in Warwick last weekend) and sometimes people do need dividing up.

Musician sessions should not be used to show how fast you can play. If you want to show how well you can play then practice your ornamentation. Tunes evolved from a dance tradition and to play them too fast just shows how ignorant of that tradition the player is. Speed may impress the general public, or even folkies who don't play tunes so save your speed for public performances, not for what is intended to be a shared session. The same goes with tunes that other people in the session won't know - don't exclude them, but limit them and say before why you are playing them ('this is a tune called ???? and I think it deserves to be better known'). And remember that there are more sorts of tunes than just jigs and reels.

And for tune players who find themselves in a general session - it helps if you can accompany a song. Accompanying a song does not mean playing the tune of the song louder than the singer. In fact it usually doesn't mean playing the tune at all. If you are guitar player don't just play the same chord shapes as the singer/guitar player, capo up five or so frets. Otherwise you are only making the guitar stuff louder and muddier.

But for all session attendees - learn to listen. And if the song or tune is something you can't stand that is what the pee break, the fag break or the visit to the bar are for. Actually it isn't, sometimes there's a general need or craving to be satisfied, and I don't want anyone getting paranoid that I always disappear when a particular tune, song or performer is evident!

Anyway, long boring rant over.


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: TheSnail
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 09:50 AM

All the same Betsy (no she he, Snail!)

Must have been a trick of the light.


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: GUEST,LTS pretending to work
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 10:27 AM

Hooternanny - it's been at the Chevy Chase, Maryland Point for years but they're looking out for new premises. Plays Irish diddly diddly stuff.

Lead.... "thats why GOO sessions need someone to control things ." Why do I never find out about these Goo sessions until it's too late?
Is that where the Tavern Squid learnt about it?

LTS


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 10:40 AM

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=-A_JfkzPwww


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 11:03 AM

My preference is also for mixed sessions, as I both play and sing, and our local monthly ones do try to be all-inclusive, regardless of age, standard of playing etc, and move between tunes and songs and then back again after 2 or 3 of each.
It can be frustrating the first time at a festival new to you to know where's the best place to head for a session, and you invariably find out that the really good one happened yesterday in the place you weren't at.
To that end, the festival I help organise, does have a session listing, so that visitors do know where to head for singing, mixed, instrumental, bluegrass, etc, rather than just relying on sessions to run themselves. We do put in a session leader, but it is always emphasised to them that it's not their concert, but rather to ensure the session gets started, and then to make sure that everyone gets a fair crack of the whip, and no-one dominates it. And by special request, we are running a "tunes only" one this year.


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: Tootler
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 11:11 AM

"Back to Betsy's original question. I notice that the festivals she mentions are all in Yorkshire so maybe it's a local phenomenon."

Just been having a look through the programmes for Saltburn and Whitby. Both have plenty of sessions programmed in. In addition, Whitby has sessions for the less confident which is an excellent idea.

I think there is scope for all types of sessions - jump in and play, tunearound and mixed. They will suit different people, though the point someone made earlier about singers moaning during tunes in mixed sessions is something I have come across, not often, I may say but I have noticed it on a couple of occasions. I suspect it is because many people who play instruments also like to sing, but there are a lot of people who only sing and some of them seem to resent the instrumentalists having their turn for some reason.

If a session is getting a bit frenetic, I have found starting a slow air helps to calm things down. Da Slockit Light or the Beautiful Maiden are two of my favourites, but there are plenty of others. If you want to frustrate fiddlers, play Niel Gow's lament for the death of his 2nd wife in G on the flute. It fits beautifully on the flute in G, but fiddlers are used to playing it in D. <wicked grin>

Geoff


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: ossonflags
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 11:16 AM

Bit unfair on the poor old shanty beverley fest Peter.I was very careful to be inclusive of all that weekend; musos and dsncers and singers. There was arrangements made to have a musicians at the Grovehill, as there wil be next year when we run it.


I do prefer a non - exclusive general session meself and, what I am having problems with more and more lately is the damned bad manners and ignorance of both musos and singers who think it is perfectly acceptable to do their bit and then talk, whisper, pluck, noodle and generally be dissmissive of any one when they have had there turn.

Old ground I know, but I do believe it is a trend and a bad one at that.


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: Alan Day
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 12:15 PM

The interesting thing about sing/play arounds is that the person(s) that are shy and reluctant, but eventually are persuaded to perform,usually put on the best performance.
This idea is perfect for Festivals as most of the performers are unknown to the organiser ,unlike normal pub sessions and it only takes a few guest artists just popping in for a quick play and then going off to their main gig to make it a great evening. It does need an organiser however someone who can find out who the players are.Let them know when their turn is and slot in the guests when they arrive. Cut out the long tune introductions,where the tune was collected etc ,just move it along quickly. It is not a Folk Club it is a session.
The third idea which I forgot to mention is the guest/theme evening featuring a guest who runs a session from the stage on tune collections.
Initially running through the tune slowly for everyone to learn,some issuing dots for those who read music.In this way the whole audience participates in the evening and from what I saw at Cecil Sharp House recently, where the room was packed out for a fiddle tune workshop. A rare occurance at Cecil's.
Al


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: Betsy
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 02:17 PM

Sorry Mick ( Ossonflags ), I hope you noted that I did say "although to be fair it was a Shanty festival " so I couldn't really have expected musos to be lurking, but I always live in hope.
Apparently they were "at it " in the Sun or the Tiger, but true to form I was in the wrong place at the right time. Not to worry .The thread indicates roughly what most of us expect from a musos session albeit to slightly differing degrees , however, if they start as Alan (above) wrote, i.e. out handing "the dots", that will be me goosed - can't read a note - I'll be back with the shanty singers !!!!.


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: ossonflags
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 04:17 PM

No probs Mate!! it was nice to see you however briefly.I will be at the Saltburn without Mrs Ossonflags this year hope to see you for a pint or twelve?


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 07:56 PM

""Tunearounds" sounds good to me"

I thought "Tunearounds" was the way folkies tuned their instruments.... :-)



"But for all session attendees - learn to listen."

Ooo Boy, big rant possible here.... :-)

Most people who THINK THEY ARE MUSOS don't know HOW to listen!

If you do formal music lessons and have passed exams, you either have learned how to listen to others, singers, performers, audience, around you, or just have a natural talent for 'faking it'...

:-)


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 08:20 PM

Nothing at all to do with passing exams: just having commonplace good manners methinks. (Which some folk will never learn!)
Maybe it's a good idea to thave the odd "Talking break" in a session, otherwise some will try to talk through anything.


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 08:32 PM

"Nothing at all to do with passing exams: just having commonplace good manners"

Some people never seem to 'learn manners' and 'commonplace' just isn't any more... :-P

If you don't DO the right things, you don't pass the Exams, which is WHY all (well most, anyway) 'classically trained musos' tend to think the same way... :-) ... now that may not be always a GOOD THING, but at least it puts them 'all on the same page', which for orchestral music is a damn good start! :-)


This means that they all have a common (very much so!) shorthand and jargon, where everybody understands the meaning of something to be more or less the same - for a negative example of this see recent discussion on 'melodeon'... :-)

Many 'Folk Musos' being either self taught, or having had a fairly random process of acquiring their knowledge, see the world differently, not that THAT is always a BAD THING, but it IS a different process, which educates the mind to think differently.


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: MaineDog
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 08:37 PM

short answer: They have gone home.
Now that we all have Finale or Sibelius on our computers, we can stay home and play with ourselves.
MD


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 08:58 PM

"we can stay home and play with ourselves"

Which may indeed be a blessing for those of us who used to have to watch others do it in public... :-)


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: Black Diamond
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 10:10 AM

I think a session at a festival depends to a very large extent on who actually turns up - you cant make a session out of thin air.
I could only make saturday at Beverley Beck Shanty festival, so cant speak for Sunday. Being a musician and definately not a singer I was tempted by the words session in the programme. Having wondered around Beverley Beck (never having been there before) and being very impressed with everything the stalls the boats the morris sides (but not the weather!! ha ha) I eventually enquired of the chap stood at a little stall outside the first pub (Im sorry I dont know Beveley pubs names!!)where the pub holding the session was. after walking a fair distance , round the corner and up a back road, I made the pub! on arival, I found no sign nor sound of any musicans, and just as I was about to ask of the publican if I had got the right place he actually looked at me and asked me where the musicians were!!! after waiting for a while, a morris side turned up, also looking enquiringly. we were directed to an upstairs room which was complety empty, and so after waiting another while, I left, very disappointed at not having found anyone to play with. Soooooo I returned to the Beckside, did a pub crawl and listened to the singing which I thoroughly enjoyed, and I was very happy with the festival, as I think I posted at the time of the festival. And the moral of the story is as my opening line, it all depends on who turns up
My own local session is a turnaround which I started just over 12 months ago, and is going from strength to strength. Where once we had nothing in town we now have a lively monthly music evening which attracts musicians and singers alike, beginners to experienced and all shades in between and we encourage beginners to have a go. I was I had a five pound note for every person who has plucked up the courage to have a a first or second or even third play in public and then collapse in a heap, able to breathe again, heart beating fast!!! we also encourage all sortss - English Irish Old Time American Blues - whatever , and all is equally cheered. Cant get better than that!!
happy playing
Lin


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: Betsy
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 02:02 PM

Black Diamond - we were ships in the night (or more exactly day) at Beverley ,but never mind Eh ? As I said to Mick (Ossonflags) it WAS a shanty festival - and they were having a grand time. I was just sort hoping that there might have been chance of a tune or two.


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Subject: RE: Where have the musicians sessions gone?
From: Black Diamond
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 05:21 PM

Hi Betsy
yes it would seem so ... nevermind ... we cant sing but we we had a good time listening to others who can, and we even had a request granted by Dave and Julie Evardson, and i did get to play cos while we were in in one pub the guest artists very kindly asked round the room and enouraged me to play a tune, so I played a Lincolnshire tune from the Joshua Gibbons manuscript Congress at Laceby, and it turned out that one of them was from Laceby! small world!
anyway it was a lovely first festival and now Im looking forward to all those lovely sessions at Whitby


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