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When a session gets Hijacked

GUEST,fiddlesticks 27 Jul 01 - 12:35 PM
MMario 27 Jul 01 - 12:53 PM
Midchuck 27 Jul 01 - 12:56 PM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Jul 01 - 12:56 PM
kendall 27 Jul 01 - 01:04 PM
MMario 27 Jul 01 - 01:09 PM
catspaw49 27 Jul 01 - 01:11 PM
Jack the Sailor 27 Jul 01 - 01:15 PM
Rick Fielding 27 Jul 01 - 01:31 PM
Kim C 27 Jul 01 - 01:40 PM
GUEST,petr 27 Jul 01 - 01:52 PM
GUEST,Russ 27 Jul 01 - 02:05 PM
GUEST,Phillip 27 Jul 01 - 02:39 PM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Jul 01 - 02:48 PM
GUEST,petr 27 Jul 01 - 03:46 PM
kendall 27 Jul 01 - 04:17 PM
Rick Fielding 27 Jul 01 - 05:15 PM
The Shambles 27 Jul 01 - 07:10 PM
kendall 27 Jul 01 - 07:20 PM
Amos 27 Jul 01 - 07:33 PM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Jul 01 - 07:51 PM
kendall 27 Jul 01 - 07:56 PM
The Shambles 28 Jul 01 - 03:33 AM
Jon Freeman 28 Jul 01 - 06:20 AM
lady penelope 28 Jul 01 - 08:06 AM
Jon Freeman 28 Jul 01 - 08:27 AM
Peter T. 28 Jul 01 - 09:29 AM
Jon Freeman 28 Jul 01 - 09:44 AM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Jul 01 - 10:53 AM
Rick Fielding 28 Jul 01 - 11:02 AM
The Shambles 28 Jul 01 - 02:46 PM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Jul 01 - 03:13 PM
M.Ted 28 Jul 01 - 06:10 PM
Cobble 28 Jul 01 - 06:39 PM
GUEST,Fiddlesticks 28 Jul 01 - 08:52 PM
The Shambles 29 Jul 01 - 05:59 AM
GUEST,Mike Cahill 29 Jul 01 - 06:12 AM
kendall 29 Jul 01 - 06:19 AM
kendall 29 Jul 01 - 06:24 AM
GUEST,mike Cahill 29 Jul 01 - 06:29 AM
Jon Freeman 29 Jul 01 - 07:07 AM
Cobble 29 Jul 01 - 07:14 AM
Jon Freeman 29 Jul 01 - 07:27 AM
McGrath of Harlow 29 Jul 01 - 07:41 AM
lady penelope 29 Jul 01 - 08:16 AM
Jon Freeman 29 Jul 01 - 08:27 AM
Jon Freeman 29 Jul 01 - 09:11 AM
Jon Freeman 29 Jul 01 - 09:17 AM
McGrath of Harlow 29 Jul 01 - 09:26 AM
Celtic Soul 29 Jul 01 - 10:11 AM
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Subject: When a session gets Hijacked
From: GUEST,fiddlesticks
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 12:35 PM

the other discussion about this seemed to be getting pretty personal, so what are the answers?

Most people start going to a session because they love the music and want to play it. Is it a crime to want it played WELL?

When the sessions get popular and the atmosphere gets fun, it attracts people with far less commitment than the original ones had. I'm not saying they're bad people, on the contrary, they love the music, Some even join in although they're not ready to play at the established level. Soon the chatting with friends gets really loud. At first it's imperceptable but soon you can notice that the good musicians are having to play louder and louder just to be heard. You can't play well when you're just pumping it out.

Other than the original group who just wanted it played well, moving on, what's the solution?

fiddlesticks


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: MMario
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 12:53 PM

if the musicians have to play louder then is comfortable - can't they say something about it?

but regarding the "established level" - sounds a bit elitist. Could it be that some of the people are talking etc because they aren't being allowed to play because they aren't 'good enough"?

If a session is being held in a public place, you have to expect that there are going to be times when the "public" is not going to do what you want. ditto if it is an open session versus by invitation. Tho' trying to hold a "by invitation" only session in a public place is probably asking for trouble. I know it would get my dander up right quick.


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: Midchuck
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 12:56 PM

See what you people get with your prejudices against guns?

When you really need one, you don't have one available.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 12:56 PM

I think I know which "the other thread" you mention is, fiddlesticks. But I might not, and I am sure there are others who wouldn't in any case. It's a good idea in these circumstances to stick in a link, or at least the name of the thread.

If it's the thread I think - the name of it escapes me - it's the one that started with a query about this sort of thing from a fella in Yorkshire, and I thought he was making a disguised point about the Mudcat . Anyway, I'd say most of the available solutions have been thrown around. Essentially it's a question of either re-educating or evicting the newcomers, adjusting to the change, or moving off somewhere else. Any of those could be the right thing according to circumstances. (And re-education can range from quiet example to polite suggestions to GBH

Of course it isn't just a question of levels of technical competence. Sessions can be wrecked by people who are actually very skilled musicians, but who are socially inept, and destroy the fun of a session.


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: kendall
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 01:04 PM

When I find myself in such a situation, I leave. You can not change another person, and if you could, you have no right to do so. You should either change your outlook, or, leave.


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: MMario
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 01:09 PM

Sorta relevent here - a lot of gatherings I attend devolve into "sessions" of sorts - it just sort of happens. Usually everyone takes a turn, things bop around between chorus songs, instrumentals, etc.; including conversations, insults, jokes: except when one particular person attends. Then it turns into the "watch ME hour" - no conversation, no jokes, no shared songs, no chorus songs - 1 performer - performing.

the Wierd thing is, I don't think this person realizes what a damper they place on the gathering.


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: catspaw49
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 01:11 PM

Once in awhile, and I mean it is really rare, but every now and again, just occasionally, Kendall makes a wonderful post which shows great wisdom. This was one of those times.

Okay Kendall, you can now get back to trying to get the little BB's into the eyes of the bear.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 01:15 PM

The club where I do open mike has a seperate "music room" the folks who want to chat asre asked to retire to the bar.


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 01:31 PM

Howdy fiddlesticks, you'll have to excuse me if I have a good laugh at this....and I'm NOT laughing at your dilemma!

This "problem" has been going on since the first two musicians got together to "play it right". Do you know what they decided?

"IF WE WANT IT PLAYED "RIGHT" WE GOTTA FORM A BAND!

Not go to sessions, or jams, or song circles, or parties etc. These things are for the "social" aspects of playing music, not places for "getting tight" (and I don't mean in the drinking sense)

When you form a band, you can choose the types of personalities, the skill levels, the "look" of the people in it......anything you want. When you go to a public place where anyone can join in, you risk EXACTLY what is bothering you in your post.

Go to a session for fun, and if you don't want to have half the people think you're a bastard, just relax and go with the flow. YOU SIMPLY CAN'T WIN, by trying to be restrictive. (Maybe Mario can find a couple of related threads 'cause I know we've had 'em)

If you want the music "tight", start your own band....and maybe even steal one or two players from the "hijacked session".

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: Kim C
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 01:40 PM

Get down on your knees and crawl around as if you're looking for something. When someone says, What are you looking for? say, We've lost control of this session.

Humor covers up a lot of sins.


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: GUEST,petr
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 01:52 PM

there is such a thing as session etiquette. simply because one has an instrument doesnt mean they can come and play (even if it is in a public place) WHen I was in Ireland (and from musician friends who had been to many Irish sessions) the general feeling was that folks there are usually laidback - and will not say anything if someone is either showing off (which they hate) they will say "thats great play another one" and gradually put their instruments away - until the showoff is the only one playing (and will look like a fool, although some people just dont get it). I agree with the person above who used the term the "established level" I find nothing elitist about it (this really depends on peoples understanding of what the session is - often sessions are classified as advanced intermediate, beginner etc. or open sessions for everyone. THose attending ought to be told what level of session it is. People do like to play up, that is play along with better players - so they can learn something etc. there is an understanding that if you dont know a tune you shouldnt try to noodle along, or play a different version etc. The type of instruments that can be played at a session - and how many, usually one guitar and one bodhran is enough. THe genre of music, one shouldnt repeatedly starting bluegrass tunes at an Irish session and wonder why the other musicians arent playing along.

(the rules are not hard and fast,mostly its just common sense like, keeping quiet when other people are singing. We had a beginner attend some of our sessions (and while this particular session was open to beginners - this fellow kept starting obscure tunes that no one knew, and was awful at it - he just didnt get it, and yet he wouldnt give others a chance, (at the end of the session our guitarist host took him aside and tactfully suggested he get to know the tunes well, and to give other players a chance - this is not always easy to do as you dont want to offend anyone - on the other hand the session is no fun for other people.)

I happened to be at an afterhours session at the last weeks Mission festival, and it was really interesting watching the dynamics as most of the musicians were professionals, no one wanted to step on anyones toes and yet were very good at taking advantage of the little breaks to start playing. the session began with one Gillian Frame and her band playing a number of tunes and then other people joined in but people listened while she played a number of tunes in a row as shes a good fiddle player - then a french canadian band took over and step dancers took turns (but they started off with commonly played tunes - accessible to a lot of people) It was great until a accordion player I know stood up and hijacked the session with a number of obscure tunes and played a whole bunch in a row (and didnt seem to get it or didnt care that theres 10 professional and other musicians standing around waiting to play.

size matters too, the best sessions in my opinion are 4 to 7 people, anymore and it gets too crowded. my 2 cents. PEtr.


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 02:05 PM

Seems to me there are two separate issues.
1. noisy non-musicians
2. inadequate musicians

Seems to me that what we have here is a failure to communicate.

Dealing with the first requires that someone who cares bites the bullet and does what must be done. At some point someone has to make it crystal clear to the noisy people that they are too noisy. Lots of different ways to do this. You cannot expect the chatter demons to read minds or notice hard looks. If there's a teacher amongst the musicians try getting him/her to use those classroom skills. Unfortunately you probably won't be able to do it once and forget it. People will have to be reminded regularly to display good listening manners.

If for the second, if quality is important to you, it is up to you to be the quality police. You shouldn't expect or hope that someone else will do the dirty work. Once again, you cannot expect the lesser musicians to read your mind. However you do it, to put it baldly, you must make it clear to them that the more skilled musicians in the group would prefer that the less skilled musicians listen rather than join in.

However, without going into details, I personally am totally opposed to discouraging people from making their own music for any reason. I think of music making as a fundamental human need, but we live in a world that pushes incessantly the client-server view of entertainment: entertainment as a service provided by professionals to an essentially passive audience. I would prefer a musical world that is more peer-to-peer.

I don't intend to be insulting, but I have learned to avoid any musical event called a "session" because I tend not to be comfortable with the attitudes of the participants. I don't have a problem with sessions per se. They're just not for me.


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: GUEST,Phillip
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 02:39 PM

I vividly recall a jam session several years ago at a major Canadian folk festival, in which I had opportunity to jam with some of the world's great mandolinists, (Ronnie McCoury, Tim O'Brien, David Essig, and others) in what started out as a bluegrass session. Things were going great until a well known (and well-oiled) Irish fiddler happened by and interjected himself into a break by launching into a ten minute set of tunes. The etiquette of bluegrass music dictates the taking of "breaks", opportunities for all participants to solo. After 10 minutes of Irish fiddling, another fiddler amongst the onlookers launched into a set of his own. The resultant sound of mandolin cases opening and shutting was deafening! The bluegrass element moved to the next room, along with most of the onlookers.

When the session was re-established and once again in full swing, the fiddlers reappeared in the crowd, only to be greeted with a chorus of "Bugger off!" from the assembled multitude.

Aux grandes maux, les grandes remedes! (For big problems, use strong remedies!)


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 02:48 PM

Obscure tunes as such aren't the problem. In fact, if they are good tunes, and the person playing them knows them, and plays them long enough for other people to pick them up, that's what makes for a good night.

There's a balance in everything. But a session which doesn't include people of different levels of skill playing together is lacking something, in my view. And that requires a extra bit of skill in the best players. There are plenty of technically skilled players who have yet to acquire it.

And also sometimes to recognise that a different way of playing isn't necessarily a worse one. I remember in a bar in a little festival a few miles from here, and there was this old fella from Ireland who hadn't played for years, and he picked up a fiddle and gave us a few tunes, and he played them much slower, and ten times better than the man whose fiddle it was, who never appreciated that to be the case.


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: GUEST,petr
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 03:46 PM

Ive seen Irish sessions hijacked bluegrass players as well. A guy with banjo sits down at an Irish session, when they stop playing plays a bluegrass tune while the other musicians watch, then they play an Irish set, followed by a bluegrass solo and on and on a few times then he gets up thanks them, and walks over to his buddy at the bar and snorts, "phuh they dont even know the'foggy mtn breakdown". It just takes common sense.

nothing wrong with obscure tunes, I do it all the time to introduce new tunes. ALthough my rule is if no one knows the tune and joins in (I just play it once through, sometimes 3x through, but rarely 3 sets of tunes 3x through as a solo. Do that often enough and people get pissed off.

but something to be said for sessions that are for established players, if youve been playing for years you dont want to sit through a bunch of beginners playing simple tunes, you want to play with better players, and that type of session is often advertised as an advanced session. Also theres nothing wrong with sitting back and listening for a while.

having said that I encourage sessions that are for beginners, people have to start somewhere.


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: kendall
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 04:17 PM

One of the many things that bug me is someone playing along on a tune they dont know, slamming a guitar in the wrong chords, and not having the brains to sit it out. You can not play Lorena loud and with only 3 chords. Well, I guess you could, but, not while I'm there, I'll just leave. In other words, learn it, then play it.


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 05:15 PM

"One of the many things that bug me is someone playing along on a tune they dont know, slamming a guitar in the wrong chords, and not having the brains to sit it out. You can not play Lorena loud and with only 3 chords. Well, I guess you could, but, not while I'm there, I'll just leave. In other words, learn it, then play it."

Just my way of saying....YOU CAN SAY THAT AGAIN KENDALL!

bravo!!

Wanna start a band kendall?

Rick


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: The Shambles
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 07:10 PM

I love sessions. A room full of different folks, with different talents.

They are just like us all trying to live together on this crowded planet.

But with one BIG difference, we can all speak the common language of music.

My wife likes them less because she is trained to work with people, to her a room full of people, with all the body language and tensions is more like going to work.


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: kendall
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 07:20 PM

With you as a member, Rick?, damn right I do! Now, before anyone gets his knickers in a knot, let me clarify what I said. I have nothing against someone wanting to sit in on a tune or song,in fact, I encourage it, but, listen, and be willing to learn. There are many people out there who refuse to learn any minor chords, and they seem to resent you if you know one or two, or God forbid, all of them! I also have nothing against 3 chord songs, I know many of those myself, but, anyone who says you can play ANY tune with 3 chords is full of shit.(Or tone deaf)


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: Amos
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 07:33 PM

Hear, hear Kendall! I like telling novices that they need to learn a set of three chords to start. SHow 'em how they can do any style (selected songs) of your basic folk inventory with them. But the next thing I tell them is, "Terrific. Now learn relative minors!!" Nothing cuts down a beuatiful tune like refusing to use minor chords when they are needed. Well, maybe the opposite would, but it seems to be of insignificant frequency.

A


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 07:51 PM

I tend to think that while you should learn as many chords as you can - you try to play as few as the tune really needs. And in lots of Irish music, you're better off playing diads anyway rather than full chords. That's beside the point though, and skill and experience can show themselves in leaving out complexities as well as including them.

I think a crucial thing with a good session is that it isn't too big, and one of the effects of that it remains possible to communicate easily about these kind of things. That doesn't mean that there's no room for the occasional big band bash,like at festivals and celebrations.


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: kendall
Date: 27 Jul 01 - 07:56 PM

I once overheard a guy say "I'm not a failure, I started at the bottom, and I like it here."


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Jul 01 - 03:33 AM

In this thread Special Jug Night, which did become a little heated and is best left to those personally involved, to sort out, Jon Freeman said:

"I have to say that as a general principle, I think it unwise risk turning an established session into a "Mudcat event".

I think a general discussion of this may be useful and prevent further problems. You personally may not even think there was a problem but even if only one person thinks there was, it is worth a discussion.

I think the important word in Jon's quote is "risk".

Mudcat is great and a session may be great but attempting to combine the two may not be such a great idea and put them both at risk?

What do you think? A risk worth taking?


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 28 Jul 01 - 06:20 AM

When a session gets hijacked... It happend to me with 2 events that I had been instrumental in starting.

One got changed from a session that welcomed beginners (we would try to help them and run through at least a couple of tunes slowly to make sure everyone played something...) to a beginners session where everything got played at snails pace and it ceased to be enjoyable for the better players and I don't think the beginners gained by having nothing to aim for.

The other which was more of a pub bash anyway, became a place where apparently it was fun to play badly out of time (yes turning tunes into an uncontrolled race, etc was "fun") and it was fun to have bodhrans and other drums beaten loudly to any old rythym, a guitarist who could play in time (I'd played with him on and off for years) not concentrating and following every mistake and making lots of his own, etc.

I tried to get things back under control but as Rick sugested I became the "bastard" although there was later agreement over the problems in the second session I mentioned - more rows with the guitarist who was reponsible for most of the messes - funny really, they told me about them but not one of them managed to a apologise to me when they realised I was right...

I can't help wishing that the people who set the new terms for the sessions (and were nothing to do with the startup) had found or formed their own sessions to wreck but again I fear Rick is right at least if you don't have the support of everyone else in the session. I learned the hard way that you can save your self a lot of grief by simply walking away. This sounds nasty but my take now is that if people can't be bothered to at least try (I'm no expert player) to get things right, they are not worth the effort of playing with.

Now on to Mudcat:

My feeling is that if a number of people are travelling more than say 1hr (probably less) to a session, they are likley to be coming for more than just music and that chatter will naturally increase. I'm having a hard time wording this - I'm not trying to suggest that people should be sociable in a session or that meetig friends is wrong - just that levels of talk are likely to be higher, perhaps higher than is suitable for a good session.

Depending on the size of the venue, increased numbers could be a problem and in any case, I think it fair to say that small sessions tend to be tighter musically than large sprawling ones.

There is also the question of the nature of the session. As an example, the session in Norwich where I was made so welcome when I first came here, is strictly Irish instrumental music. What would happen if I encouraged a number of people from away who don't play that sort of music? Would people get bored and chatter? Would the odd song and lets say Morris dance tune creep in? Would the session that was started by people who have been so nice to me get find their session pulled in directions that they don't want?

As you can see, it is a risk that I wouldn't take. I would of course, as was suggested in the Jug thread, consider (if I lived in a more reasonable location) starting a session for Mudcatters. I think the suggestion is a good one and one that could avoid bad feeling from all sides.

Jon


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: lady penelope
Date: 28 Jul 01 - 08:06 AM

I agree that 'Catters shouldn't highjack an already established session. As I understand it though, this was to be a one off. If it was'nt or if 'Catters in the area, near or far, want it to be more regular, then they should establish their own session.

As to sessions in general, if it is a public session,ie held in a public bar and not a function room or side bar, then I think you should be far more tolerant of beginners, mix of styles and chattering in the background.

If it's held in a function room or side bar, then you can start defining level of competence expected, laying down rules about what type of folk is played, no talking whilst some one's playing or singing etcetera.

I think to start laying down rules about public sessions is a bit much. When people didn't have access to written music, the only way they learned was by attending sessions.

If you want to be utterly undisturbed when playing or singing, sell tickets.

TTFN M'Lady P.


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 28 Jul 01 - 08:27 AM

LadyP, I disagree on 2 points:

1: Levels of competence. I think it unfair that anyone should come into a session and play in such a way that makes the playing difficult for the regulars or takes over the event. The sessions I have played in have never expected perfection, it is more a matter of manners - if you can't play that well, particularly if timing is a problem - don't try to dominate or play loudly - that is where most competence problems occur.

2: Nature of the session, why is it right to hijack what others have started? If people have started a session for the enjoyment of those who love Irish traditional music, why shouldn't it stay that way for those who enjoy that type of music?

Being public only makes it open to anyone who enjoys that type of music. If I wanted say English music mixed with song, I would either try to find or attempt to start a session of that type... There is no way I would take the "Oh it's in a public bar so I can play, sing whatever I want" - that to me is the height of ignorance and bad manners.

Jon


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: Peter T.
Date: 28 Jul 01 - 09:29 AM

Nice to see you back, Jon.
I have a different, but related question: is some of this related to whether some people like the whole idea of playing with beginners, people who aren't very good, etc., because they have internalised a "folk ethic" -- i.e. they don't mind accommodating (at least for awhile); and other people are more "band oriented"? Just wondering.

yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 28 Jul 01 - 09:44 AM

I'm not sure I'm back Peter, I just became aware that my name was mentioned (vague reference to me in 1 thread) and I have been following those threads.

I can't really answer your question but I would think I perhaps come into the "folk ethic" category. I certainly remeber what it was like starting playing melodeon and later in around 1987 trying to get into playing Irish music and the tenor banjo with no one around to teach me the instrument and how grateful I was for every oppertunity I had to play with others and for ever bit of encouragement along the way.

These days, I am no great player but competent enough to at leat contribute in most sessions. In some cases, I could be strong enough to take a lead role, in others, I would be more in the background - in the Norwich session for example, I am actually one of the weaker players but I am welcomed.

I guess it is because of all of this, I am open to anyone who tries in a session but I do expect others to do as I did and try to learn session etiquite, the feel of individual sessions, be prepared to take a background role when appropriate and to make some effort to get things right.

Hope that goes some way to answering your question.

Jon


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Jul 01 - 10:53 AM

"When people didn't have access to written music, the only way they learned was by attending sessions."

A lot of us are still like that. All right, there are records and that, but they are a very secondary source. And as for the dots, I really wish I could make more sense of them, but I can't.

The fundamental thing is, we need to have more opportunities around for making music. It's when there aren't alternatives that you get the aggro with people elbowing each other for room.

Which is why the stuff about getting the law changed for sessions in pubs is important.

But of course that is just a limiting factor in the UK. What's the experience of people living in places where this kind of limit isn't placed on them? My impression is that outside the British Isles these kinds of sessions in these kind of settings are pretty scarce - am I right, and if I am, what gets in the way?


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 28 Jul 01 - 11:02 AM

Some good points Jon...and everyone else for that matter. My MAIN point is that at a session should not be in a POSITION to be hijacked in the first place. If it is, then I don't think it's parameters have been made known to everyone participating.

At a weekly gathering in Toronto, I attempted to get folks to at least BE IN TUNE WITH EACH OTHER. Within a couple of days I heard through the grapevine that "Fielding's tryin' to get us to be Professionals"(!!) Ughhh! There is simply no defence against that kind of idiocy. The fact that I was incredibly subtle about it, and have just as much fun picking with beginners as experienced folk, never even got mentioned.....the only thing that some of them heard was that "they were being asked to do something by someone else". Naturally, jerks resent anything that they find threatening. It's no big deal, I just moved on.....but shortly thereafter so did the OTHER players who thought "tuning" was a part of good music.

My skills are best suited for North American style folk music, and were I at a British Isles session, I would simply sit back and enjoy, and leave the playing to those who knew what they were doing. If asked, I'd join in, and try to blend. The one thing I wouldn't do, is yack loudly near the musicians. In that area I'm a certifiable tight ass. If I wanna talk...I'll go somewhere else. I read where someone threw something at someone else who was making a lot of noise while another was singing. I wouldn't do that, 'cause "A", I don't throw things, and "B", 'cause I don't want MY head beaten in, but my sympathies go out to the thrower. Heck, maybe I'd have shot them!

Rick


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Jul 01 - 02:46 PM

It is rather important of course to be in tune but in a session with many and some untunable instruments it will only be possible to try and get as close as you can and will always be subjective.

I have experienced a situation where another musician felt it was OK to accuse others of being out of tune. Whether they were or were not was not the point as the motive was to make himself more important and to make others feel less so. This person was a jerk of the finest order and did a lot of damage by this action.

It takes a lot to encourage some folk to raise their heads and play in public but takes very little to knock them and ensure that they never take the risk again.

I don't feel that it is actually anyone else's business if another is out of tune. If it does not bother them but it bothers you, then leave.


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Jul 01 - 03:13 PM

If I didn't feel I could tell someone they weren't in tune, and the other way round, I wouldn't be comfortable playing with them.

Electronic tuners have made this knd of thing a lot easier, since it settles who's in the conventional pitch and who isn't.

Of course there are instruments you can't tune, in which case common sense and common courtesy is to take the time to tune to them, if there's too much discrepency. ("Too much" is a subjective judgement, and I'm less discriminating in my hearing than some people.)

If there is more than one untunable instruiment, and they are wildly out of tune with each other, and the people playing them couldn't tell, I think I'd take a night off playing.


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: M.Ted
Date: 28 Jul 01 - 06:10 PM

If a session or get together is going to work, someone has got to really be the leader, which often means calling and starting a few tunes, as well as setting some hierarchy for soloing, indicating chords, to people who are fumbling, and gently pulling things back on track when they start to break down--

I helps a lot if there are a couple people who are used to playing together, and can follow newcomers pretty well--really good to have a bass player--

For those who say it can't work, I point out that all can take direction from and follow a leader, as to hurt feelings, better to have the music work, and risk stepping on a couple toes, than to have the whole crowd disappointed because the music never came together--

My mentor, Old Uncle Albert, says, "Music isn't a democracy, it's a dictatorship, and I'm the dictator!"


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: Cobble
Date: 28 Jul 01 - 06:39 PM

This session was not highjacked, 90% of the people there go regular. And as for fiddlesticks ( Mick dont change your name you stand out ) fight your ground on the same thread if you think your right, because now all you are looking for sympathy.

Cobble.


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: GUEST,Fiddlesticks
Date: 28 Jul 01 - 08:52 PM

Hello Cobble. I'm not a Mick, or even a Tom, Dick or Harry. I'm a Jon actually. Just one of the many who read these discussions with interest. I've never been to the pub in question because I don't live near there and don't know any of the people involved. I've been in the middle of a similar situation though and I just thought it was a good thing to discuss generally.

Jon Blankenship


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: The Shambles
Date: 29 Jul 01 - 05:59 AM

If I were playing with someone who was out of tune, I would not be comfortable playing with them but I would also not be comfortable in informing them. I would not see it as my place to do so.

If one did think that it was your place to do so, it could be done tactfully and privately, not loudly shouted across the room. This was the case in the instance I referred to.

Tuners have indeed made it easier to tune up together. However on non-fretted instruments like the fiddle, a perfectly tuned (if there could ever be such a thing) fiddle can be played so that it sounds wildly out of tune. Certainly the case when I attempt to play fiddle.

In truth when the whole session is playing, the differnces in tuning are not really a problem and add to the (hopefully) harmonic soup.

Not the same I accept for smaller affairs and groups in performance, where it is vital that you are all in tune and feel you can both give and take criticism.

When performance is the pupose, the end is important. In the case of a session, there is no end result in sight, as it is the process itself that matters.


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: GUEST,Mike Cahill
Date: 29 Jul 01 - 06:12 AM

I'm posting here because I feel that there is more chance of the points being taken seriously. The causes of the spat at the Jug is a symptom of a new world order for the first time in mans history people with strong feelings on any subject will have access to other like minded people all over the world almost instantly. At the same time good transport networks mean that people can move relatively large distances easily and cheaply This has been used negatively by football hooligans, and anarchists, and benignly by social groups. The problem is that our culture hasn't been able to keep pace with the speed of technological development. People as individuals and groups are naturally protective of their space, weather or not this is a good thing is irrelevant, it's a fact. For various reasons Places change, and sometimes folk clubs/sessions lose their venue, in the past the organisers would have gone round some of the other local pubs within a couple of miles. The members of the club would be relative locals, and some would have changed their allegiances and the new venue would become their local. Some of the regulars of the old club would drop out, "can't stand that landlord/beer/pub", and the club would have gained a few new members from the pubs established members. The difference is when people are travelling a distance the chance of the folk club venue becoming someone's regular haunt decreases. The Landlord will do some mental arithmetic if the amount he takes on the club night exceeds the amount he loses because George who is in 6 nights a week and drinks 5 pints a night moves to the Cat and Fiddle up the road 'cos he can't cope with the crush on club night. If the takings are good, and he's gaining a few new locals to replace George then he'll go with it. If all the people coming to the club are travelling, with the drink driving laws the won't drink much, (to balance this the profit margin on soft drinks is higher), they are only going to come in on club nights, They are not part of the community so might discourage more regular trade. With these factors the equation becomes more complicated, and will make it more difficult for clubs to survive.

People say "if you came to my club you would be made welcome". Think about it, most clubs/ sessions would be ecstatic to recruit 15-20 new members, in ones, and twos over a six month period, but a block of 15 -20 people, an established group, with it's own group dynamics all turning up together with it's own "in jokes" and group personality, would they be welcomed then? There would be a feeling that it was a take over bid , and that would be what it would be no matter how well intentioned, the new group would want to make the place more like what they used to have. Even at folk festivals where everyone is in the melting pot for the weekend, have you never experienced the devastating effect that the Abbercrombie Folk Club(Apologies if there is an abbercrombie folk club) has when they all turn up at the singers session, and go through their routine. I want mudcat to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: kendall
Date: 29 Jul 01 - 06:19 AM

Rick, I'm afraid that there are people who just dont feel the pain that an out of tune instrument causes. If you simply cant stand that kind of noise, you are a prima donna. Like I said, I just leave. It's more diplomatic than using my wire cutters.


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: kendall
Date: 29 Jul 01 - 06:24 AM

Equally unbearable is the off key "singer". I simply cant stand it, it makes my nerves bleed. In regards to former boxer, Joe Frazier, someone one asked, "Who ever told him he could sing"? another replied, "Who's going to tell him he cant"?

I never could stand Lester Flatts singing, he was well named. 'nuff to make the bottom of your feet hurt. There is no way to tell someone that they sing off key, so, just leave.


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: GUEST,mike Cahill
Date: 29 Jul 01 - 06:29 AM

I've posted almost the same message on the other thread, It will be interesting to see how the responses differ


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 29 Jul 01 - 07:07 AM

Rick, the need to ask for hush for a singer can be quite common. What tends to happen in some sessions is that the noise levels gradually increase when the musicians are playing and by the time a singer starts, the only people who can hear the singer starting are those very close to the singer.

The singer is quite rightly given silence when it is realised they have started but I don't think they realise that they often contribute to thier own problem by talking when people are playing and how difficult it can be for the musicians at times to compete with noise.

They make think that they are only talking quitely but it pushes the instruments up, then the chat gets louder so people can hear themselves talking... It can be a viscious circle. I wish when a singer gets the silence, they noted the level of noise when they started to sing (and in some cases couldn't even make themselves heard for more than a few yards) and realise that was what the musicans were having to cope with.

Jon


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: Cobble
Date: 29 Jul 01 - 07:14 AM

I think this whole thing should now be settled by the landlord from the first mail that was posted on Mudcat telling people not to turn up at the Jug.

Cobble.


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 29 Jul 01 - 07:27 AM

With respect Cobble, I think there is enough to discuss here without any direct references to the Jug. Most of the issues raised here could be of concern to anyone involved in session anywhere.

Jon


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 29 Jul 01 - 07:41 AM

And here's the post I put in after Mike's. (This could get confusing...):

Good transport networks mean that people can move relatively large distances easily and cheaply.

Well, that may apply to aeroplanes, and car drivers. But public transport of any kind isn't too brilliant in this country anyway. And as the crackdown on drinking and driving builds up, and the accepted alcohol level for a driver goes down to pretty well zero, the attraction of getting your pubtime in within walking distance will grow.

So I don't think it's by any means clear that long-distance sessions in pubs are going to catch on. What I think is more likely is that in many places anyway, it's going to be relatively local. Walking distance of a few people, a fairly short drive for the others, with informal arrangements under which one person who isn't drinking that night picks up a few people.

Long-distance sessions, if they develop, with people coming in from far and near for eyeballing and jamming with internet friends, are more likely to be based in non-drinking establishments like coffee bars, I'd say.


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: lady penelope
Date: 29 Jul 01 - 08:16 AM

Dear Jon,

When happening upon a new session, it is only common sense to ask someone what is going on. Is this a formal session, if so, what's the state ( excuse the pun, unintended ) of play?

If the session is informal, then I see no crime in playing the odd morris tune in a session dominated by a different style, say Irish music for instance.

I also don't remember saying it was ok for ANYONE to highjack a session. That includes the people running it. If you run a public/ informal session, I assume that you are interested in what other people come up with, not just what you want to listen to.

If a musician or singer is having trouble with their contribution, be it bad timing, tuning, being too loud etcetera, a quiet word in their ear with maybe some advice to help them become more competant would be appropriate. If they can't take constructive critisism and persist in being musically unsociable then other threads have discussed at length how to either re-educate or remove the offender.

Other than that I'm afraid we'll just have to differ on the subject.

TTFN M'Lady P.


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 29 Jul 01 - 08:27 AM

Lady P, what I want to listen to is pretty well irrelevent unless it happens to be a session I started as I believe it is right to go along with the wishes of those who started and made an event successful rather than (as far to many people I know have done) turn it into what I would like it to be.

My preffered mix is mostly Irish Traditional with the OCCASIONAL song and the OCCASIONAL venture into other types of instrumental music. Where we seem to differ is that you seem to think that should give me the rights to muscle in on other people's sessions and play or sing something I might like to, perhaps on the grounds "that its no crime..." and I prefer to respect the wishes of the people running the session.

Jon


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 29 Jul 01 - 09:11 AM

Oh and Lady P, there is a big difference between a session having the one session "pain in the arse" and a session becoming a place where the problems of bad playing become part of the accepted normal.

Jon


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 29 Jul 01 - 09:17 AM

To continue, what happened in one of the sessions I mentioned was I complained about standards slipping and got the "Oh this is fun, lighten up", "we are not professionals"... sort of things thrown at me and eventually I gave up and left.

When I left, someone else had the job of trying to hold the thing together and couldn't do it because of the problems I complained about and after more rows, it was finally agreed that a certain degree of competence was necessary simply for there to be some form of music and enjoyment for those participating.

Jon


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 29 Jul 01 - 09:26 AM

It sees to me that while are differences in emphasis here, they really aren't that great. There's a balance between keeping to established ways that have worked, and allowing change, and a balance between musicians with different skills, and different approaches. But it's a balance, not a battle.

I haven't seen anything that I'd call an extreme position either way. But I have seen some people reacting to other people as if what they had said was extreme. When that sort of thing happens it normally means that what we are really doing is sounding off against someone else who isn't even here. Like shouting at the dog because the work mate who's been driving us mad isn't there to be shouted at.


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Subject: RE: When a session gets Hijacked
From: Celtic Soul
Date: 29 Jul 01 - 10:11 AM

If you want it to be exclusionary, why not have it as an invite only, and do so in your livingroom? Or call it a concert instead of a session if you desire an audience?

The thing I have personally enjoyed more than anything is to be part of group music that involved all ranges of ability and experience. I was present for a session where a 5 year old child played his violin for the first time in public. He was not even close to the level of expertise of the most accomplished amongst the group, but they all applauded and supported him. I think that this will help inspire him to grow beyond where he is a lot more than to be excluded because he was not up to the level of those that are "established". I personally love that sort of community. Where all are welcome, and no one is judged as being unworthy of contribution.


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