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I just cannot understand how some musicians require the need to join in on a tune they have never heard before and strum along in the wrong key whilst you are struggling to play a new tune in public for the first time. :angry:

There I feel a lot better now !!

Al

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Honestly, I find the whole Session psychology really baffling. I am NOT criticizing sessions or people who enjoy them, but ... wow ... they seem designed to increase anxiety, feelings of "less then," alpha fiddle, faux pas etc. Much rather have friends over and actually decide amongst us what we'll play rather than start a new tune and hope.

 

All I'm saying is: not for me.

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Honestly, I find the whole Session psychology really baffling. I am NOT criticizing sessions or people who enjoy them, but ... wow ... they seem designed to increase anxiety, feelings of "less then," alpha fiddle, faux pas etc. Much rather have friends over and actually decide amongst us what we'll play rather than start a new tune and hope.

 

All I'm saying is: not for me.

 

 

I think the goal is that hopefully you gain friends from a session but it may not be immediate unless you can walk in as alpha-whatever. I haven't had Gary's experience yet, though I'm sure it would make me question my desire to continue participating.

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I just cannot understand how some musicians require the need to join in on a tune they have never heard before and strum along in the wrong key whilst you are struggling to play a new tune in public for the first time. :angry:

There I feel a lot better now !!

Al

 

Everyone's assumed that you're talking about playing in the general scrum but it sounds more to me as though you tried to demonstrate a piece solo and someone was busking along uninvited and badly. If that's what was happening you've a right to be annoyed. He's a thick pig. (or she...whichever)

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I know what you mean. However, if you are attending a participatory session, it's hard to fault someone for participating to the best of their ability. At small private sessions with friends, I have on occasion handed out a chord chart or sheet music for a new tune I wanted to present. Learning a new tune on the fly is a particular skill. I take great pleasure in it myself but I understand that it's an exercise in listening more than anything else.

 

Here are a few other ideas you might find useful:

 

You might try saying before you play a tune " Would you all just listen to this new tune and when I'm done, tell me what you think."

 

That wouldn't be rude, surely? Then they can participate by listening and having an opinion.

 

I go to a session where folks play along and it's fine and then other times they are messing the music up. One way to get them to stop without saying anything is to suddenly get very quiet. That almost always works. Changing tempo does the same thing. Dramatic tempo and volume changes might not be what you want to do as a first choice, but I've made it work for the music and still sound good as a plan B.

 

Sometimes those offending players are just not paying attention, try standing up. Change gets their attention.

 

These things don't always work though. I remember a large session at Broadstairs where I tried all of these in turn and nothing worked. What a mess.

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Well Dirge you have it correct, I was trying out my new French tune, the B part I had only just re composed and it was taking my full concentration. An additional (out of key) accompaniment by someone not even hearing the tune before and joining in after two bars I could have done without. It is however a friendly session. We are friends when it starts and friends when it finishes so I do not make an issue of it and wring his neck in the car park. I just think back to my early days when I was just starting out on my concertina journey and I must have driven a few people mad at the time.

I was rather pleased however that against all the odds I was note perfect and it was well received ,so concertina rules.

It is nice to have a little quiet moan about it however.Many thanks for listening.

Al

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I can definitely identify with Alan's unburdening and like Jody's ideas too. I have also had recourse to long sustained chords in the middle of a piece and doing 9/8 and 10/8 tunes. The effect on bodhran players in particular is fascinating. Mike

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I can definitely identify with Alan's unburdening and like Jody's ideas too. I have also had recourse to long sustained chords in the middle of a piece and doing 9/8 and 10/8 tunes. The effect on bodhran players in particular is fascinating. Mike

Very funny

Al :P

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Well, I find also frustrating the fact that some people will try to join even when they're struggling because they heard the tune before but never really practiced it or played it on their instrument before... My problem is that I have a weak concentration compared to many others. I mean in general, not just when playing music... so my concentration is easily breakable, and hearing notes that are not in the tune will make me lose the tune.

 

What I heard other people do throughout the years sometimes is they'll stop playing and listen to the person that's struggling (similar to what Jody suggested I think)... which can be somewhat embarassing to the person if he/she can't play the tune. It's a bit drastic, but it teaches a good lesson.

 

Just to be clear, I don't mind that much if someone who doesn't master a tune completely is trying to play it, but I find it disrespectful or selfish to try to play it when ONLY the player who started the tune is playing the tune. Trying *not to wreck* someone else's tune should be a priority, in my opinion, and it applies to other things than music.

Edited by Azalin
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I don't do 'sessions' really, so I've very limited experience. Occasionally I'm in the right place and I join in, and always thoroughly enjoy myself. But I thought the etiquette was that you invited people to join in when you started ('Feel free to join in with this one') or everyone listens to you. Clearly I have only been to very polite sessions...

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I remember once starting a tune on my harmonica. My friend next to me joined in on his massive three row with full accordeon bass. I deliberately got quieter, hoping he would back off a bit. He got louder to fill in the gaps. By the end, I was miming, but he still didn't get the message.

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I just cannot understand how some musicians require the need to join in on a tune they have never heard before and strum along in the wrong key whilst you are struggling to play a new tune in public for the first time. :angry:

There I feel a lot better now !!

Al

 

Perhaps this is just one definition of 'a session' ? !

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Well I have probably been to more sessions than most here and in general my thoughts are that if I start a tune I welcome others joining in,it is a session after all. You do have to listen to the tune first however and after a couple of times through, providing it is not over complicated it is possible to join in at least with some of it. Some will try and speed the tune up , purely out of excitement, or perhaps they prefer it faster.It is possible to get up tight about session playing, it is to be considered to be a group of friends playing music together, not a concert and beginners should be encouraged to join in and start a tune if possible. Consideration for other players is what is being discussed here and that is where the majority of session grouts (new word)occur. Domination of the group, playing loudly when you do not know the tune etc.

I do not attend a session run on a strict "These are the tunes we are playing tonight" I enjoy the unexpected tunes that suddenly someone starts playing and after the tune is finished you wait for the next session to play it again.

Do not get worried if nobody joins in with a tune of yours it takes at least three or four sessions for players to like something new ,if after that still nobody joins in then think of another one.

It is all about enjoying your music.

My moan is about a sing around where each person gets a play in turn and it is normally expected (unless a big chorus tune) to shut up when someone is playing.

Al

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Well Dirge you have it correct, I was trying out my new French tune, the B part I had only just re composed and it was taking my full concentration. An additional (out of key) accompaniment by someone not even hearing the tune before and joining in after two bars I could have done without. It is however a friendly session. We are friends when it starts and friends when it finishes so I do not make an issue of it and wring his neck in the car park. I just think back to my early days when I was just starting out on my concertina journey and I must have driven a few people mad at the time.

I was rather pleased however that against all the odds I was note perfect and it was well received ,so concertina rules.

It is nice to have a little quiet moan about it however.Many thanks for listening.

Al

 

(trying to see the positive) Did you make it clear this was a 'solo' piece? Maybe the other person felt sorry that no one was joining in and thought they'd give it a go to show support? Was it a regular or someone new to the format?

I know its taken me a while to figure out when I should and shouldn't play.

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These sort of things are usually done on an invitation basis, but if the person did not know the tune he would not have been invited. Had he joined in third time through it would not have been a problem.

Al

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Alan,

 

I haven't read all of this discourse. My interest was peaked when you mentioned that this composition was the French tune. Am I right in saying that you put this up on Youtube fairly recently or am I mistaken? You were accompanied by a guitar player, I think. Anyway - it it was you and I think it was, it was a beautiful melody with very fine structure. It deserves to be listened to. If you've re-written it, would love to hear what you've changed.

 

 

Ciaran O'Grady

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In the sesssions I go to it is expected that others will join in without being invited - that's what a session is imo. It's also inevitable that there may be tunes you haven't heard before and it's also to be expected that people will join in tunes they don't know - again that's all part of sessioning. Some people are more skilled at picking up tunes than others, but there are some who seem to be incapable of grasping the right key or even the right rhythm. It can be very difficult to play with such people even when you are confident about playing it yourself, but when you are not it can put yuo off completely.

 

There is a guitarist at my regular session who is unable to identify the key and whose approach seems to be to try out the usual suspects until one seems to fit. Last week I had to mouth "A" to him, for which he was grateful; afterwards he said we don't usually play tunes in A, which must have come as a surprise to the fiddlers. He apparently cannot hear the difference between a major and minor key, and has default strums for 4/4, 6/8 and 3/4 regardless of the internal rhythms. It can be quite difficult to get some life into a tune when he's playing along. But that's sessions for you. When they're good, they're great, but sometimes ...

 

I once had to stop a song to explain to someone who was joining in that this was the first time I'd performed it and that her playing, although perfectly competent, was distracting me. But that was my fault for not asking beforehand, since the expectation of that session is that people will join in.

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