Mark Evans Posted December 11, 2007 Share Posted December 11, 2007 (edited) I'm sure it's all well and good the sessions Peter and others discribe with very high standards an' all, while holding the gates against the hunched over barbarian hord. Seems in Ireland a formal pedagogy has been long established (most likely kept a tradition at a particular moment in time from an unwanted influence and eventual delution). Unfortunatley for the gatekeepers Trad has never been more internationaly popular and attracted more would be participants (a victim of its own success).Teaching of the young by the community (players) seems to have become a lost memory. Unfortunately one of my other loves, bluegrass, is learning a thing er' two from Trad and not for the better. In our tradition a jam (session) has all comers, old hands and new in one big pot. The new gravitate toward the back of the circle, play along quietly and learn. At some point one of the old hands asks the newcomer, "what would you like to lead, you set the tempo". Some demure, others take it and run. This is a big deal, for if you lead the song or instrumental, you pick who plays the breaks with a nod of the head and a wink of the eye as the tune evolves (this is a first time freakin' rush). I've watched the smiles and even on occation tears when a newcomer singing the verse comes to the chorus and is suprised to hear we old dogs roar in a four part harmony (it has caused me to shed a tear as well at their discovery). Over time, experience builds and it's a holy thing to watch the blossoming. That was our tradition. Somebody thought of introducing the cursed nightmare slow jam with a leader instructing. The natural learning process and a sense of community where "elders" teach while making music with the newcomer is in the process of dying and it was the very core of bluegrass theology (yes, for me music is religion). The newcomers get trapped in an eddy and are affraid to move out into the current. The old hands, now squeezed out of prime space are more than a little resentful and when one of the newcomers with enough sand in their gizzard jumps out of their ghetto backwater to swim with the old "lunkers", said lunkers put their heads down and push the tempo a little faster (sound oddly familiar?). Damnit all but this is even erupted at festivals! I can tell myself this is only happening in New England but my heart tells me otherwise. How ironic that we did not hold the gates against a foreign influence, that now established will overtake us like an infestation of kudzoo. I'm going to my Stone's session tonight, and hope like hell a couple of newcomers come timidly through the door. We'll welcome them as we always do, get them a chair, let'm settle in, ask their name, make sure there's a pint in front of them and give'm their turn at the helm. It's important to pass on the tradition of music and good will. Edited December 11, 2007 by Mark Evans Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Join the conversation
You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.