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wally

Losing ones virginity.

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I am talking about Irish tunes, that can be very slippery. They are more complex (not to start a flame war here) than most English Morris tunes.

I won't rise to that one :)

 

Tunes such as The Lads of Laoise or Devaney's Goat (to say nothing of Lord Gordon) aren't going to be gotten from hearing them two or three times - which is generally how many times a tune will be played at an ITM session.

I was generalising, there are of course more complex tunes which can't be picked up so easily. And some tunes fit more easily on some instruments than others. My comment assumes a fairly straightforward tune with the standard structure, and which is suited to the instrument, and a musician who is both familiar with the genre and who knows their way around the instrument.

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Can you imagine the dreadful noise each session would be, if very few people actually took the time to really learn their tunes, so most players were just faffing along..................! Aaaaaarrrg! :wacko: :angry:

 

i disagree with you. i think that learning tunes at sessions is an integral part of the tradition.

 

i would never play a tune at a session as i would practice at home, that is i would never play along full volume, hitting 100% wrong notes. however, doing this has taught me how to fill in on a tune i do not know, and i can learn tunes on the fly much faster than i could otherwise. when i play a tune at a session i do not know, i drop out if i feel i cant fit into it, and certainly do not keep playing just because i want to play. that is no fun, anyways.

 

IMHO, I think hearing and learning new tunes is part of the fun and joy of a session. Dick, I think the point you made about a session being different than a jam is important, and not as well understood as one might want. You don't really want an "every man for himself" situation where everyone is just playing whatever he or she feels like with no regard for the tune or other players.

 

That said, learning by ear at sessions and otherwise is a valuable skill that should be encouraged, and I think sessions are important venues for the ad hoc sharing of tunes and passing on the tradition. But newer or less experienced players need to be respectful. Find out what the session is like. Talk to someone one on one for tips and advice. Bring a recorder and practice tunes at home. But I think it's ok to do some of that learning and figuring out at the session without disrupting it.

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I think Howard Jones makes a good point and one I think is implicit when some of us say we encourage newbies to try to pick up bits of tunes on the fly. That is, you need to know your way around your instrument (and preferably but not quite as essentially, the general structure of tunes in your genre) before you start noodling at sessions. If you are a complete beginner at both instrument and genre then even the most tolerant of sessions will get fed up with you playing random notes in pretty short order.

Edited by Mayofiddler

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I think Howard Jones makes a good point and one I think is implicit when some of us say we encourage newbies to try to pick up bits of tunes on the fly. That is, you need to know your way around your instrument (and preferably but not quite as essentially, the general structure of tunes in your genre) before you start noodling at sessions. If you are a complete beginner at both instrument and genre then even the most tolerant of sessions will get fed up with you playing random notes in pretty short order.

I agree. You need to have some level of skill before playing at a session. But I think the conversation was more regarding people who are new to sessions, not new to their instruments.

 

That might open up an entirely different can of worms.

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Thanks to all those who have contributed to this thread.

 

To summarize

 

Be a proficient player.

 

Go to your chosen session and listen.

 

Pick out frequently played tunes and practice them.

 

Be sensitive to the mood, genre and level of skill required.

 

Don't let your instrument dominate.

 

Know when to sit out.

 

Enjoy.

 

Have I missed anything?

 

Wally

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When you look at a bare list that seems an awful lot of strictures and most sessions would be a bit more tolerant than that. However, you certainly won't upset anyone if you stick to those guidelines!

Unless...you bring a banjo LOL. You forgot the verboten instruments that trad <insert "N" word>s might not like.

Edited by Mayofiddler

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Your list seems allright... you might want to add "Buy a round when others are buying rounds". It's often part of the social ritual :-)

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I have been reading the thread about session snobbery with interest. I have been attending a weekly session at the local pub since beginning to learn English Concertina. What are your top tips for a beginner trying to break into session playing. The session in question is very welcoming and I was invited to play at an early stage in my development. I played Jenny Jones, badly, and was rewarded with warm applause for my solo effort. One big problem is that I cannot hear what I am playing over the sound of the other instruments so how is it done and what your recommendations?

 

Wally

Sounds like you are a brilliant player compared with my useless efforts.

On the right hand, to disguise my incompetence, I keep stum to begin with while I listen to the mob and pick out individual notes which repeat as the tune goes along. I discreetly find a matching one on my box and when the mob plays that note I hit the one button. easy squeezy!

 

On the left hand I listen to the tune with my three fingers on a potential chord (see various tutor books for list of chord fingering). Once I have found a chord which matches the experts, when it next comes I press the threee buttons and bingo I look and sound as though I am in the swing and I get to practice chords for free...

 

It particularly fools the audience, even more so if you occasioanlly hold your ear down to the box (as recommened elsewhere) to show how sophisticated and sensitive you are in merging and meshing with the group particularly when it comes to the finale and you have nailed a three-button chord which you resonate out in tune with the experts' final flourishes!

I am getting quite good at the only three chords I know and the virtuoso element (for the punters in the audience)is taken caren of as I "apparently" fling my box around and move my fingers

 

So I get to make enough noise to hear myself without upsetting the squeeze cart:P

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If I've gotten anything out of all of this, it's that "noodling" at a session by beginners is the obvious application of the "midi" (or other electrifed and quiet) concertina with earphones !

 

Guess I better resurect that project.......

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I have resorted to sitting back from the inner circle with a hard-backed chair between me and the others. Worked well - I could hear my own mistakes, but the others were less aware of them. Until someone came & took the chair to sit in.

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