session etiquette


session etiquette

When a session is tightly packed and there is little space for existing melody players,would it not be agood idea if Bodhran player gave up their seats,particuarly if there is more than one percussionist,
fiddlers and accordionists require more space,and should not be cramped so that they feel they cant play properly

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I smell a wind-up!

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In one location where I play, the space at the table is limited, but there is an open window backing on to the main table with the beer garden behind it. Perhaps some people could move into the beer garden and contribute through the window? But then the landlord would have problems with the local residents… Are there no simple solutions?

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Wind up or not, it’s probably thoughtful and polite for any player who is not contributing a great deal to a session to make way for a “better” or more regular musician to gain access. Of course, this doesn’t have to be a bodhran player. It could be a novice melody player or even an experienced player who didn’t know as many tunes as the regulars.

Another issue is when you get friends and partners of the musicians taking up seats and this can make it hard to “get a tune” too. Of course, some sessions will have tables “Reserved for Musicians” but this isn’t always the case.

Having said all that, no one should expect people to “give way” so that they can enter a session. If the existing musicians are happy with chaotic seating arrangements, then that’s their prerogative. Hopefully, most will try to accomodate new arrivals as and when appropriate.

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Ignore these folk Organ Beil. I think you make a valid point. What has a bodhran ever contributed to a session after all. Ultimately though I believe you are being a little short-sighted though. Why allow the fiddlers and accordionists in when there are plenty of great guitarists just waiting to contribute.

Everyone knows we are the greatest.

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I suppose if organ bell plays an organ, especially a Wurlitzer or something, it would make sense. Having said that, if we had three “Wurlitzer” players on the same night, I would expect one of them to give up their 15 seats.

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We really needed this thread, didn’t we? Thank you SO much for your lame suggestion. I’m sure we will all be the better for it.

Next!

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Nobody should feel obligated to get up from a session to make room for anybody else unless they feel like being polite or nice, or unless they are asked to do so specifically by the session members.

Maybe the bodhran player is the life of the party, the social enabler, the boyfriend of the excellent fiddler (who would leave if they couldn’t hang out with their significant other), or even (shudder) the one getting paid to be there.

On the other hand, perhaps the people you were referring to had an OVER-inflated sense of self worth, and honestly believed that everyone would be happier to have them sitting in the inner circle than somebody else, regardless of who arrived first.

I hate people like that.

Of course, there are some people that can actually judge their self-worth accurately. If one of THOSE people knows they are a bigger benefit to the session, then they should, of course, sit where they please.

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Like the 800-lb gorilla 🙂

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If you want a seat get in early.How can someone be late for tunes and have etiquette.

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Organ beil do you feel a bodhran player should move for you….

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Organ beil is Dick Miles and plays concertina, btw. - he has made that public, I’m not outing anyone!
My personal feeling is that it’s fine for a seat to be reserved for someone who is genuinely very important to the session for whatever reason (organizer, paid leader, sheer musical input, whatever) when that person is known to be coming but cannot get there on time.
Otherwise, it’s a pub! You sit where you like, and if you want a special seat then get there early, however great you think you are. Someone who wants a better seat just because they are a “better” musician, but who does not get there in time has no manners at all.

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Well put, Bellman. On Sunday’s four of us hired to “perform” sit facing the crowd, helpful for singing, everyone else sits where they like. This is a paid gig.

At a session you sit where you like. I sometimes get annoyed at non-players taking the best seats, but never at musicians. Even concertina players are welcome.

Having said that I believe the poster of this thread is bored and trying to wind up. As Mr McEnroe used to say “you cannot be serious man?”

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Au contraire, saint. I don’t get to sessions much but when I do I always arrive after starting time.

As a beginner who has had to start all over again recently, I am a non-contributor. If I arrive after the session kicks off, it’s quite natural to sit at the outside to allow space for real players without the awkwardness of sitting ten empty chairs away from everyone else at the start. It also means there is no chance of a later arrival feeling uncomfortable when someone gets up and moves for them - the less-egotistical players around might prefer that didn’t happen. And it saves me from having to watch all arrivals to work out when (not if) I should get up and move. Easier all round to arrive a little after starting time.

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bellman I agree with both points , I have given up my seat many times for the benefit of the session ,but if I thought someone felt that I should move well here lies my problem…….

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Sorry Tish I think I came across wrong (again). what I meant was If you want a good seat get there early .If your late you dont deserve someone elses seat that made the effort to be on time. Arriving late and then looking for a good seat is not good session etiquette.

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Jeez….. You guys could turn any wind-up thread into an attempt at a serious discussion.

If someone wants my seat they better bring a crow-bar!

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Ive tried the crow bar but this tends to upset the session.Musicians can be so sensitive so if your not going to take this thread serious ncfa get off my seat.

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I getcha, saint. Expecting a seat be given up for you mostly isn’t real good practice, I agree, I just feel that offering mine to a better muso who comes later would be the graceful thing to do. Mind you, the degree of interior grace would depend on the person’s attitude!

Has everyone put a mark on the calendar to commemorate today? Is it the first time theessiondotorgers have been accused of turning frivolous threads into serious discussions instead of the other way round?

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Very good Tish.It is a graceful thing to do but when is the day going to come that feel you don’t have to move. Heres to that day and keep it in mind

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Saint: “Ive tried the crow bar but …”
I thought you used one of those little wooden tipper things?
So now that I’ve got back to frivolity, I’ll add that yes, I too have moved on more than a few occasions because I can see that it would be good if better players than I were closer to the heart of things. It’s only when it seems expected that it can get prickly.

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The most orderly session seating arrangement I’ve observed was at one I sat in at in Lisdoonvarna, back in 1986. Led by three Germans, each player was given a number and sat in a labeled chair matching same. A large Bavarian-built metronome clacked out tempos.

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I walked into that bellman……

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Before the Germans arrived at their seats to play did you notice beach towels on them by any chance? 😀

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If everybody stood up, there’d be room for all.

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Well it may have started as a wind up but I think it raises a serious point. Not so much “should people make way for me because I’m so good” than “how do I get a good seat at the session”.

As someone has already pointed out, just get there on time or early. If you get annoyed because other musicians wouldn’t offer up their seats than you probably didn’t deserve it, either for musical or social reasons, because if you did they would!

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A pair of clowns who come to a local session always turn up late and bring at least 5 instruments each (some pairs of boxes in the same key - why?)
My favorite comment is - Have you opened a shop?

Best thing is, they are supposed to be the organisers.
Worst thing is, wide-bore bagpipes are amongst the clutter and they only play European stuff on them - slowly and badly.

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I went to the session in “The Gov” in Adelaide a month ago. We got the time wrong and arrived too early. The session started with just 4 players including me, and is arranged in a semi-circle. I was seated on the far left. 3 of the regular players later arrived, one by one and I felt that as the visitor, I should move along and let them sit together, since that was what they were accustomed to. I think I did the right thing.
So my question is to “No Cause For Alarm” – since it takes a crowbar to move you from a seat, and since no crowbar was present, would you have done what I did, or would you have stayed where you were ?

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I hear ya geoffwright…. I can’t understand people bringing loads of instruments to a session and taking up 3/4 spots and getting p*ssed off when someone knocks over or against one of the instruments that tey have strewn around the circle which is far too crapped as it is. Please, bring your favorite instrument and maybe one other but leave it at that!

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Well in the sessions I go to they always make room for a lady, so there is a surgical option for those men out there who are desperate for a seat. Should you manage to be transformed into a stunning blonde you’d have the pick of the best seats in the house. Just a suggestion mind 😉

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We do not tolerate sexism at our sessions, seats are for people, we do not distinquish between sexes.

To return to the start. If Organ Beil turned up at our sessions and asked someone to move, we would simply ask the bouncer to stick the head in him/her and throw him/her out.

Maybe it is the circles I mix in.

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I’d tell the person next to me to move for the blonde it makes more sense and I’m not being sexest I’d do this for any woman even if she isn’t blonde………

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no one has read my post correctly,nobody arrived late apart from the BODHRAN PLAYER,who squeezed himself into a it position that made it difficult for the fiddle player to play properly.the bodhran player was abeginner and the fiddle player the most experienced musician in the room.

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Then it was up to the fiddler.

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organ beil,is irish for harmonica,it is not organ bell,
What happened is that after an hour the fiddler left,and the session fizzled out.
It is not up to the fiddler it is up to theBodhran player to show some sensitivity to be aware,that some instruments need more space,and that melody instruments are more important thanBODHRANS,particuarly when there is already one bodhran player already playing.

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Not everyone is born with session etiquette and in some cases there is more learning in the etiquette than the instrument. This thread has nothing to do with bodhrans, so whether it’s a bodhran player or a didgeridoo player, it doesn’t matter. It was up to the fiddler or someone to let him/her know that they were in the way because he/she may not have realised this (but if they did, that’s a different matter), so at the end of the day, nobody learnt anything from the situation at your session because nobody said anything

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organ bell, in your example, the problem wasn’t that the fiddle is a more important instrument than the bodhran (and who cares about that anyway). The problem was that the fiddler was already sitting there and the bodhran player didn’t leave him any room to play. It’s a basic crowding issue. Saint and Kenny are right, the fiddler needed to say something---immediately, before the bodhran player had time to get comfortable.

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Was there another fiddler there? And I need one yard of space either side of me to play properly.

Apart from that, the fiddler shouldn’t be such a wimp. He/she should have told the bodhran player to find another place, or done it for him/her.

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Or the fiddler could have said “Excuse meThis won’t work with you sitting there can we move things around because I need to hear such a person”

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Fiddlers’ lack social graces, unlike bodhran players. It comes from the fact that the bodhran player has to be aware of everyone.

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This thread starts with organ beil saying: “When a session is tightly packed and there is little space for existing melody players,would it not be agood idea if Bodhran player gave up their seats,particuarly if there is more than one percussionist, fiddlers and accordionists require more space,and should not be cramped so that they feel they cant play properly”

Then organ beil later says: “no one has read my post correctly, nobody arrived late apart from the BODHRAN PLAYER,who squeezed himself into a it position that made it difficult for the fiddle player to play properly.the bodhran player was abeginner and the fiddle player the most experienced musician in the room.”

I’m confused… I saw nothing in the opening statement that indicated the bodhran player arrived late. It seems to indicate that the bodhran player was already there and the fiddler squeezed in and didn’t have enough room.

~~~

Well anyway… the situation could be remedied easily with the careful execution of the fiddle bow into the bodhran player’s eye.

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You understand everything, Don Phantom.

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A useful question to ask from the latecomer who has just sat on top of you virtually; ask him or her if he or he has enough room. Invariably they will reply that “no no, I’ve plenty”. you can then cheerfully reply “That’s fine then, ’cos I’m B******d if I have”, and wait to see if the message sinks in.

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Would you have done that in Limavady, at the Lord’s gathering of the clans?

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… and dressed like a sheep?

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Its hard for a bodhrn player to really understand because no one ever wants to sit that close.

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I’d offer one of the bodhran’s to the maid behind the bar as a serving tray for the refreshments……..

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A subtle way for the fiddler to overcome this situation is to say “Has anyone got a spare bow sharpener? I’ve left mine at home” Most people move PDQ after that 😉

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Hi Cíarán! Long time no see. Reminds me - must head up to Cushendall with my big obtrusive bodhrán some day.

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Is it yourself?!!!

It is a long time.

Friday nights in McCollum’s bar, very little room mind you but the punters are more than happy to give a bit of room to a musician!

Can you bring a quiet Bodhran with you?

(joke)

Cheers!

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Courtesy is the best rule of session. If you see that someone else is uncomfortable, perhaps giving them your seat at a break point is a good compormise, whether they are good players or not. I have the advantage of playing a few different instruments, including one I can play sitting or standing, so it isn’t giving up my spot entirely to switch to standing from sitting. Chances are folks will rotate a bit before the night is over anyway.

One big thing, though, is that no-one should ever position themselves to stand in front of another player who is seated if they can possibly avoid it.

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In the case that prompted this thread though, it may be that the bodhran player simply had no clue, and to dismiss them as fools without trying to give them a civil clue would be wrong. If there is a leader, they could say something directly, or anyone could suggest to the bodhran player that the fiddler needs a wee bit more room, could they squidge the chairs around a bit to make that please, or something that allows for education of the new player without insulting anybody.