Performance or In House

Performance or In House

When we set up a new session, (they move on sometimes round here for a variety of reasons), the locals seem to feel we should play as a performance like we are playing for an audience.

We try to explain that this is not what we are about and then they look hurt and think we don’t want them around, or that we’re stuck up.

We have this problem at them moment, caused mostly by the geography of the pub. Also, though we have some people who are just beginning to play out, who don’t feel confident enough to
play in front of an ‘audience’. We really like to feel that we give everyone a chance to feel ‘safe’ at our sessions, but it’s a difficult line to tread.

How do others of you find this problem of performance re just relaxing and playing and having fun?

Sue

Re: Performance or In House

Generally, when people think they have to stop talking and politely listen and then applaud when a set is done (although we do make it a point to at least smile and acknowledge that applause, not wanting to be rude), one of us will stop by the table and sit long enough for a joke, talk about the music (and sessions) and maybe invite one of the kids over to see and try out an instrument, preferably while everyone else is still playing. If that doesn’t work, we’ve been known to actually yell out something like "thanks, but don’t go stopping your evening for us, we’re just having a bit of a session for fun tonight!"

Re: Performance or In House

Susie, talk to them. Not to tell them what they should be doing and how they should be regarding you, but just to break down the ‘them and us’ feeling. Once the sense of formality has gone they will be more comfortable and so will you! In England, people often have no idea of how to deal with a session. They only understand music in terms of performance, and can be quite embarrassed by the fact that they don’t know ‘what is expected of them, so they just go into ‘audience mode’. Having said that, if they are listening, I’d milk it as much as possible, it won’t be long before you’re wishing that they’d stop making quite so much noise at the bar! And impress on your inexperienced sessioneers that 99.9% of the people who will be listening to them have absolutely no idea whether they’re any good or not.
Anyway, thats my 3 farthings worth.

Re: Performance or In House

My two raison d’etre at sessions is firstly to encourage the youngsters and secondly to let the public see "proper" instruments being played acoustically. Concertinas and pipes seem to generate the most interest from curious punters.
On instruments in public, it is also important for up-and-coming or budding musicians to be able to see the intruments being played and ask questions.
When beginers or the less-confident are interested in the session, it is sometimes worth starting either an early learners/slow session or to organise the same away from the public at someones house or whatever. Small groups of people wanting to practise the same sort of music or the same instruments in comfort, seems to bring along learners in leaps and bounds. Within a few months they will be happily playing along in the session.
When moving from pub to pub, it is a fact of life, you need a general standard for the session or they may not ask you back.

Re: Performance or In House

And another thing - theres never any harm done by leaving your hat upside down on the table!

Re: Performance or In House

See, Dow?

On the *table*, boyo, not on yer head.

(Mind you, looks like beanie season is over for 2003 judging from yesterday’s effort.)

Posted by .

Re: Performance or In House

Thanks ALL,

Sorry not to have got back to you but you know….busy and yes before posting I should check the diary AND see what’s coming up.

I must remember the hat on the table. And yes geoffwright, concertinas do cause a general interest. I suppose they’re thought of as being novel. My husband can silence a session playing his concertina . Our sessions are always run with a ‘workshop’ feel to them. Sadly there are NO youngsters around here wanting to join in.

Thanks for the input.