How do I say it without offending?
I play in a small session and guests are welcome. However recently we have a problem with people joining in who cannot play the tunes. The final straw for me came with a flute player who for every tune did a Jethro Tull style "accompaniement" which did not fit in the least. I asked the flautist to lead off a tune, but he explained he had only been playing for a couple of weeks.
Now I reckon if you have only been playing that short a time you come to a session and listen. Every tune we played was a battle to stay together because of the flute player playing in the wrong key and with the wrong tempo and beat. It drove me mad. So I explained that you needed to know the tunes to play, that this music was all about melody and rhythm and you needed to get that right. We suggested CDs or dots. Then one of the other sessioneers said it was fine to doodle along in the background. My whole point - for me, being selfish - is this is not ok, it is ruining things for everyone else. This is a session, not professional of course, way off perfect, but not a total free for all either. Some tips please, how else can I make my point and not be seen as a complete old grouch?