What do you do, when a session is shite?

What do you do, when a session is shite?

Yesterday night was one of these nights again, when I asked myself why on earth I left my cozy sofa to drive into the city center and land in a bad session.
To be fair, I was in a very bad mood, because I just learned that a friend of me had died. I really forced myself out of the house to distract myself and went to my weekly session in an unfortunately very famous pub in Dublin. When I arrived, there were the usual musician plus a huge group of tourists or whatever - and no places left. I waited and hoped that some of them would leave, but there was no chance. Instead, they were just sitting there, cradling their instruments most of the time. Luckily, I knew about another session where a friend plays every week and I just left, drove through the whole city and eventually had a great night.
Maybe, I am just oversensitive, but I really ask myself, why people just don’t stand up to make place for other musicians, if they don’t know the tunes. Why does everyone thinks he or she can join in a session, although they clearly don’t have a clue? In this Thursday session of mine we have had so far an Elvis impersonator, a guy with a very shrill and loud flute from Eastern europe, a Jazz clarinet player, an opera singer, a drummer, who took the table and the glasses for a drumkit, a guy with a cajon and many other kinds of session wreckers. Most of the time, I just try to ignore these guys, but sometimes, like yesterday, I can’t. This is one of my nights out. I am always looking forward to it. I spent a lot of time to learn the tunes and everything in order not to piss off the other musicians. I think it is a matter of respect. I am so wrong?
So, what do you do, when something like this happens in your session? Do you fake a fire alarm and then sneak back into the bar, when all the session wreckers are gone? Do you throw a stink bomb? Or do you just go to the bar and get pissed?

Re: What do you do, when a session is shite?

Consider it a session tax. For every bunch of enjoyable sessions you go to, you’re going to have one or two lousy ones. It’s on the anvil of bad sessions that experienced musicians are forged.

I’m sorry for the loss of your friend.

Re: What do you do, when a session is shite?

Drink

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What I do Sue is to sit there fuming, week after week, because one of the senior members of the session has told me that it "isn’t done" to say anything to anybody about the standard or nature of their contribution, and then eventually it all becomes too much for me, and I decide that what I said when I joined this forum years ago is true, that I don’t really like sessions.

So then I decide not to go to open sessions any more, but instead to try to start a small closed session somewhere near my home in Whitley Bay, so I put a message to that effect on the Mustard Board, but nobody responds except to say it’s a good idea. And that’s how things stand at the moment, and I’ve gone back to playing solo, at home, which I do enjoy, although it lacks something.

This weekend I might finally get round to putting a card on the noticeboard in the local music shop, seeking like-minded players.

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I play in a very famous pub in Edinburgh and to be honest, it’s pretty useless at the weekend. But good fun though if you’re up for a laugh and more than a few jars.

During the week is different though. We’ve had a zero tolerance policy for years and on the whole, it works very well. Everyone is openly encouraged to "say anything to anybody about the standard or nature of their contribution". Anyone can come and play, it’s an open session, but a lot get asked to stop, even as soon as half way through the first part of a tune. Maybe it’s cruel? I dunno, but it works.

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Ah - the X Factor session!

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1. Use it as an excuse to stand at the bar and bore some other disappointed and unsuspecting player about your whole tone composition theory, your hot water bottle collection or evaluation of different Indian harmonium models.
2. Go round the corner or just up the road to one of the other sessions.
5. Grab it by the scruff and make it good.
6. Make the session even worse by playing all the tunes a semitone sharp or continually back alternatively in Ab major and using the chords from The Girl from Ipenema.
7. And, indeed, Mr Gill’s solution: JUDST DRINK!

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It might work llig, but it’s very un-irish. We prefer to say nothing and play on while quietly fuming, complaining behind the person’s back, and harbouring the resentment to our last dying breath 🙂

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Haha, Tradshark, that is soo true!!! The regular guys in my session are all like this. I really love them to bits, but sometimes I wish they would say something. Maybe I should. I am German and everyone thinks we are rude anyway, hehe. But my being German really prevents me from saying something, because, well, I am a regular but it is still not "my" session.
I was discussing the topic of session wreckers once with a fellow musician and he told me that they had a very bad musician in the session who always spoilt everything and nobody dared to say something. Then one day the flute player Harry Bradley came to the session and told the guy "You know, most people do their practicing at home". The guy was never seen again.

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"It might work llig, but it’s very un-irish. We prefer to say nothing and play on while quietly fuming, complaining behind the person’s back, and harbouring the resentment to our last dying breath" tradeshark

Ha ha, tiz like that with us sometimes.

It’s funny though, it only takes one good one to lift the spirit and top up on tolerance credits.

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Don’t get me wrong, we are mostly very nice about it. And we encourage beginners to have a tune or two and we’ll enjoy playing the Kesh jig and stuff, nice and slow, early on. But we do differentiate between beginners and people who will never be able to play.

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I was never going to be able to play once.

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Please understand that this is not meant to be criticism; but your whole attitude seems to me very negative and ego-centric. You were ‘in a bad mood’, not sad at your loss. You ‘forced yourself’ out of the house to an ‘unfortunately’ famous pub, instead of wanting to go out to seek comfort from your friends. ‘Tourists or whatever’ are just people you don’t know, any one of whom could have suffered a similar loss. There were ‘no places left’ rather than the place thriving. And they were ‘just sitting there’, as opposed to doing what you had expected them to be doing.
If that had been me I would have taken one look in the door and said to myself, ‘Oh dear,’ then simply gone somewhere else. No criticism — just not for me at that time. You eventually had a great night — don’t let the first bit spoil it.
Why don’t people just stand up? Why do they think they can join in? Because they are thoughtless, selfish, ignorant, uneducated morons, of course. The world is full of idiots. They are us.
Saying that most of the time you just try to ignore these guys is like saying ‘I’m trying to give up smoking’. It means the opposite. Just ignore them, period.
Not everyone is as thoughtful as you; but not everyone realises he might be p*ssing off the other musicians either. People just do things differently.
Is it a matter of respect? Yes; but respect works both ways.
Are you so wrong? Well, yes, if it’s making you miserable.
What do I do, when something like this happens in my session? Change it, ignore it, or go somewhere else. What I don’t do is fret about it, or contemplate any other imaginative solutions that might get me arrested. Take a deep breath and enjoy your life.

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Blimey gam, I’d hate to see you critisise.

Jon, The way one differentiates between beginners and those who will never be able to play is the latter don’t improve.

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The other side of it is, Sue, just based on your description, is visiting a strange session in a strange city and finding you don’t know many of the tunes, so you sit there most of the night with your instrument in your lap all night. Happens to everyone. A regular who knows all the tunes might show up to find no spaces in the session because you and your pals are there. But all you see is someone with an instrument case. How are you to know they’re a regular? Especially in a place like Dublin, they could be another blow-in, just like you. Why should you feel you *have* to move for some random person who came into the pub? At that point, the other regulars can say, "Hey, lets try to squeeze in so-and-so" and everyone shuffles accordingly. Or not.

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"Ah - the X Factor session!" … nice one Hussar!

Aye, I can just picture those guys sitting with their big Red Buzzers in front of them, while the newcomer squirms through their audition piece, hoping that they’ll come up to the very exacting standards of the self-proclaimed session elite ………. without being Honked Off!

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Gam, of course you are right in a way. It is just that it has happened so often in the last time, that I am thinking of staying away from it altogether. It might sound selfish, but as I said it is one of my few nights out and I just want to enjoy it. I would really miss the other guys, though.

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Gam, ignore them? Often easier said than done.
Last night I went out to a local session which was quite good - I arrived just after 9.00pm and already most seats around the session were already taken! - so I sat a little bit back from it all. Unfortunately I was thus sat next to a numptie who instead of talking, shouted all night to his friends across the table (granted, he may have wanted to be heard above the din of the music… there are 2 other bars in this pub, but hey, it’s his choice, he’s paying for the privilege of wrecking a session.) At many points his garullous spouting of trivia (I was able to hear every word crystal clearly, and his topics of conversation were along the lines of how to wash woolens in a washing machine) were of such a volume that he compromised the playing and listening of all surrounding players. I tried at one point to play the Bluebell Polka as loudly on the box as I could but this merely had the effect of eliciting louder shouting. And I felt I was reducing myself to his base level. (I have in the past accosted loudmouths to politely tell them to shut TF up but it just gets me into trouble so I desisted on this occasion.) After a while I gave up and left. I normally leave about 10.30 anyway since I’m up early at the crack of noon, so no loss on that front. So the answer if the session isn’t working out, is stay for a while, see if it improves (it usually doesn’t) then just leave. The fresh air outside is… ermm.. like a breath of fresh air…

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Sorry: …his garullous spouting of trivia…WAS of such a volume…

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(there was one thing I noticed in your post, Sue. "I spent a lot of time to learn the tunes and everything in order not to p*ss off the other musicians". I’ve come across many reasons in my time to bother to learn this music, but "so you don’t p*ss people off" is a new one on me?)

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I do a lot of traveling, so I’m often in the shoes of the awkward-feeling visitor or tourist in a strange session. You can’t be expected to know the majority of tunes that are played in whatever session you just walked into. It’s handy when you do, but there are a lot of bloody tunes out there!

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Rudall, zero tolerance. You have to ask the bloke to keep it down a bit straight away. Not tell him to shut T F up a few minutes later, after he’s clearly got you angry.

Straight away, you ask politely, and when the blokes looks at the other musicians, they are all nodding. It’s easy.

We’ve had this kind of thread a million times here. "How can I stop such and such from ruining the session?" It’s so easy.

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Answer to the question "Put up with it, say something or go home."
But if it’s a famous tourist pub (or whatever) should you be surprised when it’s full of people? I presume that’s how the pub makes its money.

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Llig - when I said "shut T F up" - I meant I have asked politely, etc. It has still got me into trouble. Problem is I don’t have a loud voice anymore, so to be heard I have to raise my own voice, which could be misconstrued as confrontational.

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llig, of course my main reason for learning the tunes, is that it is fun. What I wanted to say, was that I really tried to do most of my practising at home, not in a session 😉. Please excuse my bad English!

Shouty bloke in Catford…

I was at the session Rudall was talking about last night as well.
After he had gone, I decided to sit in his spot because although it wasn’t the best seat in the house it was better than the second row stool I was on.
Anyway, Danny, after you left some even louder woman friend of the shouty bloke arrived and proceeded to drunkenly yell inane uninformed ignorant bollox in that small bar. But they did go before the end and it settled down into a rather nice little sesh.

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Maybe it was all a ploy to get rid of me 🙂
Glad to hear it got better. It has to be said they were premier league numpsters, though.

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"Rudall, zero tolerance. You have to ask the bloke to keep it down a bit straight away. Not tell him to shut T F up a few minutes later, after he’s clearly got you angry.

Straight away, you ask politely, and when the blokes looks at the other musicians, they are all nodding. It’s easy."

It’s easy if the other musicians all agree with you, and you know that, and you know they will have the courage to back you up.

But I don’t think it’s easy to get to that position, not easy at all.

Any efforts I have made in this direction, however carefully I have tried to approach it, have got me into deep trouble.

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Thank you Bernie29.
If you don’t mind me saying, Michael, I get the feeling you base your comments, not only with reference to this topic but other similar ones, on your experience of Sandy Bell’s, where I believe you are one of the main players, so have the support and gravitas to behave as you describe here. But that is not always the case with all players.
If truth be told I had in fact quite a pleasant evening, I joined in with most tunes, led a few sets, chatted a bit, nodded to a few old acquaintances. The numpo was just an irritant like an overgrown mosquito buzzing around…and by god was he overgrown, all 17 stone of him (another reason why I was reluctant to confront him!)

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@ Rudall the time.
I realize that it is not easy to ignore the numpties. What I’m saying is that you have to either ignore them, or do something about it like have a word, kill them, or go somewhere else. What you can’t do is *try* to ignore them — all that means is you are letting them annoy you.
@ fiddlinsue
By ego-centric I don’t mean selfish, I mean you are only seeing things from your point of view. And if that sounds like — I don’t know the word — the opposite of a paradox, we have the ability to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. Maybe the Latvian clarinet-playing Elvis impersonator with the spoons and the loud voice is actually quite nice, deep down. Or not. Either way, he’s not doing it to annoy you — he’s just another fine example of humanity.

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>What you can’t do is *try* to ignore them — all that means is you are letting them annoy you.
Not sure what you mean. With respect, it seems as if you are playing with words, gam. I don’t get your analogy with trying to give up smoking. I finally gave up smoking after *trying* several times. So trying does work.
Of course you can *try* to ignore them. But if a numpo is so persistently in your face shouting about soap powder, cleaning out the sound of other players, you can only try so hard, or - you can only ignore so hard.

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What I meant by the smoking comparison is that people who say, ‘I’m trying to give up,’ usually know that they are going to fail. When you can say, ‘I don’t smoke,’ and believe it yourself, then you’ve given up. Similarly, trying to ignore someone is not the same as ignoring them. It’s only when they are not bothering you that you have succeeded. The hard part is actually not to let things annoy you, without just kidding yourself that everything is fine when it isn’t.

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I think I get you but still not sure you’re not playing with words. Even to imprint upon your consciousness the belief that " I don’t smoke" will only come back and bite your arse when the pangs overrule all other conscious thought. Same with a prick shouting in the middle of a session, and me trying to ignore him.
BTW, I actually feel sorry for the knob, as his only way of getting attention was to try and out-decibel musical instruments - what a smeghead.
Anyway, must Get Tae F to get train to Glasgow. Bye y’all.

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yeah I am about ready to tell this one guy in a local session that if he is going to stand behind me and clap in my ear that to at least clap on the beat….some folk are really obtuse…I may be one of those to someone else and if I am I hope someone tells me…

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I decided years ago, there is room for both kinds of sessions: tolerant and not very tolerant of session wreckers. I run the low tolerance brand and after 6 years we are known for reasonable quality trad. But there are lots of other sessions in my area where people can go and play anything. They tend to be very large and drown out those people. It’s not easy to "council" people about their musical "transgressions". You will ruin your reputation and be considered a folk music Satan. But screw it, I love GOOD trad too much. It’s working out. I welcome everyone, and most beginners are respectful and find they don’t know the tunes enough anyways.

Salt

Re: What do you do, when a session is shite?

I think Rudall and Bernie make a valid point in saying that while it is ideal to tell the numpty to feck off, it is not always feasable depending on the session and your position in it. If you’re one of the lead players and you know you’ll have the backing of the others, grand. But if you’re (relatively) new to the session, or if that’s just not the culture of that session, then you have to suck it and deal with whatever. Or leave.

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Sorry to hear about your friend, fiddlinsue.

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"there are lots of other sessions in my area where people can go and play anything. They tend to be very large […]"

Whereas yours is always tiny?

In your position I’d see that as a problem rather than an achievement.

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Sure, the-more-the-merrier aproach works fine if your session is primarily a social vehicle; music being of secondary, or of no importance at all. These would be more like those "music therapy circles," as one member here put it. For some of the rest of us, these can be pretty dumpy. Don’t be too surprised to find some musicians — albeit a relatively smaller, and seemingly fussier group — who want something more from a session, and quit the bigger group. The friction comes about mostly when the "music therapy" folks with their much-lauded values and sensibilites blunder in on the littler group. Folks, if you can’t actually hear music, at least try to be alert to the visual signs of musicians being pushed out of shape by your noisemaking.

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We’ve been very lucky. Until just recently, neither of my regular sessions have ever suffered the sort of problems I read about on here. But thanks to a certain "percussionist" I now realise how one person can ruin a good session.

It strikes me that in sessions that attract a lot of casuals and visitors, the best solution might be to have a set of half a dozen basic rules printed off and stuck on the wall. It might stop some people before they start, and if it doesn’t, it would be a lot easier to point at the wall and say "You’re breaking rule number three" than to try to explain politely why shaky eggs are inappropriate in a slow air. Has anyone ever tried it? We’ve had a lot of etiquette lists posted here, but has anyone gone as far as sticking them on the wall so that everyone at their session knows the score?

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Sorry for your loss.

I’d do just what you did if there was more than one session. Go to the other and hope for better tunes. Around here I don’t generally have that option so I join some non-musician friends who are often at the pub or head to the bar to meet someone new. It’s a local pub, lots of interesting folks with stories to tell.

The problem folks are mostly tourists so you’re not stuck with them for more than a night. We try to talk to locals and there has been some natural "sorting" where the dot-readers and other recidivists end up at one particular session.

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Jack, I don’t know what you mean by a small session being a problem. 4-6 people seems to me about right for playing tunes with people, eight is a nice crowd in the right company, but as you get more than that the night tends to deteriorate in my book.
I’ve played in sessions with lots of people (two dozen, say) and they’re really not as pleasant as a smaller group, for me.

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"Not as pleasant"? Very kind, Jon. 😉

Pointless is what it is. One side of the group can’t hear what the other side is doing, instruments and players are lost in a vast soupy mosh of sound, feh.

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It isn’t necessarily a problem, but the larger sessions are the ones that are developing the musicians of the future.

Less experienced musicians aren’t going sit in a bar for months on end listening to a handful of sages and waiting for their moment of enlightenment before they get to participate. A small session with an offputting attitude is going to end up polarized between active performers and pure listeners - you might as well be on stage. I’ve often been in sessions like that, but I prefer a more fluid situation.

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Fine away to leave, or what Llig said first.. ’ Drink ’
jim,,,

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"It strikes me that in sessions that attract a lot of casuals and visitors, the best solution might be to have a set of half a dozen basic rules printed off and stuck on the wall."

Lord no. Don’t try to hard-copy etiquette. It never works, and it almost always p*sses off the wrong people. It’s cowardly, passive-agressive and far too generic to actually be of any practical use at all. In the end, a set of rules on paper only serves to change what you’d have to tell the offender from "hey, don’t play the shakey egg" to "hey, rule #3".

In the end, the behavior you want to eliminate is more a symptom than the disease. The "disease" is the absence of awareness of the social structure around playing the session, and different sessions operate with different structures. In short, the problem isn’t the shakey-egg, it’s that the person in question doesn’t know how to use the shakey egg in a way that actually works for the session at hand, or have the good sense to realize that the egg wouldn’t work right then.

Every "rule" can be broken, if it’s broken correctly. I’m willing to bet that Jim Higgins or Johnny McDonaugh could pull off a shakey egg in a session if they thought it would work, and if it didn’t work, they wouldn’t try it. Hell, even *I* might be able to make the shakey-egg work at a session—at 3am, if everybody playing was in a suitably silly mood, as the punchline of a joke.

So in the end, you need—or at least you need to have somebody with—a repertoire of polite corrections, jibes, or what have you, to keep everybody rolling along happily.

Or maybe the consensus at the "session" is that they’d all prefer to be playing "celtic folk-rock-singalongs" instead of traditional Irish music…

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"It isn’t necessarily a problem, but the larger sessions are the ones that are developing the musicians of the future."

They’re also the sessions that are the sinkhole for the non-musicians of the future as well. I know plenty of people who have no interest in playing better, but love to go to big sessions so they can partake on their own terms.

And often times the musicians of the future bother to take actual lessons, rather than expecting to pick up everything in a noisy bar.

Now please don’t misunderstand me. I like that there are large, loose sessions out there playing tunes like the butterfly over and over again every week. I just prefer to avoid them, since I don’t find them very satisfying to play in on a regular basis. I prefer smaller sessions where people actually listen to each other and play more unusual tunes with interesting variations and solid rhythm. If one of the musicians of the future wants to come join us, then she/he is more than welcome, but those are the terms… And I think they work pretty well.

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"It isn’t necessarily a problem, but the larger sessions are the ones that are developing the musicians of the future."

Not around here, I’d say. I don’t really go to the bigger sessions, but I’ve seen a number of novice players come into the smaller sessions I prefer to attend, and they’re always made welcome. I think it’s probably easier for a new player to be comfortable in a smaller group - there are, for one thing, fewer people to be freaked out about playing in front of. Yes, I know, there’s no reason to freak out about playing "in front of" people or to think of playing at a session as "playing in front of" people (instead of playing with them), but the kid who just learned his first five tunes on the whistle doesn’t necessarily know that.

At a big session, the new kid can hide in the noise, and maybe that gives them some confidence to try things, but there they go learning bad habits. When it’s a smaller group, they know that everything they do will be heard, and they mind themselves better. (The masking effects of a larger group are illusory - you only think you can get away with it, but the people near you know better - again, the new player doesn’t necessarily know that)

I’m not knocking big sessions. Economy of scale is a good thing, I guess. More enjoyment-hours happen in larger sessions than in smaller ones, by simple math. I just don’t prefer them. (again, being kind 🙂 )

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Nice cross-post, Georgi.

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If more than a dozen folks are involved, it is time to call in a conductor. Can you imagine how horrible a symphony would sound without one, with all those various instruments toodling away? Too many people, and just keeping everyone on track and in time becomes a chore. Although too small a session can get stale if it is the same people all the time.
The size, rules, composition that works is difficult to pin down, which is why, as Georgi says, posted rules don’t work. It is all about balance, and open and honest feedback when things do get off track.

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I’ve seen a symphony orchestra led without a conductor. They were playing, of all things, the scherzo of Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony, which is an enormously complicated hocketed polyrhythmic monster (Bruckner intended it to represent a specific type of steam locomotive with a triple-expansion engine). The conductor had some kind of acute medical emergency on stage - I suspect a panic attack but it could have been angina, or both. He started flailing his arms meaninglessly, signalled for somebody to pass him a glass of water from the wings, but didn’t do anything more effectual after getting it. So the string section leaders held the whole show together through that and the following slow movement, everybody else watching them like a hawk. There was no "noodling away", it worked fine. Timpani included (this needs timing of a different order than anything bodhran players are expected to achieve).

This was what they were up against:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3uuxqdtThp8


(the real complications aren’t the big thumping stuff, but the kind of texture you get around 3:40).

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But Jack, wouldn’t you say that in that case, the first chair violinist became the defacto conductor, with his bow functioning as a substitute for the baton? And if I am not mistaken, isn’t that something first chair violinists are expected to do?
Sessions are direct democracy, while a symphony is a dictatorship, with a strict heirarchy. A large group needs that kind of structure to keep it together (thus the written music on everyone’s stands).

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Going back a bit, nice post Georgi 🙂

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One of the best small orchestras in the world, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra of two dozen or so musicians, always rehearses and performs without a conductor. Instead, one of the orchestra’s players is chosen to be the leader, or de facto conductor (as Al pointed out), for the next concert. This works, and can only work, because they operate at a level of collaborative precision that is usually only to be found in the best string quartets and is unknown to the vast majority of us.

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A session shouldn’t be democratic. At any one moment, somebody is always leading the tune, and everybody else better listen up and follow what they’re doing. A conductorless chamber orchestra and a session only differ quantitatively in how much conscious effort they put into that sort of coordination.

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Jack - That’s interesting. Totally different from my experience, but quite interesting.

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If there are tourists taking your seat, good luck waiting for them to move!

Hmmm sh*te sessions, been there done that. It happens sometimes but usually if I have any better option I’d leave that one and go to the better one. In the case of festival sessions I usually take a look around everywhere to find the best one, or in normal situations I do the same anyway. If It’s a regular session I go to that turns out sh*t I stick it out for a while and leave earlier than usual.

:P

Re: What do you do, when a session is shite?

OK, classicists; what do you do when your orchestra is sh*te? Just kidding. Being as how there are only a few, slight analogies one can make between orchestras and sessions, discussion of orchestral personnel problems isn’t very applicable. Firstly, those guys get paid. Secondly, they are vetted. (Session membership does not depend on the say-so of a committee; and in a session, even peer review doesn’t count for much.) Most important, they have a dress code!

Re: What do you do, when a session is shite?

I’d like to see all those distinguished musicians in their black formals, interrupting play to order drinks, juggle pint glasses and money with the orchestra barmaid, then resume play. That crowd probably can’t even walk and chew gum at the same time.

Re: What do you do, when a session is shite?

"This works, and can only work, because they operate at a level of collaborative precision that is usually only to be found in the best string quartets and is unknown to the vast majority of us."

Sorry Trevor, but your assertion there strikes me as elitist, and mistakenly so. That level of "collaborative precision" is exactly what a really good session runs on. Not because one person is leading the tunes and everyone else follows (per Campin’s odd spin on things). But because everyone is listening to one another and they’re all capable of musical responding in an instant to where the group is going.

And it’s not all that difficult, in part because this music isn’t about technical virtuosity. But when played as a group, it certainly is about the highest level of musical precision and collaboration.

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Re: What do you do, when a session is shite?

I’d like to hear a performance of a final movement of some symphony get punctuated by shouts of "Last call," and a little bit later: "Time, gentlemen, please! Have ye no homes to go to? No more music; pack it up! Take your goddam music stands and clear off!"

Re: What do you do, when a session is shite?

Bonjour!

I’ve been to three sessions this week: Tues- B B King’s Wig Museum; Thurs- The Catford Dog Track Ukulele Collective (now incorporating the Brownhill Road Balalika Front) and up until just now, the Mr Vulpes’ Sto’Vo’Kor Politely All-nite-ly.
AND most session are great (with small excruciating/ schijt/ boring bits) and…so there!

Just getting down to do an up to date inventory on my Christmas lights collection- y’know- working (or not), flashing or still, crispy noln thripe or not…and so on!!!)

Re: What do you do, when a session is shite?

"Not because one person is leading the tunes and everyone else follows (per Campin’s odd spin on things)."

I didn”t say anything like that (it does happen, but not that often). Go back and read what I actually did write.

Re: What do you do, when a session is shite?

Jack Campin: "At any one moment, somebody is always leading the tune, and everybody else better listen up and follow what they’re doing."

So that’s what you said, but you meant something else?

😏

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Re: What do you do, when a session is shite?

I don’t agree that "somebody is always leading the tune." Often, in sessions among experienced, capable musicians, no one is leading the tune. Instead, the players are all following the tune together, playing off one another, no one in the lead, no one following.

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Re: What do you do, when a session is shite?

That’s the stuff, and it’s unfortunately nearly impossible to do in a big mob session.

Not that they aren’t fun in their own right (for me as an excuse to party and goof off, as opposed to partying and making good music) and have value as far as being inclusive to all comers, but as Jon said above beginners in a welcoming smaller session might get more value and experience from that. I know I did in my development, and I still do. Hope I always will!

Re: What do you do, when a session is shite?

"It might work llig, but it’s very un-irish. We prefer to say nothing and play on while quietly fuming, complaining behind the person’s back, and harbouring the resentment to our last dying breath" tradshark

I was thinking about this discussion at the weekend and it occurred to me that Llig’s approach is as un-English as it is un-Irish. Judging by my experience, the English also prefer to say nothing and fume inwardly. I can’t speak for the Scots.

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Re: What do you do, when a session is shite?

"Jack Campin: "At any one moment, somebody is always leading the tune, and everybody else better listen up and follow what they’re doing."

So that’s what you said, but you meant something else?"

I meant every single word, including "at any one moment" which you pretended I didn’t write.

Re: What do you do, when a session is shite?

The phrase "at any one moment" doesn’t make any difference Jack, your claim still isn’t true.

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Re: What do you do, when a session is shite?

Okay, maybe you just bash on playing the tune the way you know it without paying any attention to cues from the player who just started it. If that’s the case I can see how you might not imagine that anybody else might actually listen.

Re: What do you do, when a session is shite?

Jack, I think there’s a lot of middle ground between "just bash away without paying attention" and "one person is leading and everyone else is following".
Generally, around here, we defer to the person who started the tune for the changes, but everyone listens to everyone else. Maybe you do things differently where you are.

Re: What do you do, when a session is shite?

"Generally, around here, we defer to the person who started the tune for the changes, but everyone listens to everyone else. "

Yep, that’s how I prefer it.

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Re: What do you do, when a session is shite?

"Generally, around here, we defer to the person who started the tune for the changes, but everyone listens to everyone else. " Jon

Isn’t that what Jack implied with his original post?

Re: What do you do, when a session is shite?

No, quite the contrary.

Re: What do you do, when a session is shite?

Take over.

or don’t

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Re: What do you do, when a session is shite?

I have often wanted a big handbell to ring when peoples time is up - boring tunes, badly played, out of tune, any excuse.

Re: What do you do, when a session is shite?

How about a Gong?

Re: What do you do, when a session is shite?

Gongs, or electric shocks for the worst offenders; that would work fine. For shoddy slow airs, use an egg timer. All the kidding aside, if your session goes sour….well…look for another session. The desperate-measure-rear-guard-brutal-and-ugly-measures fantasy is understandable when you feel you no longer fit into the only session in town. All the same, you you have to leave it for good, and start another somewhere else. Institute a session in your kitchen.