Does repertoire influence play along time?

Does repertoire influence play along time?

Lately i’ve been getting into some less common, longer, more difficult tunes. I’m wondering if I build my repertoire on longer harder tunes if it will influence the "play along" time I get at sessions. It’s one thing to not be able to play along because you don’t know the tunes others are playing. It’s another thing when others don’t play along because you have an unfamiliar repertoire.

I’m not really worried about this anymore because to my knowledge, Central Texas has developed it’s own repertoire. Still, I go to sessions to play with others. It’s not fun playing solo sets. Thankfully, I have become familiar with what’s played at our local session, but unfortunately, a lot of tunes that aren’t played around here have made their way into my repertoire.

Some tunes are fun playing solo, you know, when i’m actually by myself. But I’d rather spend my time learning tunes I know others are playing.

Re: Does repertoire influence play along time?

If you want to play a significant role in a particular session, then you need to know a fair number of the tunes which get played there.

Many people hardly venture out of one pub and while others seem to have the ability to "sit in" anywhere and have most of the tunes.

Of course, it’s a good idea to learn many of the common tunes and the repertoire of a "favourite" session if you go there regularly although most of the tunes will "come through time" without you having to worry about it unduly.

My approach these days is just to learn the tunes I like whether they get played or not although I find most of them usually crop up somewhere down the road… then it’s a pleasant surprise. However, within almost every session there will also be tunes I like and will want to learn as well as many which are already familiar.

If, however, one encounters a session where he or she doesn’t know the tunes and has no interest in learning the repertoire(There might be good reason for this), then it’s surely best just to stay away or seek out a different session.

Re: Does repertoire influence play along time?

What’s the problem? Learn the tunes the others are playing. And perhaps If the tunes you play solo do appeal, it might encourage others to learn those.

Re: Does repertoire influence play along time?

Further, you don’t HAVE to play all night at a session.

As long as you aren’t taking up valuable space, you can contribute or play along when it suits and just enjoy the experience.. You might not be able to play (or even want to) a particular tune but might still enjoy to listen.
Lots of sessions have musicians who "drop in and out" during the course of the evening… both literally and metaphorically, in some cases.
🙂

Re: Does repertoire influence play along time?

My advice would be to not over think it. Learn the tunes that you like. If they’re good tunes, others around you will like them and learn them too. Even as your repertoire grows, you’ll find that you’ll never know the right tunes for every session.

I have traveled to many sessions around various parts of the US and Ireland, and I almost always run into a handful of tunes that I know, but haven’t played at home for years. And sometimes they’re ones that I would consider obscure, and I’m always glad that I know the tune…

I would also say that if you play regularly at a single session, the tunes that you "like" are often going to be the tunes that they play regularly. So it really just sort of takes care of itself.

Re: Does repertoire influence play along time?

"As long as you aren’t taking up valuable space"

This may be a concern for some people, but from watching Jerone’s progress I don’t think it’s an issue in this case.

Jerone, if you have a tune that other folks don’t play, find two others that are in rotation locally, and put them after it. People will listen to a good tune played well for a minute and a half, and some of them will start to pick it up if you play it a few times. Put it first in the set, though, as a courtesy. That way you don’t have everyone dropping out midway through, which is awkward.
Once a few people seem to be getting it, you can play it in the middle of the set, the ones who have picked it up will probably just play right into it, and not even realize that they don’t know it until they’re done playing it. 🙂


" I’d rather spend my time learning tunes I know others are playing."

I think your instinct is correct here.

Re: Does repertoire influence play along time?

Ok, thanks for the advice. Really, i’ve thought a little more about it because i’ve become aware that i’ve been trying to practice waaaaay too many tunes, and I’ve thought about shortening my repertoire so that I could invest my practice time into tunes that I really like.

Re: Does repertoire influence play along time?

There are too many tunes out there to waste your time learning ones you don’t like. Quality over quantity……

Re: Does repertoire influence play along time?

If you’re playing in a session, you’re going to learn tunes you don’t like. How do you know you don’t like it until you’ve heard it? And when you’ve heard it enough to know whether you like it or not, you’ll have pretty much learned it anyway, so why not finish the job?

Re: Does repertoire influence play along time?

For me, the only time I play my full repertoire is when i’m busking, and even then I may leave out a few. Some tunes I don’t like to play because I don’t sound good playing them lol. Others I can rock though, and I tend to play those more. At a session, if I know it i’ll play it unless I REALLY really don’t like it. But for me, I have to like the tune and like playing it. Some tunes aren’t all that fun to play.

"If you’re playing in a session, you’re going to learn tunes you don’t like."

I don’t think i’ve learned a tune at a non-slow session yet. Next time i’ll try asking one of the session mates if they could teach me the first bar of the A-part just so I can remember it.

Re: Does repertoire influence play along time?

Nothing wrong with playing a tune or two by yourself, but don’t do it so often that people think you are hogging the session. And always offer, after you play one where you end up being solo, to show it to anyone who is interested.
One good trick is to follow a tune you think people might not know with a tune or two you know everyone is familiar with. That way, everyone gets to join in before the set is over.

Re: Does repertoire influence play along time?

Learning tunes at sessions isn’t hard, but it took me a while to figure that out. Listen for a while, and when you recognize a piece of the tune, you’ll start to hear how it goes.
Once you get the hang of it, you’ll find that it’s easier at sessions where people know the tunes. Slow isn’t a great help (you’re not learning the notes, one by one, you’re learning the tune) but solid time is crucial, and that can be hard to find at a slow session.


"after you play one where you end up being solo, to show it to anyone who is interested."

But that’s what you’ve just done… when you played it….

"One good trick is to follow a tune you think people might not know with a tune or two you know everyone is familiar with. That way, everyone gets to join in before the set is over."

Yep. I’d say so.

Re: Does repertoire influence play along time?

Yea, following an unfamiliar tune with a familiar tune is great. That’s how i’ve managed finding out what everyone else knows that I play. Took a couple months though lol. I didn’t wanna do it the whole time at a single session.

Re: Does repertoire influence play along time?

"Yea, following an unfamiliar tune with a familiar tune is great…"

Yes, it strikes me as a good way to do one’s own thing and also to be social - so long as one intends to give the second tune one’s best, and not just treat it as a perfunctory formality!

Re: Does repertoire influence play along time?

Good point, Nick!

Re: Does repertoire influence play along time?

"Does repertoire influence play along time?"

Dunno. But surely and inevitably, does not a chosen repertoire tunnel and rive its way through the brain and recast it for ever in its own likeness? Until one adopts another repertoire, that is, when all this happens over again?

I don’t honestly know which tunes govern my cognitive faculties in moments of advanced stress. But I suspect them of being off on foreign holidays when I need their brain-enhancing influence the most.

They do this, of course, to vast numbers of players who jump into gaps in sessions with a view to playing them, i.e. they rat on them. Never trust a tune.