Structure of a beginner session… with ALL beginners
Newbie poster and nascent musician here… I recently stumbled across a group that wants to start a beginner’s session. Primarily Scottish music, although some Irish tunes are allowed. (Surely that’s close enough to beg some advice from Irish trad musicians?)
The problem is that there are no established Scottish sessions -- or Scottish session musicians -- anywhere nearby. So we can’t ask an experienced musician in to anchor the session/teach a few tunes, nor can we visit another session to listen to and absorb tunes.
Okay, there are some other problems too: We don’t have a clear leader to set the tone, I don’t think we all have the same idea of what a session is in the first place, and the aforementioned problems are compounded because we all have our noses buried in sheet music.
When I first joined up I imagined that if we each learned a tune well enough to lead it, everyone else could then pick it up by ear (or not)… which could launch us on our way to building a common vocabulary of tunes and give us practice learning by ear, too. Nobody else seems to be on board with that, though, or perhaps at this point they’re just tuning out my squawking about putting the music away.
With all that in mind, I’m looking for advice as to how the logistics of a functional ALL-newbie session could possibly work, especially as regards reducing our dependence on sheet music. (I’m also beginning to suspect that since I’m the only one who seems to have an issue with the way things are, maybe I’m the problem and should just show myself the door. But I figured I’d ask before throwing in the towel.)
Sorry this is so long, and thank you for any advice.