Session Etiquette: When to drop a tune?
You may know that because of inaccessibility, I don’t get to play at sessions much at all anymore. Because of this, when I do get to visit a session, I don’t know it’s repertoire. I end up playing tunes that I think(hope) others may know but there’s no definite way to figure it out for me.
So when do you decide to drop a tune and move on to the next tune in the set? Since I make everything complicated, I have a little system for this.
If no one else is joining in the first time through, I automatically drop the tune(if it’s more than two parts especially). If I get some noodles, I’ll play it a second time or until the noodles stop, then move on to the next tune. But there’s two conflicts I’ve found with this.
Sometimes, backers get involved. They figure the rhythm or chords out and play along with me. It’s fun, but awkward when it’s just me and the backer and no one else. But then, I feel rude if I drop the tune and the backer is enjoying themselves along with the other sessioners. I know I like to sit back and listen to a good live duet less than 3 feet away ;-)
The other conflict. At the last session, I played a reel set and no one knew the first tune so I dropped it and moved on to the next tunes. I didn’t realize until the end of the set that everyone was actually listening to me play the first tune rather than waiting for me to finish the first tune. They made a lot of comments about the tune. Had I known they were enjoying it, I would’ve played it again.
So what about you? How do you get around these common but awkward situations?