Is there a way to ‘stealth’ my fiddle into the session without ppl noticing?

Is there a way to ‘stealth’ my fiddle into the session without ppl noticing?

I feel really stupid bringing my fiddle to the session before Ive sussed out the vibe. Carrying your instrument is like waving a big flag showing everyone your intetions.

Its hard to conceal too though not the hardest of all instrumetns surely :). I tried to put the fiddle in my biggest rucksack and it fits but the bow unfortunately didnt fit and would protrude out the top.

I dont have a car to stash the goods and besides I only live two minutes away from the session, but not so close as its very easy to run back and forth getting the instrument from home.

So im thinking the only way is to be ‘brave’ and come out the closet from the get go carrying it proudly. It feel really self conscious though walking into a place where i dont know anyone waving this banner ‘i ama musician’ when i am not yet a comfortable performer. The laymen dont know what level im at and before ive had drunkards shouting ‘give us a tune’! and the like and hasstling me to play which makes it worse.

Re: Is there a way to ‘stealth’ my fiddle into the session without ppl noticing?

Clearly you are playing the wrong instrument:

Regarding a sign in a show window reading, "Flute for sale. Easily concealed":

"Why, although this seems at first sight so strange, does it also seem so appropriate? It is because the flute is terrible, mysterious and primitive… the marvellous thin pipings of the flute are a link with older things - with a fearful ecstasy of melody in the first dawn… Of all musicians, flautists are most obviously the ones who know something we don’t know… The goat eyed, the devious flute player moves softly among us, none can see the flute he carries. He walks past unsuspecting doormen, into public assemblies, into restaurants and parties - into churches, even. He nods and smiles, he talks to other people, to us. He does not reveal that he is a flute-player. For there have been rumours - a pubful of people in Croydon discovered in a trance, from which they have never emerged, a bus that simply disappeared across fields, a whispered story of platelayers found sobbing in a tunnel, of thin high music disappearing into a cave, of men discovered with a look in their eyes like that of Mole in The Wind in the Willows, after he saw Pan…"

—Paul Jennings, "Flautists Flaunt Afflatus"

Re: Is there a way to ‘stealth’ my fiddle into the session without ppl noticing?

Learn the whistle.

Re: Is there a way to ‘stealth’ my fiddle into the session without ppl noticing?

Success! I found my second hiking back-pack is able to stash even the bow!

Now I can saunter in appearing like a common peon returing after a hard day’s hike and case the joint out at my leisure.

This has been a large barrier to me breaking the ‘session scene’.

Re: Is there a way to ‘stealth’ my fiddle into the session without ppl noticing?

You could have put the bow down your trouser leg……!!!

Ciaran Carson in "Last Night’s Fun" admits the concealment advantage of being a flute player when deciding which session to join at the fleadh.

Re: Is there a way to ‘stealth’ my fiddle into the session without ppl noticing?

they do make short bows y’know.

I am honestly a bit curious as to what you are hoping to see that would encourage your confidence and comfort to play in a session. If I were starting a session, say, what would be the vibe y
ou would want to feel OK to join in? (Mostly interested in the positive side of the question)

Re: Is there a way to ‘stealth’ my fiddle into the session without ppl noticing?

Well ive been a few times before so its less intimidating if there are people i know from before. but for future ofc that wouldnt always be the case and i wouldnt not play due to that. but another factor is if its very full and there arent many seats id just want to keep out of the way in that case.

also as i mentioend above hiding it from hecklers. so if there was a belligerant drunk i might think twice.

Re: Is there a way to ‘stealth’ my fiddle into the session without ppl noticing?

Just carry it in your fiddle case, and if anyone asks you to play, say something like, ‘Ah, I’d love to; but I’m taking it to a mate to get fixed.’ That way you can play or not as the fancy takes you, without the hassle of lugging a rucksack into the bar.

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Re: Is there a way to ‘stealth’ my fiddle into the session without ppl noticing?

you could always hide it in a banjo case. Nobody ever asks anyone to open up a banjo case

Re: Is there a way to ‘stealth’ my fiddle into the session without ppl noticing?

There is no difference between lugging a fiddle case vs lugging a rucksack, so that is a moot point :) a rucksack i dare say is easier but very little between the two.

Re: Is there a way to ‘stealth’ my fiddle into the session without ppl noticing?

Of if your at Fleadh’s etc, you leave your Fiddle outside with a friend.
While you check the Session out . But, if you really want concealment,
Get some young Lad you know, ie/ a musician who knows the players, but they wont know him .
You just stand outside he sneak’s in through the crowd’s, then sneaks back out again.
And you get all the Info, - lol.
ie/ The young piper here, in video at about 0:53 , but he got older, taller, and more well known.
So we cannot use him anymore, plus when he goes into a session, no-one really care’s,
what us Auld guy’s are doing standing Outside for :-)
f4
http://vimeo.com/41971125

Re: Is there a way to ‘stealth’ my fiddle into the session without ppl noticing?

Best to go without your fiddle at first, and just become part of the friendly crowd; then turn up one night with your fiddle but leave it in your case saying you feel a bit nervous; and then let them coax you to have a go at something you can play.

Re: Is there a way to ‘stealth’ my fiddle into the session without ppl noticing?

This is precisely why I love my whistles. I can carry them around anywhere and nobody is the wiser. Sure enough though, if someone sees one, I get "what is that?" "Can you play something?"

Re: Is there a way to ‘stealth’ my fiddle into the session without ppl noticing?

Wave your freak flag high.

Re: Is there a way to ‘stealth’ my fiddle into the session without ppl noticing?

Well, at least you’ve thought about it in advance! The first time I was persuaded to take my harp into a session, I didn’t really feel up to playing yet, but it was too late by then when I realised you can’t slink out with a harp under your coat without having to play something. And I guess people assumed I’d want to play, else why bring the instrument in the first place. So I see your dilemma.

Re: Is there a way to ‘stealth’ my fiddle into the session without ppl noticing?

:) ! - So what happened? *Did* you play?

Re: Is there a way to ‘stealth’ my fiddle into the session without ppl noticing?

Me? Yes - I did. And people were really nice about it - and also, that’s where I consider my musical education really began!

Re: Is there a way to ‘stealth’ my fiddle into the session without ppl noticing?

lol a harp eh i imagine you needed a forlift truck just to get it in so no stealth in that game.

i guess fiddle just about manages it.

Well ill be going tommorow so ill let you know how my covert operaiton goes :D better do a bit of practicing now to ready myself.

Re: Is there a way to ‘stealth’ my fiddle into the session without ppl noticing?

Honestly, if you walk into the pub with the instrument held low, get your pint, then sit somewhere and kick it under the table, out of sight, and act confident and cool while doing all of the above, people won’t pay attention. I got a set of pipes onto a Ryanair flight without paying them stupid money using this theory.

Re: Is there a way to ‘stealth’ my fiddle into the session without ppl noticing?

Good luck, @Arthur Gondolor, and if it works, tell them you will bring a harp next time!

Re: Is there a way to ‘stealth’ my fiddle into the session without ppl noticing?

I’ve been to sessions in Ireland where I didn’t know anybody and they didn’t know me, so what I did was to sit fairly close to the session but not so close that I could be seen to be part of it, with my fiddle case visible beside me. Invariably the session leader would wave me over and invite me to join in.

Re: Is there a way to ‘stealth’ my fiddle into the session without ppl noticing?

Arthur - go for it! Bring your fiddle (visible or not), and if the session atmosphere is good enough for you to feel comfortable joining in, do so. I had played the fiddle for less than a year when I brought it as my only session instrument to Ireland. Using DrSilverSpear’s words, I acted confident and played in many hour-long sessions during that week. It really helped not knowing anyone. And believe it or not - I never dared to play fiddle in sessions in my area until a few years ago. Confidence works in mysterious ways.

Good luck!

Re: Is there a way to ‘stealth’ my fiddle into the session without ppl noticing?

I bottled out :(.

I was walking by the pub but there was a couple of lads outside smoking and staring straight at me while i was trying to scope the joint out to see who was inside. Though i did catch a quick glimpse I felt my cover had been blown then so i just kept walking.

I also saw it hadnt got going yet. now i know this could be seen as advantageous since you can start chatting, while not much is going on but i think i feel more comfortable when things have just started but not too busy so i can slink it without being noticed.

I guess it is a small step in the right direction, a practice jump.

Re: Is there a way to ‘stealth’ my fiddle into the session without ppl noticing?

@ Arthur Gondolor I can only say that I’ve felt similar, and that when I’ve bitten the bullet and taken my axe into a session (and of course it is a lot harder to conceal a harp) things have always been much better than I imagined. Plus even with the thing out, in front of me (which it has to be, so I can be there to stop it getting knocked over) I will often sit out a few sets and join in only when I feel like it.

I love that playing an instrument gives you the privileged position of being able to sit amongst musicians, and I guess as long as you play something, at some point, you won’t be seen as "taking a space".

One other thought occurs, which is that there is no perfect session. Sometimes they are just not that great, and sometimes they are excellent. We had a thread about it recently on this site. The point is, no-one can really predict what it might be like from session to session, so it’s not always possible to actually prepare for that level of unknown. So I guess I’m saying don’t get too hung up on some idea that there is some perfect standard to attain, because it’s far more unpredictable than that. And you will probably be valued just for bringing your own slant to the thing - so by not going in, you could equally be depriving everyone of a difference that might really lift the thing.

Re: Is there a way to ‘stealth’ my fiddle into the session without ppl noticing?

Aye thanks for the words of encouragement. :)

Re: Is there a way to ‘stealth’ my fiddle into the session without ppl noticing?

Good for you for the "practice jump". If it were me … well, this is what I used to do a long time ago - go in with the thing and find a nice stool at the bar if there are such things in that place. At some point during a lull, go over and introduce yourself and ask if it’s OK to join in.

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Re: Is there a way to ‘stealth’ my fiddle into the session without ppl noticing?

Long day, but I couldn’t resist: is that a bow in your pants or are ya just happy to see me?

Yeah, whistle or flute would solve that.

If they are so close, they oughta know ya already, sonny. Go for it.

Re: Is there a way to ‘stealth’ my fiddle into the session without ppl noticing?

@Arthur

I think you might be underestimating how much welcome can be received by someone who is obviously keen / interested *and* aware of their own limitations.

Some years ago I went to a session in a village in the Peak District (whilst on holiday) and used a similar approach to Trevor’s & DrSS.

I got my pint and sat down close to the musicians, with my bag at my feet, and listened to what they were playing.

It was not long at all before someone said - "You’re obviously interested - what have you got in that bag?".

When I replied "concertina" they said "come and join us" and made room.

I only joined in tunes I knew - and after some while the leader said "give us a tune". So I said "I don’t know many tunes" and they said "doesn’t matter, give us something you do know". So I did.

The whole evening was fantastic, great company, great welcome.

So, my advice is, go for it.

Re: Is there a way to ‘stealth’ my fiddle into the session without ppl noticing?

Tell people it’s not yours, tell them you’re holding onto it for a friend.

Re: Is there a way to ‘stealth’ my fiddle into the session without ppl noticing?

Dress up as Al Capone.

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Re: Is there a way to ‘stealth’ my fiddle into the session without ppl noticing?

Gobby, I was just wondeirng where you were :D
Dress up, that’s quite a fun solution. I say go for it, Arthur!
You can always tell any bad guitarists or banjo’s if they don’t stop you’ll shoot, I suppose.

Re: Is there a way to ‘stealth’ my fiddle into the session without ppl noticing?

It’s not that you HAVE to play a tune (or join the session) just because you bring your fiddle to the pub. If you don’t feel like joining (for whatever reason) you can always say that you’ve returned from practicing with another band/orchestra, and just want to relax in the bar.

Re: Is there a way to ‘stealth’ my fiddle into the session without ppl noticing?

I suppose not but there is definitely a social pressure to do so. I do remember the other times I went it certainly wasn’t bad once I was actually sat down in the ‘clique’ and after a while the others just gently encouraged me which ofc is good cos otherwise I would have remained a wallflower.

Re: Is there a way to ‘stealth’ my fiddle into the session without ppl noticing?

Jeff’s last post is relevant: "If you don’t feel like joining (for whatever reason) you can always say that you’ve returned from practicing with another band/orchestra, and just want to relax in the bar."

I discovered long ago that it just doesn’t work for me to join in a session on the way home from an intensive 2-2.5 hr orchestral rehearsal, so since then I have always separated the two activities - to the benefit of at least the session playing.

Re: Is there a way to ‘stealth’ my fiddle into the session without ppl noticing?

Don’t you think people will find it a bit weird if you "stealthed" your way in and then suddenly revealed yourself?

Best to be upfront in my experience, introduce yourself, ask if it’s OK to join in (I’m assuming this is a public session). If you’re not that confident or are just learning, be honest about it. Join in with the tunes you know, don’t make too much horrible noise trying to join in with ones you don’t and be generally courteous and aware of your surroundings and the music.

If you do this most people should be encouraging and welcoming, and if they’re not then it’s not a session I would want to be at!

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Re: Is there a way to ‘stealth’ my fiddle into the session without ppl noticing?

A couple of years ago my wife and I were at a weekend music and set dancing festival at a hotel in Tralee. During the lunch break the resident band held an informal session in the foyer, which I joined (after asking, of course). Much to my surprise, at the end of the session I was invited to play with the band in the evening ceili.

Re: Is there a way to ‘stealth’ my fiddle into the session without ppl noticing?

If you have a rectangular case then it is less obvious that it contains a fiddle and a matt black case is least noticeable. Generally I find there is no problem with instruments in a session and you can choose whether to play or not. The problem is in the street, in the restaurant and on the bus where they can draw unwelcome attention.

Re: Is there a way to ‘stealth’ my fiddle into the session without ppl noticing?

If I interpret Arthur’s first post correctly, the problem is that he doesn’t want to wave the flag and have everyone think that he wants/should/has to join the session (a normal feeling) - in the case of which I say that it’s perfectly OK to still enter the pub with an instrument, and politely say no if the mood (or "level") is not right. There’s a big difference between "I don’t want to play" and "I don’t want to intrude".

Of course, there’s even a chance that nobody will ask you to join despite carrying an instrument. (Has happened to me (once), and even if they had asked, I would have said no (for the intrusion reason)

Re: Is there a way to ‘stealth’ my fiddle into the session without ppl noticing?

When I carry a matt brown rectangular case it can deceive dogs that don’t wear their long distance glasses that I’m walking a largish dog, so they run up to investigate and then back off looking puzzled. It amuses their owners at any rate.