Dropping in at sessions

Dropping in at sessions

At local sessions how frequently are there a players there who no-one has met before? Do they usually come as individuals or with one or more people that they already know?

Yes I know you can’t always be sure.

Re: Dropping in at sessions

Southern Indiana here. I can’t think of a time somebody has just shown up, unannounced and uninvited, to play. (We would be welcoming if they did! I wish they would!) We did last year have somebody happen to be there and discover that it was a weekly event, and we encouraged her to come back, and she’s missed only a couple since then. But usually new players get invited. (Often, they are university students who we’ve introduced to the tunes there, and when they get strong enough, they start coming to the session.)

Re: Dropping in at sessions

That’s how we get new blood here in York.

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I’ve dropped in on sessions in Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Sydney, and other places around the world, most recently in LA. Never not been made welcome.
We’ve had people drop in on sessions in Toronto either by themselves or with others- I would say around once a month on average.

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I don’t understand what you are really asking!
Are you a bit nervous about going to various random sessions?!
If you aren’t, don’t worry!
Just walk in like you own the joint, introduce yourself and sit down and play.
Don’t be too enthusiastic.
Most people that turn up for the first time at most sessions I go to are fab, sit and listen, join in, chat ‘normally’, laugh BUT some once they get the to the place where they feel relaxed and at home won’t stop playing, starting tunes as if in segue from the previous set of tunes! There has to be nice gap for banter and pints and sm*king and t*lking b****x!

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David, I have ventured outside my comfort zone in the hope of meeting strangers.
It’s refreshing to let go of my preconceptions & prejudices.
Your OP though seems to be calling for more restriction on thinking outside your personal zone of comfort.
What exactly are you asking?
Must session’s participation be sacrocant?

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With so many players on Facebook, seems like I know someone already in every session I’ve ever attended anywhere I travel. Or someone knows me. It’s like having a massive extended family all over the world. In the last 10 years I can’t remember even once walking into a session and been given that look of "so, do you know how to play some tunes?". It’s so great to feel instantly welcome. Newer players don’t realize that this is the truly amazing thing about this music if you’re willing to do the work.

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Years ago, the first session I went to I just walked in, sat down and joined into the tunes I knew. Since then I’ve gone almost every week when I’m available.

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I am in small town middle England. Not many people seem to be pass through. So far as I can see the more experienced players know some of the people at sessions in neighbouring towns and further afield. I fed myself into the system via workshops and slow sessions and see many newbies doing the same (now assisted by social media).

I am sure a drop-in would be welcomed but its not really how the network operates.’Word of mouth’ can sound rather exclusive but it’s a small word with most vaguely folkie types running across each other in some social context or other.

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Hi David

where are you based ? I’m in Coventry. We have a nice session here on a Monday evening.

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Re: Dropping in at sessions

"That’s how we get new blood here in York."
o_O
There’s a session somewhere where the attendees are really vampires waiting for unsuspecting clueless tamborine players to appear?!?

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Some sessions have lots of folks dropping by, while others are made up of the ‘usual suspects.’ You need both continuity and variety to make a good musical experience, so a little of both is always welcome.

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We do have the occasional Goth …

Re: Dropping in at sessions

Thanks all. The question stemmed from thinking about the issue of gender bias in sessions that DrSpear raised in a nearby discussion.

Sessions being on licenced premises almost certainly makes just ‘dropping in’ more of a challenge for women than it does for men. I think that would apply even with an ‘introduction’. However, at the sessions I go to, as it would seem at some others (e.g. as described by tdrury), ‘first contact’ isn’t usually by turning up and meeting strangers at an unfamiliar bar. I wondered how widespread that was.

I know there are challenges beyond that first contact - but that’s for the other thread.

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I’ve never had a problem dropping in on an "open" session anywhere in the world. I will usually listen more than play and try to figure out the hierarchy of the session and then jump in when I fell I can. It’s always gone well and I usually make a few new friends. I was also a part of a well know weekly session and I would try to welcome strangers carrying an instrument case because you never know interesting people you’ll meet.

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David50 - where’s your middle England session? and Davey, where’s the Coventry session, which Monday? I don’t often drop into new sessions, but its always good to have some variety from the usual sessions.
CMC
UK (Sth Midlands)

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Re: Dropping in at sessions

Hi
The Coventry Session is at the Broomfield Tavern every Monday. Varied tunes depending who’s there but lots of English & Irish. Can be fast but slow is also fine. Small and friendly group right in the middle of a great little Pub with very good beer and cider.

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I hadn’t realised that some women were still unhappy about going into a pub on their own. Is this a general worry, or is it just some people? This may be a problem which needs looking at.

Chris(topher) B.

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Chris(topher)

I’ve read the last post several times.
What do you mean?
What needs looking at? Who is going to do the looking?

There are plenty of pubs I would avoid entering, without there being a session on: in my village, in Paisley, in Glasgow.
Pubs can fill up with drunk folk; you need to be careful.

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Chris(topher) B, there’s definitely a sense among many of my female friends (Irish women in their 30s) that they wouldn’t be comfortable going to a pub solo.

Often if arranging to meet a female friend / family member in town, I’ll say "I’ll have a pint in ‘x’ pub, give me a shout whenever you’re nearby". The response I regularly get is "Men are so lucky - they can just go into a pub on their own and sit and have a pint, read the paper or watch the telly, and it’s totally fine".

I’m not sure if it’s a conscious worry of being harassed by drunken men, or more a sense that it’s not quite ‘the done thing’ for a woman to go to a pub on her own.

Re: Dropping in at sessions

Both.

But generalizations are broad things. There are pubs I know here in the West End of Glasgow that I will go into alone, provided I was going to meet a friend at some point in the night or join a session; I wouldn’t sit there all night alone. But I wouldn’t go into just any pub. And you’re right, it’s ‘just not the done thing’ for a woman to read a newspaper with a pint. I think if you tried, you’d be hit on by every passing drunk eejit.

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I "dropped in" at a session in Linlithgow in 1999, having been told of their existence by a nice couple I had met at a concert in Edinburgh: neither of them were there, and having come in with my bodhran, I got glares from the session’s regular drummer, who had adapted a side drum to play it something like a bodhran. I did do one song, very nervously, by which time one of the people I had met had come in, and accompanied me on guitar as he also knew the song. I continued to attend their sessions, which were mixed songs and tunes, and made many good friends there. By 2004 I was on their festival committee, and served several years as festival co-ordinator. And the glaring drummer also took up the button accordion, just like me, although we play in different tunings, and he has become a great friend too.
Linlithgow is also involved in a town twinning thing with a place called Guyancourt, near Versailles: through this we have had some fantastic trips and exchanges of music, and made firm and lasting friendships with people there. At our last visit we played for dancing at an evening event, as did their band, mainly Breton tunes, and then all together. Vive L’Entente Cordiale and The Auld Alliance!
So it’s not all negative! Enjoy my story!

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Please may I say something? I was concerned above about some women being worried about attending sessions in pubs. I realise that nothing can be done about pub "atmospheres" generally, but we session attenders can help our female members and would-be members feeling safe, if only by offering some sort of safe escorting to and from the pub. Another answer might be to change the pub! The solution to this problem must lie only in our own hands, as session players and not "them in charge".
I live in darkest Yorkshire, where most of our pubs have local roots, so possibly I see less of this sort of problem than others from elsewhere.

Chris B.

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Christopher, have you ever been sexually accosted? I have at least twice, each time by another man.
In both cases we were alone and the one making advances saw nothing wrong in his actions.
Trust me, you don’t always know who might make you feel unsafe and when it happens you may only have
yourself and your wits for protection.

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Re: Dropping in at sessions

"Christopher, have you ever been sexually accosted? I have at least twice, each time by another man.
In both cases we were alone and the one making advances saw nothing wrong in his actions.
Trust me, you don’t always know who might make you feel unsafe and when it happens you may only have
yourself and your wits for protection."

Without a word of a lie, I have had my jewels groped by women 5 times in my life time. And NO I didn’t effin enjoy it!

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Re: Dropping in at sessions

Yet the question of this particular thread is pretty narrow and unambiguous surely?:- "At local sessions how frequently are there a players there who no-one has met before? Do they usually come as individuals or with one or more people that they already know?"

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Re: Dropping in at sessions

Gobby, for me the original post was as ambiguous as any I have seen. Local sessions are not defined by what happens in one location. Local sessions vary across all locales. There’s nothing narrow about that on a site with as many members as we have here.

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Well Ben, I took ‘local to be a relative term referring to each individual ‘local’. I don’t see how politics or other social issues relate to this thread. It kind of reminds me of recent ones where people started to argue about why before they had even validated the question. I repeated the original question (above) because it seems to me to be simple and self explanatory. There is no ‘why’ in it!

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Re: Dropping in at sessions

Gobby, I respect your desire to answer the OP’s question. However once the thread got rolling he added a bit which seems to be important to him; to David.
"Thanks all. The question stemmed from thinking about the issue of gender bias in sessions that DrSpear raised in a nearby discussion."

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Re: Dropping in at sessions

I tried to phrase the OP so that it could be answered objectively even though people would wonder why the question was being asked. Some people, particularly those who like to take a ‘holistic’ approach, or to rely on their intuition, seem to have problems when it comes to answering simple questions (or answering the one that was asked).

I was trying to get an idea of how the social groups that form a session came together and developed. I explained why I had asked the question after the responses seemed to have tailed off.

The session culture I am in contact with is similar to the one that Ebor_fiddler describes and the ‘folk scene’ as I know it in England is dominated by people people of broadly liberal outlook (someone described a similar group in the USA in another thread). The pros and cons of venues are discussed and how women see the practicalities is part of that. People do share lifts and stand chatting with someone at the bus stop until the bus arrives.

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Here in Stockholm (Sweden) we’ve had many (previously) unknown people drop in to our sessions. Sometimes on their own, sometimes two of them. All sorts of people - from beginners to very experienced players. People who were here just for a few days, others who were here for a longer time, others who have moved to Stockholm.
All welcome!
Always refreshing to have someone remind you of tunes you haven’t played in a while.

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Not a day goes by that I don’t wish someone would drop in at any of our sessions. We’ve all been together for so long that the sessions, and the tunes are really stale and predictable. I’m truly not being egocentric here but look at my tune book. Know that less than a quarter of those tunes get played in any of three overlapping sessions. For reasons I don’t completely understand (human nature I guess) new stuff from old players just doesn’t get picked up by the group. It takes a new face to wedge new tunes in. Please somebody bring something fresh (just keep it ITM). We don’t bite, we won’t thrash you behind your back. You are most welcome.

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Next time I’m in Utah, ross….. I think geography is a facet of this topic…