Wtf

Wtf

My issue……
We have played a t a session for many years
With a few core players

We have one well known musician
Who has joined us from time to time

When other players join us to play with the “well known”
They completely ignore the other core players
Even to the point they will not speak to anyone but the “well known”

I have even shown up early and they will just sit and ignore everyone until the “well known” shows up
Won’t even play when we start playing

Is this the norm?
Show up at our session and completely blow off the regulars

And then just leave at the end with so much as acknowledgement of the other players

Re: WTF

WTF indeed! Is everyone else in your session THAT starstruck?

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Have you or the other regulars tried striking up conversation, instead of waiting for the visitor to do it? A lot of people are shy… It sounds like a bad situation that might be better if the regulars try to make the visitors more comfortable. I wouldn’t say it’s the "norm", but when I think about sessions that I have been to outside of my home town, it’s usually the well known players that are the only ones I know and so that’s who I talk with to break the ice… Or at least, they would be the people that I reached out to before the session to ask if I would be welcome. But actively ignoring other players doesn’t seem like it would be the norm for most people who play this music…

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It s players that come" Only" to hear and speak with the "well known" that act like this


We have a very welcoming session
anyone is welcome
We try to talk to everyone
you can come in and sit down and play …………….

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How do these people know when the "well known" is going to be there? Do you advertise the fact, or does he invite them along to play with him?

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Odd in the extreme! Tempted to say tell them to FO along with "well known" and have their session elsewhere.
On the other hand, if you want to keep it friendly, maybe just one of those "round the room" things, for everyone to introduce themselves in less than one sentence? And the session leader to re-state the ethos of the session? (i.e we’re all equal here - except for me, the session leader 😉)

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Just an observation. It is difficult enough these days to have a venue that will permit a session. You must first search out an amiable host, and maintain a good relationship with him. For non-regular attendees to land on your session space and act this way strikes me as extremely rude and thoughtless. I would say, let these thoughtless clods search out their own space, rather than usurp yours.

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I have noticed that there is a contingent of people within this music, and really any music scene for that matter, who are decent musicians but are snobs. Said people think they are better than, or are threatened by, those who are at a similar level/aren’t as good as them or as well known as them. They try to boost their egos by putting others down because they think their playing ability or status entitles them to. I have found these people to be rude and, at times, downright mean to those who they think they are above (I have also seen them apologize to those who they didn’t know were good and treated badly when they figured out so and so was actually good). People like this also will suck up to those that they think are better than them or those that hold some status.

My experience is that the "well known" players got to be well known by being good people and thus most people like them and they made good impressions on many people and many people have said nice things about them because of that. They are also secure in their musicianship and have no need to assert their higher level of ability over those with less ability.

So, it sounds to me, the people that come to your session only when someone with some status comes are snobs. They think they are too good to play with you and thus only show up when someone with status comes. They use the silent treatment on the regulars as a way of trying to assert dominance over you because they are really insecure of their abilities. So, when they come in treat them the same way you would treat anyone else and ask yourself this; is it more important to you and the other regulars that those within your community view you as good people or as good players? Because the people giving you the silent treatment in your own space are more concerned with being good players than with being good people.

The "well known" musicians are the ones who understand that this music, any music really, is about community and have sought to engage with and build that rather than treating lesser musicians as lesser people. If everyone is welcome at your session welcome everyone, even the a-holes. My advice would be to laugh at them later when they aren’t around because at the end of the day it’s only Irish trad music and most of the general public doesn’t even know what it is. Don’t worry about those who treat people differently based on their ability or status as players; nobody really likes them all that much anyway! This music is supposed to be a refuge from the hardship of this world; those who don’t understand that and seek to boost their egos with it will never be happy in that pursuit!

I haven’t heard of this particular phenomenon but it doesn’t strike me as particularly unusual considering that I have seen a great many people with this type of holier-than-thou attitude. I have heard similar stories; for instance a friend of mine told me he was invited to a session of a very well known musician in NYC. The well known host was very gracious and welcoming but some of the other players just gave him dirty looks when he said it was nice to play with them. (What’s funny is that the person who told me that is actually a very accomplished musician and not just in the trad realm!)

So to reiterate; f*ck the begrudges and keep doing your thing!

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Re: WTF

I can honestly say that I have never met such a musician.

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Re: WTF

> I have noticed that there is a contingent of people within this music, and really any music scene for that matter, who are decent musicians but are snobs. Said people think they are better than, or are threatened by, those who are at a similar level/aren’t as good as them or as well known as them. They try to boost their egos by putting others down because they think their playing ability or status entitles them to. I have found these people to be rude and, at times, downright mean to those who they think they are above (I have also seen them apologize to those who they didn’t know were good and treated badly when they figured out so and so was actually good). People like this also will suck up to those that they think are better than them or those that hold some status.

Amen to that. I was once told that I should "sit in awe" of some of the better players in a local session scene. Good players to be sure, but you’ll find similarly good players in many of the larger Irish, British, and North American cities. Funnily enough, the best player (decently well-known as well) was by far the most welcoming. Yes, respect where respect is due, and I’ve been fortunate to play in sessions with some all-time greats. But some people seem to think that everyone below them is dirt and everyone above is a god, and their playing never quite seems to match their ego.

Re: WTF

What does the “well known musician” think of this?

If the core get on with him then it’s best to have a word with him - he could maybe let them know.

Is the core of a different skill level to the “well known”? And are the visiting players of a more technical level?

If this is the case - maybe the visitors feel they don’t want to ‘show up’ the core? Or maybe they don’t share a repertoire with the core.

I’m just a fan of questioning assumptions - and I wondered if maybe these things might also be going on…

Re: WTF

When I am with anybody other than my closest friends I hardly speak. I respond if spoken to but make every effort to remain silent. This doesn’t mean that I am a snob or unhappy. It’s just what I am, and why should I not be? I am a very friendly guy; just silent (not Gobby). When I play music with other people they always seem to accept me and like me well enough, even when all they get from me in two hours is a ‘Hello’ and a ‘See ya later". Why should a person have to speak if they have nothing pertinent to say? I guess I’m just asking if there is a possibility that you are misjudging people. If I have a problem with a person, then I WILL feel compelled to speak to them, otherwise I would simply accept them as they are. People are not obliged to be what you want them to be.

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Re: WTF

This is an odd thing to throw out to an internet discussion forum. Without being there it’s hard to to interpret the social dynamics. Heck, YOU’re there and aren’t sure what’s going on.

Could it be that the visitors don’t know you are a regular at the session? Maybe they assume you are just there to see the ‘well-known’ musician too.

Do you greet them with, “Hi, I’m ______. Thanks for joining us tonight!” and they act like they don’t hear you? Yes, that would be rude indeed and I would suspect snobbishness but also wonder if they were just really shy, or maybe on the autism spectrum.

I have a friend who says only a word or two all evening. Knows lots of tunes, a fine player, always to be counted on. Just laconic as hell.

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I hate starf***ers. Especially noob starf***ers. Grow up.

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I think we’re bending over backwards to finds a reason why this kind of rude behaviour is excusable, and I’m struggling to see it. Yes, people can be antisocial - I certainly can - but you make some sort of effort.

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A session having ridiculous politics? Well, I never…..

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Maybe it isn’t about "status." Maybe the snobby visitors are highly accomplished players who look forward to playing with other accomplished player(s). I think you should develop a thicker skin and welcome the opportunity to play with good players. It’s often difficult for top-tier players to play with people whose volume is inconsistent with their skill level. It’s why elite tennis players don’t look forward to playing with beginners.
It’s totally understandable that a free-for-all session might not be the visitors’ cup of tea and that they’d rather wait till the heavy-lifters get there. Sounds like the OP has been personally offended, has a serious snit and has his nose out of joint. My old pal, Eugene Lambe, would say that the answer to this sort of session issue is to practice more and get over yourself. I always thought that was the best advice to give in these situations.

Re: WTF

That’s true, David, but from the OP’s side of the story anyway, it sounds like him and his friends are the session regulars, and the ‘well known player’ and pals show up occasionally. Now, if OP were to rock up to Mr. Well Known’s session and didn’t get the time of day from anyone, well, that’s the sort of thing that happens in sessions when good players want to keep the puntery players out (I’m not insulting the OP, as I speak as a puntery player myself). However, Mr. Well Known’s friends are showing up at the OP’s session (taking the story at face value), and then blowing off the regulars. That, in my mind, is kind of a d i ck move, even if they are God’s gift to Irish music.

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If you sit down beside someone, it’s just good manners to acknowledge their existence with at least a nod or a squint or a grimace, if not an out-and-out "Hi". Where I come from, anyway.

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I am always loath to condemn anybody without hearing their side of things. I find this whole thread petty.

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Re: WTF

The "Well Known" is very friendly and personable
and plays in the session regularly and is great to play with

It has nothing to do with them


Its the occasional players that show up to play with or visit with the well known
that treats every one like sh*t

(I dont think they are even friends with the well known ) but know them by reputation
but treat the rest of the players like they are not worth a nod or a hi(Im not here to interact with YOU!!!)

Re: WTF

"Maybe it isn’t about "status." Maybe the snobby visitors are highly accomplished players who look forward to playing with other accomplished player(s). I think you should develop a thicker skin and welcome the opportunity to play with good players. It’s often difficult for top-tier players to play with people whose volume is inconsistent with their skill level. It’s why elite tennis players don’t look forward to playing with beginners. "

but at least acknowlege that there are other musicians there

I dont think its about thicker skin ……

i

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I care about the tunes and about the music that people make. I don’t care so much about their manner.
Some of the nicest people play crap music. Some wankers play beautifully. But in general I think that those people who have mastered the idiom, and who have taken the time to learn ITM well, are the most generous, though not necessarily the most articulate. Musical accomplishment doesn’t always translate to social graces.
The best way to communicate with (alleged) snobs is to give them a reason to play with you.
So, yes: develop a thicker skin and practice more. It’s better than being bitter and resentful.

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You walk into a session ……….

SAY HELLO ……..


How hard is that ……….

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I still don’t see an explanation for why someone’s playing ability - which I don’t get the impression is anything to write home about - excuses them from the bare minimum of social decency.

The idea that traditional music can be reasonably carried on by a bunch of people who cannot communicate with each other is one I struggle with.

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Its a one sided story.

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It’s not a trial - most of us are accepting the OP’s story "for the sake of argument", and are speculating about it to make some general points. None of the people involved in that session are going to be affected one way or another, except possibly the OP, if he takes anything that’s said here to heart. No names, no harm, no foul, the way I see it.

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As I said earlier,I am loath to make judgements about people without hearing their side of the story. That is only fair.
I will give you a personal example of what I mean:- one morning a few years ago I held my mother as she died on the bathroom floor. After I had helped carry her body out of the house I decided to go to the pub. It was still early morning so I was pleased to see that the bar was empty. half way through my beer a guy walk in and sat a few feet away from me. I gave him an acknowledging nod and grunt and returned to my mental solitude. Then suddenly this guy says to me, "Don’t smile mate. It might crack your face". I responded with, "It’s my face mate, I’ll do what I like with it". To make things worse the man then seemed to feel guilty for upsetting me and he offered to buy me another beer. I just said, "No thanks", and I walked out . Now I have little doubt that this man, as well as maybe the woman behind the bar judged me to be a completely rude bastard. They probably discussed it after I left. And so, I repeat that I don’t like to judge peoples behaviour without knowing what is on their mind. And why should they need to tell me? They are not required to justify my expectancies of them.
Regardless of all this, even if it’s true that these people didn’t even give a "Hello" I can’t see what the big deal is to the O.P. If you feel so annoyed about such behaviour then speak up to the people about it at the time and then get over it. You sort these things out with the people you have issues with.

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Re: WTF

I think (regardless of guilt, impact etc.) it’s useful to question the perception of a person who makes a post.

Yes - rude people are rude - we know this.

But also - perceptions may be wrong too. Coming to a different perception of a problem can help too of course.

The fact the players don’t join in with the “usual crew’s” sets certainly gives food for thought - there may be something lacking in the playing that means the guests don’t want to join in - there may not be something lacking…

It’s useful to consider this at least.

Of course - though you can’t force people to play what they don’t wish to - this is no excuse for a lack of basic manners.

I also come from the usual assumption that people aren’t normally or naturally rude - there may be another reason that this behaviour has come about rather than just pure evil.

I would think all contributons are useful- those that cover the possibility that the guests are eejits - and those that assume they are rude as the OP said (it happens for sure).

Re: WTF

It may well be that some of the people were rude at this particular session. I don’t know as I wasn’t there.

However, it’s not uncommon for really good musicians not to play or "join in" all the time at a session with "lesser players"(I don’t use the term unkindly, as I am one….usually).
It can be quite hard sometimes to "dumb down" your music just to fit in. Besides you don’t want to appear a show off or give the impression that you are trying to take over. Also, the repertoire may be different too. So, that may be a reason why they don’t play.

On the other, as discussed before, good players can "lift" a session and it’s great when they do lead a few tunes but, as I said, if it’s not their session it’s something they have to do sparingly and they will be conscious of the need to be inclusive.

A lot depends on the circumstances and personalities involved, of course.

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In online gaming, complainers will often get the response “GiT GuD” (“get good”) i.e. quit playing the incompetent victim; practice makes perfect.

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I’m not convinced it is about good and bad players or snobbery. I think it is just what can happen if a group of musicians who regularly play together suddenly turn up at someone else’s session en-mass. I’ve seen something similar happen when a beginners and improvers class decides it’s time they tried a ‘real’ session and all turn up as a group. The group talks, plays and interacts together because that is familar ground for them, but shy away from interacting with the regulars who they don’t know, so the regulars become the outsiders.

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A scene from an old style Western, (actually one of Oliver Strange’s "Sudden" books.)

Bad guy comes into the saloon and addresses the Hero
"Hey, stranger."
Hero "You talking to me?"
Bad guy "You’re the only stranger here aint you?"
Hero, "I don’t know - they’re all strangers to me!"


From the OP it sounds like the incomers have been very rude, but do they know there are regulars?

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Obviously hard to say anything conclusive, and enough comments on the side that their behaviour is not nice - that’s clearly an option. This is a rather likely option if you try to be nice and they really just ignore you.

To boost the potential other perspective - it sounds like you and the other "regulars" aren’t too keen on them. There is a pretty good chance they can sense it, and especially if you’re the "regulars" and they’re more of guests, it may be quite easy for them to feel intimidated/unwanted. If I was coming to a session where there was a group of people of whom I thought they disliked me, I wouldn’t really want to approach them first and would probably stare into my pint before someone I knew better came.

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How long has your issue been happening, Mandoman?

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The session I go to is hosted by relatively well known musicians. I’m oosually the only other tune player and then a couple of regulars come along and make the session absolutely awful becose their playing is soooooo bad. Me and the hosts just have to poot up with them but if we had the gats we’d tell them go away. Unfortunately we are too sweeeet to bring ourselves to tell them that.

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I would just tell them. By the way bumblesharp, yoor spelling is orfull!

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OP said, "We try to talk to everyone"

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No way Brian. you live in Australia mate!

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Re: session etiquette was WTF

As a session regular I would typically engage any newcomers/visitors by finding out a little about them…such as are they in the area on business; do they have a regular session, and if so, whereabouts, etc. That’s usually enough to at least break the ice, and open the door for future interactions. We would also invite visitors to start a tune set as well… that is once it has been established they are capable for the task. I won’t say that we finish every night with a chorus of Kumbia, but we generally close our sessions on a good note. (NPI). DISCLAIMER: no famous ITM musicians attend our session.

Re: WTF

I can imagine myself being one of those star-struck newbies at a session where a well-known player was going to lead. Many years ago, after spending a year in my cellar, 90 miles from the nearest "session," practicing on my banjo, I moved to New York City, where I actually found a teacher who was kind enough to help me undo and atone for all the damage I had inflicted on ITM in the preceding year.

Eventually she pointed me to sessions in Manhattan and The Bronx where her contemporaries often played.

That was quite frightening for me. I knew no one. I knew nothing about session leaders, except thinking everyone else was there for the same reason I was: to fall in line behind the guest of honor.

Honestly, I didn’t know anyone else’s sets or settings. So if someone else started a set, it might as well have been a foreign language. I could only listen.

The guest of honor, though, I knew that player’s settings from vinyl that I had beaten to dust playing along with.

I wasn’t being intentionally rude. I felt very self conscious, knew only what I knew, and just barely that, and if others started a set I definitely felt like a dolt for only being able to sit there for tune after tune.

Jeez, I hope the regulars weren’t cursing me under their breath and bemoaning on social media how I slighted them.

Of course that wouldn’t happen today. I’m much older and have no shame left.

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Good post, making a good point Barry.

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Re: Atonement? (banjo)

"…a teacher who was kind enough to help me undo and atone for all the damage I had inflicted on ITM…"

I always wonder when reading stories like Barry’s on the Mustard, "How does one atone for session/ITM blunders they may have caused in sessions along the way? Can they atone? Can your average banjo player
even realise how much damage they are responsible for?

Seriously though, Barry, that’s a great post.

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Re: WTF

My advice is to just shrug-down and allow the "well-known" tornado to pass.
These "things" are artifacts of fashion - and will last about 1 year at most.

I remember my time as a R+R musician when "well-knowns" from TV thought it was OK to climb on our stage.
Our drummer threw sticks at it without missing a beat. .. we encouraged the crowd to shuot "boooo".

But that was stage-music.
A session has no stage.
(That’s why I like sessions)

The "well known" blow in and out.
Some get a lift?
Some get blown-over?
It brings change .. but not so much.

They never stop for long.
The tunes change slowly .. that’s tradition.
Far deeper than the "well-known".
You might pick-up a trick.
But these freak tornadoes are the exception .. not the rule.

All is well.
Tradition rules.

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Re: WTF

THese
are not newbies
We have played at their sessions before

AND THey know us all or most of us