The Great Lurker Uprising of 2019

The Great Lurker Uprising of 2019

This website has over 115,000 registered members. Now, I realize that a lot of people create an account so that they can build a tunebook of tunes, and a vast majority of the members don’t visit regularly and never look at the forums. But there are maybe only 150 or so real regular posters in the forums these days (that’s a complete guess, not actual data). And I know for a fact that there are lots of people that read the forums but don’t post (including a few of our old friends that we’re always lamenting the loss of in the forums…). It’s pretty common for new people to start a thread with "long time lurker, first time poster…", so we know you’re out there!

This is just my friendly way of opening up the doors and inviting the lurkers to get more involved in the discussions.

If you’re reading this and you have an account but you’ve never posted in the forums, we’d love it if you said hi, and maybe told us a bit about yourself and talked a bit about why you’re not more involved in the discussion. And in this day of privacy concerns and such, if you don’t feel like telling us a bit about yourselves, that’s OK too, but maybe you could choose from this list of reasons why you read the forums but don’t post:

1. I play music, but only have a passing interest in Irish, Scottish, or other related traditions.
2. I am a complete beginner, and most of the discussion is about things that I don’t know much about.
3. I am shy.
4. Everything that can be discussed about this music already has been, so I just read the archives.
5. I feel like the discussions are often too contentious, and don’t feel like wading into the fray.
6. You’re all a bunch of idiots and, and I only come for the entertainment value of watching you argue.
7. Other (please explain)

One of the joys of playing traditional music in sessions is that it is a social activity. It’s often as much about friendships and spending time together as it is about playing music. And as much as internet forums can devolve into constant bickering and posturing, this site is a great resource for people that love traditional music, and are learning how to play. And (related to the recent thread about how many members of thesession you know in person) I’ve gained some real friendships through socializing in these forums, as well as learned a lot about playing this music from the discussions here over the last 18 years!

So welcome to thesession forums! We’d love to hear from you!

Re: The Great Lurker Uprising of 2019

Yes! Please say hello if you’ve never posted on The Session before.

And welcome!

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Hello. Never posted here, though I’ve been lurking for several years. I don’t post because, frankly, after only 3 years of struggling with the Uillean pipes and steadily acclimating myself to Irish Traditional Music, I’m still very much learning and I enjoy coming here just to listen to the ‘gray beards’, with no pretense of contributing because I don’t think I have much to contribute.

I’ve played the Great Highland bagpipes for about 25 years or so (in bands and solo), but it’s quite a different world from the Irish music scene. The contrast and similarities are interesting.

My long term goal is to play in Sessions, but I’m a long way from that …

Re: The Great Lurker Uprising of 2019

I live in North Alabama (Southeastern US), and there are a few Irish/Celtic type bands around but only one session that I know of, and it’s mostly a jam session by the former members of a band who no longer play gigs, although anyone is welcome and I have sat in before and enjoyed it. I enjoy listening to ITM and watching YouTube videos of sessions, but it’s just one part of my taste in music, which runs to a blend of ITM and American Appalachian folk. I do enjoy visiting the site regularly and reading through the discussions, though. Just bought an octave mandolin (Eastman MDO-305) so I may be hanging out here more often trying to learn what I can.

Re: The Great Lurker Uprising of 2019

I was just thinking about the lurkers recently. You’re pretty much guaranteed to get a response on a thread from someone you "know."
Nice to meet these of you who have come forward!

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Ha! The first response was actually from the very first user ever! (Jeremy is the founder of thesession.org, for those of you that didn’t know that.)

And you’re right, TheWanderer, I know a ton of people that never post but seem to have read many of the threads. So I wouldn’t be surprised to see some old friends pop up in this topic! You know who you are ;-)

Thanks for saying hi, JacobitebyName and Jerry! While it’s true that a lot of things that can be discussed about playing traditional music has been discussed here in the past (sometimes ad nauseam), there’s something to be said about actually participating in the discussions yourself, instead of just reading. I was a beginner with this music when this website was launched, and as I mentioned before, a lot of how I think about this music was developed by participating in the discussions here. Sometimes even the most contentious discussions can actually be useful for that, because you learn what other people are passionate about, and differing opinions can help you form your own views.

So don’t be one time posters and feel free to ask questions or give us your opinions! And don’t get too offended or riled up by the discussions. We like to banter a bit, but in the end, we’re all here because of our love for the music!

Re: The Great Lurker Uprising of 2019

You will need many more lurkers to create an uprising. So far 3 regulars and only 2 lurkers have posted. Come on, we don’t bite!
(Another thought: many regular posters come on here pretty much daily to check for thread updates and participate in new discusions. Maybe not everyone who is signed up checks that often).

Re: The Great Lurker Uprising of 2019

Ok, I’ll bring the lurker number up to 3. I’ve posted a couple of times over the past couple of years, but certainly not enough to be known.
I started fiddle 3 yrs ago so can’t really add much advice. Have always liked Irish music, so that’s my main tune interest, but do like Old Time also. I’m post-kids, but pre-retirement and needed something else in my life rather than work/gym/tv/bed/repeat. I also dabble with piano, just picked up an old mandolin, and plan to buy a whistle on a trip to Ireland in Oct.
I’ve started attending a session a couple of months ago and hope to be able to play with others in Ireland should the opportunity arise. Now, when playing with others, I lose the tune and sorta just fall apart. Something else to work on.
I do find some of the threads interesting, mostly those related to the culture of ITM, sessions, etc., but as with a number of other forums, some folk seem to post just to ‘hear themselves talk’ or to start an argument. I also get a little irritated at some ‘purists’ regarding sheet music to learn tunes or have sheets in a session as everyone should learn by ear. Seems hypocritical in this age where people are learning off YouTube rather than someone’s kitchen in County Clare and considering it "traditional". If that’s one of you, I don’t mean to bash your beliefs, but you asked. I won’t start that thread. It’s probably been well hashed already.
Off my soapbox, I check the forum every day, have gotten a number of tunes from the site, do enjoy reading relevant posts, and hope to be able to contribute one day.

Re: The Great Lurker Uprising of 2019

Maybe the multiple choice list is a slow starter. If I posted this thread I would use a slightly different title.
**Free Beer for any first-time posters. Right here! Right now!** (shy people welcome)

Are there any lurkers in Oz? Seems like the ones I know of are all talkers.

**PBR

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Re: The Great Lurker Uprising of 2019

Before I started joining in with discussions (and even now) I still like to read the archives and the histories of some tunes. On reading these I found some great posts by "Dr. Dow" and "Ceolachan" both of whom seemed very knowledgable about both Irish and English trad music. They seemed like frequent posters back in the day, but rarely now.

Re: The Great Lurker Uprising of 2019

i like this site, i love banjo, so its a great resource to find tunes and musicians. as an aside there was a post a few weeks about great banjo albums +1 for Pauline Coneelly, I have one of her cds and took her class one year in east durham ny, also i like we banjo 3 - circle back to bill keith 5 string has morrison’s jig

Re: The Archival Uprising…

The Archives have the stories after the daily dust settles. The Discussions come & go, argy & bargy, you & me…If you don’t have a shovel and trowel the treasures just get buried; deeper & deeper.

TheWanderer, have you seen much from the member now gone? https://thesession.org/discussions/17329#comment360835

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Re: The Great Lurker Uprising of 2019

I hadn’t seen that link before, Ben. I know there can be low-level drama sometimes, but didn’t know Sessions can get that intense!
And I shall refrain from asking what is implied by "now gone."

Re: The Great Lurker Uprising of 2019

It was the tunes I had looked at more, not the previous posts.

Re: The Great Lurker Uprising of 2019

I read this post just a few minutes after it was posted but resisted commenting because I feared that us regulars would side-track the original intention. But as others have joined in I must add my own experience.
I don’t know how many years I’ve been a member on this site now, but I do know tat I was a regular reader and follower for about three years before I was compelled to join. The thing wit me is that I have always loved Irish music but didn’t actually play it. Also. I was at the time, a depressed, anti social recluse who was happy enough to just read. Eventually I became so fascinated by the information, argument and outright passion on fiddling that I couldn’t stop myself buying one. I took to it easier than anything I had ever tried in my life. It was like it was natural in my rather old hands. After that, well I just had too many questions to ask and too many comments to make. I thank all those early members such as (especially) Will Harmon and Zina Lee for triggering my passion for fiddling. And I thank this whole site and all the old and new crowd for finally eliminating my period of reclusive depression. Life is great when you are on the fiddle.

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Re: The Great Lurker Uprising of 2019

Wanderer… You wrote… "I know there can be low-level drama sometimes, but didn’t know Sessions can get that intense! "….. Did you not read that this whole individual event happened 7 hours after the session ended?
And Ben, you wrote, "If you don’t have a shovel and trowel the treasures just get buried; deeper & deeper.". As an archaeologist I would argue that this is often for the best. But can I point out that this all completely distracts from the intention of Reverend’s post. It almost borders on slipping into a meta-discussion, and we don’t want to scare off the people we are asking the questions of.

Posted by .

Re: The Great Lurker Uprising of 2019

I’m not a frequent poster but I’m not really a lurker though it depends on how you define that. I’ve been around since the beginning and even used to visit Jeremy’s site before it became the Mustard Board. I’m not an expert on anything so rarely feel the need to push my opinion. Also being in Oz a lot of the discussions are well under way when I get around to reading through. By then its all been said.
I will have to try and look up Gobby next time I’m in that neck of the woods. I have had the pleasure of meeting a few members from here on occasions on my travels around Australia. I’m going to the Willie Clancy week this year and hope to meet a few more there.
One day hope paths will cross with Pete (Rev)

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(This should probably be my last post on a thread meant for lurkers).
Yes, Gobby, I know that now, but I didn’t catch that until re-reading after posting. I’m pretty speechless about that, to be honest.

Re: The Great Lurker Uprising of 2019

I’m a very infrequent poster but check in most days. I usually scan the discussions and read a thread if it catches my eye. The site is a fantastic resource for tunes and i once bought the best fiddle album I’ve ever heard (ego trip by Rurai ?) because someone mentioned it was good -and it is!

My own view and one I’ve had repeated to me by others is that a lot of peeps on The Session should spend a little less time on the interweb and a bit more time playing :-)

Re: The Great Lurker Uprising of 2019

Hey Jerry Cobb, if you ever make your way into east AL we have 2 sessions in Opelika (next to Auburn). The one on Wednesday night is the regular intermediate/advanced one and we just started up a beginner’s slow session on Sundays.

Re: The Great Lurker Uprising of 2019

I am a long time lurker (but have posted a few times). I rarely post on any social media/discussion platforms as it doesn’t seem very productive to me. I will post if I feel like I can add something insightful.

As far as the Session goes, I mainly use the site to complete tune sets based on the recording database and occasionally check if a tune setting that I learn is drastically different than others in the database. Normally I scan the discussion section every so often. Most discussions seem like they repeat themselves (sheet music vs. ear, session etiquette, how to get better, etc…) so I don’t really feeling like adding anything. I enjoy the tune ID threads to quiz myself and links to youtube and/or facebook performances.

Re: The Great Lurker Uprising of 2019

I mostly don’t post here anymore, and only check the discussions every few months to see if anything interesting is going on.

I’ve found some of the arguments I’ve seen here in the past to be extremely off-putting. Not that anybody is behaving especially badly in most of them, but I just have no interest in reading people argue about whether you should use a metronome, or whether Dennis Cahill is the only competent guitar accompanist in the world, etc etc.

However, I think the main reason I’ve lost interest is that its all talk, no music. I’ve found another trad music group that is mainly focused around members posting videos of themselves playing tunes. Some are pros, some are beginners, but the feedback is 99.99% encouragement, unsolicited advice is rarely given, solicited advice is thoughtful, kind, and helpful, and its just all around a lot more fun.

In contrast, while most of the "hey listen to my music" posts on thesession are well received, they are rare, and I’ve seen a few threads where people are like "people should stop doing that, its obvious they just want affirmation." Heaven forfend.

Anyway, I still make a monthly donation because the tune library is a treasure, and there are some gems in the archive. But if I’m going to spend time in front of the computer / on my phone, I’d rather use that time to share music with people than talk about music with people.

Re: The Great Lurker Uprising of 2019

Hello, I’m not a pure lurker but a low-frequency contributor to the page. I do check in here a LOT to scan the discussions and look for tunes. Often I find in a discussion that someone has already said what I thought I would say, or I just don’t have much to add. If I have a question of technique, I check through the archives of discussion first, and often find the answers there, so no need to start a new thread. This site is a great resource! And if you happen to be passing through eastern Montana on a Tuesday night, our weekly, friendly session starts at 7pm in Billings.

Re: The Great Lurker Uprising of 2019

Very much a lurker. I find the tone a bit confrontational at times, although that also brings with it some top shelf entertainment. And, I play the banjo, but poorly at this point. It’s probably wise for a poor (but learning) banjo player to lurk. I will say that I’ve used this site to 1) receive some good feedback on tenor banjo makes and models, 2) find local sessions in my area, including a really great one that was recently in Cold Spring, NY 3) track down banjo versions of tunes that I’m learning using the extensive library of recordings (thanks everyone!), and 4) learn about some great banjo albums.

Re: The Great Lurker Uprising of 2019

Another lurker here! :-)
I probably visit The Session three times a week or so, to read the discussions and use the tune library, but I never really post anything because:
1. I am a bit shy
2. Usually, many of the other posters in a thread are much more knowledgable than myself, so I don’t often have anything of value to add.

I really enjoy reading the forum though and hope to post more in the future, even if it is just asking some silly questions ;-)

Re: The Great Lurker Uprising of 2019

Most of the time I’m a lurker and I read many of the discussions with interest, sometimes i post a bit when I think I have something to contribute. The reason for reading most of the time is very simple. I’m not a native speaker of the english language. I’m able to read and understand most of the things, that are going on here, but I’m not feeling confident enough with my english to actively take part in a discussion with lots of pro’s and contra’s. But when I have a tune to share or an information that someone wants to have, that’s ok for me.

Re: The Great Lurker Uprising of 2019

These are great responses! It’s interesting to hear what other people think about how we interact on this forum. Certainly there is less bickering here these days than there was 10 years ago, but many of us are probably so used to the interaction on this site that we don’t realize that we might still be putting some people off! I would love to see if we could figure out a way to make this a "thoughtful, kind, helpful, and all around more fun place" for people to interact.

Interestingly, I am also part of an instrument-specific internet group that is much like MarkLogan’s description, but I find that group to be almost superficially sweet, where people sometimes post videos of themselves playing poorly, and nobody gives them any constructive criticism for fear of squashing the player’s ego, or something. In my mind, there’s got to be a middle ground somewhere. My philosophy on this site over the last 10 years or so has been to only post when I think it’s actually helpful. I do get sucked into the big (endless) debates, and try to state my position and reasons for it, but try not to get too worked up about things.

And I certainly miss the old days. But fortunately, I’m friends outside of this site with many of the people that used to post but don’t anymore, including Zina - even though she’s my ex-wife - I still play with her regularly. And Will Harmon, too. I actually just finished the initial mix of a track for my new album that I recorded with Will a few weeks ago.

I just hope that this site is still helping produce musical friendships that will last for life, like my friendship with Will!

Re: The Great Lurker Uprising of 2019

Reverend - I’m pretty sure we’re talking about the same group. I had a similar impression of the group at first, but then I realized the following things:

1) It’s more important for low-skilled players to feel comfortable sharing their music than it is for them to understand what they need to do to improve. The more they post and the more encouragement they get, the more likely they will be to maintain enthusiasm for their instrument, and the more they will improve.

2) It’s not a session - no one is negatively impacted if there’s somebody who plays poorly, or thinks they play well but don’t.

3) There are a lot of players on the group to whom *I’m* the low-skilled novice, and I’m thankful not to get a laundry list of everything I’m doing wrong every time I post something. I’m equally thankful to get really great advice whenever I do ask for it.

4) I think the lower skilled players who post frequently generally improve over time, and they manage to do this without unsolicited advice. If they’re interested in improving, they’ll figure out how to do it.

5) Its just really cool that there’s a community that includes multiple all-ireland champions as well as people who started playing a year ago at the age of 50. There are very few communities like that either online or in real-life.

Re: The Great Lurker Uprising of 2019

Can I ask a question of the lurkers?
I think all of your reasons for lurking are very valid. There are some times where it is better to keep one’s mouth shut (or typing hands still). And I think it also makes sense that there are some of you who prefer making music to chatting. I love to chat but each to their own!
What I’d like to know is, if you don’t enjoy starting threads but have a question about tune ID’s, how do you find the answer you’re looking for (if you can’t find it from a recording on here or on Discogs)?

Re: The Great Lurker Uprising of 2019

You’re right, Mark, it’s the same group. I looked you up ;-)

I wasn’t trying to say that the group wasn’t useful, by any means. It’s certainly useful to push yourself over the hump and put your music in front of other people even when you’re not a very confident player. And recording yourself is a great tool for helping you understand your own playing! Coming from someone who had fairly bad "red light syndrome" (feeling like I played much worse when I was being recorded), pushing yourself through and recording is the only way past that. It has been very helpful to me, which is why I’m in the somewhat insane process of recording my second album…

And I have to admit that I don’t read that group forum very thoroughly anymore, but it sometimes seems like it’s more of a love fest and not necessarily helping push people into getting better. I know for myself, when I was more of a beginner, I got really frustrated with praise for my playing because I could hear how bad I was, and the praise felt patronizing and disingenuous to me. (https://thesession.org/discussions/7161) And I know it was all to help encourage me and keep me from being too frustrated with my lack of ability. But part of what drove me to get better, I suppose, was trying to live up to the praise… Anyway, I think that group is good, but it’s not really a great place for me to go learn anything. About the only time I chime in is if someone asks a question and I can help…

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And Donough, I don’t know that 2000+ comments qualifies you as a lurker. Maybe a "former regular with more recent lurking tendencies" ;-) And I hope to catch up to you someday too! I lived in Canberra for a year as a child, but never made it over to Perth (which is nearly equivalent to the distance between New York to San Diego). Next time I’m in Australia or you’re in the U.S., though!

Re: The Great Lurker Uprising of 2019

I think some of the ‘lurkers’ may be from other related traditions (ie Shetland, Cape Breton etc) and are not sure how much they should add if the site is really for Irish music.

Also some of the arguments (notorious sheet music) are similar to internet discussions in that they can never get properly resolved, whereas in the real world people stay in the sessions which suit them and the problems are not apparent.

Also you have to be very wary about learning a tune directly of the internet without getting a feel of how it is played in the sessions you want to attend.

I have used it learn tunes and find great sessions and it is a great effort by one person to build and maintain it.

Re: The Great Lurker Uprising of 2019

Peter Lerwick has hit the nail on the head. I play mostly Scottish music, and am happy to weigh in with comments when discussions move in that direction. But I’m conscious of the fact that the site is supposed to be for Irish music and I think that like me, many people are a bit wary of flooding it with too much STM, although I must say that the devotees of ITM seem remarkably tolerant of us Scots getting in on their act. The one thread I have started was about ITM. So I suppose I am a half-lurker …

Re: The Great Lurker Uprising of 2019

@TheWanderer

In regards to tune ID there generally isn’t a time where I don’t know the name of tune that I am interested in. For example, if I only heard a tune out of the blue at a session, I probably won’t be interested in learning it so I don’t care about the name. I only care about tunes I might encounter somewhat regularly. So if I hear a tune at a session that I don’t know but have heard a few times on recordings or other session (and it tickles my fancy) I would most likely be able to identify the artist or album that I heard it on before and look it up that way.

If there is a tune I don’t have the name for (and want to learn) that I recorded at a session or heard online, I will learn at least a few bars (using my ear and amazing slow downer) so I can play it into tunepal and then find the name (I like to learn by ear as it helps with ornamentation and variation). Once I have the name, I will try to find other recordings see how typical the setting is and if there are other versions I like better before fully learning.

I guess I could use a tune ID thread to short cut some of the work, but I think part of the fun is in the detective work.

Re: The Great Lurker Uprising of 2019

Hi,
For these of you that mainly play and/or enjoy trad music that’s not Irish, I wonder what we can do to help. It’s interesting that so many of you are concious of the fact that CB, Shetland, and other types of music are not as popular.
I might have just been bold. As soon as I realized that contributors had previously been adding English, Welsh, and other non-Irish tunes and inputting their recordings, I knew it was OK for me to do the same! If you look at the recordings I’ve inputted, you’ll see that the majority are English, with one Shetland, one Manx, one Cape Breton and one that is a mix of European tunes, and I’m still alive!
I think I would advise people who play non-Irish trad music to just dive in.
DISCLAIMER: At 22 I am one of the youngest members on The Session (that I know of) and know that the majority of you have had much more life experience, so it’s possible that the desire to hold back for the above reason is more valid than I might realize.

Re: The Great Lurker Uprising of 2019

Hello everyone, I’m a part-time lurker, well I was for a long time and very rarely posted anything but I’ve been following the boards a bit more recently, since getting back into banjo (after being banjoless for a year) and I’ve been posting from time to time a little more.
I guess it was shyness really. At times I’d start to write a reply or a post and then delete thinking it wouldn’t be of interest to anyone and also feeling that I was learning more from just reading. Then I found how helpful and kind responses to my questions were from the peeps on this site, lovely people!

I’ve learnt a ton from reading discussions past and present, I look also to the tunes, the notes, when I get stuck learning from ear, and I’m interested especially in anything banjo/mandolin/fiddle related. I’ve been playing for about 6 years, not yet a session goer, still getting up to speed - and that shyness again.

I little about me as my profile is quite empty. I’m from Hampshire but have lived in France for 14 years. I got the ITM bug in a big way when I found an instrument that I could play. I found the mandolin was my gateway instrument, easy enough to get started on as I played a bit of violin as a teenager the tuning made sense and it’s appartement friendly, but my neighbours wouldn’t handle a fiddle. Then I fell in love with the banjo, I love the tone, the ease of play, and I can mute it well enough to keep the neighbours downstairs happy. With a mandolin I feel like I’m fighting it to get a tune out, but I still like playing it.
The music had always been around I guess but very much in the background, summers spent in Sligo hearing my grandad sing and lilt, going to sessions as a kid, my mum’s trad tapes in the car etc… But since a few years I’m really listening to what I hear, and listen all the time.
That was a bit of a ramble! But basically I love that that this site exists.

Re: The Great Lurker Uprising of 2019

Welcome to all of you that are posting! A lot of what we discuss here about learning to play traditional music is applicable to more than just Irish, so I think there’s room for the diversity of musical interest here. At least amongst the related "celtic" (I bristle at that word, which is why it’s in quotes) traditions.

@peter_lerwick, you are right with the statement about the fact that many of the bigger discussions (or arguments) here can’t ever really be truly resolved. But I think that is OK. To some extent, being part of the argument (or even just reading it) can really help you flesh out your own thoughts on a matter, even if you disagree with half of the people in the room. I will say, though, that for the most part these days, the arguments don’t get personal. And in the case of the ear/dots arguments, it always turns out that just about everybody agrees up to a point. Like: "sheet music is a nice tool, but it’s bad to use it to try to learn the style, which is where the ears really need to come into play"… So to some extent, the argument is really useful even though it can’t be resolved.

@Otto, I agree that the detective work in finding tunes can be really fun! But for me, it’s *really* common that I don’t have a name for a tune. A lot of that comes from listening to tons of music, and then a tune will come up in a session that I am familiar with. So I will play the tune, not knowing what it is, or frankly whether I’ve ever played it before. I can usually tell if I’ve never played it before, but that may happen 4 or 5 times with the same tune, and at some point it just becomes part of the "known" category - but I might still not know the name. I might ask the name of the tune, but if it’s in the middle of a set I might not remember to ask, or the other players might not know what it is either… And eventually, you end up with a big jumbled mess of tunes you play that you have no idea what they are… ;-)

@Andy Lyons, it’s great that you feel like you learn a lot from the discussions. I feel that way too! But I will give you some advice. At 6 years in, get yourself over the hump and get out into the sessions! It’s almost impossible to get yourself ready to play in sessions by yourself. Even if you work your speed up, playing with other people is a challenge in its own right, and the only way to get good at it is to go do it. And working your speed up is much easier to do in sessions as well, because the session can hold the tune together and you can relax and focus and try to keep up. Doing that in a session will get you there much faster than trying to get there by yourself. So I encourage you to take the plunge! It helps if you know at least some of the people in the sessions, and if you let them know that you’re new to playing in sessions and you be careful not to be too much of a distraction, you’ll likely be welcomed in!

Re: The Great Lurker Uprising of 2019

Hey Reverend, thanks for the advice. Makes total sense, I’ve been thinking on it a while and feel it’s about time to take the plunge too. I’ll get over the shyness long enough to chat to the local session members next time I’m in the bar, introduce myself and find out more, see what they say :-)

Re: The Great Lurker Uprising of 2019

I’ve been mostly a lurker here since early days, mainly because I have nothing to contribute besides snarky comments. By the time I see a thread, someone has always said what I was going to say better than I was going to say it. So there’s that.

Also maybe because I spend more time playing music than reading/arguing about it these days.

But this site is still my go-to for the arcane knowledge that can be mined from its murky depths. Trolling the archives is a pretty fun way to waste some time. The mustard board is not quite as zany (or annoying) as it once was, but it still has its moments. What astonishes me is that it is not only still chugging along after (eeek!) over 20 years (?), but that Jeremy is still adding handy features. gg Jeremy.

Also: not trivial, this is a pretty nice place to pm someone and get good advice.

Re: being too shy to join in your local session
I’m a shy quiet person, and I’ve made some terrific friends because we chatted after one of our sessions. Most were beginners (as we all were at some point), and felt like they couldn’t join. Hah. Teach ‘em a few jigs and polkas (the first ones are FREE!!! bwahahah), and you hook them. I know it’s scary the first time, but show up with your instrument and see what happens.

Re: The Great Lurker Uprising of 2019

"… over 20 years (?) …"

17 years in its current form. It existed as an online tune resource for a while (a couple of years?) before that.

Re: The Great Lurker Uprising of 2019

Thanks Michele too for the encouragement. I’ve been constantly putting it off by saying to myself ‘if I learn a few more tunes I’ll be ready’ but I know really it’s an excuse. Now the thought of having fun playing with others who love the music too is outweighing the fear of going along.

Re: The Great Lurker Uprising of 2019

Plus I agree that going through the archives is a fun way to pass the time. Killed two hours in the launderette this weekend reading old discussions

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Another lurker here. I think the main reason I don’t post is that I’m too much of an on-an-off player to be able to contribute anything of value. I played a lot in high school, went on a long hiatus after that, and since about three years have gone through short periods of "trying to get back into it", none of which lasted more than a couple of months. This time, however, I’ve started going to sessions and try to practice more methodically, not to mention actually listening to the music and doing so actively. Hope it’ll last this time around.

Oh, and by the way, this place is a tremendous resource. I mean, 17 970 tunes? Almost makes your head spin when you think about it. To put things into perspective, if you played them all in a single set, it’d be going on for almost 20 days.

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Good point, DickB! Actually, if you take into account tunes that are longer than two parts, and then all of the different settings of tunes, you have months worth! But boy would my fingers be tired! ;-)

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Yes, I definitely count as a lurker - and thank you Reverend for the opportunity to crawl out of the woodwork!
thesession.org is my go-to site whenever I switch on the computer - it goes something like: 1. the session 2. check my emails 3. check meteofrance for the weather 4. back to the mustard board, and then suitably inspired, off to play a tune or two.

I read most of the discussions, which I find on the whole interesting, informative and sometimes very funny. I end up feeling that the regular contributors are people I actually know, which, as a confirmed lurker can be just a little bit embarrassing - sorry guys! I think you’re great! I also use the tunes section to get a favourite version which I then print out, and avidly read the comments. How else would I have known that the Garesh referred to in Garesh’s Wedding (lovely tune!) was the brother of Tara Browne, subject of John Lennon’s "A Day in the Life" back in the 1960’s (that’s a quote too!)

I started playing whistle in the early 1970’s in Oxford and then played in Bristol-based ceilidh band McCool until I moved to France in 1985. Since 1995 I’ve been playing in an anglo-french ceilidh and "bal trad" band called Tara. I started making lever harps in 2000 and have been a professional maker since 2003. So I play the harp a bit too. I’m always amazed by the differences between these two instruments that have won my heart:
The Harp: heavy, cumbersome, difficult to hear above other instruments, often admired for its beautiful appearance
The Whistle: slips into your back pocket, can be heard half a km away, and to the uninitiated looks like something that dropped out of a Christmas cracker….

I play in sessions whenever I can, while trying to be careful about carbon footprint because where I live is really out in the sticks. Carcassonne, Toulouse, various festivals where I go with my harps, and Ireland and Scotland when I can. I enjoy most sessions and can usually fit in even with people I don’t know - I find this absolutely surprising and absolutely wonderful. I’m not wild about "speed trial" sessions, nor ones dominated by one or two people showing off an obscure repertoire (if I want that I’ll go to a concert; for me sessions are about the pleasure of playing together - nothing wrong with the odd demonstration tune but good to follow it with something everyone can join in with - seems obvious doesn’t it?)

My life turned upside down last October when I was diagnosed with a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer. I am still undergoing treatment, although the end (end of June) is beginning to wobble into sight - whoopee! During the first months of chemo my daughter and various friends organized a series of "home sessions" around the table in my house. Tea, cakes (no sugar for me!), good company and good music - the boost to morale was stunning! We’ve now moved this session to a local restaurant, the day and time are decided during the week before so I can’t really post it as a regular session, but visiting players are very very welcome (we had a great fiddler from Brittany last week) Contact me if you are planning to be around in this area - we are about 100 km south of Toulouse in the foothills of the Pyrenees.

Of course having cancer has made me slow down on work, but I seem to be playing more than ever. I’ve learnt stacks of new tunes, polished up some I know already, and finally getting to grips (Ha!) with the pipers grip on the low whistle. People say I’m looking good, and for the most part I feel great. I am firmly convinced that ITM has been a hugely healing influence in all this.

Well that’s it I think. Sorry for rambling, I’ll just say thank you to Jeremy for this brilliant site and then I’ll grab my whistle and creep back into the woodwork….

Alison

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A heart-warming read, Alison.

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Thanks for sharing, Alison, and best of luck with your health, too! Sometimes we get a bit wound up in our day to day lives (arguing about things on the internet, for instance), that we forget that there are more important things in life. And we also lose sight of the fact that the people are the most important part of the tradition.

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discussions here are kind of weird, and don’t match up to my (almost exclusively positive) experiences talking to trad musicians in real life.
For one, I don’t understand why a lot of people here seem so threatened by the notion of including other celtic styles in the discussion; as if this is going to turn into a dubstep forum or something if a few people are allowed to talk about Scottish tunes for a minute.
Mostly though, its just that I essentially live online and already have plenty of forums to keep up with. I come here to learn/play and don’t want to ruin my fun by getting too involved with the inevitable politics that come with online discussion scenes.

I do hugely appreciate that you all are here and willing to help me when I need advice.

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7. Other

I don’t post because I am not the musician in our house. :) I am … a supportive mom of a 12 year old daughter who has been Irish Dancing since age 6. Last summer, after playing in the school orchestra for a year, she begged for the fiddle. Where we are in the US, there aren’t many places where a 12 year old can go learn/listen to Trad music. What sessions there are, are in 21+ pubs. The one guy who teaches a tune learning class does so 45 minutes from our house and would get us home well past her bedtime. For now, she is learning "general fiddle" from a local fiddle teacher who we love (currently working on Bill Malley’s Barndance), but Irish music is where her heart lies. So… the Internet is where we end up. The Session, YouTube, and irishtune.info seem to be our regular go-to’s for question answering. We come here to find tune recordings, look at the notation if she can’t figure it out on her own, and to search for answers to our newbie questions. We are so grateful for this resource!!

(p.s. lol dubstep forum!!)

Re: The Great Lurker Uprising of 2019

Hi all - long time poster, first time listener. Thanks, Reverend for starting this thread. You’ve run it just like a lovely session; welcoming in those folks sitting along the edges of the tables patiently waiting for a chance to get a tune or two in. I’ve enjoyed this immensely and hope to hear more from our new friends now that the ice is broken.

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All the very best to you Alison.

Posted by .

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Hi

Other (please explain):

1. I am a complete beginner, and most of the discussion is about things that I don’t know much about.
2. I am shy.

I also sort of don’t know what I would want to talk about. How about this: how do you old timers use the site?

I myself am really a beginner: I just learned my second Irish tune following a list from a discussion on this site titled "Beginning Fiddle Tunes?" from 14 years ago. I took the list, listened to the tunes on youtube, decided to start with the tunes I recognized, picked the first one, looked it up in the tunes database, figured out sort of the shape of the music while listening to a recording and reading the notes, figured where the notes are on the fingerboard and then spent a week learning to play it slowly without looking at the sheet music. Then I repeated it with the second tune.

I’ve seen tune sets on the site, so I decided to make my own and add tunes to it as I learn them but saw this discussion and got side tracked.

Re: The Great Lurker Uprising of 2019

S-o-o-o easy to get side-tracked here.:)

Ola Amigo! - Annwyl/Dear Rev - - - & co. - - -

Let’s see, today I was making music on this damned walking stick sized woodwind, my hands feeling the stretch, roasting tomatoes for a pasta sauce, with a hell of a lot of beautifully blooming and scented wild garlic I’ve naturalized just outside our door, with wild strawberries and other berries. We still meet up weekly for chat, music & dance, still teaching… Our little group has to suffer that I’ve been regularly using this wild garlic in cooking, for weeks now. The whole global warming thing has had things up and flowering sooner than ever, and weirdly amongst it all not a bug in sight, no bumble bees, and probably because while we’re breaking records for heat, we actually also broke a record for cold in these last few weeks, and I mean - ‘since records have been kept’ here on this island, variously called the U.K., though not quite ‘united’, or Britain, more locally England and currently in the county of Lancashire.

Also today, more arrangements and texting and phone calls arranging our soon to be ‘away’ back to Ireland for a spell, including house hunting again, and online today we did spend a little time looking at houses, again… We’ve decided we’ll give our current responsibilities here at most one more year before returning to Ireland for keeps, we hope, and also hoping for the increased freedom and opportunity to travel…

Today I have also been in my more frequented place here, the ‘Tunes’ section, still regularly cleaning up the mess that happened with a major site overhaul of Jeremy’s - when every bit of ABC, fragments and rough outs, were suddenly lifted up from the comments to the top as an entry, with dots, and some other curious results - a lot to clean up needing to be done. If you find anything that doesn’t make sense that I’ve submitted and that has been raised to the top, please let me know, as some members already have, and I’ll do my best to try and set it right. It was while doing some of this clean up I saw ‘Rev’ had submitted this discussion, and seeing dear Will and Zina also mentioned, missed, I had to ‘lurk’, enjoying all the contributions made so far, and I decided to set aside a few minutes for one of my stream-of-consciousness rambles, to step out of the shadows ~ mea culpa! Apologies if the stream skips and jumps now and then or a bit of gobbledegoop slips through…

I’ve a dozen instruments around me as I type, not all musical, including other bits and pieces, and a stack or more of books, including scraps of graph paper having been bitten by the Su Doku bug, both of us. My beloved has just finished one I set out for her, and her now saying I need to do some time on the exercise bike, as she pedals away. Later today I need to get back to that sauce, brew more coffee, & more noodling of music, I hope, and a little reading - light & heavy - half a dozen in process. We’re planning to do a walk along some length of canal somewhere, or maybe up to check out one of the trees we’ve planted for our dearly departed. We’re doing OK, but do sometimes feel a bit of the blues when realizing we’re the last two of half a dozen or so bands we’ve played with in the past. But then, there’s music to fall back on whatever mood falls on me, and it is a good friend, great therapy, my first inebriate of choice, one that has also brought me friends in person and friends online, like the dear Rev here, and Will, and half a dozen who have stepped out of this site to visit us here in person. We’ll likely have a dram late tonight and I’ll be toasting you Rev, and Will, and the rest of those it has been my pleasure, mostly, to have known via this site, and our webmaster too, Jeremy, bless you all!

So, still alive and kickin’, but mostly, where ‘discussions’ are concerned, strickly lurking, though mostly when I do access this site I’m playing through melodies submitted in the ‘Tunes’ section - as well but less often checking ‘Recordings’, ‘Events’ & ‘Sessions’, and occasionally answering a query from a member of this site, which seems to happen at least once a month, which is also something I did this morning, or corresponding with our webmaster, Jeremy, as when I f’kd up over dates for an ‘Event’ I recently added, mea culpa yet again… ;-)

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Hello !
Never posted here because I am already active in an Irish flute french forum (http://whistle.soforums.com/index.php ) and I don’t have much time to be involved in The Session’s discussions. However, even if I came here for tunes and tunebook, I’m also contributing to the archives adding a lot of good band tunes transcriptions in the database.

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I’ve been a member of this site for over 10 years (probably much longer) and have posted 31 times. The reason for the few number of posts is that I play mandolin, bouzouki, and guitar and those instruments generate a lot of negative feedback here. (MUCH better recently, but still there.)

The whole "purity" test that you have to deal with here is off-putting. (See the current "How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?" discussion.) Would I like to post here? Yes. Do I think that I have something to offer? Occasionally. Do I want to deal with people questioning if the instruments or tunes I play are part of "the tradition"? No. Therefore, I checkin once a week or so (usually right after Jeremy’s email blast) to see if anything catches my eye.

BTW, I host a website at http://braccio.me that is a repository for a lot of tune books that I’ve discovered on the web. I’ve copied them to my site (with proper accreditation and links to the original sites!) to ensure that they are available if/when the original sites go dark. This is another resource that members here can use. I’m not sure how to get that info out to folks here.

Pete

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What a nice thread … it provides a way for less outgoing members to dip a toe in the water and for non-posting types to pop their head in the door and say hello.

This site has been one of my go-to resources for several years now, but I only began checking out some of the discussions this past year. I considered the question “why you read the forums but don’t post”. Certainly one of the bigger reasons is that I usually don’t get around to reading threads until they’re quite well-developed and many of my thoughts have already been voiced by others. I figure I needn’t belabor the point! I do enjoy reading though, particularly discussions about the joys and challenges of session community life/music.

A bit about me … I started learning how to play Irish music about 8 years ago (pennywhistle) and began learning flute about 4 years ago, so I’m still pretty new to all of this. I’ve co-led a tune-learning/slow session in my town for a few years, and am active in the two regular weekly sessions here. I’ve also been fortunate to get to attend a few music camps in the past three years, and I know at least a couple of you through that (Portal!).

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I live in Leitrim in Ireland where we.ve retired to, but been part of for 40 years due to having a river cruiser on the Shannon river.
I played keyboards in dance bands in Dublin area…weddings..golf clubs…cabaret pubs since I was 17.
Before that I played button accordion at home as a child before joining the school band on piano accordion.
I dont play professionally any more but love to go to play in sessions which for the last 2 years have been sparse because of problems with acute arm and shoulder muscle problems which involved 2 operations.
I love playing piano, classical mostly, which strangely does.nt aggravate my pains for hours.
It has been my life saver over the last 2 years because playing music is a part of me.
So many pubs and different types of sessions to go to around here you would not get bored, and all I ever expect no matter what level you play at, is for people to turn up with your instrument and have a go. Thats the best way to learn as far as I.m concerned.
I would be a peeper on most groups and dont get involved with discussions a lot.
A bit like sitting in a group around a table, I listen a lot and chip in when the " Its all about me " story teller of the day, there.s always one, gets up my nose.
Which brings me to…….pub sessions.
"Its all about me" prevails there too.
There are some guys getting paid to turn up, they are the nucleus of the group, and there are strolling in players.
Some paid guys have a different attitude to the session in hand.
Some will sit back after kicking things off and invite all around the table to contribute.
Some leaders hogg the session and rule it like they are the reason you got out of bed this morning….ehhh…..NO.
Some sessions evolve into speed track events with tune numbers 1..2..3..being replayed more than once in the night but in a different rotation, just because Mr instrument over there wants to show you how fast he can play a tune just in case you missed it first time around.
And this is where I lose interest.
Have we not played this already ?
This sounds the same as what we played an hour ago ?
Its getting boring now….ZZzzzz.
I also find a session looses momentum when 3 guys start talking about a session they were at 3 weeks ago, or where they played in Boston for Paddy.s day, while they hold up "This" session.
Or Paddy talks across the table to Mick about the cow cought in a fence last week.
FFS.
Ring him….tell him there.
I love playing music, any kind of music.
Trad….Bluegrass…..Classical….Singalong parties.
Singing Bohemian Rhapsody on a piano accordion gets attention everytime.
Singing White Christmas in summertime is…..different.
Love playing slow Irish airs with a certain female fiddler on here.
Speed is not everything.
Trad is not everything.
Just turning up is a must for everyone to improve your playing.
Enjoy.

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Thanks for all the responses! One thing that I lose sight of regularly is that the session culture of slagging each other as a sign of affection is sometimes lost on people. And while there’s a fair amount of slagging that happens between folks on these forums, with it being a semi-anonymous venue and missing all the other cues, like facial expressions, etc., it can be really difficult to know if someone is just pulling your leg, or whether they’re really just being a jerk (or a troll).

As a banjo and mandolin player myself, I receive my fair share of negative comments, but it’s just part of the interaction, and I never take it personally. I often crack a couple banjo jokes myself to break the ice in a new situation… But I can understand how someone like braccio can feel like they’re not welcome when there are people talking negatively about the instruments that they play. My hope is that people can just take any perceived negativity in stride and not get too worked up about it, because it doesn’t necessarily reflect the general opinion of the forum members. As I stated in a previous post: "We like to banter a bit, but in the end, we’re all here because of our love for the music!"

And Hi Lisa! I knew that someone I knew would chime in! You do good things with your tune learning and sessions! And we’ll miss you guys in Portal this year (I know you have more exciting plans!), but who’s going to run the endless impromptu deck-sessions all week? ;-)

And Keiran, I’m sorry to hear about all the "look at me" issues in sessions. That’s really frustrating, and it’s not good to hear that it’s so widespread. I have run into that a bit in Ireland, but mostly in the bigger cities, where I kind of expect it. But for the most part, I have found sessions in Ireland to be pretty welcoming… :-)

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“… who’s going to run the endless impromptu deck-sessions …?”

Ah, the infamous deck-sessions. :-) :-) :-) I hope that someone carries the torch this year. Aside from being good fun, they’re akin to this thread … camp-lurkers drop in and share a tune or two or many!

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Hi daviec here. Just registered but have lurked for a few months. New to ITM. Live in NYC. Retired, only look up mandolin recently. I had forgotten that my mother gave me my grandfather’s mandolin when I was a boy. That instrument is long gone.
But I feel that I have renewed a family tradition. I HAVE SO MUCH TO LEARN about the music and the surrounding culture. I am loving this process of discovery and am interested in what people contribute here. Would like to play in sessions sometime but I am not ready by any stretch.. Well that’s me.