Ideal session.

Ideal session.

When is your ideal time of day for say a 3 hour session? Forget about all the busy stuff you try to cram into the other 5 days of a week; sports, current events, work, going online, texting, family troubles… On the sacred 2 days when it’s neccessary to ‘forget busy stuff’ & live for yourself & a few mates exactly when is the ideal time to find a spot in a pub & share tunes? I don’t know. Honestly!

It could be 3pm to 6 in the afternoon. Or maybe 7:30 - 10:30. If you can stay all night how about just after 12 am to anytime before the sun comes up? They all seem good to me. How do you choose?

AB
;

ps - best sessions I remember were either very early or much later.

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Re: Ideal session.

11pm after an evening of preparatory drinking and chatting and then playing until sunrise and/ or breakfast. And any day of the week, doesn’t matter about weekends.

Re: Ideal session.

7pm on Sunday night.

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Re: Ideal session.

Again, everyone’s ideas will be different but between 4-7 pm on a Sunday afternoon is good time.
The only drawback is that pubs etc can be busy with weekend drinkers, football watchers, and "families" although some may like that sort of thing. You have to avoid "food places" too.

Otherwise, mid week, between 8-11pm. It doesn’t need to start and finish "on the dot". Too many sessions are like that these days and seem to have lost their spontaneous feel. In the old days, most of the best tunes happened after the main session finished!

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Spontaneous barbecue.

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Re: Ideal session.

Hi Ben

Well, the most important thing is to have your, or an, instrument available!
Given that important criterion, time becomes immaterial. That being the time to start, the time to finish. The whereabouts matter not. Sessions in bars, houses, basements after concerts, back rows on a bus, crew’s mess on an Irish ferry…if you’re there and it happens, then that’s the ideal time!
When sessions like this evolve, and the company, music and sustenance are all aligned, they might last some days!

All the best
Brian x

Re: Ideal session.

Very nice comment by briantheflute. Crossing the sea on a ferryboat can be enlivened by unexpectedly hearing musicians giving an impromptu session. Would be good fun on a night-time crossing such as Aberdeen to Kirkwall, Orkney - musicians take note.

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Maybe moving from "ideal" to "memorable", but have been part of a session on a train from Edinburgh to King’s Cross, London (5 hours), and twice on the now defunct Rosyth to Zeebrugge ferry: we were allowed to play up until midnight in one of the bars, then started again at breakfast with sea shanties and songs of maritime disasters.
Leaving Orkney after their folk festival, there was supposed to be a piper playing as we sailed out, but himself was sleeping off the previous night’s excesses, so the other musicians got ceilidh dancing going on deck, and continued playing in the bar as we got into rougher water.
And a bunch of us have done a "flashmob" on the Edinburgh tram throughout its full length from city centre to airport and back: Flower of Scotland played as we passed Murrayfield stadium! It was on St Andrew’s Day. Fortunately the ticket collector thought it was a great idea and we weren’t booted off!

To answer the question now, as I get older, I’m less keen on turning out in the evenings or staying up late/till dawn. 3 hours in the afternoon just fine: fortunately there are several in this area that meet that description.

Re: What is the ideal session.

The ideal session is two people, playing together with understanding and respect.
Some people just want to have fun at a session, or meet their neighbors for a pint and a chat.
Other times it will be to make exquisite music.
I like all of it, at different times.

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Much to my chagrin, I get up early in the morning, even though I am still a night person at heart. So while the late night sessions can be really fun, I just can’t do it anymore. 7-10 is pretty normal around here, and that works OK for me. If I stay up until midnight or later playing, I will feel it for several days. Sigh…

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My most memorable sessions were too long ago to remember.

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I like David Levine’s answer - two people, playing together with understanding and respect. I’ve had some memorable two person sessions like that.

Time in the day? For a limited number of musicians, say 4-7, I have enjoyed sessions that started in the noon and just went on for hours. It’s harder to reach the sense of "flow" if the sessions is supposed to be over in a couple of hours (whenever that is during the day). In my experience, it usually takes one hour, one hour and a half, before anything interesting happens. But in a five-six hour session, the middle three or four are usually enjoyable.

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Yes, first hour or so, particularly if there are players who don’t know each other well, can be kind of "testing the waters," when the players are getting to know each other. I’ve been to sessions where players are to-the-nose punctual about wrapping it up, and loudly announce that we have time for perhaps one more tune or set. And they groan when I start stringing together the 5-to-9-part tunes… ;)

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Two fiddles two flutes uileann pipes concertina, all would want to be good players.

Re: Ideal session.

Ben,
If there are only a few musicians and some are getting paid as a gig/session and they’ve been doing the heavy-lifting for three hours, I can understand their groaning when they’re faced with unexpected overtime.

Re: Ideal session.

@gooseinthenettles, "Two fiddles two flutes uileann pipes concertina, all would want to be good players."

@David Levine, "The ideal session is two people, playing together with understanding and respect."

Hard to argue with small constellations of players, but do they qualify as sessions? Isn’t a session, as a matter of definition, open?

I’m not saying I have not encountered "closed" bar sessions where a proprietor would invite just a few choice players and advertise it as a "session" to its patrons.

But how do you have a "session" where only two musicians show up?

Re: Ideal session.

We are talking ideal session.

Re: Ideal session. […do they qualify as sessions?]

Barry, I try to ask my thread discussion questions (when I ask , "How do *you*…?") expecting replies are about you, about your local sessions, and sessions you visit. I want members to share their thoughts and experiences. I don’t attempt to limit their input by asking how their responses qualify. That’s not why I’m here. And it definitely is not why I play in sessions.

However, I’ll respond to your query about, "…do they qualify as sessions?" Each session is what the players present make of it including sessions with at least 2 players, sessions with a few players, and sessions with many musicians.
AB

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Regarding ideal time: In the last couple of years, the sessions I’ve attended are all an hours’ drive from home, on 2-lane roads with high speed limits, no street lights, and the occasional deer crossing the road to make life interesting.

So my ideal time is an afternoon session where I can be home before dark. That’s just a preference though. I’ll go to an evening session as long as it doesn’t run *too* late. At my age, I’ve lost the party muscle that used to let me stay up ‘til dawn.

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Fizzit : I sure wld have liked to be on that Dublin bus!

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My ideal session is a small (5-7 player) restaurant brunch session from 10 AM to 1 PM on Sunday morning. We had one for several months last year that was absolutely wonderful. Sipping Irish breakfast tea instead of beer, snacking on scones instead of pretzels. We’d play during the brunch and the owner gave all the players brunch for free. Unfortunately, the restaurant/brewpub, the Fourpenny House in La Mesa, CA., just closed at the end of 2019.

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Yes, a session with strong mugs of tea, and lashings of tunes and sandwiches… .🙂

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"But how do you have a "session" where only two musicians show up? "
I would argue that I have had many such sessions, usually spontaneously . Not only that but from my own experience I would further argue that you don’t even need a second person to claim a "session". Okay, I realize that this fly’s in the face of the whole intention of this site, but as Ben recently said, he wants members to share their own experiences, and this is mine:- A quick look at the dictionary gives two meanings for the word ‘Session’. The first is , "a meeting of an official body,… to conduct its business". I guess that’s the most appropriate understanding here and I fully understand and respect that (I am not arguing against the consensus). But the second definition states, "a period devoted to a particular activity." This suggests no necessity for other people whatsoever. You may think of it like having a private physical training session. In this sense I could claim to have about an hours session on most mornings, between my first coffee and eventual breakfast, and being a recluse that is perfect for me. After that I then read these pages. Other than that I go to bed when the sun goes down.

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I tend to think of a "session" as having more than one person but it’s certainly not unknown to encounter just one player on his or her own in a bar, beer garden, or some other public place just "having a tune".

Usually, it’s a little more discreet and quieter and even less for the benefit of the punters (Unless it’s an official gig ) but it does happen quite a lot. You’ve got to choose your location with care, of course, and not annoy anyone.

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Yes, I wouldn’t seriously suggest that one person constitutes a session, but for me, well I was just answering Ben’s question honestly. My personal ‘ideal’ is what I do every morning just by myself (No rude jokes thanks guys).

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Not at all.
I’d urge everyone to check out an old Peter Cook sketch though. He mentions a certain "musical instrument".
🙂

Re: Ideal session.

It pretty much doesn’t matter for me about an ideal time - if I’m around, awake, and available, I’ll do it. I’ve been part of 2-person sessions, where each of us orbits the other in mutual understanding, all the way to massive student gatherings at music festivals (where I’m put to the piano), to the one I attend once a week that is actually in two parts (before 9pm; after 9pm).
An "ideal session" for me is one where everyone listens to everyone else; there’s the spontaneity whether or not we’re playing the usual tunes and sets; where the backup (often me alone, or when in Nirvana with a friend who’s a damn good bodhran player, or another who does great guitar backup in the tradition) doesn’t have to play loud or aggressively to make everyone else listen to the beat (that’s NOT what I go to these things for, and I’ll jump ship early on those kind of nights). I’m primarily a group player (backup) so I’m happy to be with my friends and make new ones amidst the music…

Re: Ideal session.

Much appreciation to hearing all of your replies. Continue to move the session forward.
AB ;

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Where ever two or more gather in (the) name (of tunes) - there ye shall find me.

Re: Ideal session.

Briantheflute has it right. Just like the Boy Scouts, Be Prepared. : )

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