How has COVID-19 affected traffic on this site?

How has COVID-19 affected traffic on this site?

It’s my understanding that sessions are on hold in most places these days. I apologize if this is similar to past discussions, but I wonder what is likely to occur regarding (past, BC) interest in sessions and session playing going forward?

My wife and I have hosted a few small (three or four persons) outdoor sessions at our place with appropriate physical distancing - own chairs, own beverages, etc. It’s so nice to be able to play with even just one additional player after these many weeks without our usual twice-a-month pub sessions.

Are small, distanced sessions the future of this tradition? Would it impact on tune, instrument, or playing preferences? I know from our experience with this that it will be more difficult to hear each other.

Posted by .

Re: How has COVID-19 affected traffic on this site?

Having played fiddle for thirty years I’ve found that the volume of the instrument is harder to maintain in social distanced small groups. I have recently started playing the bc box which has a lot more volume (which I restrain) and its easier to project in an outdoor setting such as our local park.

Re: How has COVID-19 affected traffic on this site?

In my area (Washington state USA), any public sessions will be on hold for quite a while, I imagine. The usual venues — restaurants and bars — will be slowly opening with fairly strict distancing guidelines. Fewer tables than normal, reduced numbers allowed in. I can’t imagine the usual tight group or sessionistas sharing tunes while operating under the initial "phased" opening of public venues. It’s hard enough for me to hear some instruments, and be heard myself, even in a normally spaced session group.

I think the immediate future for the next 6 months out to a year from now, is going to be by-invitation house sessions with friends who can trust each other to be either tested or not exposed. Those can be some of the best sessions anyway in my experience, where there isn’t any pressure to avoid too much conversation and you can experiment with new tunes.

As far as "traffic on this site" goes, I haven’t noticed the posts falling off. We’re going to keep exploring this mad obsession any way we can. The Mustard Board is an invaluable resource for bonding with fellow musicians and sharing tunes and information (thanks, Jeremy!).

Re: How has COVID-19 affected traffic on this site?

Now we’re all just whining about everything that is wrong with virtual sessions instead of real ones.

Re: How has COVID-19 affected traffic on this site?

Perhaps longer term physical distancing rules will eliminate Mandolin players and everyone will start learning the banjo? Natural selection…?

Re: How has COVID-19 affected traffic on this site?

Sessions have been following a largely upward trajectory for the seven, eight or even nine decades that they have been going. As we all know, like the rest of the Irish music scene, they got a boost 25 years ago from that dance show that I don’t need to name, but it does not seem to have been a problem that said show has passed into history.

Like every other social event, sessions have of course been knocked right back. So as we come out of isolation (which might be a slow, staged process) it is inevitable that the session scene will have changed. Quite possibly it will shrink, though I don’t know that that is a given. But change of some sort is almost certain, not least because players will almost certainly be having to sit with a much larger physical spacing.

I wonder therefore (this is my actual thought) whether we will see a resurgence of the largely solo playing that was the way of things before sessions got started. This would make post-covid sessions adopt some aspects of the singaround as opposed to the massed thrash. This thought may fill you with horror or delight, but I can well see it happening.

It would create new opportunities for both artistry and musical disaster. Casual accompaniment from somebody who is not physically or socially close to the melody player would become difficult to impossible. Having what you believe to be a repertoire of one or two thousand tunes that you reckon you can join in on would become less relevant. It would be more difficult for beginners to ease their way in, and would quite possibly call for sessions to have more of a “leader” to make sure that everyone gets their turn.

Changes for the better? Or the worse? I don’t know, but it could be the way things develop.

Re: How has COVID-19 affected traffic on this site?

In regards to the discussion title about traffic to this site, I can’t offer any specifics. The Session deliberately doesn’t use any analytics:
https://thesession.org/privacy#security

"The Session has no third-party scripts or cookies: no advertising; no tracking; no analytics."

But I can look at graphs from the hosting provider to get a rough idea of bandwidth usage. As far as I can see, things have remained pretty steady. There’s been a slight increase in traffic over the past few months, but looking back further than that, traffic has been increasing slightly (but steadily) for quite a while anyway. So I don’t think there’s been a noticable difference either way because of COVID-19.

What has changed, clearly, is the *kind* of activity: sessions, events, and trips are all tied to geographical locations. Normally there’d be a few trips and sessions and events added every week, but for the past while, there’s been hardly anything (for obvious reasons). So, for the time being, The Session more or less consists of the tunes, recordings, and discussions.

I’m looking forward to a time when all the different sections of the site are in balance again.

Re: How has COVID-19 affected traffic on this site?

@Mudchutney: "Perhaps longer term physical distancing rules will eliminate Mandolin players and everyone will start learning the banjo? Natural selection?"

Heaven forfend! Actually, there is a thing called a resonator mandolin that’s just as loud as a banjo, and even louder than some. I’ve considered it off and on, because I sometimes play mandolin in a session where a friend plays border pipes. Playing mandolin along with border pipes is bringing the proverbial knife to a gunfight; it only works if we’re sitting very close to each other. But I like the tone of my arch top wooden mandolin. I’m not a fan of the twangy resonator mandolin tone, and the one really nice model is the National RM-1 that’s fairly expensive. Maybe I’ll have to try one, if future sessions actually involve more physical distance between players. I just find that hard to imagine working well, or being much fun.

My flute is more problematic than mandolin. It’s loud enough — louder than my mandolin. But there is the issue of greater air dispersal while playing. Also, I have a habit of "blowing it out" every so often to remove water droplets that eventually veil the sound. I do it discreetly, with the end of the flute aimed behind my chair, but I can’t imagine that being very well accepted in the current era. Maybe I’ll have to use a can of compressed air and a plastic bag tied to the end of the flute, with the bag disposed of as hazardous waste. Have to think about that…

Re: How has COVID-19 affected traffic on this site?

Wow! Resonator mandolin! Can you put it in open tuning of some sort (dgDG or something) and play it with a slide?

Re: How has COVID-19 affected traffic on this site?

I used to have an all-metal resonator mandolin. You could definitely hear it in a session.

I eventually sold it to a friend who wanted it for other styles of music than Irish, but I sort of miss it.

Re: How has COVID-19 affected traffic on this site?

You can play any mandolin with a slide, but a resonator mandolin is perfect for it. It’s not easy though, because the very short scale (compared to guitar) means your intonation has to be very precise, and you have to use smaller hand motions for things like vibrato.

Re: How has COVID-19 affected traffic on this site?

"Perhaps longer term physical distancing rules will eliminate Mandolin players and everyone will start learning the banjo? Natural selection…?"

That doesn’t follow, fortunately. Playing a quieter instrument in a physically distanced situation is advantageous (to the player) in that you are less likely to have trouble hearing the other instruments over your own. The physical distancing itself could also be advantageous to the player of a quieter instrument, since you are more likely to be able to hear yourself over the louder instruments.

Re: How has COVID-19 affected traffic on this site?

I think that Conical Bore nailed it: “by-invitation house sessions with friends who can trust each other to be either tested or not exposed”. It’s going to be more insular, at least at first. That’s unfortunate, but it’s probably the reality. At least the weather here is trending toward being able to play out-of-doors and that may help.

I suspect that our hosting pub, when it re-opens, is going to be so revenue-starved that accommodating higher paying clientele is going to be a priority and those sessions may not come back until there’s a vaccine.