Session wreckers!!!

Session wreckers!!!

Reflecting on the previous backer thread it seems a thread like this may be interesting.
There’s a bloke who occasionally holds a fiddle & bow and sometimes a flute at what used to be ‘our’ regular sesh before the Big Bug. At first he seems quite good but then you realise he’s not listening to anyone else. He just sitting there playing the tune in a personal vacuum and rushing ahead pulling the whole ensemble into a cacophony. This is worse than some twit playing I, vi, IV, V7 on a six string devil all night!

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Yeah, that’s apparently a thing.

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Have you tried punching him in the nose? If that doesn’t work maybe try talking to him.

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I find it remarkable that we regularly see threads like this. When a problem player shows up at a session I’m in, I have a word and end of problem. It’s not hard. If that doesn’t work, expelling the offending party is even easier. No one can impose themselves on a session without the compliance of the other attendees.

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I’ve found over the years quietly and sagely ignoring the idiots works and they finally disappear. I’m lucky that I regularly have tunes with a nucleus of strong experienced players with deep roots that ‘session’ together in various permutations, often several times a week. This has produced a strong ‘scene’ with a marked sense of tradition, (yet a lack of stroppy preciousness) and with a great humour, especially where even the thickest skinned ‘wreckers’ are concerned.

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Mmmmm. Maybe if a Bernese (Swiss) insensitive accompanist with an expensive electric guitar joined your session, you’d have a Reichenbacher Rickenbacker wrecker backer.

It’s not been a busy day.

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And you might upset him/her and have a cross picker(Thats’s a bluegrass joke……)

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Bazza: if his day job was a bread maker who also did spiritual healing and they got into an petty argument with a rugby playing pub troublemaker, you’d have a Reiki baker Reichenbacher Rickenbacker wrecker backer rugger bugger rucker bicker.

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You’re short of useful things to do as well, then?

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I’ll admit that I’ve been guilty of that, sometimes losing focus, sometimes falling into the error of listening to myself. At least I know it’s wrong and when I snap out of my haze I do my best to focus on the group.

It’s probably at least partly to do with spending most of my music time with a Pipe Band. There, the pipers all stand in a big circle and everyone’s job is to play exactly in time with the Pipe Major. If you’re on the side of the circle opposite the PM (which I always am) it takes considerable concentration to focus only on syncing with that somewhat distant person, and it can entail mentally blocking out the sound of the pipers closest to you. If the side of the circle opposite the PM all start listening to each other that entire side can fall out of sync with the PM’s side. It happens. Yes pipes are loud but the circles are big, in large bands you’re quite distant from the opposite side of the circle.

It’s why I do best at a session if I’m concentrating on following a particular player.

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Surely when playing in an ensemble, you all just fall in the groove! One hears what one is doing in the context of the overall sound. One listens to what one is playing but as part of the whole. And being right on the money, in the groove, is the most important thing as well as swopping ideas in the musical conversation with the others. I can’t comprehend playing out of time with the others, out of tune, yes! but never out of time!!!

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Bazza and Yhaal House - Thanks for the laugh - excellent wordplay!

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I’ve had a few words with offending players at my sessions over the years, and it’s one of the most uncomfortable things for me to do. I always try to do it privately and politely, instead of calling them out in the middle of the session in front of everyone. But it has pretty much never gone well. People usually get offended and often leave in a huff (problem solved, but then I feel like a jerk, even though I was trying to do it nicely).

The only instance that ever worked out was one that started out pretty bad. The offending player went to the management and tried to get us kicked out of the venue, which thankfully didn’t work. He didn’t show his face at that session again for over a year, and when he came back, he would sit at a table away from the session, and kind of noodle along, so we tried to invite him back in, but then he just sat and noodled the whole time. Finally we just told him that we’d be happy to have him in the session, but he just needed to learn some tunes! So it actually kind of worked out. Each week, he would ask us the names of a handful of tunes we played, and he’d come back the next week, having worked out one or two of those tunes. He never sounded particularly Irish in his playing, but he stopped being a wrecker…

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Nice story, Rev! I wish we had more success stories like that.

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That yhaalhouse is the advantage of being a backer. And the advantage of having a backer….
Large sessions, can easily shift out of time from one side to the other especially with a loud drunken chatty crowd. Having a loud instrument and a backer next to them will solve that.m, maybe…… if not its up and go time.

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Oh, yeah. Sessions… I remember those things. I find myself missing being annoyed by people playing out of tune and out of time. Now it’s just me and iTunes, and I’m probably out of tune and out of time but have no clue anymore.

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No other choice bar following the leader in our zoom-session. Very fortunate. No distractions at all ;)

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Yes there was a discussion about Zoom sessions (Zessions? Zooshuns?) and I’ve not done one but they sound just like Zoom Pipe Band rehearsal. The difference is that for the Pipe Band focusing purely on the leader is what you do in live playing, so Zooming can be better than the real thing, for that.

I would imagine that if you have a session leader who is a great player with sought-after settings Zooming would be very nice.

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Ours is one-way, like a broadcast. You can hear the set leader and yourself and see the other sessioners. So, just the leader and you. No audial distractions )) It’s not a substitute for the ‘real thing’, just better than nothing. And it’s not the same thing as playing along with a recording.

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Hit them in the ego.
With Zoom if you are the host you can listen to any individual playing. Very interesting

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Since I run a weekly Zoom session, I can see how a Zoom meeting host can un-mute a single player so that everyone can hear them, (well, used to be able to do that before Zoom changed that policy a couple of days ago in version 5.0.3, now requires affirmative permission from the person being unmuted), but I’ve not seen some ability to privately unmute someone so the host can hear only. How were you able to do that?

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Ugh…just had my first "session" a loooonnngggg time…everybody in a backyard 6 ft apart and with masks on…

The huge problem was that nobody could hear anybody…

So we didn’t have a session wrecker…we had a session self-destruct.

But it did show me that my fiddle has an awful lot of throwing power…some of the backers told me later I was the only one they could hear. :| Hope that was a good thing…Love my fiddle but it’s sure hard to get it to play softly when playing full speed.

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I can relate to the challenge of an outdoor distanced session. Six of us did one on Saturday, 8 ft apart in a circle outdoors. It was very difficult to hear well, let alone synchronize. Finally, we realized that it helped to think of it a bit like playing on Zoom. Have a designated leader for the set and those who aren’t leading have to "mute" themselves, i.e. be very intentional about playing quietly (much more so than in a normal setting where you back off if you need to hear or blend better). This ended up working pretty well, better and better as we went along. It wasn’t the same musically as the good-old-days, but it was wonderful to see and kind-of hear everyone and make kind-of-music together. And perhaps we’ll develop some different listening/hearing/watching skills if we do this enough, and will be able to "mute" less as time goes on.

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Ugh. I attend sessions that like to hear the occasional trad song from time to time. At one such session, I was asked to sing a song and did, with my bouzouki capoed in the key of G sharp. Some newbie guitar player jumped in uninvited and tried to play along— but wasn’t in the right key.

I stopped my singing and playing, got up and went to the bar for a black and tan. When I finished it and went back in, the dude was gone, and was never seen again. No way to win in a situation like that.

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Way to show them! I sure hope you remembered to stomp your feet on your way to the bar.