New Session in Vermont

New Session in Vermont

Last night, O’Shea’s in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, had its first session. I went to check it out. The musicians seemed mostly shy and insecure, so even though there were a fair number present, it never got very loud. I was the outsider; all the others knew each other and play together weekly. The music started out with a lot of slow tunes, and then a lot of fast tunes played slowly. The last hour of music, though, after most of the musicians had left, showed a lot of promise. I’ll list the session in the session section after the details are detailed. It may not stay on Thursday nights.

My question: This is a pretty small pub. It is located outside of town in a rural area, so it wasn’t as crowded as I imagine a pub in town would normally be. I don’t frequent bars, so I don’t know diddly about the life. I didn’t observe much drinking among the musicians (some were under-age, anyway) and there wasn’t any smoke. There are loads of musicians around here, and once the word is out about the session, what happens when they all show up and it gets loud and crowded?

The last three or four of us remaining at the end had a discussion about how to make the session friendly and appealing to all who come, whether they are beginniers or esperienced. We came to no conclusions. Made no decisions. Any suggestions? (I know, check out the other threads on this topic…)

Re: New Session in Vermont

rocking bow: Your sweaters and accessories are beautiful!

St. J is a bit of hike for me (Richmond, VT), but I may try to get over there at some point. Good luck with the session! Perhaps our paths will cross someday!

As for making the session friendly for all, there are many people on this mustard-board who are more qualified than I to advise, but might I suggest establishing "timeslots"? Perhaps have a "slow tune-learning" session from 7:30-8:30, then take a break and reconvene for a higher level session at 9:00?

A *new* session, since it doesn’t already have any entrenched characteristics, is a great opportunity to mentor newer folks, be an "ambassador" for the music, and still cut loose for your own enjoyment, too.

Granted, mentoring and ambassadorship are not for everyone, but since you say that "there are loads of musicians" in your area, you should have a relatively easy time finding an experienced musician or two who enjoys such a role.

With credit to Zina Lee, here is a link to her Small Circle Tune Learning Session site:

I’ve benefitted greatly from surfing that site.


Re: New Session in Vermont

Thank you, Brian. For the comments and compliment. I bookmarked Zina’s site and will be back there again later.

Last night’s session was an experiment and I expect it will fly, but I don’t want to post it in the sessions section until the date is decided for sure. We did discuss the possibility of having the first hour, 7-8pm, for learners, and then cut loose. All the musicians that I know around here are interested in promoting and propagating the music. If I can’t influence my own offspring, I’ll just have to find someone else’s kids. The place shuts down at 10, and that’s plenty late for me.

Re: New Session in Vermont

I’m certainly no expert but I can suggest a few things that I’ve seen have an impact on the session atmosphere…

Is there a (paid) host, or hosts, whose job it is to run the session? If so then their the ones who set the atmosphere.

If not then I’ve found it’s the ones who have recognized ability or lack of self censorship who tend to dominate the proceedings. It sounds as though most folks know each other already and so the settling in process may not take too long to find an established formula.

I guess the most important thing is to establish the procedure for choosing tunes to play: one person running a set or take it in turns for each tune.

If most folks play at another session you will probably find that the "rules" will migrate to the new session in some form.

Having at least one person who takes it upon themselves to introduce themselves to newcomers, find out their instrument, ability, make them feel welcome and invite them to lead a set of tunes makes a huge difference when you’re the outsider.

Re: New Session in Vermont

Welcome to the session, Bill

Re: New Session in Vermont

Hi, I’m not sure why it didn’t work before, but here I am.