What do you do if there ARE no sessions?

What do you do if there ARE no sessions?

I’m getting very frustrated. I’ve lived near Santa Cruz, CA, for nearly six years now, and have yet to find anyone on my side of the mountains to play with. I know there have been sessions here before…I saw a flyer for one at a Mexican restaurant (yes, really) in Felton (which disappeared before I could check it out) and another once for a house session (phone calls never returned). We have two "Irish" pubs here…one features jazz, when they have music at all (and is a bit of a high-brow place, from what I’ve seen), and the other seems to be all about poetry readings. I know I can’t be the only Irish musician on this side of the Santa Cruz Mountains, but I have no idea how to hook up with people who might be interested in getting together and playing once in a while. Any suggestions? I thought about just putting up flyers, but hereabouts that’s as likely to hook you up with a psychopath as with anything else.

Re: What do you do if there ARE no sessions?

Story of my life. I dno’t have any suggestions because i still have this same probelm.

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Re: What do you do if there ARE no sessions?

Our local session in Tallahassee grew out of a single couple who took a shine to ITM, and invited some of their friends to come to a friendly local pub and play. I was one of those friends. I was vaguely aware of ITM, and we all stumbled along until the thing finally caught fire and started to burn.

I’m surprised to learn that one of the epicenters of California Cool is so chilly for ITM players, but press on lad, press on. Give it the ol’ college try, stay with it for a while, and perhaps even staid California will finally catch up to hip North Florida!

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I’m a lass, actually (my usual screen name is Redwolf, which was taken here, so I put it in Irish…didn’t stop to think until later that it sounds pretty "laddish" that way!). Come to think of it, one of these days I’m going to have to change it to "Graywolf"…there’s not much red left there anymore!

Thanks for the encouragement, anyway. I keep thinking that one of these days I’ll hook up with other players…they’ve got to be out there. Sadly, with so little experience playing with other people, I really notice it when I do get lucky enough to find someone to jam with…getting the pacing right is a major challenge. Ah well…maybe someday!

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There are sessions at the Britannia Arms in Aptos on the second Sunday of every month. They’re very small, but quite fun, and welcoming to any new members. Maybe give them a try? Also, I’m sure that any of the people with Community Music School would be delighted to help you out (communitymusicschool.org). Hope that helps!
-Laurel-

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A friend of mine wrote a really nice tune for his wife called The Grey Haired Lass….

MacTireRua, you probably already know about the Sunday sessions in San Jose: https://thesession.org/sessions/286

It might be worth going to a couple of those just to see if any other players are making the trek over the mountains from Santa Cruz. It’ll also help to get your name and phone number out to the folks in San Jose so they’ll steer the next coastal player your way.

And you get the irony, right? That you’re puzzled over running into deadends with the session flyers you’ve seen, and yet you’re concerned that putting up your own flyers might attract "the wrong people." Of course, sociopathic behavior and sessioning aren’t mutually exclusive. :o) Seriously, the good news is that the flyers suggest someone else in your locale is interested in the music. So how to discreetly suss them out?

One way is to play your whistle in public. If you’re comfortable with your skills, offer to teach a workshop at a local music store. Or do an open mic night somewhere. Or just play in city parks, waiting for the bus, at the grocery store. Don’t give your contact info out—just take names and numbers of anyone who shows interest. That way, the ball is still in your court.

Or go looking for music teachers who specialize in Irish trad. Most teachers are decent players themselves, and they’ll know if there are any house sessions. Or they’ll be a good nucleus to start your own session. If you can’t find any teachers, put notices up in the music stores (and at UCSC) saying you’re looking for an Irish trad music teacher. Just don’t mention which instrument. If you get any bites, you’ll have an excuse if they turn out to be too weird for you: "Oh, sorry, I was looking for a (instrument they *don’t* play) teacher." And if they’re not too weird, just explain that you’re actually hoping to do some sessions, not lessons.

Finally, what about converting some of your Morris and other musician friends? Even if it takes you a year or two to build a real session, you’ll be a year or two further ahead from where you are now.

Hope you’re able to dig something up. Good luck!

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Re: What do you do if there ARE no sessions?

There is a piper at UC Santa Cruz that inhabits this site; for the life of me, I can’t recall his name, but does complain about the same thing. I like Will’s idea: Former student of leo Rowsome, looking for like minded pupils to dable in esoteric regulator play.

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I’ve been looking for a psychopath for ages and I just can’t seem to find one anywhere. I tried putting up posters but all I got was people pestering me to go to their sessions.

Re: What do you do if there ARE no sessions?

Dunno never been in that position

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I’ll second the whistle thingy. If there are any ITM players around that’ll smoke them out in a hurry. If there’s anyone even vaguely interested in *becoming* an ITM player that’ll smoke them out.

I wear an Australian bush hat. Ya know, the one with the snap brim? Perfect place for sticking a whistle to withdraw at a moment’s notice. I’ve met any number of players, and even created a few, simply by having it there to be noticed.

Last weekend I spent a couple hours marching up and down Broadway in Manhattan playing whistle, and skipping just a bit around the edges. Even jaded urbanites will at least look and anyone into the music will want to stop for a chat (I had to explain to one couple the difference between a penny whistle and a piccolo).

If worst comes to worst you just might have to face the fact that you need to become the ITM guru of Santa Cruz. Sucks to be you, but that’s how the tradition spreads.

Someone has to get up and do it.

KFG

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Re: What do you do if there ARE no sessions?

Wow! Lots of helpful input here, y’all!

I checked out the link Bleedin’ Heart posted, and one of those slow sessions appears to be in Santa Cruz! I’ll have to give a call and if they’re still meeting. I’ll also check out the situation at the Brittania Arms in Aptos. This time of year, I really prefer to avoid driving over the hill if I can (Highway 17 is bad at the best of times, but in winter it’s insane), but I might look into the San Jose scene this summer and see if I can make some contacts, anyway, in case nothing pans out over here.

Go raibh míle maith agaoibh!

Re: What do you do if there ARE no sessions?

Amazing. I lived in Santa Cruz for a couple of years 1980-83ish and there was quite a good Irish session scene. Shame I never kept up any contacts. I would have stayed, but like you say - too many psychopaths - so they asked me to leave to reduce the numbers a bit.

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Re: What do you do if there ARE no sessions?

OK…now I am totally stoked! I called the contact person at the Comhaltas link, and the slow session is definitely still active! It should be perfect for me because, although I’ve been playing for many years, I’ve only been playing specifically Irish music for about three years, and that pretty much on my own. It sounds like the Aptos session is active too. I’m really excited! I’ve been dying to hook up with other Irish musicians, but most of my musical friends are classical musicians, and they just give me a blank look when I get on about jigs and reels.

Many thanks for the help, all of you!

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Yay!

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You’re welcome!

Here’s a helpful hint for the future: try http://www.google.com

Just for the heck of it I typed in "santa cruz irish music" and the first link listed was the one I posted above. Total research time > 1 minute!

Happy sessioneering!

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I’m moving (back) to Santa Cruz next week….I’ll be looking for people to play with….. I play tenor banjo, octave mandolin and guitar mostly. I’ve thought it’d be good to try and get a SC session going….even if only at someone’s residence….the Slow Play session would be fun too.

Drop me a line!

I know there’s young whistle player on thsession.org in Santa Cruz too…..

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