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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Tom Bliss Guitar in Sessions (71* d) RE: Guitar in Sessions 28 Feb 10

Yes, that's true, and I remember being quite angry with the attitude and behaviour of certain musicians when I first started going to sessions. That said, the best players are often the most tolerant and supportive.

But advertising a session doesn't mean you're advertising an 'open' session, if I understand what you mean by that correctly. Regular sessions (festival sessions and one-offs tend to be different) tend to take on their own personality - formed by the preferences of the majority of the regulars. That's natural, reasonable and democratic in my opinion, and therefore its only polite for anyone new to try to fit into that standard rather than steer the event to their own taste or ability. (If your local session is not to your liking you can always find another or start your own).

As for private invitation-only sessions, well, they do exist and they can be fun, but they're not true sessions, by the core meaning of the word. To work at their best, sessions need to have an element of performance, of an audience being present in the periphery, and also of serendipity and unpredictability - of not knowing who might turn up any minute and where that might take the music (up or down).

So they do need to be held in public places.

There should be no need to vet anyone. There are some simple rules, based on good manners really, and they've been covered above: Playing quietly when necessary, not showing off, only starting tunes that you think others there will know and want to play right then, avoiding guitar/bodhran overkill, letting the melody do the driving and not thinking the accompaniment is in the box seat (a very common mistake - etc) and that should suffice.

If newcomers always followed session etiquette (which most do, in my experience) then maybe tune players might not be so twitchy. It could be that an insensitive few have made it harder for the thoughtful many - but, going back the the OP's list of instruments above, we should remember that it takes many years of practice to become a good tune player. It's only natural that people who have done the pain will want to avoid having to play at the level of the lowest common denominator.

Festival sessions are more of a free for all. But this doesn't matter as there are usually plenty to choose from, and half the fun is trying to hook up with enough of the people you noticed and admired earlier to get a real corker on the go.

Tune musicians are seldom bothered by extraneous noise in my experience.

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