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Friday, 18 December 2009

Our First Eugene Session (as residents)

On Thursday evening we went to a music session at a local friend's house. A session, for those not into Traditional or Folk music, is an informal gathering of musicians for the purpose of playing together. There are sometimes listeners who are not musicians, but they are a side issue. This is not really a performance, and not a practise, though new tunes are picked up at sessions, so that a common repertoire becomes established.

Our friend P holds these monthly, and we had attended one back in June so we already knew a few of the musicians, and our host. Sessions can be a little intimidating until you find your feet, partly because you usually find you're not as fluent at your own tunes as you thought, and partly because you won't know many of the favourite local tunes. Both problems are fixed by practise, and the latter of course requires attendance so you know what tunes are likely to come up.

The common practise at this session (and another we went to in June) is to go round in a circle with each player starting a tune, or set of tunes, of their choice. In one evening the circle may go round 3-5 times, so a good plan is to have 8-10 tunes, in maybe 5 sets, that you are absolutely comfortable playing. I ought to have that and plenty more, but lack of recent practise and playing time severely limited my options when it came to my turn to lead a tune. I had my Fiddle as my main instrument, and Melodeon too which I played one set on, and Beth was on Whistle and Concertina.

We enjoyed ourselves, and the other musicians enjoyed having new members, and this session will be a regular social event for us. There are others on in the city, and we will be seeking these out too. The focus of a session we can enjoy together, and get home from easily and quickly, will (hopefully) encourage more practise from both of us.


  1. Yes. I wonder if it would be fine if I always led in with Shebeg Shemor, and never anything else. The Girl I Left Behind Me isn't ITM. Alas, my options are spent.

  2. It wasn't all ITM, I played some Morris tunes, and some American tunes were played. The host is an Irish immigrant so it is ITM biased, but my repertoire of Irish is a bit rusty at present.