The Fiddlers Tour is an All-Acoustic traditional music Session. We are a loose gathering of musicians of varying ability levels and experience backgrounds, many of whom play multiple instruments. Musicians of any age are welcome to join us for Session. There are a few ground rules that are expected to be followed in order to keep everything running smoothly and to keep the peace so everyone can enjoy themselves and so the music we make sounds good.
Please be aware that the places we play do not have alot of space, and the use of extension cords lying strung across the floor of a crowded pub creates a safety hazard for patrons, wait staff, and is generally frowned upon by the proprietors who host our group. So, in an effort to keep the peace, and to ensure that we do not cause a liability issue for our hosts, I must insist that the Tour continues on from here as an Acoustic instruments only Session.
As for the rules of the Session go, each person takes a turn selecting tunes to play and the playing speed of those tunes (no pressure, you can pass on your turn, if you choose). Group size varies (8-25 musicians) from week to week and we never know who will show up. Our life and business backgrounds are varied, but the love of playing this style of music is shared by all. For the most part, the Venues we play are Pubs and Taverns, so please be aware that alcohol is served at almost every place that we play. Every Venue we play also serves food, as well as non-alcoholic beverages, for those who choose not to take advantage of whatever is on tap at the bar. The Venues we play do not charge us for the privilege of having a place to play, and many of them are small, 'Mom and Pop' establishments, so we encourage players to support the places we play, and order something. Without these wonderful proprietors, and their generous support, we would not even have places to gather to play together.
Beginners/Pros welcome! Books and sheet music are allowed. Bring a tune to share; we love to learn something new! Feel free to record the sessions for practice, or to learn a new tune.
This is a mixed ability group. Tune tempos depend on the ability of players present each week, and the speed each person selects for their pick. If you are just beginning, don't be afraid to select a tune to play, even if it's very slow. We've all been there. Ask us, and we can run through something slower. If you like speed, we have some folks that are up for the challenges. What we try for is a blend throughout the night.
He plays/She plays. Regional and stylistic tune variations abound, so one tune can have several different ways to be played (and several different names!) -- we learn from each other and pass it on.
Basic Jam/Session Etiquette:
- Have a good time -- it's a jam, not a performance. We all make mistakes.
- Tune, tune, tune your instrument -- sure, we're a relaxed bunch, but there is no such thing as "good enough for folk music." Out of tune is out of tune, and can throw off other players next to you.
- Take turns going around the circle, rather than just start up a tune at any time. This lets everyone get a chance to play what they know. However, the "Tour After 10" jamming tends to be more open to "throwing a tune out on the floor," and may be faster paced.
- Listen for the next tune call and be ready for your turn -- it can take nearly 2 hrs to get around a circle of 20 musicians. Being ready with your selections helps it move smoothly.
- Announce your tune choice and give music readers a moment to find the page before you start your tune -- they enjoy playing the whole thing, not just the last few measures.
- Keep instrument "noodling" to a minimum between tune calls -- manic riffs between tunes make it hard to hear the next tune call.
- Take private long chats or "here's how ya play it" sessions to the side, so the group can continue playing.
- Keep the circle center clear, please, if the space allows -- we need to see guitar chords, or hear each other, and bodies in the middle block sight/sound. If you want to be up and groovin' to the music, please feel free to step to the side and enjoy yourself.
- Don't overplay the group if your instrument is overly loud, or you are unsure of what you are doing. Accomplished musicians -- it's about the group effort.
- Listen to and watch those around you for tempo, tune changes, etc -- playing together is what it's all about, not playing "at" each other. If someone starts a familiar tune with a different lilt or tempo, try to follow that, rather than covering the difference with the "same old-same old." It's fun to change the way a tune is played, and makes you a more versatile player.
- Share the music - if you can. Sometimes, a new musician comes in, needing sheet music but doesn't have the books we use. If you have room, invite them to sit next to you, so that they can look on.
- Singing - if you wish to sing lyrics with your choice of tune, please be polite and ASK the group first. This is a jam, not an open-mic night, most attendees have come out to play their instruments with the rest of the group, not to hear one person play their instrument and sing a solo, while everyone listens. Example: "I'd like to play Cluck Old Hen and sing, is that OK with everyone?" Get a general consensus from the group, then play.
- Rhythm/Tempo - a very large part of jamming together in FT is playing TOGETHER. If you call a tune, and cannot start it, ask one other member of the group to start the tune, then follow the tempo set by the starting musician. If you called the tune, and want to speed it up or slow it down, then say so loud enough to be heard, as the tune is being played. If we are not playing the tune together, it sounds like gobbly-goop. Also, if you are playing a rhythm or percussion instrument (bodhran, spoons, bones, chicken shakes, tamborine, etc.), you must be able to follow the tempo/rhythm of the tune with the rest of the group. If you are NOT comfortable with the tempo and/or cannot follow the rhythm of the tune, please sit and listen, or play quietly until you can follow it. If you do not follow this guideline, it destroys the tune for the rest of the musicians who are playing, and produces a tune that, again, sounds like gobbly-goop, not only to the other musicians, but to the folks who came to listen and enjoy the Jam.
- PROMOTE, PROMOTE, PROMOTE. Encourage your co-workers, friends and family members to come out and enjoy the music with us. Some people have never even heard ofor been exposed to Traditional Music. The best way to spread the love of this Music is by word of mouth and personal invitations/connections with people you know. It's not for everyone, but everyone should have the experience of this wonderful art form that we have come to know and love. I have printed fliers on hand on most Tuesday nights, if you want them, with the next few months of venues on them and the website. Ask and you shall receive!
- And have a good time. It can't be said enough.