I am looking to start a house session in the LA area, USA  (Pasadena actually).  

I envision a three part format for the event.

1.  Learning/ Teaching (30-60 min.)

2.  Standard Tunes warm-up  (20-30 min.)

3.  Session (no restrictions) (90-120 min.)


I envision this with no written music or music stands.  The teaching/learning portion could be done by a live teacher who could be present or on Skype, and by video and/or audio recording.  The first 20-30 minutes of the session would consist of well-known "standards" that would allow less-experienced players the opportunity to more easily get started by knowing that certain tunes will be played at the beginning.


Has anyone tried this sort of thing?  If so, what were your experiences ?

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Comment by Nas Brain on April 21, 2012 at 17:32

Hi John, 

I want to come to this when you start it!  I've never been to a session before and I am having trouble finding them in LA. 

Comment by Diane on August 28, 2011 at 17:02

I'm doing something on this same order in the high desert of So. Cal.  The focus here has been more on learning the tunes and genre than on playing a full session - but then we don't have many who know any tunes, so it's really been a learning/teaching time.  For us, it's worked well to split the time almost in half with teaching and then what amounts to a slow session. We've been meeting twice a month with an additional meeting where we pull in some of the greats from LA and San Diego to do a workshop and/or concert.


I would echo Michael's comments about the teaching time.  If you end up with a variety of levels ( which you likely will), you might need to consider dividing the group for the teaching part.  If you keep the group together, the teaching will either bore the more advanced players or frustrate the beginners.  It all really depends on who comes.


All that said, I would say "go for it" and be prepared to change/adjust for a while until you see what your particular "animal" actually becomes.  I certainly know ours has morphed considerably over the past year and is just now settling into some sort of normalcy. 


Let me know how it goes.  You're not so far away that a couple of us "desert rats" might make a trip to join you!

Comment by Tradconnect Reviews on August 26, 2011 at 16:55

Another idea John would be to set up a group on this site for your participants and list the tune with links to the notation, videos as I have started to do for the Dublin group here Tune List. You can make the group Private so no one can see what going on if that was your preference. Leaving it public may lead the way to showing others what can be done.

The idea of the Skype teacher I would think would be a waste of time. At the end of the day it comes down to having a core of players who can hold it together. On that you build your mountain.

Comment by Mike "Ormepipes" Orme on August 26, 2011 at 16:45

I've reflected on this proposal / draft of yours John. I'm not sure how 30-60 minute learning/teaching block would work. My big concern is that there would (hopefully) be a variety of instuments and all the participants are likely to have different levels of familiarity / competence with them. It could be like trying to herd cats!


Given that you all want to end up playing together, it might be better come up with a list of tunes and then make available the learning materials for people to do their learning at home individually. These learning materials should consist of sound files, dots, ABC's and anything else you can think of and that they would find useful. It might just be instructions as to where they can find this stuff on the internet.


If you did end up with a class of complete beginners you might find they would be better with 1 to 1 tuition outside of your group activity. You might therefore want to encourage the firmer players in your session to help in this regard on their chosen instruments.


I would be tempted to keep the 30 minutes as time for people to introduce new tunes (it needs to be a democracy!), return learning materials and select new ones for them to work on during following week. Oh, and have a laugh of course! It should be fun!


As for splitting the rest of the session into a "slow" part and a "regular" part, that makes perfect sense.


Please be aware though, I don't profess to be an expert at this, so if anyone wants to disagree with my thoughts I'm more than willing to learn!

Comment by Tradconnect Reviews on August 26, 2011 at 15:34
Hi John. I used to do this every month or so at various houses. It was actually a food and music thing. With regard to the tunes we just played what we knew as there was a few quite good musicians. However following that, with a select number of instruments we worked out a nights worth of sets, practiced them well and started our own session. So I don't know how good or bad you are but if you are at a reasonably competent level it might be worth getting a small group together that will know the sets and can hold the evening together. After that you can have a bigger house party. It cant be done through committee. At the end of the day it is a session and someone has to hold it together with others joining in where they can. Part of what I am trying to achieve with TradConnect is to eventually get enough people as members at the various levels so that get togethers can start more easily. If you have a look at the Dublin Group you can see how members are at various levels. Well the goal is that people at the same level might start to meet up and start sessions, with the group creator ( me for Dublin ) taking a leading role. Establishing a set of base tunes also helps. Its a work in progress and it will no doubt change as it goes on.

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