About a Good Session

kbsitepicsession020I don’t think it’s about having rules, my experience is as soon as we make ‘em someone will bend them to their advantage, although I have had people strongly disagree with me.  I figure it’s about learning how to behave well with one another, not about memorizing regulations.  No big deal, assuming we’re all actually interested in learning.  But I do know there are some things I like about a good session;

  • we’re all careful not to play louder than the person leading the song
  • maybe a few solo pieces, but mostly we do things that invite participation
  • everyone takes the time to tune so we’re all in the same place
  • when we’re not playing we’re listening, and not just for our friends
  • we all bring things we’ve just learned as well as old favourites
  • not everything is played at maximum volume
  • folks tend to talk shorter than the song they’re about to play
  • all eschew the epic, leaving more room for others
  • we try to mix it up, so not everything sounds the same
  • it’s about cheering on one another, not about outdoing everyone

It’s not hard, really.  Mostly it just takes being thoughtful.  Although every once in a while someone comes along who thinks they know better.  At which point you either let them run roughshod over everything, or you take them aside and explain what’s going on.  There’s often a decision point while they decide whether to be upset about being told how to behave.  But I think it’s maybe more useful to point out what the culture of the room is about, what folks are actually trying to do here.  If they’re just looking for a bash and thrash they’ll eventually get bored and leave.  I figure they can go be ignorant lots of other places.  A good session takes some doing.  Nothing hard, but it needs to be done.