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Thread: Bluegrass for the elderly

  1. #101
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    Sep 2002

    Default Re: Bluegrass for the elderly

    One thing I would like to add is that the older folks listened to country and bluegrass music when there wasn`t any electronic gizmos to make a sound that a picker couldn`t get from a guitar. fiddle or mandolin...One place where my band plays regularly is filled to the brim with this type of people, they don`t want to hear amplified loud instruments, they want to hear it acoustically and songs that are done with feeling because they say that is what they grew up listening to and it is hard to find that type of music anywhere now days and that really makes me feel good at what I am doing, just bringing some joy to folks no matter what it takes, we do some of the newer songs but when each song is finished we can really tell what they love because of the applause they offer and after a show a lot of them come up to the stage area and shake hands and ask for a business card so they can contact me to see where we are playing the next show....I know this also happens at other places with other types of music but since this thread was entitled "Bluegrass for the Elderly" I just thought I would say what I have found from the older folks in some places where my band plays...

    One day I met a fellow and we got to talking about music and he said he played a violin and I told him that I played mandolin and had a bluegrass band and asked him if he would like to sit in at one of our practice sessions and he said he didn`t really know any bluegrass songs but he would come and listen and see what it was all about, well he showed up, tuned his violin and using all of his skills that he had learned from playing classical violin he didn`t miss a beat when we played the "simple" traditional bluegrass songs and he said he loved it and even though bluegrass sounds simple there is some songs that are right complicated...I haven`t kept up with what he is doing now days but his parents spent a lot of money for his classical violin lessons so just maybe he is playing in some big name band now...No, he isn`t elderly but it goes to show that bluegrass can be liked by all music lovers if they just go out and listen to some of the bands...

    Sorry to be so long....Willie

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  3. #102
    poor excuse for anything Charlieshafer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Madison, Ct

    Default Re: Bluegrass for the elderly

    Quote Originally Posted by grassrootphilosopher View Post

    German audience... is not relaxed (in general). In a Taj Mahal concert in Kiel the audience had a blast (according to the northern German`s temprament). Taj Mahal´s perception of the audience´s mood was that of infinite restraint (and he made himself clear).

    If you do not have a pop music audience in Germany you will mostly have an extremely well behaved audience that behaves as if it sits through a Händel Messe.

    The problem that I see is that in Germany you are fighting against diecast stereotypes. You have to get into locations that are open to a general public like local theatre houses, culture centers, music halls etc to be able to reach an audience with potential (and without prejudices). In order to play there, you have to convince the local organizer (mostly someone from the local administration) that the music you want to present is equally "valuable" as their hobbyhorse. That means you have to fight diehard classical music lovers, jazz lovers (who had to overcome diehard classical music lovers 40 years ago, trying to bring jazz to the public), irish music freaks (who still try to establish an irish music scene over here) etc.

    I lived in a place where - when you finally were accepted by the administration - you had your (diverse and receptive) audience. More so where I live now.
    Well, Mike would love to talk to you, as he would love to try to get performance spaces that are much looser and more relaxed, where he could play all sorts of things. The audience would listen quietly, but during the breaks and after the show, be far more open to having a great time hanging around. He asked me if there was one thing that helped make a difference in getting people to stay after the show, talk, relax, and come to see the performance space as a place to hear all sort of different music in a respectful but relaxed atmosphere, and open to all sorts of acoustic music. My answer was that at least as far as my series goes, it was ice cream after the show. People hung out, it was appealing to all ages, it was free (we don't charge for anything other than the admission, not even water, so there's no fear of costs running up) and after a few shows, we got known as a really relaxed place to hear great music. Shortly after that we added workshops, then the fiddle club so it became a community thing. The fiddle club plays in nursing homes, random pumpkin patches, wherever we can make noise and have fun. It's all ages, all abilities. This way, we became a comment fixture that's about more than just the music. People have made contacts that lead to marriages, jobs, and college admissions. Now, no matter what I put on, as long as it's good, people will come and have a great time.

    So Olaf, maybe you need to become a presenter! Start with a relatively small space, maybe a room that's lively enough sone-wise that you don't even need any sound system. Mix up the genres; classical, jazz, Irish, whatever is popular, and as people grow accustomed to the atmosphere, you can start mixing it up.

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