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Thread: Your Mandolin Club!

  1. #1

    Default Your Mandolin Club!

    Good day! In my hometown, a few of us have formed the genesis of a mandolin club. We aim to meet monthly to collaborate and learn new skills. We prefer slow growth so that we can establish a key reason for being and develop a club routine.

    One of our challenges now is to figure out a format for our club gatherings. We will likely meet for about 2-3 hours per month, for a core group meeting. If we grow enough, there could always be future sub-groups forming. For the time being, we have about 6 people who are the core members. We have a community space, so accommodation is not an issue.

    Our collective musicians have quite diverse backgrounds - from a couple of orchestral players, to novice players and everything in between. The musical interests include jazz, blues, swing, classical, folk, bluegrass, popular, Eastern European Jewish, Celtic tunes.

    How do you format your club meetings? Do you break them down into smaller parts? Do you work on a piece for a period of time so you can practice them in between meetings? How do you propose new items to try? Do you work on skills development in additional to pieces of music? Do you have demonstrations? Do you organize weekend workshops? Do you bother maintaining an upcoming schedule, standing agenda or ad-hoc your meetings?

    Keeping in mind that we don't want to start a formal organization with membership dues, bylaws, etc. We would prefer to keep this as a grassroots thing for the time being.

    Do you have any ideas for us?

    Thanks!
    Last edited by ottawa_adam; Jun-05-2019 at 6:28pm. Reason: grammar

  2. #2

    Default Re: Your Mandolin Club!

    I live near Brockville and would be interested in more information on joining.
    Thanks!
    Rick

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  4. #3

    Default Re: Your Mandolin Club!

    We will be having our June meeting on Wednesday June 19.
    If you would like to join us, participate or just sit in with us you are welcome.
    Feel free to send me a Private Message for further information or if you have any questions.
    Barry

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  6. #4
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Your Mandolin Club!

    First, congratulations on finding some people who want to play together! That's the important first step for any club, jam, or session.

    I think this is going to be your main challenge, but first some other advice:

    Quote Originally Posted by ottawa_adam View Post
    Our collective musicians have quite diverse backgrounds - from a couple of orchestral players, to novice players and everything in between. The musical interests include jazz, blues, swing, classical, folk, bluegrass, popular, Eastern European Jewish, Celtic tunes.
    My personal experience here is helping to co-host an Irish pub session that ran for a few years and eventually died because people moved away and we couldn't get a quorum on a regular enough basis to hold the venue. But I still participate in local sessions run by others, and occasionally host by-invitation house sessions in my home. So here are a few suggestions from that experience:

    First, it's not essential but it can be a big help to have a designated leader, an "anchor" who helps to keep things going. A person to show up every time at the place you're gathering (or have solid substitutes), and send emails or texts to remind people.

    Gatherings without an anchor may not last. Or can get taken over with an excess of egalitarian goodwill, until every week it's the Guitar Army playing Grateful Dead songs. Which is great if that's what you're aiming for. But if not, it helps to have a leader to keep things more focused on what the original group enjoys playing, so you don't get half the group sitting out tunes because it's not their thing. That is such a huge list of different genres that it may help to find some common ground. Maybe "fiddle tunes" that cross at least a few of those genres?

    Also... with that wide a list of genres, I think you will inevitably face the question of reading sheet music on stands, or playing from memory after practicing the tunes at home. It depends very much on the genre of music. Irish sessions, OldTime jams and Blues jams are almost always played from memory, while Classical, "popular" and Jazz musicians may want sheet music. From personal experience, I have never seen a mix of the two things in one gathering to work out well in a casual, amateur gathering. Choose one approach to avoid a clash of cultures.

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