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Thread: Sunday picking sessions at my house are keeping me alive...

  1. #1

    Default Sunday picking sessions at my house are keeping me alive...

    ... and I am so grateful for them! Every Sunday, I have a different couple of people drop by. I cook lunch for them, we eat together, then we eventually pick on tunes. Every Sunday is different, and I dig that.

    Today, I had two dear friends drop by, one of whom is actually responsible for my playing the mandolin. Every time I'd see him play his Northfield F-style, I was in love with both his tone and his abilities. So I decided to buy another mandolin and give it another try, and I've been having a blast since then!

    So the bottom line is: regardless of your abilities, get together with good people and play them mandolins! :D

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  3. #2

    Default Re: Sunday picking sessions at my house are keeping me alive...

    That's what it's all about! Good food, good company, and good picking. Keeps us all alive.
    Palatable to a Goat: New Music from Gregg Daigle and Don Grieser, now on bandcamp
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  5. #3
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    Default Re: Sunday picking sessions at my house are keeping me alive...

    Sounds great. The eating together aspect is quite important I think.
    David A. Gordon

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  7. #4
    Registered User John Kelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sunday picking sessions at my house are keeping me alive...

    I can certainly endorse your thinking. Regular music sessions at home and in other venues have been a huge benefit to me following the very unexpected death of my wife just over a year ago. Family and friends have been amazing and the music has been central to my continuing well-being. Session at home with two fiddling friends this afternoon plus three more outside sessions during the week, plus the regular contact with the amazing folk with whom I have contact through the Mandolin Cafe SAW group are so important. As Dagger adds, food is a great addition!
    I'm playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order. - Eric Morecambe

    http://www.youtube.com/user/TheOldBores

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    Default Re: Sunday picking sessions at my house are keeping me alive...

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kelly View Post
    I can certainly endorse your thinking. Regular music sessions at home and in other venues have been a huge benefit to me following the very unexpected death of my wife just over a year ago. Family and friends have been amazing and the music has been central to my continuing well-being. Session at home with two fiddling friends this afternoon plus three more outside sessions during the week, plus the regular contact with the amazing folk with whom I have contact through the Mandolin Cafe SAW group are so important. As Dagger adds, food is a great addition!
    John, I'm so sorry to hear about your wife. I'm afraid I hadn't heard.
    Kindest regards and deepest sympathy,

    Dagger
    David A. Gordon

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  11. #6

    Default Re: Sunday picking sessions at my house are keeping me alive...

    I’m really sorry to hear that John. I didn’t know.
    Hope things are getting better, and thanks for all the wonderful tunes.
    -you know I often think of Scotland nowadays!

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  13. #7
    Some Ability - No Talent MikeZito's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sunday picking sessions at my house are keeping me alive...

    Not to sound like a pity-party in any way . . . but those of you who have folks to regularly play/jam with should consider yourself very blessed - it is one of the greatest tools for learning and sharpening your skills.

    Play on folks, play on.

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  15. #8
    Struggle Monkey B381's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sunday picking sessions at my house are keeping me alive...

    Nice. Guess I'm gonna have to find a guitar player around here, mandolin and banjo doesn't seem very popular....dam shame.

    Keep on and make it a tradition!
    "It doesn't matter how much you invest in your instrument until you invest in you and your ability..."

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  17. #9

    Default Re: Sunday picking sessions at my house are keeping me alive...

    Thank guys! and yes, I agree that the food part is important. When you break bread with someone, your relationship with that person will never be the same. We connect as people first, then as musicians. And the latter is reinforced by the former. I'm blessed to do around 300 dates a year as a singer and guitar player, but these Sunday get togethers are always personal highlights of my week.

  18. #10
    Eschews Obfuscation mugbucket's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sunday picking sessions at my house are keeping me alive...

    Good post!

    There is no substitute for picking regularly with other folks when it come to the camaraderie, personal development and general well being.

    I currently jam with four other fellas from our church for a couple hours on Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons - mostly bluegrass Gospel. We're on a regular rotation for special music, and our "ready to play" book now exceeds 140 songs. I struggled mightily in the beginning when receiving 'the nod" for a break - but now I can at the very least pick the melody with some minor ornamentation on new tunes by ear. Playing the same tune in different keys will stretch your skills when there's a new vocalist too.
    Despite the high cost of living, it still remains popular...

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  20. #11

    Default Re: Sunday picking sessions at my house are keeping me alive...

    The thing is, I'm a beginner mando player - at best. I'm whatever comes before that. So to be picking with friends is awesome in terms of just not caring if I hit a bum note. It's a progress accelerator. And with Matt himself an established picker, he's always kind with the advice and tips. It's the good stuff all around.

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  22. #12
    Registered User John Kelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sunday picking sessions at my house are keeping me alive...

    Dagger and Simon, thanks for your kind responses. I still remember that great session we had a few years back up in Kevin's place at Achiltibuie and the afternoon in the Coigach Community Hall. Great memories.
    I'm playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order. - Eric Morecambe

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  24. #13

    Default Re: Sunday picking sessions at my house are keeping me alive...

    You know, I’d like to keep my illusion that the whole Southeast is rife with mandolin pickers of every ilk, and every little Mom and Pop store has eight or ten for sale, and there’s a jam on every block on someone’s front porch. So guys, just fake it for me will ya?
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  26. #14

    Default Re: Sunday picking sessions at my house are keeping me alive...

    Ha! Well, I don't know about all that... and I am in Northeast, so what do I know?

    But I do so love my buddies and fellow musicians who come over and take a perfectly serviceable Sunday and spend it picking with me.

  27. #15

    Default Re: Sunday picking sessions at my house are keeping me alive...

    How did I get that impression? I plead old age.
    Silverangel A
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  28. #16

    Default Re: Sunday picking sessions at my house are keeping me alive...

    Ha ha, old age is a thing! I should know, I'm no spring chicken. I live so close to Canada, the last time I was closer, I was *in* Canada

  29. #17
    Registered User John Kelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sunday picking sessions at my house are keeping me alive...

    Never mind the age thing - I date from 1944 anyway! I live so far from Canada here in Scotland yet I collaborate fairly regularly with a Canadian poster (Ginny) via the internet. Keeps me young and keeps the music fresh! Some of our postings are over on the SAW group.
    Have a great Christmas, everyone.
    I'm playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order. - Eric Morecambe

    http://www.youtube.com/user/TheOldBores

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  31. #18
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sunday picking sessions at my house are keeping me alive...

    The folks you play with regularly do not have to be mandolinners. Nice if one or two are, but any regularly attended ensemble is wonderful and energizing.

    I had some friends over, french horn, trombone, and piano. We played out of some old Playford tunebooks I have and had a crazy wonderful time.

    And my regular local jam did not have any other mandolinners but me at first, and rarely does now.
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  32. #19

    Default Re: Sunday picking sessions at my house are keeping me alive...

    There's lots of music in the Portland (Maine) area, including one of the best community folk music/school programs around. There are drop in sessions at 317 Main, which I believe is technically in nearby Yarmouth. Chris Moore from Rust Farm (a band he played in with his pal John McGann) is the director. They have a weekly open mic session, a cafe where you can have a bite to eat and listen to fellow musicians pick and sing, and a whole slew of opportunities to learn and play music. Mitch Reed of Beausoleil has just relocated to the area and has begun teaching there. If you look around a bit there are a lot of opportunities to play, and to see some great music.

    However, it's pretty slim pickings for mandolin shopping. If you are looking for a selection you need to head to Massachusetts.
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

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  34. #20

    Default Re: Sunday picking sessions at my house are keeping me alive...

    Learning to play the mandolin has certainly helped me keep what little sanity I have left. It has been a positive influence in every way.

    So,even as a solitary endeavor it is a very good thing. Playing with others is exponentially even better.

    Now if I could just figure out how to keep it in tune for a whole piece of music.

  35. #21
    Registered User Steve Lavelle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sunday picking sessions at my house are keeping me alive...

    I have a group I've been playing with the 4th Tuesday of each month for about 20 yrs. Mostly guitarists, a few of us play electric bass, the host has a stand up and a baby grand. More about playing songs than playing tunes, more fun than educational. To keep it interesting each month, we try to play tunes by the pros who have a birthday that month as well as 3 themes that change every month. This is more of an after work thing so there might be a bowl of chips and some whisk(e)y. We call it Acoustic Therapy. Sometimes regulars split off and form bands. I was in a band with some of the guys (very few women stick around) until last spring. I would love to find a weekly jam with just 2 or 3 others.
    Steve Lavelle
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  36. #22
    Registered User John Soper's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sunday picking sessions at my house are keeping me alive...

    I have gathered together with 2-3 friends for almost 24 years most Sunday (occasional Saturday) afternoons. Initially we all played "Spanish" style guitars with an Americana type repertoire. As we have progressed together, we mix Mongrel Folk music with Proto-Swing tunes. As we have migrated more into the Swing camp, I increasingly picked up the mandolin and one of my picking buddies has begun to play more lap-steel guitar. We've progressed to the point where we have played out over the past 20 years, sometimes with ringers like Danny Knicely, Greg Ruby and Don Stiernberg. This has been a wonderful opportunity to grow musically with a tight group of friends and has cemented our friendships. The first email on a Saturday morning is titled "Picking this weekend?". An experience that I strongly recommend for all players who are not in an established group: go out to those community jams and cultivate personal relationships with others who you can play with on a regular basis in a smaller group. I've learned more with this experience than any one lesson I ever took.

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  38. #23
    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sunday picking sessions at my house are keeping me alive...

    Quote Originally Posted by B381 View Post
    Nice. Guess I'm gonna have to find a guitar player around here, mandolin and banjo doesn't seem very popular....dam shame.

    Keep on and make it a tradition!
    Mando and banjo not popular in North Carolina? I don't believe you.

  39. #24
    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sunday picking sessions at my house are keeping me alive...

    I live in the eastern Washington shrub-steppe desert. It's the heart of fly-over country. It's suburbia with the closest actual city (Spokane) a two hour drive away. And if I didn't have to work or meet family commitments I could attend 10 acoustic jams each month.

    I cannot fathom those of you in more sophisticated, urban areas not being able to find others to play with. I can only conclude you're just not trying.

    I started playing guitar, mostly in isolation, over 40 years ago. I was a shy teen so I pretty much played alone. I got to be a decent guitar player but it took many years. I started playing mandolin about 10 years ago, and immediately started attending weekly jams. In 2 years I was farther along on mando than I was on guitar after 10 years, even though my rubber teenage fingers and brain were long gone.

    There is just NOTHING - not private lessons, books, DVD's, skype, youtube, etc. - that will help you develop as a musician better than regularly playing with others.

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  41. #25

    Default Re: Sunday picking sessions at my house are keeping me alive...

    317 Main is awesome. My buddy Andrew Martelle used to teach there.

    I host three open mics around Portland every week, so I am in constant contact with fellow musicians, and that's the pool from which I draw to invite people to my house on Sundays. We have us a blast, and I am super grateful for it.

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