Our aim is to try and encourage more people to get involved in playing folk music, but not lose sight of its distinctive nature. The key features for us are:
- respect for the music
- making artistic decisions within the band not without
- a commitment to making the music as good as it can be
- a clear idea of what we are playing for, and choosing appropriate music
- some awareness of the larger contexts, e.g. seasonal customs, regional and historic repertoires, dance forms, good session practice etc.
THE CHARACTER OF THE BAND
The band needs to make sure it has:
- a culture of mutual support - helping weaker members of the band if necessary
- skills to play in a variety of situations
- a varied repertoire for different needs and different occasions
- the practice of putting the ensemble ahead of the individual but never undervaluing the individual's contribution.
We need to steer rehearsal time between two stools: if no-one takes responsibility for the evening we drown in a cacophony; but as grown-ups we don't really want to be told what to do without chance to comment. Here are some suggested guidelines:-
- Each session or project has a leader
- He or she is very clear about what they are trying to achieve in a session
- Their aim should not be challenged - but the way of doing it can be.
- Remember that different people work in different ways.
- Keep one-to-one conversations about the work to a very brief chat OR say "can we take some time out to work on this?"
- We all exist as individuals within (and for) the band. We don't want to encourage people to be just carried along and hide within the sound. Your aim isn't not to be heard. Ask for feedback from others - How does this sound? Should I be playing louder/quieter/ more sparse/ more complex/using a different instrument/shutting up altogether?
- Experiment, review & try again, remembering it's OK to fail. Let's learn to not to take mistakes personally!