The idea of this session is to start slow… we start as slowly as necessary so that everyone can join in, and maybe we gradually get faster.
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The plan is that we nominate a tune of the month so we know what to practice. If you prefer to read music, you can, and if you’d like to hear it and copy, that’s fine too. Ideally, we play by heart (the dots are merely a starting point). I’ve managed to upload some music script (see tune pages) and more importantly, attached links to a few youtube videos so we have an idea of what it could sound like. If you come across other good recordings, please do add them to the comments. We will definitely play the tune of the month and quite a few others depending on the mood.
Sometimes we play a tune through, discuss how we might play it better and then give it another go… and it can made a difference. Some of us have learned tunes off by heart and others are still reading the notes, but listening to each other as we play is the new skill that we are learning. Generally we try to play the easier tunes in the first hour (3.30-4.30pm) and start slow, and then after a short break (for drink re-fills), we have another hour of the harder or faster tunes. Chord notes and harmonies add flavour, so if you can’t manage all the notes, play what you can and it will help you learn the tune too.
We will play the Tune of the Month and a selection of the others listed here. Please do suggest tunes you’ve been practicing. The idea of the slow session is to create a monthly goal for ourselves to learn by heart and to enjoy tunes that grow gradually more familiar. Gradually we are adding to our list of tunes and perhaps you have a favourite you would like to add? There is a list of the easier tunes on the Tune of the month page if you want to know where to start.
I’ve been inspired to learn and play much better thanks to being taught by Jane Griffiths (editor of Traditional Fiddle, OUP) and also to a slow session in Wantage (2.30pm second Sunday of the month that used to be at the Shoulder of Mutton, but is now found at the King Alfred’s Head in Wantage) and I thought it would be a nice thing to have a local one in Oxford. No doubt this Oxford slow session will evolve as we develop as players. The website is just a place to park the music that we accumulate and share links. On our fifth anniversary, Michael took a 360º video of us playing Ille Bhig, so have a look on that page!
If you are an experienced musician, you are welcome to join us too and experiment with playing harmonies and variations. Traditionally tunes are played three times through, with the basic tune the first time so that everyone knows what to join in with.
We meet at 3.30pm on the first Sunday of the month, upstairs in the Jericho Tavern, Walton St, Oxford OX2 6AE.
Anyone with an instrument is welcome.
Any questions, please email suke at firstname.lastname@example.org
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