Jazz it up

Mar 10 7pm – 9 pm

The main reason for having a Theme for a circle is to give us something to talk about in our introductions to the music we play.  We don’t need to exactly follow a pattern.   We can have folks at a songwriters circle talk about why they don’t write songs.   The idea is simply to indicate a path in the direction of more and better music.
I was at a Foothills Acoustic Music event the other day that had a fine set of workshops delivered by very experienced musicians.  Barry Truter was there and talked about rhythms.  4/4, 3/4, 7/4,  5/4.   Another presentation was about adding color to your chords.   We learned about add 9s and suspended 4ths.   
What we heard was just what you hear every time you listen to a good folk or country performance.   Those hammers and pulls all have technical names.   The names are only handy if you need to change the key and when you want to talk about what you are playing.  Otherwise feel free to  play any note/fret that you can reach  that sounds good.  That is how most of us learned to play.   We were told to just use a basic grip then see what works.  This is very good advice and I really enjoyed the presentation.

Some thoughts on Theme and Genre

Thomas is blue. Charles is green.

Hello Charles.        I have been rethinking your suggestions for a theme for the next meeting. I was ok with classical and Jazz. But what about people who haven’t been into classical, and have nothing to present? Would they feel excluded, and possibly even choose to skip the evening? It takes me back to the evening which was supposed to be bluegrass, and although I don’t play bluegrass, I coped by suggesting that two main themes of bluegrass are “coal mining” and “moonshine liquor”.

I’m hoping that folks who might not care to participate in a particular genre or theme will still come to listen and perhaps hear something they can use for future circles.

        The thought came to me that bluegrass, like classical and jazz, is a genre, not a theme. But then the thought also came to me that “theme” for guitar pickers means something different than for folksingers. So maybe specifying the genre is appropriate in this context, but there is still room for caution.

         Of course, there is always the debate as to whether to have a theme at all. The only difference between a song circle and an open stage is that your 3 songs are spread out over the evening instead of all at once. We wouldn’t suggest to people performing at an open stage that there is a particular theme for the evening. On the other hand, one advantage of having a theme in a picker’s circle is that it opens up the evening to more than just the songs that are being performed. We get into exploration of the given genre which can lead to some useful insights. I wonder if this should be put to the whole gang for discussion.

Thomas

This discussion goes to the issue of what are we doing here. My reason for hosting a Pickers circle was to improve my playing and to provide a forum for others to do the same. That was in response to a suggestion that we do something for beginners. I’m amazed at the quality of players who have showed up to help out. We must be doing something right.

Garth has suggested a number of other possibilities:

More blues, Celtic , roots, funny , hurt in’, prine,Dylan,Emmy Lou Harris,Beatles  ,sad ,old,happy so we have lots of things to do.

The You tube channel and the website give us the opportunity to build a resource for interested players. I’ve found that most of the learning is done creating the lesson plan. Explaining things to others makes us careful and leaving our work on the web is an incentive to continuous improvement.

My current thought is that we should move to Jazz and Classical guitar for a couple of sessions then circle back to blues and roots. If we are responsive to suggestions we can stay relevant to our audience. If we can improve on past workshops we may create a lasting resource for new performers.

Please email me or add comments to this post.

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