Irish sessions – practice or performance?

Once, while waiting for a session to begin, I overheard someone at the table sitting next to me explaining to her friend what a session was. “It’s where a bunch of musicians get together and practice,” she said. Practice, hmm…Interesting observation.

If you’re an avid reader of my blog, chances are you not only know what a session is, but you get why this explanation of it is so funny.

It did get me thinking though. I may take for granted that people just know what a session is all about. But in reality, unless you’re a traditional Irish musician, you probably don’t understand the true essence of a real Irish session.

I was reminded myself this weekend at the session at Bagitos when just about every top-notch player I know showed up to share some tunes. Tunes were played with precision and with the quality of music the session could easily have been situated in the heart of Ireland. This was no practice session.

Though there are a lot of different types of sessions, the thing that always remains the same is that the hosts and musicians want to maintain a certain caliber of music. Both for the audience as well as for the players.

Yes, random musicians show up and no one ever really rehearses together. We all just sort of sit down and play tunes. So I can understand the perception of it looking like practice time.  However, there are hours and hours of practice and tune learning going on long before a session ever takes place.

Related Posts:
What is an Irish Session?
Session Obsession – Seven Days

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