Arranging a session song II: Instrumentation, lead breaks, flow

Instrumentation Maybe this is your regular session, and you knew before you arrived that Mal was likely to bring his banjo and Ian’s in town this week with his button box. Maybe you’re in a strange city and you’ve walked into a session bursting with mandolins and fiddles. As song leader, you’ll never have total... Continue Reading →


Welcoming strangers

An acquaintance once invited me to a session in another city. I stepped into the crowded pub with guitar in hand and nervous anticipation on face. My acquaintance wasn’t there, and hadn’t warned anyone else that I was coming. Despite being clearly visible, standing awkwardly in the room’s entrance with an instrument, I was studiously... Continue Reading →

Arranging a Session Song I: Key, Tempo, Repetition

How many times have you thought, ‘I love this song – but it’s not a session song’? You’re not obliged to sing any song the way you originally heard it, or as it was recorded by the original artist. Many songs can work well in sessions, with a little creative arrangement. Key We’ll talk more... Continue Reading →

A Decent Ob-Session

Guest post from current Woodfordia Inc. president, Rose Broe, reproduced with the kind permission of Rose and Lore Society. Thanks Rose and Woodford! An accordion player walks into a bar. Okay it’s me, walking into the Coopers Bar, hoping I don’t regret choosing the “Accordions Don’t Play Lady Of Spain, People Do” T-shirt. I look... Continue Reading →

Talking in the session

We all love to catch up with our friends. But the raison d’etre for a session is to connect in a particular way – through making music together. So when do we chat, and when do we play? The ‘rules’ around balancing music and talk vary greatly from one place to another. Sessions have this... Continue Reading →

Hat Game

The Hat Game is a session format to try now and then, for a bit of fun. It’s a slight formalisation of what often happens in a session anyway – one song suggests another through theme, mood, artist, historical period or some other commonality. The Brisbane Saturday Session plays Hat Game on the first Saturday... Continue Reading →

Photography in the session

One night at a festival – well, one very early morning at a festival – a bunch of us were sitting around under the big marquee having a singing session. We’d been sessioning for hours, following a day of performing, MCing and generally running around. It was cold enough to freeze the gonads from a... Continue Reading →

To accompany or not to accompany? Pt 2

What about vocal accompaniment? Singing along in choruses is conventional. But do you join the lead singer on the verses? This is where we really move into opinion territory. Here’s mine, for what it’s worth, but do feel free to chime in and disagree (in the Comments section please, not Facebook). If everyone knows the... Continue Reading →

To accompany or not to accompany? Pt I

Note: Couple of ‘picky posts’ coming up, for those who view sessioning as a collaborative performance artform. If that’s not you, give these posts a miss – they'll probably only make you cross or dismayed. Please remember nothing on this blog is a ‘rule’ – it’s all guidelines, opinions and received wisdom, to be taken... Continue Reading →

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