Social Music

Traveling through Ireland I’ve come around to a more primal and pure way of doing music. Making music here is a social activity. This is probably so obvious to people here that they don’t even think about it. Instead of being on a stage in front of an audience, the audience is on the stage, because the stage is just a table with chairs around it.


The first few sessions I went to I was pretty nervous. And then something nice happened. I just started talking to the people around me. Suddenly the whole experience was lighter. This isn’t about me. People aren’t hanging on every note I play, judging my skills. We are all just here to have a good time. Of course, that means that you can’t ruin the music. But if you don’t know a tune (or in my case a lot of tunes) or if you make a mistake, it’s OK.


In my normal routine back home, my activity as a musician is practicing, teaching, touring or composing. I don’t tend to just hang out play music. Maybe because after teaching four hours, working on FiddleHed another four hours and practicing for an hour I’m ready to do something different.


It helps that music is a huge part of the culture that’s supported by the government. Everybody seems to play something. Gerald, the host at the hostel in Doolin where I’m staying, plays mandolin, button accordian and spoons.


I’m just beginning this project/adventure called Fiddle Around the World. But I’m guessing that the US is more of an exception than a rule.


At the risk around the hippie, this Fiddle Around The World project-adventure is a way of seeing how people are connected

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3 responses to “Social Music

  1. I too enjoyed my trip to Dublin some years ago. I never played any kind of music and I still can’t sing. I visited the pub where I stayed and the sound of the music captivated me. Folks started ask me questions and I told them my ancestors were from Ireland that most of them played the fiddle even to my own old Dad. His ear was perfect and no lessons. So I was offered the fiddle to play and had a hard time to convince the folks that I had no idea how to play the instrument but loved their music. Needless to say quite by accident a friend here in Canada offered me a fiddle which I promised to try to learn about 25 years after my Dad passed away.. I think that my Dad and Mom are smiling down at me now. Here I am still trying to learn to fiddle without any talent but some determination is helping me along. I would like to get better at fiddling before my 80th birthday. Wish me luck and thanks for your help. Ann

  2. What an experience to see how music lives in Ireland. The audience is multi-generational and how the audience loves to sing. You likely won’t get a place to sit, smoking is allowed, and food is not served. It is all about music.