strathspey Archive: Musicians for regular classes

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Musicians for regular classes

Message 22144 · Bernie Hewitt · 19 Aug 2000 22:17:06 · Top

I am putting together a short article on SCD musicians. A couple of quic=
k
questions for everyone, if you don't mind. =

Which clubs and groups have live music regularly for their normal classes=
?
What instrument(s)?

For those who both dance and play, how to you persuade them to play, if
persuasion is needed?

Are there any groups who have recently had to switch from the real thing =
to
canned music for classes? =

How did you make the transition?

Any other comments?

Private replies, please, unless of course you want to go public.

Bernie Hewitt
bandebhewitt@compusreve.com =

Musicians for regular classes

Message 22145 · Mike Briggs · 19 Aug 2000 23:26:17 · Top

At the weekly class of the Madison (WI, USA) Scottish Country Dancers I
play button accordion for step practice and social dancing. The first
half of the evening, during which I play, is instructional - the second
half, devoted to request dancing, is done to music recorded on minidiscs
so that I can dance too.

Mike Briggs
---------------------------------------------
Norma Briggs Voice: 608 835 0914
Michael J. Briggs Fax: 608 835 0924
BRIGGS LAW OFFICE
1519 Storytown Rd Oregon WI 53575-2521 USA
---------------------------------------------
HTTP://BRIGGSLAW.HOMESTEAD.COM
---------------------------------------------

Musicians for regular classes

Message 22146 · Mike Mudrey · 20 Aug 2000 01:48:24 · Top

To add to Mike's comments:
For practice, a live musician is almost a necessity when the instructor
calls for only 6 bars, etc.

Our canned music that Mike refers to is from the group collection on tapes,
lps, CDs, etc that have been burned to minidiscs and grouped by "100
favorite", etc.

Our system is sufficiently simple, that a novice music leader (the request
period) can readily find and dial in the request tune.

At 02:25 PM 8/19/2000 -0500, you wrote:
>At the weekly class of the Madison (WI, USA) Scottish Country Dancers I
>play button accordion for step practice and social dancing. The first
>half of the evening, during which I play, is instructional - the second
>half, devoted to request dancing, is done to music recorded on minidiscs
>so that I can dance too.
>
>Mike Briggs
>---------------------------------------------
>Norma Briggs Voice: 608 835 0914
>Michael J. Briggs Fax: 608 835 0924
> BRIGGS LAW OFFICE
>1519 Storytown Rd Oregon WI 53575-2521 USA
>---------------------------------------------
> HTTP://BRIGGSLAW.HOMESTEAD.COM
>---------------------------------------------
>
>--
>Michael Briggs <brigglaw@execpc.com>

Mike Mudrey
106 Ravine Road
Mount Horeb, WI53572-1930
608-437-3701

mgmudrey@madison.tds.net

Musicians for regular classes

Message 22149 · Oberdan Otto · 20 Aug 2000 07:12:11 · Top

>To add to Mike's comments:
>For practice, a live musician is almost a necessity when the
>instructor calls for only 6 bars, etc.

It is amazing what one learns to do when one does not have access to
a musician. I have been know to count any number of bars over
recorded music (only up to 8 of course!) to call attention to a
particular point of phrasing. In fact, I think a lot of RSCDS
teachers are skilled in that way. Counting beyond 8, as needed in the
Wee Cooper of Fife is a bit of a strain...

Ahhh, but I remember with joy a phrasing workshop I taught with Andy
Imbrie and John Taylor as my musicians at an Asilomar workshop a few
years back...

Cheers, Oberdan.

184 Estaban Drive, Camarillo, CA 93010-1611 USA
Voice: (805) 389-0063, FAX: (805) 484-2775, email: ootto@ootto.com

Musicians for regular classes

Message 22152 · Mike Mudrey · 20 Aug 2000 17:41:08 · Top

At 07:56 PM 8/19/2000 -0700, you wrote:
Thanks, Oberdan,
I know exactly what you said.

Mike
Mike Mudrey
106 Ravine Road
Mount Horeb, WI53572-1930
608-437-3701

mgmudrey@mhtc.net

Musicians for regular classes

Message 22157 · Martin.Sheffield · 20 Aug 2000 23:43:17 · Top

At 16:43 19/08/00 -0500, you wrote:

>For practice, a live musician is almost a necessity when the instructor
>calls for only 6 bars, etc.

How can an instructor ask for less than a complete phrase, and still expect
us to dance to the music?

Breaking dances down into little bits that do not correspond to the musical
phrasing is the best way to obtain mechanical execution if figures rather
than dancing.

Martin,
in Grenoble, France.

http://perso.wanadoo.fr/scots.in.france/scd.htm
(dance groups, some new dances ...)

Musicians for regular classes

Message 22159 · ron.mackey · 21 Aug 2000 00:59:39 · Top

> To add to Mike's comments:
> For practice, a live musician is almost a necessity when the instructor
> calls for only 6 bars, etc.
>
I have just obtained, from Summer School a C.D. by Muriel Johnstone
produced by RSCDS called Ready...And
There are 78, yes _78_ 'snippets' of music for all practise purposes
from 64 of Waltz to just a Chord. There are 4 bars of Jig to 40
bars of Jig and most are introduced by a voice saying 'Ready.... And'
. One should be able to find practise bars for anything you need.
There are even 16, 40 & 64 bars of Exercise Music. There's Highland
bits from Strathspey, Slow Strathspey , Reel & Slow reel in various
numbers of bars, Glasgow Highlanders................. all sorts.
It may take a bit of practise to get the most out of it but I think
many 'mechanical music' teachers will find this a boon.
One last word, there are NO 6 bar phrases !!

P.S. James Seniors are producing a shoe with a built-in fibre
insole and they have no centre seam on the toe so they will fit
any width of foot. I have a pair and after just one wearing they seem
fine. The men's shoe are called Lord Fife.
There is a ladies shoe also but they are not included in the
brochure yet, at least, not in the ones I collected.

Cheers, Ron :)

< 0 Ron Mackey,(Purveyor of Pat's Party Pieces)
'O> Mottingham,
/#\ London. UK.
l>
Ron.Mackey@btinternet.com

Musicians for regular classes

Message 22160 · Marilynn Knight · 21 Aug 2000 01:24:23 · Top

AMEN!!!

-----Original Message-----
From: M Sheffield [mailto:martin.sheffield@wanadoo.fr]
Sent: Sunday, August 20, 2000 3:43 PM
To: strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de
Subject: Re: Musicians for regular classes

At 16:43 19/08/00 -0500, you wrote:

>For practice, a live musician is almost a necessity when the instructor
>calls for only 6 bars, etc.

How can an instructor ask for less than a complete phrase, and still expect
us to dance to the music?

Breaking dances down into little bits that do not correspond to the musical
phrasing is the best way to obtain mechanical execution if figures rather
than dancing.

Martin,
in Grenoble, France.

http://perso.wanadoo.fr/scots.in.france/scd.htm
(dance groups, some new dances ...)

--
M Sheffield <martin.sheffield@wanadoo.fr>

Musicians for regular classes

Message 22163 · Alan Paterson · 21 Aug 2000 10:21:17 · Top

I disagree with Martin and Marilynn regarding the (lack of) usefulness
of short bursts of music (i.e. of less than formation length).

I would sometimes be very grateful to have the ability to have 2, 3, 4,
5, 6 or even 7 bar bits in order to have them STOP at exactly that point
- there being a valid reason for this, of course.

I disagree that this leads to mechanical execution. the point of the
exercise is to first of all let people get their brains round what they
are attempting. The body will take over later.

Alan

--
Alan Paterson
Berne, Switzerland
mailto:alan@paterson.ch

Musicians for regular classes

Message 22167 · Martin.Sheffield · 21 Aug 2000 14:05:00 · Top

At 08:21 21/08/00 +0200, you wrote:
>(...)the point of the
>exercise is to first of all let people get their brains round what they
>are attempting. The body will take over later.

But will it?
Not everyone is able to let their body take over. And the more cerebral
concentration is required, the less spontaneous physical movement there
will be.

Martin,
in Grenoble, France.

http://perso.wanadoo.fr/scots.in.france/scd.htm
(dance groups, some new dances ...)

Musicians for regular classes

Message 22168 · Kent Smith · 21 Aug 2000 16:33:47 · Top

Ron,

"Never say never." [:-}] The music for "Cairn Edward" is in 6-bar phrases.
And I'm afraid I have been known to have Earl Gaddis play 6 bars to stress
the six bars of reels of 3 with corners with the 1st couple crossing over in
bars 7-8, but I agree that it generally is off-putting to finish the music
2-bars early, and I would rather help dancers hear the music in phrases, not
snippets. The exception is when one wants to stress the exception in the
dancing.

Kent

P.S. to your P.S. As one with a very narrow foot, I will be looking forward
to trying out one James Senior's new Lord Fife shoes.

Musicians for regular classes

Message 22173 · ron.mackey · 22 Aug 2000 01:15:25 · Top

> Ron,
>
> "Never say never." [:-}] The music for "Cairn Edward" is in 6-bar phrases.
> And I'm afraid I have been known to have Earl Gaddis play 6 bars to stress
> the six bars of reels of 3 with corners with the 1st couple crossing over in
> bars 7-8, but I agree that it generally is off-putting to finish the music
> 2-bars early, and I would rather help dancers hear the music in phrases, not
> snippets. The exception is when one wants to stress the exception in the
> dancing.
>
> Kent

Hi, Kent
OK, but I've never heard a recording of Cairn Edward and I last
danced it abt. 35 years ago. However, while I can see the musical
point of playing half a phrase, which I construe as 4 bars, I don't
like asking a musician to perform tricks except...........
We used to have a pianist who was a very experienced dancer and she
would play 8 bars but those irrelevant to the exercise were played
very quietly and the first (or last) bar of the important part were
played forte.... i.e the emphasis was on the part under
discussion. It worked very well.
There will be a different problem with Peggy's Strathspey from Book
41. It's a 3 couple S/p. and goes nicely. However, on bars 1 & 2
all move to new places and dance a six bar reel of three from the new
places. The second eight bars are similar i.e. 2 to move and six to
reel.
Of all the dances in the book those bars caused the most
problem, since if just one didn't grasp the 2+6 structure, it was
difficult for all to finish in the correct place.
Perhaps the first two bars can be played quietly and emphasis
placed on bar 3 of each eight to signal the start of the reels?

Cheers, Ron :)

< 0 Ron Mackey,(Purveyor of Pat's Party Pieces)
'O> Mottingham,
/#\ London. UK.
l>
Ron.Mackey@btinternet.com

Musicians for regular classes

Message 22174 · JMcColl526 · 22 Aug 2000 03:27:46 · Top

Regarding Cairn Edward - there is a new recording of this dance utilising
the same tunes as recorded by Peter White on an LP of many years ago. The
CD is called Kardinia Capers and is played by David South and his Scottish
Dance Band. This comes from Australia and I can recommend the CD for this
and other items on it.

I am aware of this recording as one of the band members is Duncan Smith
who originally danced, taught,and played in the Boston area. He now lives in
Australia.

Jeanetta McColl
Framingham, MA

Musicians for regular classes

Message 22172 · Oberdan Otto · 21 Aug 2000 21:28:20 · Top

>Alan:
> >(...)the point of the
> >exercise is to first of all let people get their brains round what they
> >are attempting. The body will take over later.
>
>Martin:
>But will it?
>Not everyone is able to let their body take over. And the more cerebral
>concentration is required, the less spontaneous physical movement there
>will be.

I think Martin's notion of spontaneous physical movement applies to
the very few people who are "Natural Phrasers"--those people who do
not have to apply conscious effort to being at the right place at the
right time.

For everybody else, it really is important to have the brain engaged
on whatever methods/markers/destinations help them phrase well.

Most dancers, even experienced dancers, are chronically early. They
routinely dance as if the end of a bar were half or three-quarters
the way through the bar (instead of coinciding with the beginning of
the next bar). Consequently they arrive at the "end of phrase
destination" half to a quarter of a bar early. A half or quarter of a
bar may not sound like much, but the position error for a moving
dancer is significant--maybe as much as 3 to 4 feet. This position
error is less evident when all the dancers are moving (and all are
making a similar error). However, it is very evident when moving
dancers must mesh with non-moving dancers.

An important exception to early-arrival is 6-bar reels of three. Lots
of dancers are surprised that the end of bar 6 occurs a whole two
bars before the end of bar eight, so getting them to actually finish
a 6-bar reel in 6 bars is problematic. The surprise happens because
the dancers are on automatic--relying on the music to tell them what
to do. The problem is that the music is no help in phrasing 6-bar
reels, so the conscious brain must override the message of the music
which is saying very clearly that there are two more bars to dance.

Fortunately, for most SCDancers, the need to use the brain is exactly
what attracted them to SCD in the first place!

Cheers, Oberdan.

184 Estaban Drive, Camarillo, CA 93010-1611 USA
Voice: (805) 389-0063, FAX: (805) 484-2775, email: ootto@ootto.com

Musicians for regular classes

Message 23047 · ron.mackey · 5 Oct 2000 17:24:59 · Top

> Date: Mon, 21 Aug 2000 08:21:32 +0200
> From: Alan Paterson <alanp@paranor.ch>
> To: strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de
> Subject: Re: Musicians for regular classes
> Reply-to: strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de

> I disagree with Martin and Marilynn regarding the (lack of) usefulness
> of short bursts of music (i.e. of less than formation length).
>
> I would sometimes be very grateful to have the ability to have 2, 3, 4,
> 5, 6 or even 7 bar bits in order to have them STOP at exactly that point
> - there being a valid reason for this, of course.
>
Hi, Alan
Muriel Johnstone has produced, under the auspices of the RSCDS, a
CD called _'with the music, Ready And'_ which comprises 78 short
tracks including various length waltzes and exercise music, from 4
to 48 bars of jig, reel, and strathspey, 6 bars of R,J, or S, -
chords, two chords etc. etc. you name it it's there. Even 16 bars
of R, J, or S starting slow and speeding up.
Might be well worth for those with learning classes. (as opposed to
'dancing' classes). I have found it quite useful for certain things.
For those who wonder how they will manage the 'Ready And' it comes
with the voice pre-recorded.

Cheers, Ron :)

< 0 Ron Mackey,(Purveyor of Pat's Party Pieces)
'O> Mottingham,
/#\ London. UK.
l>
Ron.Mackey@btinternet.com

With the Music, Ready, And

Message 23048 · Anselm Lingnau · 5 Oct 2000 18:06:28 · Top

Ron Mackey <ron.mackey@mail.btinternet.com> writes:

> Might be well worth for those with learning classes. (as opposed to =

> 'dancing' classes). I have found it quite useful for certain things.
> For those who wonder how they will manage the 'Ready And' it comes =

> with the voice pre-recorded.

I picked up a copy of the `With the music, ready, and' CD at Summer =

School. At GBP 5 it is quite the bargain as far as CDs are concerned!

I've also tried using it in class and my feelings about it are a bit =

mixed. It is nice to have small bits of music handy every so often but =

there are some points where the CD leaves something to be desired.

- Even the `faster' bits are quite slow. Of course it could be argued
that this is what is wanted for the purposes of teaching technique,
but, for example, I tried using the `slip step' bits for teaching
slip step and the class found it quite difficult to keep time. To a
certain extent this can be compensated for using the CD player's
pitch knob (which I'm in the fortunate position to have available),
but the quality of the sound changes fairly quickly -- a piano is
a tricky thing to record! [*]

- I'm under the distinct impression that the timing of the `ready, =

and' vis-=E0-vis the music is at times a bit off, especially at the
slower speeds, which again makes it more difficult for the class
to get started in time with the music.

Other than that, the CD seems to be a great resource. As Ron said, it
contains some 70 snippets of music in the standard SCD rhythms as well
as waltz and march at various speeds, and it even mixes some of them,
e.g., 4 bars jig/4 bars reel (or vice-versa -- I don't remember
off-hand). You will have to listen to it yourselves to decide which bits
are actually useful and which bits aren't, and in any event the CD can't
replace a real musician if only for the fact that it gets tedious to use
the same tune over and over for different exercises just because it
happens to be the 8-bar jig bit (most rhythms use two or three different
tunes, to be sure). Also, don't dream of using the CD without a CD
player that will let you jump to individual tracks by number -- hitting
the `Next track' button fifty times in a row is not what you want to do!

Anselm

[*] The CD gives the impression that it was recorded way back in 1986 =

(!), and the tracks on other `period' Muriel Johnstone tapes are
also generally very slow indeed. Maybe this has something to do
with it.
-- =

Anselm Lingnau ......................... lingnau@tm.informatik.uni-frankf=
urt.de
Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gar=
deners
who make our souls blossom. -- Marcel =
Proust

Musicians for regular classes

Message 22175 · Iain E. Garden Richardson · 22 Aug 2000 13:37:53 · Top

> >For practice, a live musician is almost a necessity when the instructor
> >calls for only 6 bars, etc.
>
> How can an instructor ask for less than a complete phrase, and still expect
> us to dance to the music?
>
We have our own group of musicians (myself included) who play for
free + for enjoyment at some of our weekly classes. To my mind, it
is also very off-putting to the *musicians* to ask for short phrases
(or to stop them at an unnatural point in the music).

Iain Richardson

---
Dr Iain E. G. Richardson
Lecturer and researcher
School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering
The Robert Gordon University, Schoolhill, Aberdeen, Scotland, AB10 1FR
Telephone (0)(+44)1224 262403 Facsimile (0)(+44)1224 262444
Email i.g.richardson@rgu.ac.uk

Musicians for regular classes

Message 22201 · SMiskoe · 29 Aug 2000 07:30:38 · Top

We have gotten off the mail subject which is Bernie's request about classes
with and without musicians. The Boston Branch has a number of classes that
are always live music, I play for a tiny class every week. Personally I
don't' enjoy having to play snippets of music and I think it is very
artificial because in the course of the dance we have 64 bars of continuous
music. 8 bar phrases are fine to execute a figure and sometimes I play 6 bar
phrases for demonstration of 6 bar reels. The effort of acceleration and
deceleration of the movement in trying to do a 4 or 2 bar phrase will
influence the way the figure is danced. Dancing into a figure is much easier
than starting it. Back in the dark ages of getting my certificates we were
taught to ask for phrases of at least 4 bars, 8 was better.
cheers,
sylvia Miskoe, Concord, NH USA

Musicians for regular classes

Message 22203 · LISA HICKS · 29 Aug 2000 07:51:11 · Top

Hi Sylvia and other musicians -

I have been asked to play fiddle for a Tartan Ball this November. While I
have played most of the music, I have never played for dancers before, and
admit to being a bit apprehensive/nervous about it. I just hope I can keep
the tempo's steady for them....as a beginning dancer myself, I have an idea
what it would be like to have erratic music while trying to get my figure 8
round enough......!

Any advice? All would be greatly appreciated, from anyone that reads this
message.

Thanks!

----- Original Message -----
From: <SMiskoe@aol.com>
To: <strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de>
Sent: Monday, August 28, 2000 8:29 PM
Subject: Re: Musicians for regular classes

> We have gotten off the mail subject which is Bernie's request about
classes
> with and without musicians. The Boston Branch has a number of classes
that
> are always live music, I play for a tiny class every week. Personally I
> don't' enjoy having to play snippets of music and I think it is very
> artificial because in the course of the dance we have 64 bars of
continuous
> music. 8 bar phrases are fine to execute a figure and sometimes I play 6
bar
> phrases for demonstration of 6 bar reels. The effort of acceleration and
> deceleration of the movement in trying to do a 4 or 2 bar phrase will
> influence the way the figure is danced. Dancing into a figure is much
easier
> than starting it. Back in the dark ages of getting my certificates we
were
> taught to ask for phrases of at least 4 bars, 8 was better.
> cheers,
> sylvia Miskoe, Concord, NH USA
>
> --
> SMiskoe@aol.com
>

Musicians for regular classes

Message 22211 · SMiskoe · 29 Aug 2000 15:59:20 · Top

Hi Lisa -
Where do you live? I have lots of ideas and advice and I'll send you more
thoughts later. Do you need arrangements?
Cheers,
Sylvia

Musicians for regular classes

Message 22247 · Hugh Goldie · 30 Aug 2000 21:42:47 · Top

>From my limited experience I suggest the following:

1) Arrange a practice session. Get some dancers (preferrably including a
teacher) to dance while you play and give you some feedback about tempos.

2) If you have an accompanist, start playing an arrangement together
during rehearsal, then you stop while the other continues. Try a setting
step (I find that these work better and involve less travelling
around) and see if the tempo is comfortable. I remember Peter McFarlane
doing this (pas de basque) at a Pinewoods Music Workshop and it seemed to
work just fine. The funny thing was that his leg was in a cast at the
time ;-)!

3) Get a teacher, or a very experineced dancer, to give you some feedback
via hand signals at the dance. This is tricky because some music, which
has a lot of notes per measure, sounds fast to the average dancer when it
is not. The best person would be the one you rehearsed with (item 1).

--Hugh

Hugh Goldie Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
goldie@duke.usask.ca

"A lottery is a tax on fools." --Samuel Johnson 1709-1784

On Mon, 28 Aug 2000, LISA HICKS wrote:

> Hi Sylvia and other musicians -
>
> I have been asked to play fiddle for a Tartan Ball this November. While I
> have played most of the music, I have never played for dancers before, and
> admit to being a bit apprehensive/nervous about it. I just hope I can keep
> the tempo's steady for them....as a beginning dancer myself, I have an idea
> what it would be like to have erratic music while trying to get my figure 8
> round enough......!
>
> Any advice? All would be greatly appreciated, from anyone that reads this
> message.
>
> Thanks!

Musicians for regular classes

Message 22280 · Dianna Shipman · 1 Sep 2000 11:22:08 · Top

Which clubs and groups have live music regularly for their normal classes?

** My group is not a standard class and mostly does social dancing. We've
been fortunate to have live music often during the past year. I don't know
if it will continue but it's been a joy.

What instrument(s)?
**fiddle and piano

For those who both dance and play, how to you persuade them to play, if
persuasion is needed?
**not needed so far - when our fiddler ( a non dancer) isn't available then
our pianist dances with us.

Are there any groups who have recently had to switch from the real thing to
canned music for classes?
** I switch back and forth all the time.

How did you make the transition?
** It is different. The canned music is more predictable but not nearly as
much fun.

Other comments:
1. When "training" musicians to play for Scottish Country dancing for the
first time(s), I find it helpful to repeat dances they know the music for
frequently. Since each dance requires 3 plus tunes a program of only 10
dances requires the musicians to learn 30 plus tunes, which may all be new
to them. And since there's seldom enough money to ever pay them for the
amount of time involved, repeating much of a prior program and gradually
adding in a few more each time seems a good idea.

2. Musicians who play for other types of dance have said they can't play
fast enough to play for Scottish, so it does seem to be more of a challenge
for musicians.

Hope you'll share the article with us when it's ready, Bernie. And thanks
for all your great help in working with musicians.

Dianna

Musicians for regular classes

Message 22151 · John K. Andrews · 20 Aug 2000 11:25:22 · Top

We have live music once a month for our classes. Normal instruments are
piano, fiddle and occasionally accordian. We are limited to once a month
since we pay the musicians and can't afford them every night.

Jay Andrews
Northern Virginia Branch
Alexandria, VA, USA

At 02:16 PM 08/19/2000 -0400, you wrote:
>I am putting together a short article on SCD musicians. A couple of quick
>questions for everyone, if you don't mind.
>
>Which clubs and groups have live music regularly for their normal classes?
>What instrument(s)?
>
>For those who both dance and play, how to you persuade them to play, if
>persuasion is needed?
>
>Are there any groups who have recently had to switch from the real thing to
>canned music for classes?
>How did you make the transition?
>
>Any other comments?
>
>Private replies, please, unless of course you want to go public.
>
>
>Bernie Hewitt
>bandebhewitt@compusreve.com
>

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