So, Haley and Dylan have been interested in hitting sessions a couple times a week. Dylan mostly so he can drive to them as he recently got his driver's permit. Last weekend and the weekend prior to that we went to the session at The Plough and the Stars in Center City Philly on Sundays and then a different session at Sligo Pub in Media, PA on Monday evenings.
This weekend, Haley and her competition trio had the last of two rehearsals together on Saturday afternoon at Fergie's Pub in Center City then they all stayed for the session afterward. Yesterday we drove to NY for fiddle lessons with our friends, Amy and Livia, and stayed for a new session Haley's fiddle teacher is hosting at O'Grady's Public House in Yorktown Heights, NY.
Sessions are all so different from one another…each has it's own regulars and rhythm. Some sessions we've been to have only had 3-4 musicians while others have over twenty. Some have large crowds of people coming in to listen while others might be in someone's kitchen with only the significant others of the musicians in attendance. Sometimes there are visiting musicians from other states or countries who drop into a session and change things up a bit or new musicians looking to listen and learn more than play.
Haley has been attending sessions regularly since she was five years old. She has always been welcomed by the regular musicians and made to feel part of the group. Now she is one of the "regulars." Some people might think it crazy that my little girl knows the bartenders and waitstaff by name and feels some of her BFFs are male musicians in their 30's-60's. When they are playing music, age doesn't matter, they have a common bond and purpose for those few hours of the session.
I love taking her to sessions because she gets to practice tunes she wouldn't normally play during a gig, tunes she's learned over the years but doesn't play regularly. She also gets to learn new tunes especially when visiting musicians join in. She has a whole repertoire of tunes we don't have names for because she picked them up while playing in a session somewhere.
We have attended sessions all over the United States and in Canada and Ireland. When we travel one of our first searches is to find out where there might be a session. When she performs for festivals or attends a camp we find sessions full of professional musicians playing for fun. We've met some really awesome people along the way and heard some of the best music at sessions.