Welcome to the blog for the Old Songs Traditional Irish Slow Session

The session is held on third Wednesdays at the Old Songs Community Arts Center
37 South Main St.,
Voorheesville, NY 12186
7:30-9:00 PM
Cost: $4 donation to Old Songs, Inc.
Leader: traditional Irish fiddler Hilary Schrauf

Hi! The Old Songs Traditional Irish Slow Session is a monthly session for melody players who have some comfort level with their instruments, but are looking to work on tunes at a slow to moderate pace are invited to join us for a chance to play sets of tunes at a moderate pace and single learning tunes at a slow pace. Everyone is encouraged to bring a recording device to capture the session tunes and/or share tunes with each other. I use my iphone. You could bring a digital recorder or even a tape recorder. You might want to leave the reel-to-reel home, though!

This spring (2017), we are starting our sessions off with a surprise learn-by-ear tune (i.e. no advance warning on what it is). This is a workout for your ears and your brain! Then we work on a couple of tunes that we picked the month before (I post the music on the blog about ten days before the session). After that, we go around the circle and everyone picks a tune or a set they want to play. New tunes are welcome - it's recommended that you send tunes (or tune names) you love to me ahead of time so everyone can have a chance to work on them

New for 2017: Bring a recording device - phone, tiny digital recorder, mini-disc w/mic, reel to reel tape recorder, giant IBM computer that takes up the whole room, I don't care! Just bring it and USE it. Capture tunes you don't know and listen to them later.

Also new for 2017: I'm expecting that you will learn some tunes at this session - from me, from other folks in the circle, ones you pick and share with the group. I'm expecting that you will move away from relying on the sheet music. Here's why: tunes you learn by ear stay with you. Tunes you learn by sheet music stay on the sheet music. I want you to have fun and I also want you to have a repertoire of Irish traditional dance tunes in your head so that wherever you go, you have them!

We also welcome tunes from our sister session the Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann Slow Session (3rd Sunday in Albany, NY). You will be encouraged to pick/start a set of tunes from the list so we can play together. We use sheet music as a starting point, but we will play very slowly or break things down for musicians who don't read. Getting you away from the sheet music is the goal.

Final tip: Making mistakes is okay!!!! (By the way, we don't call them mistakes - we call them variations!)

Quick Reference Printables:
Tunes for Spring 2017
Get the Tunes
CCE Slow Session Tune List
MP3 of Mug of Brown Ale jig (January "Tune by Ear") - no sheet music
Happy to Meet, Sorry to Part jig (January tune)
Foxhunters slip jig (January tune)
(Foxhunters and Happy to Meet w/chords)
Promenade hop jig PDF w/chords (February tune)
Man of the House reel PDF w/chords (February tune)

So, if you're new and you want to join us, the first assignment is easy!

  1. Print/listen to the tunes listed above in "Quick Reference Printables"
  2. Go to the "Get the Tunes" link in the sidebar under "Pages"
  3. Print out the PDFs of the tunes
  4. Download and listen to any MP3s (some of them are quite large) of the tunes so you hear how they sound
  5. Practice the tunes
  6. Come to Slow Session!

Also, sign up to receive the latest posts in your email:  Sign up for our Mailchimp NewsletterWe will send you a monthly newsletter, and session reminder, plus we might send announcements of concerts or special events. If you'd only like to receive the blog posts, click in the "Follow by email" box on the right, enter your email address, confirm your address (check your junk mailbox for the confirmation email), and then make sure you allow the messages to come into your inbox. The subject line for messages will say "The Stoney Steps" (Mailchimp messages will say Hilary for Old Songs Irish Slow Session). We do not give away or sell your email addresses. They are only for this use. Although occasionally we may make the list available to members of the group so you can be in touch with one another.

Yes. I like to talk. And I love to play. Come to the session and share this fabulous music with me.

To see the latest posts about the session, visit our NEWS page.
To get the latest tunes, visit our TUNES page.