No Pressure Session

R3S dulcimer workshop – Photo: Sue Coe

‘No Pressure Sessions’ – friendly fortnightly sessions for less confident musicians.

A notable feature of many UK Folk Festivals is the guided session as promoted by the Tuneworks group at Warwick, Shrewsbury and Bromyard. These sessions cater for beginners and intermediate level players, are generally located in the bar and are very popular.
Ryburn 3 Step has been running something similar under the guise of the “No Pressure” session which meets fortnightly. The idea of the session is to provide a “safe” place to play tunes with other musicians and develop confidence in playing your chosen instrument.

We have musicians of varying ability playing a range of instruments. We try to leave no-one behind so sometimes we play very slowly, particularly when we are learning a new tune. Some of us have difficulty memorising tunes so sheet music is provided in a “No Pressure Session” Tunebook – HERE which you can bring to the session and consult. Suggestions for new tunes to learn are welcomed and in order to prepare for the following session a list is circulated which suggests tunes to play, so those who want to, can practise them. View the index of tunes HERE.

The No Pressure Session has relocated (because of the Covid-19 pandemic) to a dusty corner of cyberspace via Zoom.  We have stopped taking new members temporarily until we can meet in the flesh (so to speak) in a safe earthly environment.

A couple of our “No Pressure” Sessioners recently had the bright idea of pulling together contributions from the rest of the group and mixing them into a single track. We chose a couple of popular slow airs to be the tunes (South Wind and Planxty Irwin) and created a master click track playing at 55 bpm. The final mixes (1 from John and 1 from Graham) which featured mandolin, whistle, guitar, hammer dulcimers, octave mandolin, recorder and fiddle were very good, given the variety of instruments and have prompted the consideration of second track. You can hear both versions of the final mix HERE and HERE. Thanks to John and Graham for putting in the hours to record the moment for posterity.


An Independent Folk Development Project in the Ryburn Valley