I’d like to know people’s opinion of using music while playing for a contra dance. Is it easier to create excitement if the musicians play by ear? Thanks in advance for your opinion, Tom Hinds
Sent from my iPad
Over on Facebook  I posted an offer to listen to recordings of dances
and give feedback, but since some people aren't on FB and who sees there
what is unpredictable anyway I thought I'd repeat it here:
"One of the best ways to improve as a band is to record your playing and
listen back to it. This was really useful when the Free Raisins were
getting started and finding our sound, and I'm again finding it valuable
with Kingfisher. When you're playing you mostly hear yourself and not the
whole group, and you often hear more how you wish you were playing than how
you actually are. Listening to recordings lets you consider your music from
a more objective place, shows you ways it could be better, and gives you
more time to think about how you want to sound.
Sometimes, though, it's helpful to get even more distance and hear what
other people think. When I ask friends how the music was, however, they
just say generic positive things. I think this comes from a combination of
politeness, not having good words for things, not having been paying close
enough attention to give actionable feedback, etc. So I'd like to make a
standing offer for any contra dance band to listen to a recording of a set
and give feedback.
If you'd like to take me up on this, record one of your evenings and pick a
set that you think best represents what you're going for. Send it to me
along with a general description of how you see the set ("this is for if
the caller asks for something smooth and pretty"). It doesn't have to be a
high-quality recording, it doesn't have to be perfect playing, just make
the recording you make and pick one of the sets. I'll listen to it, and
give you as much feedback as I can."
Since we're on the shared weight list, I'd also be happy to do this on-list
if anyone wants to link a recording for public discussion?