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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've put this in the Strings Section of the Instruments and Technique sub-forum, because I'm a fiddler, but posts from players of other instruments will be welcome.

On this thread I welcome practical advice about playing - for any sort of dancing, though my main interest is in English Country Dancing, especially Playford, and in Scottish Country Dancing too. Still, I'd be fascinated to hear the experiences of musicians who play for tango, ballroom, Latin American, jive or other dance styles. I love them all! :)

Any tips about keeping the rhythm - how to keep awake during long stints - what to do when a dance goes wrong - how to work with other musicians - ways to accent the music to help the dancers - best form of base or rhythm accompaniment - and so on?

Any courses you know of that are specifically aimed at musicians who want to play in a dance band or who want to learn the skill of Playing Music for Dancing?

There was a course with this title at Halsway Manor that we went to in 2017 and 2019, and we got so much out of hands-on practice with other musicians - box players, flautists, guitarists & keyboard players.

It isn't on this year, but there is a fairly advanced course for musicians wanting experience in playing Playford which takes place every year in February/March.

There is this course coming up in November too.
https://halswaymanor.org.uk/event/folk-dance-and-music-weekend/

Thanks in advance for any replies.
 

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A friend of mine used to dance with a local Appalachian group, she said that when the leader of their small band died a couple of year ago the band no longer kept time which would leave the dancers seriously lost at times, she finally left and last I heard the group were without a band.

(However I note they are still booked to dance at a local festival next weekend according to the festival's web site, but no mention of any dates on the group web site, though I've not looked at their farcebook page)
 

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A fiddler's dance you know is just a little shuffle , unless you can put down the fiddle for a tune to join the dancers on the floor . I started as a sound-system guy for a country dance group , then learned the dances , then played piano in the band - then stayed free enough to do it all .
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have made some progress on my own at getting faster by using some YouTube videos of Jimmy Shand sets - but am still no nearer finding a group to play or practise with.

A group in a nearby town looked promising - they offered experience in playing at dances - but over the years the woman band-leader has become more possessive, so her co-organiser and caller was telling me. There seems no point in pushing myself in if that is her attitude.

It seems that the only way to get experience is to go on courses - something that hasn't been practical for three summers because of covid. Maybe next year...
 
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