Nervous mandolinist looking for the friendliest old-time session in NYC.
May 9, 2009 6:10 PM   Subscribe

Nervous mandolinist looking for the friendliest old-time session in NYC.

I'm a pretty good all-around musician, but I'm terrified of playing with other people. I'm an introvert and a huge perfectionist — doing something I'm new at with a group of strangers is just about the worst thing I can imagine. (And playing music with a group is, yeah, something I'm new at. Nice vicious cycle, eh?)

The thing is, I've fallen in love with the mandolin, and playing the mandolin by yourself is one step away from playing the goddamn maracas by yourself. It just doesn't sound right without the rest of the string band. I guess it's time to suck it up and learn to play with others.

So I'm looking for the absolute friendliest, cuddliest, touchy-feeliest most welcoming and least intimidating old-time session in the city of New York. Bonus points if they're convenient to Greenpoint, but I don't mind riding the subway for a while if it means extra friendly. It would be nice, too, if there was a decent core of regulars who weren't absolute beginners, but if loads of experience is incompatible with friendliness, default to friendliness.
posted by nebulawindphone to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: (Clarification — I don't live in NY, I'll just be staying there for the summer. If there's some totally obvious answer to this question that absolutely any folk music fan in the city would know about, feel free to assume I don't know about it.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:16 PM on May 9, 2009

A few years back I remember there being what might be an old-time session at Sunny's bar in Red Hook. If they don't have one, I bet they will know where to find one! It's a great place to go and hang out anyway.
posted by anthropoid at 7:18 PM on May 9, 2009

Response by poster: Looks from the schedule like they're still having some kind of anything-goes folksy jam session on Saturdays. I'll check it out.

Other suggestions?
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:22 PM on May 9, 2009

Best answer: Not a direct answer to your question, but make sure you check out You can search by location and most of the listings have detailed descriptions of the jams. With the contact info, you can call ahead to find out what to expect. That's how I found the jam I now attend weekly. (Also, don't give up right away if it isn't what you expect. It took a few weeks to understand the personalities and the history of the jam. Now, I've made some great friends and it has really improved my playing.)
posted by imposster at 7:45 PM on May 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

Maybe check out Banjo Jim's?
posted by puckish at 5:25 AM on May 10, 2009

Best answer: I have many friends in the NYC live music scene and there are very casual pickup sessions all throughout the city where you would be welcome. Send me a mefimail to get in touch with them. And welcome to New York, fellow mandolin player!
posted by billtron at 5:39 AM on May 10, 2009

Response by poster: Well howdy, fellow mandolin player! MeMail sent.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:36 AM on May 10, 2009

Best answer: I haven't been, but I think Kili has some sort of big meetup on Sundays. I've passed by many times, and there are quite a few players. This is the best information that I could find about it. It's very close to the G train, as well. Looks like there's a session today!
posted by hooray at 9:06 AM on May 10, 2009

Response by poster: It looks like Banjo Jim's has some open mic nights, but that sounds a little too performing-for-an-audience for me. Folkjam and the calendar hooray posted look like good resources. I have yet to check out Sunny's bar, but I'll stop by this weekend and report back.
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:46 AM on May 21, 2009

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