What if I don’t want to play in concerts?
You will not be alone. Some of our players come along to practices but choose not to perform in concerts, even though performance is one of our main objectives. There is no time limit to how long you try us out for. You may find that as you develop confidence in playing the tunes, you will want to be part of the band and join in the fun of performing to an audience. Just talk to Tom and agree a plan for joining us on stage when you feel you are ready.
Does OFG only play traditional folk music?
We have a large and varied repertoire, largely of traditional folk tunes from around the world. Players within the group are invited to bring in tunes for the group to play, or even to bring in tunes that they themselves have composed.
What if I don’t know the tunes?
If you already play folk-trad music, you may well already know some of the tunes that we play.
For most of our repertoire we have written music to play and learn from. You can take this away with you to practise. Over time, you will soon pick up the tunes, helped by listening to other players around you at Tuesday practice. Tunes will quickly become very familiar. We regularly try out new material, so that’s when we all start out ‘not knowing’ the music.
I like being a solo performer; is there a role for me in OFG?
Our main sound is a big group melody with backing so we all need to be ‘team players’. However, if you are a confident solo player, singer or dancer, there are opportunities in our concerts to perform solo or in small groups, which gives our audience added interest.
We also invite guest performers to play/sing/dance in our concerts, typically one ‘spot’ in each half of the concert. If you would like to appear as our guest, please get in touch.
Do I have to be really good at playing to join?
Whatever your musical background, you would be very welcome to come along and try us out.
We do not audition new players to find out their standard of play. Our focus is on enjoying the music and playing together rather than individual musical ability. Our goal is to play together well.
If you are happy playing by ear, or playing by reading music and not playing by ear, that’s fine with us. If you are somewhere in between, that’s OK too.
If you do not play the fiddle but you play another instrument, talk to us about joining. We have English concertina, whistle, accordion, mandolin and percussion instruments as other alternatives within the group…..and don’t forget the voice as an instrument. If you play something else, please talk to us about it. We can’t promise to be able to include you and your instrument, but we will certainly consider it.
If you play the fiddle and also a backing instrument, please talk to us about joining.
What’s it like at an OFG practice?
You will find us very friendly and informal.
There are usually 10-20 players sitting in a circle with their instruments. We usually have a bit of social chat before we start playing.
We will talk about what we are going to play before we play it, Tom will count us in, we play the tune or set of tunes a few times and maybe discuss what we have played. Constructive comments for improvement are encouraged and very welcome. Then we move on to play another tune/set of tunes.
If we are learning a new tune, it will be through reading the music or learning by ear, whatever suits you best. We generally play the tune through slowly while we are learning it, and then increase the speed when it becomes more familiar. No one has to play solo unless they choose to.
We tend to focus on a certain number of tunes each week, which may be repeated from week to week, particularly if we are practising for a concert.
We have a tea-and-biscuit break half-way through. We are not licenced to drink beer in the hall, but some players meet at The Masons Arms in Headington Quarry after the practice to enjoy a pint and some relaxation before heading home.
I want to join OFG; what do I do now?
That’s fantastic! A great decision. We know you will enjoy the experience.
Simply use the contact form on this page to drop us a line. We’ll invite you to come along on a Tuesday evening.
We hope you will enjoy the music and the company and continue to be part of our band.
We look forward to meeting you.