Picture of assorted folk instruments

The Herefordshire session for the beginner and improving musician


  • The new tunes for December are Rochdale Coconut dance, Drive the cold winter away, and The Ball.
  • There’s a lovely link to the Coconut dancers on the December page. Also, the words for Drive The Cold Winter Away in case anyone is interested.
  • Dots, recordings, and the ABC notation are all available via the links on the right. The playlist in December will be “by request” – anything from the playlist as long as we play the new tunes at some time during the evening … but please try and suggest the simpler tunes in the first half.

Do you play a fiddle, flute, recorder, whistle, squeezebox – in fact almost any acoustic instrument which suits a traditional tune and blends with other instruments – but feel a bit overwhelmed by the idea of trying to join in with the typical folk music session? Or do you want to learn some new tunes at a relaxed pace? Or are you an experienced sessioner on one instrument but starting to play a new type of instrument? If so, the Almeley Steady Session is for you.

In the Almeley Steady Session we aim to play tunes at a pace to suit everybody, so that even relative beginners will feel they can take part. The first hour is at a very steady pace and the second hour is slightly faster. During these first two hours we only play from a published list of tunes and the name of the tune is announced before starting to play it. After 10 PM it’s a normal session for those that want to play other tunes or sing.

The tunebook started out with some 20 or so tunes and most months we’ll add at least one new “Tune of the Month” to the list so that everyone can build up a solid repertoire which will give you confidence to join in elsewhere.  The scores, abc code, and (sometimes) links to videos or recordings will be available on the website to help you learn the tunes – see the sidebar.
The hope is that those who play from dots will quickly gain the confidence to put the dots away – but do use them while you need them.

Experienced musicians are also very welcome, maybe to add some harmonies or to learn new tunes at a comfortable pace – just don’t expect us to play more quickly.

Image of The Bells Inn, Almeley

We meet on the first Thursday of each month at the The Bells Inn, Almeley, HR3 6LF  at 8pm. The Bells is not only a fine pub, but also an award-winning shop, open during pub hours, so you can play tunes and pick up your groceries!

Do note however that this is not a workshop or tutorial, so the onus is on players to familiarise themselves with the tunes, using the scores, abc code, and links to videos or recordings that you will find in the sidebar on this page. Also, it is an event for participating musicians, not for an audience.

I look forward to seeing you soon!


Any questions? Please send me a message via the contact page.

I would like to thank David Johnson from Alton in Hampshire for permission to crib his steady session idea and, frankly, most of his website! It was through David’s steady session (and with encouragement from Cath Watkins and others) that I started to get the confidence to play in sessions a few years ago and gradually realised that I didn’t always need the dots.  David’s website can be found here – you’ll see what a repertoire of tunes he and his steady-sessioners now have under their belts, a total to which we can aspire.
Thanks David!