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*Freelance Traveller

The Electronic Fan-Supported Traveller® Resource

#59: More Music

This article originally appeared in the November/December 2022 issue.

I must have had too much time on my hands at the barn dance I mentioned last time. In an attempt not to exhaust myself, I was sitting out every other dance. Of course, it didn’t work. Even that was still too much and in the usual way with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I ‘paid’ for the evening for several days afterwards. And this despite my attempts to stay at least a little bit active by the limited walks I take getting to work and dips in the sea when at home.

Anyway, while I sat trying not to be frustrated that I wasn’t up and trying whatever routine the caller was putting everyone through, or sat chatting to those around me, or nibbled at the buffet, or sat watching the professional dancer I reported on last time, I also had time to pay attention to the band. I knew several of them and they could loosely be described as my age or a little younger. They consisted of a front row which I’d seen perform as a group once or twice before at similar events: two acoustic violins, one electric violin, one pianist and one drummer. Behind them were much younger musicians on violins again and something woodwind I think.

It’s probably an obvious thought and I’ve no doubt orchestras have been doing this for years if not centuries, but it occurred to me that it was a brilliant way of bringing on new, young talent and giving them an opportunity to perform in a way that was both non-threatening and encouraging. Mistakes wouldn’t be too obvious and yet there was the chance to play in front of a live audience with all the nerves that involves and all the discipline required to be there on time, adequately rehearsed and with all the necessary gear.

Of course, it wasn’t much of a leap from that thought to thinking that it’s exactly what we need to train up new generations of Traveller referees. I dare say I’ve not been too bad at both encouraging new players to join in and have a go; at least one I can think of has gone to try her hand at refereeing. But I’ll admit I don’t do this very systematically and rather expect those who have half an interest themselves to decide whether they would like to try refereeing.

Perhaps, however, there is a missed opportunity in having space – either at conventions or in ongoing group campaigns – to provide ways for those new at it to referee without having to take on all the burden and stress in one fell swoop. Perhaps we could have ‘second seat’ referees helping out with an NPC here or a specific set of rules there. They’d see refereeing from the other side of the screen as it were. It might also give the lead referee something of a break and it might even help them to see what they’re doing through fresh eyes and up their own game!