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Thread: When are you ready for a jam session

  1. #26
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: When are you ready for a jam session

    So Peter, where are you located?
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  2. #27
    Registered User Bonniej's Avatar
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    Default Re: When are you ready for a jam session

    I just posted a similar question on the Newbies Social Group here on this site. I was lucky to find a beginner jam class- no commitment to attend regularly. We have banjos, violins and acoustic guitars and 2-3 on Mandos. We started with 16 and this week there were only 8 of us. It was intimidating the first time which was just 2 months ago, as I'm used to playing alone or my individual lesson every 2 weeks.
    I do think it has helped my confidence and I feel more like I really am a Mandolin player now. I used to feel like I just was practicing and not seeing much progress. I kiddingly remind myself and friends that I don't have a Grand Ole Opry gig coming up any time soon! All the others have very good advice. It is a good idea to recognize the cords the guitar is playing. Id jump on in and join a group or at least sit in.
    BYW. I'm about 1 1/2 years since I started playing and think I'm not very good but really like playing anyway.
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  3. #28
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: When are you ready for a jam session

    It's best to get a few peanut butter sessions under your belt first.
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  4. #29
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: When are you ready for a jam session

    Quote Originally Posted by mrmando View Post
    It's best to get a few peanut butter sessions under your belt first.
    Ow! ow! ow!
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  5. #30

    Default Re: When are you ready for a jam session

    Quote Originally Posted by Timbofood View Post
    So Peter, where are you located?
    I'm in westfield Massachusetts

  6. #31
    Cambridge Mandolinist Daniel Nestlerode's Avatar
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    Default Re: When are you ready for a jam session

    My first bluegrass/folk/OT session was after many years of playing guitar and just a couple playing mandolin. But that's only because I had not explored the opportunity earlier.

    I tell players at all levels to go to jams. If you don't know the song and you don't feel comfortable getting visual cues (assuming your ear isn't tuned for changes yet) from another player, lay out. When you do feel comfortable join in.

    The more you go, the better your ears will get, and the more comfortable you'll be taking visual cues for songs/tunes you don't know. Then one day you'll be calling songs in the circle and newbies will be looking to you for cues.

    Daniel

  7. #32
    Registered User colorado_al's Avatar
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    Default Re: When are you ready for a jam session

    The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time to plant one is today. Go to the jam and see if you can play along with anything they play. The most important thing you can learn from a jam is how to listen to other musicians. Hopefully most at the jam will know how to do the same. Everyone at the jam will know what it is like to be in your position as they all were there once. I've learned more in jams, in my many years of playing, than I could ever have learned alone. Go to the next one you can and as many more after as possible. Each time you go, you will learn a little more.
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  8. #33
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: When are you ready for a jam session

    Is there a music store, hangout where you can meet, chat or otherwise hobnob with like minded folks? That's a great way to try to start too. Take your mandolin down, chat with the staff, try and buy some picks, a spare set of strings or two. Get a feel for the people, place, the musical attitude. I know the world has changed and back when I was working in a store, we had a card table, coffee pot, even ashtrays! And a fridge for "serious" customer beverages. It was really easy to sit and pick with people, Joel Mabus, Frank Wakefield, Howard Armstrong, Utah Phillips, Steve Goodman were visitors, while I may or may not have picked with all of them, I learned from every one! The more you're around musicians, the more you will learn.
    Seek out the pickers who are weeks ahead of you as well as the ones who are professionals. I've always been impressed with the generosity shown me by the "big guns!"
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  9. #34
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    Default Re: When are you ready for a jam session

    You are always ready for a jam session. You may not be ready for the "center ring" but more for the quiet corner at first where you can play catchup. Players at jams are usually friendly and sharing to new players especially when they aren't acting as speed bumps to the rest of the jammers. At larger jams there is often more than one circle and you are more able to find a group that suits you. R/
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  10. #35

    Default Re: When are you ready for a jam session

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter123 View Post
    I'm in westfield Massachusetts
    Hey Peter123, I'm in the Amherst area. I've recently taken up mando myself. May I ask where the jam you're referring to is? I'd also be happy to meet up if you want to do a slower thing. I've learned about 8 songs.

  11. #36
    04Bravo
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    Default Re: When are you ready for a jam session

    The jam Peter's referring to is at the Luthier's Co-op in Easthampton, 1st Friday of each month. I've also heard of a (monthly?) jam in Granby, MA. There's a Facebook group "Western Mass Bluegrass Cooperative", but I don't have any further detail other than knowing it's out there.

    Truth in advertising: I've been studying mandolin for about ten months now, and haven't yet summoned the courage to go to a jam myself. It's amazing the number of excuses one can come up with.

  12. #37
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: When are you ready for a jam session

    Quote Originally Posted by 04Bravo View Post
    Truth in advertising: I've been studying mandolin for about ten months now, and haven't yet summoned the courage to go to a jam myself. It's amazing the number of excuses one can come up with.
    Like I have said, here and other threads:

    Your first jam will not be because you feel ready, it will be because you go anyway.

    I don't know about courage. For me it has often been just being plain tired of letting the fear inhibit me. I went to my first jam scared out of my mind, and most everyone after that at least somewhat scared, for years and years, and even now I can feel some trepidation and hear myself start making excuses.
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  14. #38
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: When are you ready for a jam session

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    ...just being plain tired of letting the fear inhibit me.
    Yes. I have had good results with accepting fear as a normal state of mind and acting regardless. After a while, fear gets bored and goes away.
    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

  15. #39
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: When are you ready for a jam session

    I'm ready when the toaster pops!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

  16. #40
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    Default Re: When are you ready for a jam session

    Just go.

    There's a new Sunday jam that opened up in Raleigh at a downtown pub. As expected, there is every stripe of picker, from rank beginner to recording pro. The space is large enough (almost...ugh) to have more than one thing going on at the same time. You'll have the newbies hanging out on the fringe, the more experienced further in and the seasoned ones up front and in close. There's room for all and most are welcoming.

  17. #41
    Mandolin Friendly Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: When are you ready for a jam session

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    just being plain tired of letting the fear inhibit me.
    And just being plain tired of sitting around playing by yourself. We all need comrades in music!
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  18. #42
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: When are you ready for a jam session

    The question may not be when you're ready for a jam, but when the other jam members are ready for you.

    Joining a jam, be sensitive to the way it's conducted, and observe a modicum of etiquette -- the "new guy or gal" needs to proceed with caution and respect for the established members.

    We hope that they'll be welcoming; most are, but, unfortunately, not all. Good antennae will help in assessing how your participation is being received, and what -- if any -- modifications you may need to make.
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  19. #43

    Default Re: When are you ready for a jam session

    Know that in a 3 chord tune in the key of G, the other chords are C & D.
    In D, they are G & A.
    In A, they are D & E.
    Have your own picks and clip-on tuner.

    Spelled out simply: One doesn't get good to jam. One jams to get good.

    Because of rudimentary music theory as listed above, folks can literally make music with other's like they've been playing together for years. This makes it sound intimidating. But once you understand, and know the key, you're in.

    Lastly, it's been said, but if you get to where you can play along, don't stop if you mess up. Learn to roll over it.
    Also, don't noodle in between tunes. Some are tuning. And the one who's turn it is, is trying to remember how the tune goes.
    Musician's are meant to play together. There is nothing better.

  20. #44
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: When are you ready for a jam session

    Quote Originally Posted by farmerjones View Post
    One doesn't get good to jam. One jams to get good.
    .
    Hmmmm.

    I think I disagree. Certainly one gets better for jamming. Because of what you learn in the jam and because of the motivation it gives you to learn and woodshed in advance of the next tune.

    And going to a jam to get better is as good a reason to go as any I guess.


    But the reality is - one goes to a jam to jam. Playing with other people is its own reward.
    Fill your boots, man!

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