Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast
Results 26 to 50 of 57

Thread: Jam audiences -- Whaddaya think?

  1. #26
    Celtic Bard michaelpthompson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Arvada CO
    Posts
    628
    Blog Entries
    10

    Default Re: Jam audiences -- Whaddaya think?

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    I don't mind sharing. I have no problem with sharing. A jam is sharing. Its sharing tunes and musical energy and enthusiasm with the other musicians.

    I just have some issues sharing with an audience who is here because there isn't a cover charge.
    I have no problem sharing with an audience who is here because there isn't a cover charge. The landlord buys me drinks and food, the patrons buy drinks and food from him, we all still get our value some way, even if it's not direct cash payments. I've also played venues where there's a cover charge and nobody shows up to listen so we all lose.

    That's part of why I don't see this as an either/or thing. Value is always based on supply and demand. If you supply too much, the value goes down. That's what you're objecting to, the devaluing of the music. But there also has to be demand in order for people to want to part with their cash. I see all this as a sliding scale, sometimes we really put in the effort to make a professional presentation and then we require more payment than when we just have fun on our own and other people enjoy it.

  2. #27
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    22,914
    Blog Entries
    52

    Default Re: Jam audiences -- Whaddaya think?

    Quote Originally Posted by michaelpthompson View Post
    So I guess I'm saying my experience indicates more of a continuum, a sliding scale, than an either/or situation regarding payment. What I'm hearing from you is that if you're not paid, then nobody deserves to enjoy your music but you and the people who play with you. I don't know if that's what you really meant, but that's what I'm getting.
    I agree its a continuum. No strict black or white. What I am saying is that when I come to jam I come to jam. And I get my fun predominantly from the interaction with the other musicians. I don't do anything to make the audience applaud, and I don't take it too seriously if they do. And when I come to play I come to play, and I will work out something nice, carefully and thoroughly for whomever I am playing. And while there is often some ambiguity and fuzziness at the boarders, I know the difference, and I know why I am there and what I am doing.

    "Deserve" is a tough word, I am not sure what to make of it. I would not want to put myself in position to determine what people deserve.

    The audience at a jam session is like the public audience at a court trial. Some are there because they have a stake in the outcome, a friend or relative, sure. But what the audience gets out of it or doesn't get out of it is not a concern of the judge, jury, attorneys etc., who are there for entirely different reasons.

    So I don't mind at all that the audience enjoys the jam or session. Its good for the music, its often good for the playing, its good for folks to see others who are not home watching tv but are in charge of their own entertainment. All good. And I know that I am being used, by the venue. Sometimes I mind, sometimes I don't mind. I am willing to be used, at times sure, but I don't pretend its something else. I don't pretend they love me.

    I go on about this because my local jam was recently criticized by our present venue for "not bringing in enough people". Perhaps we could advertise a bit. It was hinted that our music contained maybe too many obsucure (to them) fiddle tunes.
    Indulge responsibly!

    The entire staff
    funny....

  3. #28
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    0.8 mpc from NGC224, upstairs
    Posts
    9,756

    Default Re: Jam audiences -- Whaddaya think?

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    Music is always fun. Nonetheless it should cost somebody something. Somebody needs to pay the piper, give the fiddler a dram, whatever. The idea that public music is really great, but not worth a dime?
    Money is printed gut feelings of strangers. Music is my own gut feelings. Thus, I'd venture, music is more valuable than money to me, and indeed priceless to the extent that it is a problem to find a solid conversion scale.
    When music makes me happy I am grateful enough to not mind others scavenging a few crumbs of this happiness and thereby rendering me not totally useless. I am aware of my attitude being somewhat Johnny-Appleseed-romantic, but I am also grateful that I can afford such an attitude, not having to make a living with music (which would destroy all the happiness for me - my parents were both professional musicians and I know what I can do without).
    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

  4. #29
    Registered User swampstomper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Arnhem, the Netherlands; Nanjing, China; Ithaca NY USA
    Posts
    1,862

    Default Re: Jam audiences -- Whaddaya think?

    I go to jams to learn from other musicians and enjoy myself. That can mean trying a difficult tune several times, working a bit on the arrangement and harmony, asking to see a particularly cool break or chord substitution, having five or six mando or banjo breaks in a row... for the participating musicians it is fun and absorbing, for someone who wants someone else to entertain him/her not so. There should be no pressure in a jam to conform to audience needs -- for that we have public performance (which can be an "open mike" form, facing an audience). People do listen at jams I attend, but they are not expecting to be entertained, just to participate in the jam experience w/o being able or wanting to play/sing themselves. They are quite welcome and appreciated. But they stand outside the circle, enjoying what's going on in the circle. I guess that's my definition of a jam session as opposed to performance -- the musicians are facing each other.

  5. #30

    Default Re: Jam audiences -- Whaddaya think?

    Quote Originally Posted by michaelpthompson View Post
    Value is always based on supply and demand. If you supply too much, the value goes down.
    Thanks michael. This is what I was thinking of in describing the economy of musical performing. I believe--with the ample supply of folk music players available (a supply glut)--this may factor into the perception of owners/operators, public perception, and translate into the relative "scale" for participants of the folk music "jam."

  6. #31
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    22,914
    Blog Entries
    52

    Default Re: Jam audiences -- Whaddaya think?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bertram Henze View Post
    Money is printed gut feelings of strangers. Music is my own gut feelings. Thus, I'd venture, music is more valuable than money to me, and indeed priceless to the extent that it is a problem to find a solid conversion scale.
    Well said.
    Indulge responsibly!

    The entire staff
    funny....

  7. #32
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    victoria, canada
    Posts
    3,514

    Default Re: Jam audiences -- Whaddaya think?

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    I don't mind sharing. I have no problem with sharing. A jam is sharing. Its sharing tunes and musical energy and enthusiasm with the other musicians.

    I just have some issues sharing with an audience who is here because there isn't a cover charge.
    An audience for a "jam" shouldn't be asked to pay, imho. It's not a performance, it's (presumably) something the musicians are doing for their own enjoyment.

    For instance, a bluegrass jam started at a local coffeehouse. No sound, no stage, musicians sit in a circle and play for each other. After a while, people started coming specifically for that and began applauding at the end of songs and, in general, acting like an audience. We didn't invite them and don't need them to be there. Don't get me wrong, we like it the positive feedback and if people are enjoying themselves coming down to listen on a Wed. night, great! But it would never occur to us to charge them for that.

    The local bluegrass association hosts Tues. jams. It's free to come and listen and the players pay two bucks to cover the hall rental.

    We used to have an oldtime jam at a local pub. Same thing, we got beer and people enjoyed the music but there was never a thought of trying to get money out of them.
    They were already paying for food and drinks. Some folks did tip us and we never knew what to do with the money. Five bucks and fifteen players is about thirty cents each. We usually just donated it to the wait staff's tip fund. After all, they were serving us too.

    A gig is a gig and you should be paid, unless you're doing a benefit. But these other situations, jams, jams-come-performances, jams-by-name-only where there's a sound system, stage and a signup sheet are all situations where there are no rules. Maybe there's a way to make a paying thing but in my experience, most of the time they're better it they remain free of "the stain of commerce".

  8. #33
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    victoria, canada
    Posts
    3,514

    Default Re: Jam audiences -- Whaddaya think?

    "I go on about this because my local jam was recently criticized by our present venue for "not bringing in enough people". Perhaps we could advertise a bit. It was hinted that our music contained maybe too many obsucure (to them) fiddle tunes."

    There's the thing, isn't it? The situations I'm thinking of are all neutral. In other words, we didn't expect anything from the venue and they weren't asking us to draw in crowds or do anything other than show up and play. It was always a "we'll try it and see how it goes" kind of deal.

  9. #34
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    22,914
    Blog Entries
    52

    Default Re: Jam audiences -- Whaddaya think?

    Mandolirious I think we are in agreement.

    I would never want to charge an audience for listening to a jam. Wow, that would be wrong, making them into an audience proper and putting all kinds of performance obligations on the jammers. No they can come and watch us jam for free, as long as we are not obligated to do anything for them.

    I would like the venue to give us free drinks at least, but even that isn't a requirement.
    Indulge responsibly!

    The entire staff
    funny....

  10. #35
    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    2,893

    Default Re: Jam audiences -- Whaddaya think?

    Interesting how this has taken a turn towards "who pays" and "who should get paid." In all the jams I attend and described earlier, there is no fee, no cover, no ticket charge. Except for a couple garage bands in high school, I've never been compensated (with money) to play music. I've helped some friends who play the local farmer's markets for tips, and turned down any share of the proceeds (don't mind if they buy me a beer, though, after we play). There is nothing wrong with being paid for a service; I wouldn't go to my regular job if they didn't pay me. Just for me, music is the most fulfilling hobby I've ever had. I don't want to turn it into a job. I know I would feel different if it was my chosen profession, how I fed and clothed my family. Fortunately, its not, since my friends in the business locally are getting paid about what my high school garage band was getting paid thirty years ago.

    I think I feel what Jeff is expressing above; the audience, whoever and wherever they are, don't have to pay. They don't have to clap. I don't have to worry about giving them their money's worth. I owe it to myself and the other musicians to do the best I can, encourage them, keep it fun. As far as the audience, I respect them and appreciate them paying attention when they do. I try to play different songs from artists and genres they may not have heard before, because that's the kind of music I like to hear and play. So far, its been a good time for all involved.

    I'm not directing these questions at anyone in particular, just wondering out loud and throwing it out for discussion. Should I feel bad playing music in public for free? Am I stealing a gig from a pro who needs the job? The coffee shop I play at with some friends never hires anyone to play. Would it be better for them to just have canned music then "scab labor"?

  11. #36
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Rochester NY 14610
    Posts
    15,770

    Default Re: Jam audiences -- Whaddaya think?

    Discussion has veered away from the original question that I proposed: should jams have audiences, people who come specifically to listen and be entertained, and should the jam be structured to accommodate them -- the "open stage" kind of jam I've been in, where people sign up for a spot at the mic, and others come just to sit and listen and applaud? Or is a real jam one where musicians are interacting, mainly "playing for and with each other," and others are welcome to sit and listen if they wish, but the jam's not for them?

    The question of whether the musicians are playing for money, or not, is important, but not what I was asking. Of course, if the owner of the venue is charging admission, some of the proceeds should go to the musicians. If the jam organizers are renting the space, then the admission charge should primarily go to defray the rental costs. If musicians don't want to play unless they're paid, going to jams is probably not their best strategy. Some venue owners do treat jams/seisuns, and open mic nights, as opportunities to make money by attracting audience. Then you get into the situation described above, where the venue operator wants to control the content and "entertainment value" of the music produced by the jam. I think that makes it a performance, rather than a jam, and the performers should be hired and paid.

    I prefer to get paid when I play, and it takes a good cause, some strong non-monetary incentives, or the expectation of a truly enjoyable musical experience, to get me to play a "freebie" performance. I have played some open mic situations just to be with friends, but I truly feel that many of these are musician-exploitive, with the venue owner making money and not compensating the "performers." But, if no admission's being charged -- just people buying drinks and food -- and it's an informal, interactive event with other musicians, I'll go and play. That's if it's not too far, and the weather cooperates, and I've nothing else important to do. If I'm getting paid, I treat it like a "real job" -- get there early, make sure I give the sponsor what he/she wants, behave like a real professional -- which, in those situations, I am. For jams, well, not so much.

    But I don't get too philosophical or ideological about it. Playing music is fun and fulfilling, but I can play music in my basement without the hassle of packing up, driving 30 miles, and playing for my own amusement and others' entertainment. I go to a sing-around every week, with my guitar, mandolin etc., and get my "need to jam" pretty much satisfied. But that's a situation where no one is "audience," really, even the ones who sit in the back and mostly listen. Everyone gets a chance to sing, and everyone applauds after someone does sing -- even the other musicians and singers.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  12. #37
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    victoria, canada
    Posts
    3,514

    Default Re: Jam audiences -- Whaddaya think?

    "Discussion has veered away from the original question that I proposed: should jams have audiences, people who come specifically to listen and be entertained, and should the jam be structured to accommodate them -- the "open stage" kind of jam I've been in, where people sign up for a spot at the mic, and others come just to sit and listen and applaud? Or is a real jam one where musicians are interacting, mainly "playing for and with each other," and others are welcome to sit and listen if they wish, but the jam's not for them?"

    I don't know that there is an answer to that question. In the one jam I mentioned, the one sponsored by the local bluegrass club, most of the people who come are participants. There is always a structured slowjam that draws the bulk of the people. In the other one, in the coffeehouse, the audience began I guess as other patrons. They were fairly indifferent in the beginning but now people seem to be coming specifically to listen. The jam hasn't changed to accomodate them.

    I think when there's a stage and a signup sheet, it's not a jam. It's an open stage. Those two things are as different as cake and pie, to me. I think either one can have an audience but it seems to me the best jams are when the music just fits in with the venue, it's atmosphere, patrons etc. so you don't really have an audience as such, but there are people there. It's always more fun to jam in public, as long as it's a good fit. Plus, you tend to meet some interesting people that way.

  13. #38
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    0.8 mpc from NGC224, upstairs
    Posts
    9,756

    Default Re: Jam audiences -- Whaddaya think?

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Discussion has veered away from the original question that I proposed: should jams have audiences, people who come specifically to listen and be entertained, and should the jam be structured to accommodate them
    Alright, my direct answer is no.
    A jam or session structured to accomodate non-musicians is no longer a jam or session in the original, informal and relaxed sense. Acting like jamming would be like natives dancing for tourists. I have seen "sessions" of that kind in Ireland - there was something uncanny, plastic-artificial about it, and doing it would leave me with the guilty feeling of having screwed innocent people, because they didn't get to see the real thing. I save up my screwing of innocent people for my day job as a consultant.

    A good session is like a car accident: spontaeous, spectacular, loud and live, and it impresses the witnesses; but you wouldn't exactly want to stage it for them.
    Last edited by Bertram Henze; Apr-03-2011 at 6:37am.
    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

  14. #39

    Default Re: Jam audiences -- Whaddaya think?

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    should jams have audiences...?
    No. Not unless, by some means, "audiences" understand the purpose, intent, and particulars of every musical situation. Of course, the only way audiences will learn these is through experiencing various musical situations, incuding jams.

  15. #40
    plectrist
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Glover, Vermont
    Posts
    646

    Default Re: Jam audiences -- Whaddaya think?

    Should .... No
    Can .... Yes

    Money ... here in the Kingdom "jams" are held usually for a purpose like raising money for handicap access. It's not the purity that has some knickers knotted up. Various groups of musicians will get together and do the hall thing for pay. Once the monetary reason for the "jam" has been met ... the folks who have become used to their live music fix don't want to let it go ... so they continue and redirect the donations. This is a very rural area of Vermont. It is also the poorest economic area of Vermont. Live music is whatever we provide for ourselves ... or whoever comes in for the county fairs. Impure by urban standards .... but deeply appreciated by folks.

    Ryk
    mandolin ~ guitar ~ banjo

    "I'm convinced that playing well is not so much a technique as it is a decision. It's a commitment to do the work, strive for concentration, get strategic about advancing by steps, and push patiently forward toward the goal." Dan Crary

  16. #41
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    4,881

    Default Re: Jam audiences -- Whaddaya think?

    I have been to quite a few Jams in my time and here is what I think about them: First it is a good place for an unknown picker or band to get some exposure and get rid of the butterflies, next it is also a place to meet different pickers and maybe form a band with some of the "singles" that get up and play (Thats how my band got started)...I have picked at a jam in southern Pa. on a Friday night and was booked back on the following Sat. for their regular show and got paid for that so it is a great way to showcase your band, BUT, I don`t do that any more, if we play you pay...I think I have paid my dues playing for free and don`t do it much any more unless it is for a fund raiser for some needy person or family....I do go and listen to some now and then, cheaper than going to a paid show or a festival...If I want to jam I call pickers that I know and we pick here at my house or someone elses but no audience except for wives and animals....

    Willie

  17. #42
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    4,871

    Default Re: Jam audiences -- Whaddaya think?

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    So I don't mind at all that the audience enjoys the jam or session. Its good for the music, its often good for the playing, its good for folks to see others who are not home watching tv but are in charge of their own entertainment. All good. And I know that I am being used, by the venue. Sometimes I mind, sometimes I don't mind. I am willing to be used, at times sure, but I don't pretend its something else. I don't pretend they love me.
    I wanted to touch on that idea of "being used by the venue."

    The Irish pub session I helped start up from scratch last summer, is being used in the sense of providing live music for just a round of drinks for the players. But we're also using the venue in return. It's a place to gather on a regular basis so nobody has to host it at their house. Or, wash up all those glasses afterwards.

    House sessions and jams are great. It's really the ultimate way to play this music, and we do gather at irregular times in people's homes to play. But I wouldn't want to have to open the door to my house on a regular basis, where I always have to be available on those dates. Private jams can be more spontaneous. Public jams are scheduled and (ideally) self-maintaining regardless of who shows up.

    There are other non-financial benefits too. A pub session or bar jam can be "open," in the sense of welcoming strangers who just walk in with an instrument case in hand, after hearing about it somewhere. When that works out well (and it doesn't always), it can be a terrific way to meet new people to play with. That's not likely to happen at a private jam in someone's home, either for lack of publicity or for security concerns. A public venue is a safe place to meet someone new.

    With all things considered, I see it more as a symbiotic relationship with the pub owner. We're each getting something valuable out of it.

  18. #43
    George Wilson GRW3's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    San Antonio, TX
    Posts
    1,335
    Blog Entries
    8

    Default Re: Jam audiences -- Whaddaya think?

    All the local jams seem to draw a small crowd of onlookers. Mostly made up of relatives and friends on routine basis but everytime we play we attract some of the people passing through the cafe. You see them come in. Some just walk up to order and then sit in the other part of dining room. Others walk in, stop for a second to listen and eventually sit near us to listen. Some of the latter have become semi regulars.

    Is this an 'audience'? I'm not sure. Seems like more of a shared cultural experience to me. I think that is an important jam aspect.
    George Wilson
    Weber Bighorn Mandolin
    ca. 1900 Clifford Mandolinetto
    Martin Guitars

  19. #44

    Default Re: Jam audiences -- Whaddaya think?

    Quote Originally Posted by GRW3 View Post
    Is this an 'audience'? I'm not sure. Seems like more of a shared cultural experience to me. I think that is an important jam aspect.
    Nicely put, George. Rather than the dogmatic approach, I find benefit from the social dynamic of a bunch of people interacting around music--expecting and getting different things from the experience, some more active and others less so.

    I've witnessed folks get surly about it all--which I must say feels very weird in a musical environment. People usually work things out (i.e., learn about and become sensitive to custom) experientially. I find it more consonant with the music, generally, to be amicable about it.

    Various musical gatherings are social and cultural experiences: when you pull out a bunch of nice-looking instruments in a public place, people are gonna be attracted. Where people gather--is a social experience. Since we will inevitably be sharing our music, we can also share our feelings about it--in this way folks may learn about our customs. We can be curmudgeonly about it, but this often serves to create a side effect of alienation along with the desired effect of exclusivity.

    Considering the following: Where does the music stop and social experience begin? Can there be discrete aspects? What/where are the boundaries of experience?

    IME, it's easier to find commonality and compatibility rather than to impose these divisions. With liberal "boundaries" and sense of inclusion, folks observing a jam are participating: they may be on the verge of joining in actively--feeling it out, testing the waters--before bringing an instrument; others may be drawn into active participation--this happens frequently. Of course, if the folks jamming are resistant, "closed," reticent, or give off dissonant vibes...perhaps not. Many "open jams" are like this--whether intentionally or otherwise; it's easy to keep people out and at-bay with the right posture and attitude.

    So, obviously there are at least two types of public "open jams": one--open, permissive, inclusive; the other--not so much..
    Last edited by catmandu2; Apr-03-2011 at 6:43pm.

  20. #45
    Registered User Andy Alexander's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Lodi NY
    Posts
    296

    Default Re: Jam audiences -- Whaddaya think?

    In a true open jam, everyone of any level of competency should be allowed to participate. This however usually does not make for an optimum listening experience for an audience and will reflect poorly on the genre of music being "performed". Venues providing bona fide performances to audiences will be negatively impacted as will the musicians that play them. Since there is no way to control the quality of music in an open jam situation it should not be promoted as entertainment for an audience as the Geneva NY jam cited by the original poster is. Open jams in public places should be in circle configuration. Despite what egos some participants may have, no stage or sound reinforcement should be used.

  21. #46
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    22,914
    Blog Entries
    52

    Default Re: Jam audiences -- Whaddaya think?

    Quote Originally Posted by foldedpath View Post
    But we're also using the venue in return. It's a place to gather on a regular basis so nobody has to host it at their house. Or, wash up all those glasses afterwards.

    There are other non-financial benefits too. A pub session or bar jam can be "open," in the sense of welcoming strangers who just walk in with an instrument case in hand, after hearing about it somewhere. When that works out well (and it doesn't always), it can be a terrific way to meet new people to play with.

    With all things considered, I see it more as a symbiotic relationship with the pub owner. We're each getting something valuable out of it.
    Aboslutely agree. Well said.
    Indulge responsibly!

    The entire staff
    funny....

  22. #47

    Default Re: Jam audiences -- Whaddaya think?

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    Our regular jam is on a stage, and I have fantasized a poster facing the audience, saying: Don't applaud, we aren't playing for you.
    I don't know. This seems a bit like the smoker saying to the complainant: "if you don't like my smoke, don't breathe..."

  23. #48
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    22,914
    Blog Entries
    52

    Default Re: Jam audiences -- Whaddaya think?

    Quote Originally Posted by catmandu2 View Post
    I don't know. This seems a bit like the smoker saying to the complainant: "if you don't like my smoke, don't breathe..."
    I would never do it of course, but I have some ideas that would remove the ambiguity inherent in a jam held on a stage. The other day the stage was filled with equipment for some other show, so we jammed down in front of the stage at the level of the tables and chairs. Much better.
    Indulge responsibly!

    The entire staff
    funny....

  24. #49

    Default Re: Jam audiences -- Whaddaya think?

    When I was hosting a jam in a facility that had a stage, I tried to get them on the floor in front of the stage as much as I could. Yes, it worked out (for most of us anyway) much better in a large circle on the floor--some very good "real, open" jams we had that way.

    This was in a place where the folks were accustomed to using the stage. On one day, I set up a circle about thirty feet from the stage--thinking that it would be obvious we weren't going to "perform" that day--which was the custom--but rather, jam. Those who were accustomed and preferred the stage--took the stage, while I was leading a circle jam across the room. One or two actually started playing. One fellow in my circle actually quit and left, at this point. This was a day when it didn't work...and I joined the stage jam/performance. Interesting experience that day. It was very much about changing the "culture" of the environment..

    Yes, I remember now...some real differences, and interesting experiences, characteristic in these situations.

  25. #50
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Posts
    61

    Default Re: Jam audiences -- Whaddaya think?

    Once a local radio talk host complained that he'd attended the event, and the quality of music wasn't consistently up to professional standards. No surprise, since some of the performers were eight-year-olds sawing through Bile That Cabbage Down, with mixed results. I wrote him a letter, saying he'd misunderstood the purpose of the open stage, and that one of its goals was development of young fiddlers. But the incident underlined the tension between jamming for musicians' pleasure and growth, and entertaining an audience.

    I just got through Peter Wernick's jam band camp in Boulder, CO this weekend. My fingertips are really sore! But one thing I'm noticing when I travel to jams, and festivals, song circles and such is, there are alot of us boomers, and war babies that have a real interest in the old songs. Whether it's Gospel, or folk, bluegrass or whatever, but really have a hard time just singing and playing. Now, I was kind of fortunate in my upbringing in some ways. I grew up in the Kansas City area in the 1960's. My family didn't have a TV, as that was against our religion at the time. When I was in grade school, my family attended a little bitty store front church right on Independence Ave. That place now is an animal hospital I think. Right across the street was the cop shop, and fire station. The big diesels would be rolling outside on the Ave, while we sung old hymns, and gospel songs. Most of them three chords. My dad played guitar some, but he never got the concept of minor chords. My mom played the piano and organ. We did all of that corporate singing, call and response, shaped note stuff etc. just like my grandparents, and great-grandparents did when they were on this earthly journey. My point is that my observation is, that so many of us later generations don't have this rich heritage to draw from musically. So to explain call and response to my Episcopalian friends, for me is hard, as I think, y'all have more education then me. You design computer programs, do lawyer work, how come you can't pick up on this stuff that is intuitive for me? Jam camp was good for me, as I was kind of stagnant in knowing what direction to go musically. Peter challenged the class to work on one song a week. My trouble is picking out the melody on the instrument, he gave us pointers on how to do this, which I won't tell, but if you want to know, go to Dr. Banjo and sign up for his jam camp. But I digress. I think too many of us spent our formative years watching TV, instead of having that family and friend time of singing and playing together. It's really kind of sad too. We had one fellow who had been told that he wasn't that good of a singer. Lo and behold Peter worked with him, and with a little practice this guy will have as nice of a singing voice as Mac Wiseman. But just think of all the joy this fellow missed out on in his fifty or so years of this earthly journey, not singing.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •