Last update 24 April 2023
Q: What are these jam sessions like?
A: We have a wonderfully friendly, welcoming group. Be sure to read the description of each meetup to learn more about the events. We currently have two jams monthly (one slow and one medium). At the slow jam, we play a variety of traditional fiddle tunes at a slow to moderate pace, with tunes that vary in complexity. At the medium jams we play tunes closer to dance speed.
Our mission is to provide a safe space to musicians of all levels and continue the aural transmission of tunes. In line with this tradition, we encourage learning by ear and play many repeats of each tune. It’s a great way to get the nuances of each tune’s “groove,” retain the melodies, and learn to listen to the musicians around you! Some folks prefer to use sheet music and we try to make this available for many of the tunes.
During a jam, feel free to “noodle” around to learn the tune and don’t worry about playing the wrong notes! This is the place! Our group has beginners, accomplished musicians, and everyone in between. We usually sit in a big circle or a jumble of chairs (depending on the space) and everyone has the opportunity to request or lead a tune or two. If you’d like to lead a tune, don’t worry about being in perfect, just be sure you can lead the tune completely, loudly and relatively in tempo. Otherwise, the jam leader is happy to lead any tune they know.
Q: The Master Tune List is big! Where do I start?
A: The tune list will keep growing, but there are a few easy places to start. First, feel free to come to the jam without “preparing.” There’s no homework and we encourage our members to try learning by ear, regardless of skill level. It’s okay to “noodle” around on your instrument, play wrong notes, and try to find the tune. We typically play tunes about 4 to 6 times and it’s okay if you just pick up a few notes. We’ll probably play it again at the next jam! Second, we try to post what we played at the previous jam in the comments section. Check out past meetup posts to see what was played. Many of these tunes will be played from session to session.
Lastly, all members are welcome to request (and even lead) tunes. If you want to learn some of the tunes, simply pick something that you like (or that we’ve been playing). You can always tell the jam leader that you would like to play those tunes and we’ll try to ensure they get played.
Q: I’m new to my instrument. Is this still a good place for me?
A: Why don’t you come and see? It’s probably best if you have some basic familiarity with your instrument. You don’t need to be able to play well, or read music, but if you’re learning by ear you probably need a little bit of time with your instrument under your belt. Depending on the instrument, there may be other jam members you can look to for assistance.