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My Jam Family

Posted by bj on Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Some things became apparent at last night's jam. There are some very tight relationships being formed around this jam circle, as well as some old relationships that have been rekindled via the group. And people are already looking out for each other and for the group.

For instance, one of our jammers told me there were some pretty disturbing rumors floating around that would indicate we might want to have backup plans for another location, just in case. And he told me he'd already put some wheels in motion to get us an emergency venue if there was a problem.

We've also been invited to participate, as a group, in some of the Quiet Valley Farm events this summer, which I'm happy about, since I love that incredible little slice of heaven and have already played up there a couple times. But we've also been told we need a distinctive group name. We're working on that!

And the group told me that I have to develop an opt in email list so we can all communicate with each other apart from the actual jams. LOL! At least they gave me something to do that I'm actually qualified to handle!

Two of our jammers, both of whom have been to more than one of our jams, but never at the same time until last night, are very old friends who haven't seen each other in a bunch of years. It was obvious to me this serendipitous meeting was a very welcome one!

I've come up with a good way to introduce new tunes to the group. I learn the tune, and send David Husic a copy of the mp3 I learned it from. That way he can listen and "backstop" me on it, since the group still has trouble learning a new tune from my still not so good fiddling. David's been playing for over 30 years, and even if I don't send him the mp3 he seems able to "translate" the tune from my bad playing, probably because he's got a son who is learning and is used to hearing on that level. I'm glad he's become a regular, I've come to depend on him to help me in getting new tunes rolling with the group. Last night it was Squirrel Heads in Gravy and Shootin' Creek.

My only challenge is when some of the experienced guys introduce new tunes. There are 4 or 5 of them who know LOTS  of obscure and great tunes. But they jump in fast and loose, and those of us who are less experienced have little chance of getting the tune before they're wrapping up. I guess that'll get worked out over time. And I actually think that the email list will be good for this, since I can get tune names and mp3's of them to post on the website, and not trust to my memory to add to the tunelist. And then the rest of us slowpoke novices can learn one or two of those new tunes before the next jam.

Many of us are going to be meeting at the Shane Cook Workshop and Concert up in Honesdale PA this Saturday, so we've already started meeting outside the jam circle. Cool. We're becoming a Jam Family!



10 comments on “My Jam Family”

brya31 Says:
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @8:35:19 AM

Very good job gettin all thos folks together BJ!

bj Says:
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @8:58:16 AM

Rob, it is, without a doubt, the best thing I've ever done for my fiddling.

ChickenMan Says:
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @9:17:47 AM

bj recording the Experienced Ones is exactly the way to go. That's how we get better - listening and learning from those who put the time in before us. You are inspirational for me. Sounds like I might have to try to organize a regular jam session.
I only get once a month to play with other fiddlers, and even that meeting is more about taking turns playing in front of everybody (Fiddler's Assn of Iowa - I think the main purpose is to give folks a chance to play for an audience, and to prep for the Iowa State Fair Fiddle Contest which is sponsered by FAI).

FiddleJammer Says:
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @9:24:35 AM

Although frustrating for newbies, I think it is actually an excellent learning experience to eat the dust of an experienced player who's nailing a tune up to speed. There's always someone better than you, and I think it's a good thing to do to play with folks who are way out of your league. newbie, novice, intermediate, or purdy good. It might hurt a bit, but you'll come away with at least one new skill. I can just hear someone starting to type "but you'll pick up baaaaad habits if you don't learn a tune properly". But, that's another thread that's been beaten to death on the forums.

FiddleJammer Says:
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @9:25:06 AM

PS... As always, I'm talking about jam skills, not performance skills.

bj Says:
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @9:42:15 AM

Well, I never do suggest they slow down. I did, however, suggest that when they start a tune that they see a lot of people fumbling on, that they play it a few rounds longer to give more of us a chance of getting at least a few more bits of it. They seemed okay with that.

I noticed that, since we're running 2nd and 4th tuesday that there seem to be a core of regulars that come to every jam, a few that come on the 2nd Tuesday only, and another bunch that come on the 4th tuesday. The 4th tuesday bunch I'm hanging on for dear life. The 2nd tuesday bunch I'm insisting that I shouldn't start every tune since I start slower and I won't get better that way, and they argue with me that it's better to go slow for the beginners in the group. Funny how the different tuesdays have developed such different characters! I actually prefer to hang on for dear life, though it does get frustrating at times. I played June Apple up to speed last night. Yes, there were some mistakes, but not as many as I would expect.

FiddleJammer Says:
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @11:14:02 AM

I've tried hooking people in by saying something like 'slow jam for the first hour' or some such. Trying to please all of the people some of the time. :-)

OTJunky Says:
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @11:19:17 AM

So, I thought part of the OT jam thing was to slow down and teach the tune when other people don't know it.

That's what happened at Fiddle Hell in November. When that Jam got cookin' on a tune, it certainly wouldn't be called a "slow jam". But when somebody wanted to play a tune the other players didn't know, they all slowed down and learned the tune.

It's the Irish jam tradition where the good players discourage people who don't know the tunes - not the OT jam tradition...

--OTJ

fiddlepogo Says:
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @12:10:15 PM

Eh, you may not LIKE ezfolk that much, but now that they AREN'T closing,
but it would be a GREAT place to post recordings of the jams,
so those of us elsewhere (like the wrong side of the continent!) could hear, and not just drool!

OTJ, that may be a NEW part of the OT jam tradition. Back in the '70s I think us younger fiddlers were pretty rude!
And played pretty fast!
Consideration needs to be taught.

FiddleJammer Says:
Thursday, April 30, 2009 @6:12:03 AM

Lest you think I've taken leave of my senses, OTJ, yes slowing down is a good thing to. I just wanted to suggest that people will complain about trying to play fast, but it's trying to keep up that will improve your jamming and keeping up skills. :-)

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