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The Politics of scheduling a Jam session

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Sep 15, 2019 - 1:51:14 PM
7615 posts since 3/19/2009

Yes, you'd think that you call/email friends and have a jam session. At one time it was easy.. Call/email..they'd come. ...THEN, came the MULTIPLE jam opportunities..!!!
So many musicians, so many opportunities to jam during the week.. People have to pick and choose.. "Can't attend ALL of the jams!"
As if that weren't enough, there are THESE considerations:
Musician "A" won't come unless musician "B" comes.
Musician "A" won't come if Musician "C" is going to be there.
Musician "D" won't come if musician "B" is going to be there, BUT wants to be there if
musician "A" will be there.\
Musician "E", doesn't like musician "F".
Musician "A" wants to be the only musician who plays their particular instrument.

Musician "B" won't come if we play in a certain key

Musician "G" will only come if we don't stay in one key all evening

Musician "A" will only come UNLESS we stay in the same key  for the evening

Musician "H".. May come if he feels like it at the last minute.

 

 

AND< this is only the TIP of the Iceberg!!!

OK, you get the idea, YADA< YADA< YADA..
In the OLD days when there weren't many jam opportunities, people would show up ready, willing, and able ... to play music..
I'm really getting tired of trying to get the perfect jam scheduled.. THis is worse than trying to herd cats..!  
What have been YOUR EXPERIENCES scheduling jam sessions?

OH, and this doesn't even begin to consider the Seating arrangements.!!!  Good thing I love all of my OT musician friends...and see the humour in all of this!!

Edited by - TuneWeaver on 09/15/2019 14:17:24

Sep 15, 2019 - 2:46:28 PM
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DougD

USA

9233 posts since 12/2/2007

As I recently said, this all seems very silly to me. As my good friend, the late Clint Howard once said "I'd rather be a good musicianer than a good politician."
Just send out an email invitation, or however you want to do it and let the chips fall where they may.

Sep 15, 2019 - 2:49:45 PM

2056 posts since 8/23/2008

Yeah, well I'm not coming if it's...…. ''A Jam With Out Fiddles...''

Sep 15, 2019 - 2:51:18 PM
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910 posts since 6/26/2007

I host one jam each year, in conjunction with my sorghum festival, which is next Saturday. I try to get the word out to everybody I can stand and who might be interested (and available). I don't participate much because of other duties. Among the few I can count on coming are a couple of guys from near Atlanta. There are no rules, so if somebody doesn't like how it is going he or she can leave. That hasn't been a problem. Maybe one reason some stay is the free pinto beans and boiled green peanuts.

Sep 15, 2019 - 4:33:36 PM
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Fiddler

USA

3964 posts since 6/22/2007

I host an open old time jam in Dallas twice a month at a public historic village. The requirements are acoustic instruments only and the tunes must be in the public domain and should be in the "old time lexicon." One long-time friend and outstanding musician got upset that the jam was now being attended by folks who were new to their instruments and new to old-time music, and even more so that there were dulcimers!. He packed up and left when a new mtn dulcimer player asked to play Old Joe Clark in the key of D!

So, here's how I look at it - if it is an open jam, such as the one I host, and you don't like whatever, you are free to stay or leave. If you chose to stay, please help make the music experience a good one for the new folks. And, playing tunes in "nontraditional" keys is acceptable!! -- especially to accommodate those instruments that might not be able to play in those keys, e.g. mtn dulcimer.

If I am hosting a closed jam at my house or somewhere else, I will invite who I want to create music with. It is ok to be exclusive. If two of the invitees don't like each other, then it will be their loss for not coming!

I look at jams as an opportunity to practice your socialization skills and emotional intelligence skills. Yes, I have said and done some pretty insensitive things in my past. I ask forgiveness and move ahead. If others do something egregious, I usually calmly say something privately, then move on. It's not worth loosing a friend - especially if alcohol was a contributing factor in any way!  Life is way too short!!

Sep 15, 2019 - 6:35:26 PM

7615 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by DougD

As I recently said, this all seems very silly to me. As my good friend, the late Clint Howard once said "I'd rather be a good musicianer than a good politician."
Just send out an email invitation, or however you want to do it and let the chips fall where they may.


Of course that is exactly what I do.. but there are always those "considerations".. Tonights Jam had about 6 people who didn't come for whatever reason.. but we still had a fiddle , two guitars, a banjo player (me) and a washboard player.. It was a perfect evening..

Sep 15, 2019 - 6:36:15 PM
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7615 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by buckhenry

Yeah, well I'm not coming if it's...…. ''A Jam With Out Fiddles...''


You'd be invited.. This evenings jam welcomed fiddlers.

Sep 15, 2019 - 6:44:01 PM
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7615 posts since 3/19/2009

Well put, Fiddler.......As I've said, in our area there so many jam opportunities that people can be picky.. They don't realize just how lucky they are...Sometimes I host jams with inexperienced musicians, other times I want to just play with the 'big boys' and still other times I just want it to be my daughter and one or two others..
All of the 'objections' that I've mentions don't happen every time, but they are things that come up. I'm blessed jam-wise..and my complaints are really superficial...
Basically, I'll play with anybody..(just not all of them at one time!!!wink)

Sep 15, 2019 - 7:49:33 PM
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Fiddler

USA

3964 posts since 6/22/2007

North Texas is an old-time music desert! So, I treasure whatever opportunities come along to play music. 

I frequently attend a "bluegrass" session in a small community near me, as well as a long-running folk music group in Dallas. Old time fiddle tunes are not the strength of either group. The "bluegrass" session is more self-composed "praise" music or songs that might be familiar these days in rural churches. I frequently don't agree with the theology of the songs, but I play along and use the opportunity to learn improvisation skills and ear-learning skills. These are great folks who just enjoy playing music with others. They tolerate my noise! But one person always requests that I play "Liberty" - her favorite tune that has deep connections for her that she has yet to reveal to me.

I treasure the Dallas Folk Music Society above any other non-OT groups I attend. The founders , who started the group over 60 years ago, are good friends who have stories about folk musicians that were in their circle of friends that will leave you astonished. They also tell stories of the importance of music in their growing up. One of these folks has a catalog of ballads and songs that is phenomenal. Turns out that his family spent the evenings singing and reciting poetry, particularly Kipling. Both of these folks were very active in the folk music scene of the 50s and in numerous social justice causes, including some recent issues.

I say this because it was music that brought us together. If I had turned my nose up at that "other " music, I would have lost out on these wonderful friendships that transcends the music. I would have missed learning about these humble folks and their contributions to the betterment of society in ways that you would never believe!! (I'm sure Doug and many others here have similar experiences.)

So, I try to be kind to everyone.  (I was not always like this!) You never know how they might affect you or how they might help you.

Sep 15, 2019 - 9:18:47 PM

7615 posts since 3/19/2009

My jam this evening went well and as I was TRYING to drift off to sleep certain "considerations" not necessarily Political came to mind. Considerations that involve scheduling a jam.. It is not just a matter of sending out an email and seeing who can come.. I'd do That if I was new in the community, but I KNOW these people.. I have to juggle these considerations when scheduling a jam:
Dan is Jewish as is one other friend.. they Won't attend a Friday night jam.
One person is Christian and attends church on Wednesday nights.
One person works until 7 pm so won't attend a short 6-8 jam..
One person can't drive at night so can only attend afternoon jams.
Some people car-pool.. so must be invited together
some people already have a SUnday night regular jam
some people already host the Monday night jam
some people already host a Tuesday jam
It is easier to host a jam when my wife is out of town, so I need to check the calendar.

THEN< if I host an early evening jam.. I put 'something' on the stove. It would be rude to not inform my vegetarian friends that I'm cooking Chili. My daughter says, 'Make it spicy,'.. One friend can't handle spicy, so at the last minute, tonight, I had to call him and remind him to eat at home before he came...Often I'll have a vegetarian option ...if it is a big jam........
All of these considerations are NO PROBLEM, in that these are my Friends and any of us would, I think, try to keep these things in mind....They do all add to the idea of "scheduling a jam is like herding cats"... Nothing insurmountable, but the more we know people the more we want to accommodate them..
Yikes!!! and I schedule about 20 jams a year... Is it any wonder my hair is falling out.. So as I say, it is not just a matter of schedule and see who comes, not for me at least........

Edited by - TuneWeaver on 09/15/2019 21:22:22

Sep 16, 2019 - 1:02:03 AM
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Dragonslayer

Mozambique

102 posts since 9/1/2019

I've only ever scheduled jams with one other person at a time, cuz that's all the musicians I could find. It's much simpler and easier, I call (or text) and say "are you available to jam at such time?" And they either say yes or no and it's that simple. That was in Texas. Here in Africa, the only musician I have within an eight hour drive (about 150 miles or less) is my mom, who's usually too busy to play music, and only knows about two tunes that I know (she plays flute) I do envy y'all that have enough jams to worry about who's gonna be there....

Sep 16, 2019 - 4:34:03 AM
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Fiddler

USA

3964 posts since 6/22/2007

Lee- wow, sounds like a question on the GRE exam!!

A couple of observations:

1. You are a very generous and thoughtful person!

2. Offering a meal is great and offering two options is beyond the call of duty.

I have done a similar thing in having a meal if the jam session is during the dinner hour. But this is a rarity and is usually with the approval and assistance from my wife. We have  two approaches to the food issue and it depends on our mood.

1. We only offer one option, but those not eating meat can leave it out. This is typically fajitas. Easy to make and serve. Second, spiciness is also added as desired. I, too, like spicy - so I will have a separate bowl of chopped peppers (not the sissy ones!!) and a bowl of spicy pico de gallo.

2. We do a potluck. We'll tell the folks we are making ______ (beef chile, for example) and will provide beer and tea. Bring something to share. If you don't eat meat or don't like spicey, bring what main course you like or your beverage of choice.

3. If I am execting a small group, I'll call out for pizza - one with meat and one without.

Sep 16, 2019 - 8:18:47 AM
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4122 posts since 6/23/2007

If I were scheduling jams, I would avoid Monday, Thursday, and Saturday during football season. Are potential members asked about scheduling before it is implemented ? It is probably impossible to create a jam schedule that pleases everyone. Jam rules should be provided for potential attendees. Some jams are posted online and others are tacked on boards in music stores.

Losing a couple of quality instrumentalists can really hurt a jam. The quality of players "dropping" out of a jam is IMHO more damaging than the number of players "dropping" out of jam. Actually, I prefer jamming with a handful of people, all of whom are slightly better than I am. Playing with better musicians makes a person learn more and play better.

Sep 16, 2019 - 8:23:56 AM
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7615 posts since 3/19/2009

Since my wife is a wonderful Tree Hugger... I also have to consider these things:

cheekyAll food brought to the house must be Fairly Traded, Organic, Vegan friendly, Free Ranged, Ethlically Harvested, Federally Inspected, Cage Free and Banjo player approved...Other than that.. No Problem  smileywink

Sep 16, 2019 - 12:05:02 PM
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423 posts since 9/1/2010

I'm fortunate it seems. Lots of musician friends and no drama.   I usually coordinate the jams and send out what I would call more of a notification than an invite.  Since the guy that hosts plays clawhammer even if it's just the two of us it's a good time.  Usually we have at least four to six attend though.  Life is good smiley

Sep 16, 2019 - 12:55:39 PM

7615 posts since 3/19/2009

Don't anyone get me wrong.. I'm just pointing out the things that go on getting a jam going.. I'm NOT complaining.. just scratchin' my head in amazement...I wouldn't trade these 'problems' for the world......I even host weekend long jams from time to time..

Sep 16, 2019 - 1:47:49 PM

7615 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by rosinhead

I'm fortunate it seems. Lots of musician friends and no drama.   I usually coordinate the jams and send out what I would call more of a notification than an invite.  Since the guy that hosts plays clawhammer even if it's just the two of us it's a good time.  Usually we have at least four to six attend though.  Life is good smiley


No Drama.. that is a good thing, but what do you mean by "I usually coordinate the jams"....???

What do you mean by coordinate?  Pick who will be invited?  Do you have 'considerations'??

Edited by - TuneWeaver on 09/16/2019 13:48:24

Sep 16, 2019 - 2:42:45 PM

351 posts since 8/10/2017

I say yes to all the invitations. And I would especially say yes extra loud if it was on a night where there is football. I hate football. I hate baseball, basketball and soccer, too.

Sep 16, 2019 - 2:59:15 PM
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423 posts since 9/1/2010

quote:
Originally posted by TuneWeaver
quote:
Originally posted by rosinhead

I'm fortunate it seems. Lots of musician friends and no drama.   I usually coordinate the jams and send out what I would call more of a notification than an invite.  Since the guy that hosts plays clawhammer even if it's just the two of us it's a good time.  Usually we have at least four to six attend though.  Life is good smiley


No Drama.. that is a good thing, but what do you mean by "I usually coordinate the jams"....???

What do you mean by coordinate?  Pick who will be invited?  Do you have 'considerations'??

 


My coordinating consists of me first asking the guy who hosts if he's up for it.   If so, then I send out notifications to about six people saying "hey, we will be picking at so and so's place on Sunday at 6pm".  That's it. 

The weekly jam started as just me and the clawhammer player getting together.  The rest are just good friends that like to play old-time too.  So, they basically get notified when he and I are getting together.  If they show up...great.  If not, we still play and have great time.

Sep 18, 2019 - 12:19:57 AM
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Jimbeaux

Germany

281 posts since 5/24/2016

When you're hosting it's easy. I just send out an invitation and whoever comes comes. If nobody comes, I go anyways (we jam at my office) and learn a new tune.

It's helpful to be flexible, though. I'd enjoy the challenge of playing old joe clark in D if a dulcimer player showed up.

Also, when there aren't too many people around who play this music, it's also helpful to play different instruments. Usually I'm the only banjo player, so that's what I play, but I love it when there's another banjo player so I can play fiddle.

Sep 18, 2019 - 5:21:57 AM

7615 posts since 3/19/2009

When I'm hosting a large "social jam" we have a sort of community list of musicians and in that case I WILL just invite everyone and see who comes.. There have been times when enough people came that we had one jam in the living room and a second jam in the kitchen........However, normally jams are small enough that I want to have some control of the attendees..

Sep 18, 2019 - 10:01:21 AM
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Old Scratch

Canada

428 posts since 6/22/2016

Any time I've hosted a jam, I've just invited whoever I felt like, whoever I owe favours to, and whoever's feelings will be hurt if they aren't invited. Whoever shows up, shows up. They play what they play. I've never said, Let me know if you're coming, because I don't like it when I'm asked to commit to someone else's jam. We're talking about musicians here, people.

Other than that - I'll vacuum the floor, and have a few beers and a bag of chips on hand .....

Sep 18, 2019 - 12:48:02 PM
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gapbob

USA

623 posts since 4/20/2008

A jam session should be a chance for friends to get together.

All that other crap is BS. I am able to play music by myself just fine, but when I get together with friends, it is the friendships that matter, music, our similar interest, is the glue, the excuse for us to get together. For those who don't understand, don't waste your effort.

Sep 18, 2019 - 1:14:45 PM

7615 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by gapbob

A jam session should be a chance for friends to get together.

All that other crap is BS. I am able to play music by myself just fine, but when I get together with friends, it is the friendships that matter, music, our similar interest, is the glue, the excuse for us to get together. For those who don't understand, don't waste your effort.


Well put, Bob... Music is the glue...  With the greatest of kindness, I'll say that those who just send out invitations (as I have done from time to time) without any considerations..probably WOULD  keep in mind who normally can or can't come to jams for whatever reason.. So,  I'll not judge too harshly... One reason that I like hosting a lot of relatively small jams is just so I can accommodate various people's needs/availability........ besides... the more excuses to have a jam..the better....Those who COULD host a jam but Don't... well.. they should be the last to complain..winkHey, BOB.. If I host a weekend jam this fall, would you drive down from Michigan ??? Rent free!!

Sep 18, 2019 - 1:45:59 PM

7615 posts since 3/19/2009

Hey, speaking of politics in jam sessions.. (on topic but Maybe a little OFF)... Don't you just hate it when you are at odds with a jam member and are ready to call it 'quits'  and NEVER play with them again ....and then that person pays you the best compliment you've heard in years..and you realize you are being too quick to judge??
I hate when that happens..smiley (hate=Love... but you probably already get that)....

Sep 19, 2019 - 7:35:23 AM

gapbob

USA

623 posts since 4/20/2008

quote:
Originally posted by TuneWeaver
quote:
Originally posted by gapbob

A jam session should be a chance for friends to get together.

All that other crap is BS. I am able to play music by myself just fine, but when I get together with friends, it is the friendships that matter, music, our similar interest, is the glue, the excuse for us to get together. For those who don't understand, don't waste your effort.


Well put, Bob... Music is the glue...  With the greatest of kindness, I'll say that those who just send out invitations (as I have done from time to time) without any considerations..probably WOULD  keep in mind who normally can or can't come to jams for whatever reason.. So,  I'll not judge too harshly... One reason that I like hosting a lot of relatively small jams is just so I can accommodate various people's needs/availability........ besides... the more excuses to have a jam..the better....Those who COULD host a jam but Don't... well.. they should be the last to complain..winkHey, BOB.. If I host a weekend jam this fall, would you drive down from Michigan ??? Rent free!!

Yeah, but my free weekends are sparse, between opera, football, etc.


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