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Jamming and Other Things

For some the thought of jamming is dreaded! For others, like Erin, this is sweet and easy. The informal definition of jamming is improvising with other musicians. So, how can we jam with others slow and fast? There is a way.

I went to the Bel Aire jam a couple of weeks ago and had a really good time. Did I play every tune? No. Did I have a piece of music for every tune? No. Were the other jammers kind, fun, helpful, and welcoming? YES. I plan on going back and really learn how to jam with others. It is a goal for this year because it is a universal language for folks with the same frame of mind to play music together and have a good time. Here are some basics that will make a big difference.

1. Learn your chords up and down the fret board. Yes, we have the most common D, G, and A chords found in the first 3 frets. But they are repeated on the frets toward the bridge and are just as lovely if not better sounding.

2. Don’t worry about playing every note! Only those with super-fast fingers and many years under their belt can accomplish this. Blend in with chords and a few melody notes here and there.

3. Strumming is key here too. Practice just some strumming patterns and get them down pat. Joe Collins is great at stressing we should not even have to think about the right hand. I think David Haas has said the same thing. Practice this without even playing a note with the left hand. At the Dulcimer event in KC we learned to strum in and then pick, pick, pick. That is strum in, then bass string pick OUT, middle string pick IN, and melody string pick OUT. This works for 4/4 time. Just adjust for 3/4 time with strum and 2 picks. It really makes for a dynamic sound.

4. Practice with CD’s. I bet most of us have some favorite CD’s we could practice with. If not, there are so many YouTube videos that would work even better. When you open a YouTube video you can adjust the speed.

5. Jamming books are good and both Stephen Siefert and Dave Haas have pretty good jam books.

6. Maybe we can practice some jamming after our general meetings!


What do you want to see happen after our regular meetings? Do you have any suggestions we might be able to consider? Please contact me and let me know!

Spring Fundraise April 23rd – we have 1 slot still open for the open mic. Please go to and then Databases 2022 Spring Fundraiser Open Mic

Signup WUP – we need volunteers to help plan the event. Again you can go and then Databases 2022 Warm Up Picnic Organizing Committee – Volunteers. We need to make this year a very special event! There are still virtual festivals galore, but many festivals are opening up for us all! Enjoy!

Keep the music in the Air! NancyJ, your President


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