The Perfect Jamday – 5 tips for a positive jamming experience

posted in: Creativity | 2

A jamday. As a musician you’re lucky if you have local musicians to have something like this with. You could be friends or just know each other through music.


Now let’s imagine you’re going to have one or more musicians over to have a neat little jamming session.
This in itself is totally awesome! BUT you want the jamday to pass off smoothly right? And maybe you even want it to be a productive jam with at least some outcome.

To ensure that, always remember these 5 things I’ll be telling you today. They’re incredibly important if you really want to have a positive jamday experience.
As you never know when the opportunity comes up again you should make sure to make the most out of it.


1. Set Up the Jamday

First Up – Set Up.

Remember that! It’s important to get your gear ready BEFORE the others are there. This of course doesn’t mean that every little thing has to be plucked in somewhere. Still, have every piece of gear you might use at hand. This way you don’t have to rummage around in some box to find what you’re looking for. Instead you’ve got it laying right there, in reach. You won’t have to pause for several minutes just to find a special adapter or cable or even an instrument.

I’ve experienced this and it’s awful. Especially when you’re totally in the flow and the idea of using another instrument comes to mind but you have to stand up and set it up before you can go for it.

Just have a look at what kind of horror you HAVE to avoid.

Horrific Cable Salad (will screw up your Jamday)
Horrific Cable Salad

2. Don’t plan

In theory, planning something ahead of the jamday sounds pretty good right? There’s a catch with this though. First of all it’s then technically not even a jam anymore. It’d be more of a loose recording session.
But more importantly you might get into difficulties once you get to start the jam.
Imagine planning to have the most groovy and smooth Reggae jam of all time with your guitarist friend. However, once you’re good to go you’re not really feeling it. This might put a curb on your creativity and motivation. Instead just see what mood you’re in when starting, as you won’t be disappointed that you can’t realize your plans. Therefore you can start with fresh, creative energy.


3. Get in a mood

You might have noticed that I kinda mentioned this in the previous paragraph. See this one as a continuation of said paragraph. Getting in a mood basically just means: start playing. Don’t agree on something you’re going to play. Just fiddle around with your instrument for a bit and let the ideas flow. Something substantial will eventually arise so that the others can join in on your idea. Or the other way round. My most recent jamday actually went like this: warming up – idea – ‘nice man!’ – recording – song.
Yes, we managed to produce a small instrumental from the actual first idea we had that day. Here it is:

What I’m trying to say here is: Make use of the benefits of jamming. Jamming means playing without a final goal. So start doing exactly that and see whatever cool thing your spontaneous mind creates.


4. Be able to record your jamday

This might contradict the point of not planning at first but it’s rather part of setting up everything. Get everything you need for a quick recording up and running. You never know what decent pieces you’ll come up with. Thus being able to quickly record everything opens up the opportunity to save ideas for continuing and producing them later so that you can get to the next piece instead of sticking with the one idea for the whole jamday.


5. Be open

In other words: Don’t deny. Never refuse to try something out because you want to do something else. Give things a chance. Music is fluid, meaning you can always form and adjust the stuff you’re playing. Generally this is a thing we gotta admit more often. Ideas of others are not the inferior choice. By combining your creativity and complementing each other you can make much greater things than you think


Conclusion

As you can see there are a few easy things to consider when having a jamday. Also please note that these tips are not coming from a pro. These are things which I – from my experience – consider as helpful when it comes to organizing and actually having a jamday with other musicians.


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2 Responses

  1. Jeremy
    | Reply

    Great read! Has some good points!

    • Lars Grages
      | Reply

      Thanks! Something not to overlook^^

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