Monday, March 1, 2010

Instructional Jam Sessions

It's been a while since I've written about any of our jam sessions, so I thought this would be the perfect moment to do so!  We are still having them regularly, so maybe you'd like to come join us for one.

Every Monday, we have instructional jams.  There are actually two different sessions, each one runs every other Monday.  One is more advanced than the other.  If you are interested in attending one of these sessions, give us a call or send me an e-mail so we can determine which one you'd be better suited for.  The cost is $10.00, and the sessions last 1-1/2 hours. 

The nice thing about the instructional jam sessions is that you can ask questions, get answers, and try anything you want again!  If you are kicking off a song and really get it messed up, you get to have another shot at it if you want.  Everyone picks out a song to sing, I help you figure out what key you should be singing in, and then everyone learns how to sing and play the song together.  It's a very low-key environment because everybody gets to know each other and everyone is truly supportive in so many ways!  We always have a lot of fun.

Sometimes we work on harmony or study very basic theory as it applies to bluegrass music.  Tonight's session was the less advanced session.  That doesn't mean that we are rank beginners anymore, though.  We talked about transposing to other keys, the Nashville number system, bar chords, "real" chords versus chord positions, and capo usage. 

Just about everyone is picking out another song now.  That means a lot of work for me!  I have to get the chords and words out to everyone, and then I have to write breaks to all the songs in whatever key the singer is playing the song in.  I write breaks for mandolin, fiddle, banjo and guitar.  The songs that we are currently playing include:  Blackberry Blossom, Worried Man Blues, Shady Grove, Mountain Dew, Nine Pound Hammer, Banjo in the Hollow, Highways and Hedges, On Jordan's Stormy Banks, Tom Dooley, Hot Corn Cold Corn, Pig in a Pen, Little Maggie, Somebody Touched Me, Keep on the Sunny Side, Jambalaya, Old Dan Tucker, Wabash Cannonball, Bile Them Cabbage, Liza Jane, Will the Circle Be Unbroken, Sweet Betsy From Pike, and Old Joe Clark.  I have probably missed a some, too!  We have accrued quite a list now and everyone is improving so much!

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