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  • #1930 Reply

    Kay Chang

    We “jammed” with a friend awhile back. I failed miserably (my daughter had no trouble having been in Suzuki for several years and used to playing by ear). How does one “prepare” for something like that? He said at a bigger Jam session, everyone would be asked to do a solo (ugh).

    #1932 Reply


    I recently attended my first jam, fortunately there were multiple people there, so any mistakes I made were well covered up. 🙂 I think having a basic knowledge of what tunes will be played helps a lot. I’m just barely at the level where I can figure out what key the song is in and can follow along sight reading if they play slow enough or have enough repeats.
    Of course with fiddle tunes there’s a million and one variations of every tune. Just remember, fiddle jams are supposed to be fun, no one’s gonna hate you if you miss a note or two or even sit out a song.

    #1961 Reply

    Kay Chang

    They were not bothered by my bumbling. and were glad I was there. Good thing there were a couple of other strong players or I would have really messed it up. My problem really is being SO dependent on seeing notes. It limits everyone else (if there is music) to the key my music is in.
    It was fun, but not really fun because I was struggling so hard to play. Now that I think about it, it was actually just torture until they figured out how I could use music and they play along. sigh.

    #1968 Reply

    Michael Sanchez

    My advice to you guys is when you get in that situation again, think less is more. I used to think I have to do this crazy solo when I get in situations like that and actually it sounds better to know the basics of improv and just let notes “breathe.” Basically what I mean by that is that it is ok to hold a half note or two in a progression, and try to aim to hit the chord changes instead of trying to jam in as many notes as possible into a solo. I learned the hard way that less is better with fiddle jammin’, and it takes a lot time to play crazy improv solos until you get to a certain point. If you know nothing about improv, this post might not make sense to you yet. Ask me questions if you have them!

    #2038 Reply


    Great advice Mike! I play in lots of jams (mostly guitar) but during the past 5 years I have working on the fiddle. It has been my experience that in a “normal” jam…if there is such an animal…that the ‘less’ players are much easier to follow and usually makes the tune sound the best! Some will play a run through the melody then take off of scales. This is ok I guess, as long as there are a few really good guitar players to follow. But most of the time jammers are a group of musicians that follow the melody line, and any big seperation from that looses them. Then the tune falls apart and everyone sounds bad. Whether I am picking the guitar or dragging the bow, I try to stay real close to the melody so everyone can play and stay up with the tune. There is a time for “hotlicks”..but more often than not a good melody ride is better..at least in my opinion!

    #2513 Reply

    Michael Sanchez

    What I was talking about is easier said than done. My guess is that you were doing jams without vocals so that is really where the difference is. It is much more important for a group to stay together so I much rather have that than having a group try to get too fancy, and fall apart. It sounds like you are on the right track with what you are trying to do which is great!

    #4410 Reply

    William Bickerstaff

    I live in improv-land. It comes so natural to me… so much so that when I hear a jazz or blues chord progression I put my violin and bow in place and just… play. I started doing improvisation during my high school years (early 70s) and continued jamming, with one long break, until now.

    There is a way, I think, that you may want to think about as a way to practice jamming. Go to your favorite online streaming music station (I like Pandora) and play along with the music channel which suits the genre of jam you want to practice.

    I jam every Monday night as the “house fiddler” for the “Monday Night Band”.

    #6373 Reply

    Three Chord Monte

    Jamming is an area I really need to work on.

    #7963 Reply

    It’s a ton of fun taking the fiddle to a blues jam (as long as you’re up on your blues scales). Everyone else is a guitarist. The fiddle really stands out!

    #8573 Reply

    Christie Morehouse

    Thanks, flatpicker. You are encouraging.

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