One thing all the world's top guitarists would agree on is the importance of jam sessions. Despite recent developments and improvements in practice CD's and play along computer software, nothing beats playing along with another human being!
Jam sessions come in two sizes, king size good and king size bad.
A good jam session is when you walk away with a new confidence in your guitar playing and your ability to perform, it's a real positive learning experience where you can try out new ideas and learn by watching other musicians interact.
The bad jam session is a real drag, with the overall feeling that it was just a “waste of time".
Here's seven tips to make certain your jam sessions are good.
Tip 1: Set Goals for your session
Define the purpose of the jam session, is the session:
(a) a fun get together of friends who play the guitar?
(b) an audition style session where you intend to check out perspective guitar players for your band
(c) working on original material for a recording session . . . etc
Always begin planning your jam session(s) with a clear goal in mind, you will have much more fun, the musicians will enjoy the session and want to participate in future sessions and you will achieve much more in a greatly reduced time frame.
Tip 2: Select material
Make a list of the material you want to rehearse, depending on the purpose of the jam session you may need anything from 3 to 12 songs. The idea here is to think about what you want to rehearse, is it originals, covers or maybe you need to work on selecting material and song sequencing for your live performances.
Tip 3: Choose the correct keys
If you are working with a singer you will need to organize a private rehearsal to define the best keys for the vocalist. It's much better to do this without the whole band, you will work much quicker and more accurately without the added background noise and distractions.
Tip 4: Write the musical arrangements
Even if the members at the jam session are not working from standard music notation, it's important of write out the chord charts in the correct key(s) with the appropriate musical road map information e. g. , repeat signs, coda sign, musical dynamic markings . . . etc.
Tip 5: Equipment checklist
It's a great idea to create a session checklist of equipment you need to organize such as . . .
(a) spare guitar strings
(b) string winder
(c) spare guitar leads
(d) wah-wah pedal etc
These items are pretty obvious, but you will be amazed how much time it saves when you have them all itemized . . . the whole jam session or performance can come to a grinding halt if someone forgets to bring a $20 guitar lead!
Tip 6: Contact the players
Now that you have selected the material, written the arrangements in the correct key(s) it's time to contact the players you want to invite to the jam session, this gives you control over the quality of the performance.
Remember, a sporting team is only as good as it's weakest member . . . it's the same with a band!
Do everything you can think of before the session so everyone can enjoy the learning experience. For example, you may need to send some audio tracks to certain band members who may not be familiar with the material you intend to rehearse.
Tip 7: Record the session
Don't forget to recording the jam session, this does not have to be an elaborate recoding, a simple cassette recorder will do the job. It's amazing how much you can learn by listening to the jam session recordings, I recommend listening to the recordings two or three days after the session, this will give you a good “first impression" of how your band sounds.
Don't forget to make copies of the jam session recordings to give to other band members so they can listen and learn. Guitarists really thrive off the energy of a well organized jam session, when you have the proper preparation everything just flows, other musicians want to join in and soon word spreads,
that's how reputations are developed and successful musical careers are created.
Mike Hayes develops systems and products to help you succeed in your guitar playing. Find out more about how to learn guitar fast with his popular free ecourse, available at: => http://www.guitarcoaching.com