Portland Casual Jams (for Musicians and Singers) Message Board › song circle (suggested!)

song circle (suggested!)

A former member
Post #: 188
[ NOTE: I don't have the space and time to offer this or attend this on a regular basis, but I'd sure love it if it existed here. If it happens in my neighborhood, I'd love to stop by! ]

I recently moved to Portland, and although I have encountered a lot of musicians, I have not heard of anything like what I had in Seattle. I was a founding member of a song circle, called "Small Pond", that met every other Tuesday evening. The location was on irregular rotation and announced beforehand. Our song circle fostered some of the best musical growth I've seen, and it was a great community-building tool. Here's how it worked.

We sat in a circle, like you'd expect. We took turns around the circle (or sometimes popcorn-style) presenting a song (cover or original). Our secret ingredient was that during any presentation, anyone else could also sing or jam along. We met consistently for about six years, and some of the regulars advanced in every musical way (rhythm, lead, harmony, etc.).

The main rule of our song circle was to focus on the positive and accept what was contributed. We did, however, occasionally ask people to consider their volume level so that the presenter wouldn't have to strain to be heard without amplification. Listening was the key to playing along well.

Of course, people played wrong notes and sang off key occasionally, and sometimes the combined sound was quite unpleasant. Sometimes the lead presenter would stumble. All of this was perfectly OK. The occasional moment of euphoria caused by group participation made those awkward moments worthwhile.

Lead sheets were encouraged, but not required. We had a website where we posted our lead sheets as PDF files to share with others. Some members were more active about posting these than others. We all got pretty good at improvisation!

Anyway, feel free to run with this idea! I would love to see these participatory song circles show up all over town. (Oh, and by the way, it was always free.)

Cheers,
~ Alek
Julie
juliem2
Portland, OR
Post #: 3
I think this is a great idea! I work part-time for Transformational Voice Institute in Portland (transformvoice.com) which may have students (over 175 enrolled now) who may like to join this song circle as well. Let me know if this goes thru, &/or what I can do to help it along.
Julie




[ NOTE: I don't have the space and time to offer this or attend this on a regular basis, but I'd sure love it if it existed here. If it happens in my neighborhood, I'd love to stop by! ]

I recently moved to Portland, and although I have encountered a lot of musicians, I have not heard of anything like what I had in Seattle. I was a founding member of a song circle, called "Small Pond", that met every other Tuesday evening. The location was on irregular rotation and announced beforehand. Our song circle fostered some of the best musical growth I've seen, and it was a great community-building tool. Here's how it worked.

We sat in a circle, like you'd expect. We took turns around the circle (or sometimes popcorn-style) presenting a song (cover or original). Our secret ingredient was that during any presentation, anyone else could also sing or jam along. We met consistently for about six years, and some of the regulars advanced in every musical way (rhythm, lead, harmony, etc.).

The main rule of our song circle was to focus on the positive and accept what was contributed. We did, however, occasionally ask people to consider their volume level so that the presenter wouldn't have to strain to be heard without amplification. Listening was the key to playing along well.

Of course, people played wrong notes and sang off key occasionally, and sometimes the combined sound was quite unpleasant. Sometimes the lead presenter would stumble. All of this was perfectly OK. The occasional moment of euphoria caused by group participation made those awkward moments worthwhile.

Lead sheets were encouraged, but not required. We had a website where we posted our lead sheets as PDF files to share with others. Some members were more active about posting these than others. We all got pretty good at improvisation!

Anyway, feel free to run with this idea! I would love to see these participatory song circles show up all over town. (Oh, and by the way, it was always free.)

Cheers,
~ Alek

A former member
Post #: 1
Hi Alex,

This is something I would enjoy. I haven't had much time for music so haven't been going lately but Music Development Club and the Jam at Vino Vixens are similar to what you describe ... both are low pressure with an amazing variety of musicians and levels of experience. I would suggest trying those out. Artichoke Music used to do a song circle that was focused on singing ... like sitting around a camp fire. I don't know if they do that anymore but you might take a look there too.

-Anne
A former member
Post #: 189
Thanks! I'm thinking of checking out the Vino Vixens jam.
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