We are: "Musicians who want to jam with acoustic instruments, for fun."
First and foremost, our name belies our relative jam locations. Our jams have transitioned to Sliverlake area, primarily, and on occasion, Pasadena and will begin to include Sunland. Anyone can host who wants to- as long as the locale is within the relative distance between Pasadena, Silverlake, and as far north as Sunland. Just ask and we'll make it happen.
Next, we must limit admission to the group only to those who play music or sing. This is a "jam" group, which means that people play music with one another, and the spots for members go fast, as musicians want to play with one another. "Listeners" are great, but cannot take up spots reserved for musicians who want to play- and some members might feel uncomfortable with an "audience". On occasion, some members may arrange performances outside of the regular jams, which would obviously then be open to listeners without limitation.
This is a diverse group, open to all types of music and all types of people, so a degree of openness and tolerance for a wide range of diversity is imperative. That being said, the main music played seems to be "rock"- but not usually hard rock. Often, jazz standards come up, (not many can play extemporaneously on those, but there are some), as well as original tunes, a (rare) classical piece, much rock, folk, world music, some r & b, a little gospel, on rare occasion. We do not ascribe to any specific culture/ religion, and we welcome a very wide range/ expression of music except that which is offensive.
The experience/ musicianship in this group varies greatly. There are members who have played all their lives. There are those who are just learning. In either case, we are here to enjoy the journey, have fun, learn and grow by playing music together. As there is a wide range of musicianship, a wide berth of tolerance and appreciation for each others' efforts are expected in this group.
We do not charge any fee for this group but ask at least a one dollar donation to help defray costs of running the group. This fee does not cover all costs- it just helps to cut down on them.
It is gracious that we bring something to share at our meetings, such as something to drink or eat. The jams often last for hours on end- even up to four hours- but no one need attend that long. You can join or leave as you wish. It is great that we take a break somewhere in the middle of jamming so that we can talk and get to know one another. Breaks can last from 15- 20 minutes, usually.
Share the music! It is helpful if members can bring xeroxed copies of songs for others- maybe about 4-6, so that people can share looking at the music. The level of musicianship usually is that there are enough who can pick up playing on songs they don't know. This is what jams are usually about- but for the purpose of sharing lyrics and including more of those who don't have such a musical level, it is certainly helpful to bring sheet music.
Jams are usually at Doug Kerr's house, where he can avail lyrics to be projected on his t.v. screen in large type if you contact him in time before the jam at his house so that the download can go into his system. This is not a requirement, however; just a nice convenience.
Our format is that we go around the room by each person having the option to initiate the song of their choosing. They should give some reference to the song in terms of key, feel, whether they want it played loudly or soft or whatever they choose. Even a bit of time to instruct people is fine, but we don't spend a whole lot of time doing this. Taking responsibility for how you want others to play with you is important, because some people will not automatically play in the way you might want them to, so be polite and ask for what you want in a respectful manner. But remember, this is a public group- not a professional band practice, so mutual respect and tolerance is due.
This group is a very gifted, sensitive group of which I have been most proud to participate in for the past couple years. It is wonderful for those who want a forum that is very low key, low pressure, to work up their courage to play other places in front of people, or to just have a place to practice and feel the joy of playing with others. It is certainly joyful!
Any questions beyond what I have covered here, please do send me a line. Otherwise, join up, and hope to see you at our next jam!
Nora Koerber, main Organizer