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NYC BLUEGRASS SLOW JAM (for Adv beginners and Int players) Message Board › JAM CHANGES - Please provide feedback

JAM CHANGES - Please provide feedback

Sue B.
user 3161346
Group Organizer
Brooklyn, NY
Post #: 7
Dear Members:

Our jam has been operating for a little more than a year! Congratulations to everyone for helping it evolve and grow.

An anniversersary is a great opportunity to assess how things are going. Therefore, I have been thinking about the jam and what it might need to make it an experience that everyone can enjoy and learn from. After all, this is a slow jam and most people who attend need and want guidance.

As the jam has evolved, I have come to the conclusion that we need consistent, experienced leaders to run it. While I can organize this event, I cannot lead it. We need leaders with years of experience and a depth of knowledge of the repetroire who can guide us, lead songs in a speed that is appropriate to the group, and help other learn how to lead songs. While we are very lucky to have experienced players (thank you Bill and Dave and Sarah and AJ) who come to the jam often and play a leadership role, understandably their presence is not consistent. When we don't have experienced players at the jam, we all flounder and it is not pleasant event! This happened last week.

Therefore, I am considering changing the structure of this meetup. I would like to hire a rotating group of leaders who would lead the jam from 7:30-9:30. This means that I will need to charge a fee, so we can pay a leader. Since there are usually a healthy number of people, I believe we can pull this off with a $5.00 fee for each person that wants to participate in the jam. Up to $75 would go to the leader for a 2 hour stint. If more $$ was collected, that would go into a general pot, to be used to pay future leaders when not enough people show up to the jam. I believe that $5 is a small price to pay for such an amazing event. I would like to possibly implement this in june.

Having a leader does not mean that jam participants cannot lead songs. But it does mean that there will be a few new guidelines. For example, people would only be able to lead songs if 1) they know the song fully (including the words) 2) they are able to give out breaks effectively. This is a learned skill, and one that I think everyone should aspire to. But it takes practice and experience. And it also may take some guidance from a paid leader who will be given the authority to instruct on issues like leading songs.

In addition, each leader would choose 25-30 of their favorite bluegrass/old time songs and we would post it on the site. this would give people the opportunity to have song lists.

Finally, I want to let peole know that I don't envision a very structured "class". More to the point, I envision a forum where leaders will be available to guide us along, ensure that there is a contstant stream of songs being lead, and facilitate an amazing experience that is specifically geared to an advanced beginner/intermediate level of player.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Don't hold back!! Let me know if you love, hate or are indifferent to the idea.

Sue Batkin
Warren
user 8191213
Glen Cove, NY
Post #: 1
Sue:

Great idea, I love it!

One question, how do you keep track of payment? Honor system?, wrist bands?, ink stamps? Do you foresee having an annual subscription?, (pay once and be done for the year).

Personally I'd rather pay once and not be bothered for a while.

Warren
Andrea
user 6876261
New York, NY
Post #: 1
Hi Sue,

I applaud what you have been doing all year. I've only been to the jam two or three times but I am going to take the liberty to chime in here because of what I've seen work at other city jams. I was going to the one that ran for several months at the Underground on the Upper West Side. It had a designated (and compensated) leader who also brought two or three paid musicians with him: bass player (crucial) and banjo and then the leader played mandolin, fiddle, guitar, banjo, whatever else was needed. He had exactly the skills you have described: knew the repertoire, was an excellent teacher at the skills of jamming, knew how to invite newbies like me to call out a tune, etc.

One key difference in that jam was that it was a full-speed jam. The leaders were paid by the bar owner. Although its hard for me to get to Paddy's at that time (kids, job, etc.), I would GLADLY pay $5 a week for a professionally-led slow jam.

Thanks,
Andrea
Sue B.
user 3161346
Group Organizer
Brooklyn, NY
Post #: 8
In asnwer to warren's question abuot payment -- I think I would give people that want to pay the whole thing the option to do so. I don't want to impose a membership fee for the whole year because this could be too steep for some people, and for other that just want to come occasinoally, it would allow them to drop in whenever they can. But for those that want to pay, I woudl not turn that down!! In fact, that would give us start up money to be sure that the first leaders actually get paid. The main thing that I'm nervous about it that payment totally depends on whether people show up to the jam. If people don't show up, then there's $$ to pay.


Jessica
user 8557694
Brooklyn, NY
Post #: 1
i like the idea of a paid leader as well & definitely wouldn't mind paying $5 for each session i attend. i wouldn't want to pay an overall membership fee, but that's just me.

plus, i love the idea of having a list of songs posted for each meetup (or even just one or two that we'll definitely play so I can practice a little bit beforehand).

thanks!
Jessica
bob z.
user 8573970
Merrick, NY
Post #: 1
sue

i would gladly pay the $5 for each jam. although i would love to pay out the year, realistically my schedule has so many last minute changes that i've missed the last 3 meetings... frustrating. honestly i wish there was another slow jam group that met on the off weeks, but thats beside the point...

the posting of songs with chords/tabs would be an excellent idea as well. it will give people the opportunity to practice a bit during the breaks between meetings and lay a foundation to grow from. of course the "set list" could then change from meeting to meeting once you have enough songs in the mix.

i have always found the meetings to be fun with a great mix of people, so thanks for taking the initiative putting this group together, its greatly appreciated.

cheers
bob
A former member
Post #: 1
Dear Sue,

I've only been able to make it to one jam since I joined this group, but I appreciate being able to respond. I LOVE the idea of chipping in $5.00 in order to support having more guidance/leadership. Thanks for your thoughtful analysis of what the group needs- I hope to join you again soon!

Katie
A former member
Post #: 1
Sue,

I would gladly pay $5 for someone to lead. The "set list" is a great idea, having songs to practice and something to prepare for will only make the group stronger. . . I think it would be more fun as well. I've only been a few times because my schedule is crazy, and having a song list for those times I can't be there will only make it easier to connect with the group the times that I can.

Craig Spinney



Rob
user 3604960
Brooklyn, NY
Post #: 25
Sue,

Thanks again for your inspired organizing! I agree with the others that $5 would be a small price to pay to have a professional leader keep things moving. The honor system on a jam-by-jam basis -- avoiding the accounting hassle of a yearly membership fee -- should work well with this group. And the posting of new songs before each jam would be ideal, so half the group would no longer have to sit out each song not knowing the lyrics and chords.

Rob
Mike H.
user 8267316
New York, NY
Post #: 1
Hi Sue,

I think it's a fantastic idea to have a leader at the jam, and I would be happy to pay the $5 (and would probably want to pay the year in advance). I think that would really help the beginners (like me) get more involved in the playing and would probably expand the repertoire of the group.

The song list also sounds like a great idea. It would be very helpful to be able to prepare for the jam, and it would be nice to know that some of the bluegrass standards would keep showing up.

thanks a lot,

-Mike
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