What we're about
The Milford Bluegrass Jam is a special place to come and play Bluegrass music and jam with other musicians. Guitar players, banjo pickers, mandolin players, bass players and more are welcome. Our group focuses on Bluegrass music and traditional tunes. You don't have to be Earl Scruggs or Doc Watson...just enjoy playing/singing Bluegrass. No special format. Just pull a chair up to the circle and start pickin'. Our official group songbook is the "Bluegrass Fakebook" available on Amazon.com.
The purpose of our Meetup group?
To promote and enjoy the playing of Bluegrass and mountain music in a group setting. Less emphasis is placed on individual performances and more on the group's overall sound and performance level. Although we want to encourage our members to play and enjoy bluegrass music, this is not a meetup to promote individual businesses or careers.
Who is welcome?
Anyone who plays bluegrass music on a guitar, mandolins, violin, bass fiddle, fiddle, banjo, uke, tenor guitar, tenor banjo, dulcimer or autoharp. Singers are welcome, too. Invitations, membership approvals and membership revocations are at the sole discretion of the Organizers.
Where do we meet?
We meet in the basement of the United Presbyterian Church in Milford, CT. Please park in the church parking lots and enter through the side or rear doors.
How does the Jam work?
This is not an "open mike" forum. We all sit in a circle and the leader of the group calls the first song. At the conclusion of the song, the choice now shifts to the person on the leader's left. The selections continue on in a clockwise manner. Initially most everyone will be using one of our books or a handout to get the songs going but eventually many of these songs will be able to be played from memory. At the conclusion of a verse or chorus, members can indicate to the group that they want to take a "break", which means that member can play the melody on his instrument for the length of one verse or chorus. He indicates it by saying "I'll take it" or something appropriate. The group leader can also call out for someone to take the "break". We make up a play list a few days before our meetup with tune suggestions. We want everyone to be able to join in the playing/singing at whatever level they feel comfortable. To allow everyone to join in, we ask that you choose songs from the Bluegrass Fakebook, bring handouts for songs not in the Fakebook, or verbally provide instructions such as the chords (or the key) used for your song. This is not a group for solo performances.
What are the Jam's Policies and Practices?
We encourage all musicians whether experts or beginners to join in our music. We encourage all our members to suggest and lead tunes even if they are new to Bluegrass, new to playing in public, or just beginning their instrument. We want to provide an opportunity for everyone to experience the fun of playing Bluegrass with a group. While we like to play mainly Bluegrass and Old Time tunes at our meetups, we are very tolerant about how members lead their tunes. We do not want to get into debates about how a tune should be played. If you’re leading a tune, you may lead it just the way you want, and the rest us will do our best to follow your lead. If your looking for Bluegrass played at warp speed, this is not the group for you. We want to have fun playing music together in a relaxed, nonjudgmental atmosphere.
What kind of music is appropriate for the group?
Established Bluegrass, Mountain Music, and Old Time music played with an appropriate Bluegrass beat and musicality. Rock and roll, pop music and other forms of music will not be appropriate. Bluegrass music is based on the music of the Southern Appalachian region as played by Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs, The Stanley Brothers and others. To find out more about Bluegrass Music, you can go to this link http://www.pathfinderbluegrass.com/id16.html
If I am new to Bluegrass, how can I fit in?
Ask tons of questions, play softly until you get the beat down completely and respect the musicality of the group. Always maintain the beat and remember to play softly when some has the "break" or if someone is singing with a soft voice. For more information on Bluegrass Jam etiquette, see the Connecticut Bluegrass Music Association website at http://www.ctbgma.org/jamrules.htm
What do I need to bring?
Your instrument, books, music stand, clips to hold the book open, capo (if applicable). Folding chairs are available.
What is the cost for membership?
We are currently asking a donation of $3 per session. This helps cover the Meetup Site fees and a donation to the church for use of the space. We may ask for special donations at other times if, for example, we need to buy/replace a new microphone or other sound equipment.