How to welcome a new jammer
General mountain dulcimer or music discussions
Hi - good topic choice Lisa!
Thanna - I would add my support to that offered by others. If there are no other specific dulcimer sessions in your area then look for an old timey, folk or acoustic session. You may have to try a few places until you land on one that is flexible and welcoming. I have certainly had my share of trials since I decided to get back into some public music via sessions about 3 years ago. It is worth persevering to find sympathetic others to play with as it will speed your learning immensely; I know that jamming and playing in public (alone and with others) has been a real shot in the arm for me. But first, a cautionary tale....
When we moved house a couple of years ago we were thrilled to find that a pub just half a mile away had a regular folk music session every week. However, having tried it a few times, it is not one we attend regularly, and I will tell you why.... The core members of the group have known each other a long time and know all each others' material, so they all launch in to everything without really listening. This can be a REAL problem. For example, once I was up to speed on a few american folk songs, we did "Shady Grove". Within 30 seconds of playing and singing, one of the regulars shouted "Oo its just like 'Matty Groves!' " and they all waded in on guitars, mandolin and melodeon. Well actually, the melody we use is NOT exactly the same as 'Matty Groves' and the harmonies we use ( we sing together with banjo ) are not the same as the famous version of Matty Groves these chaps all knew. The result was that we could not hear each other, and the discordant clash between what we were playing and what they were wading in with was HORRID!!
So to add to Strumelia's list of guidelines for welcoming newbies to a jam :
- Ask your new comer(s) if they would like to play
- LISTEN to what your newcomer starts up with and ONLY play along if youare sure you know the version more or less exactly, or you are such an accomplished musician that you can pick it up quickly
- Allow the newcomer to lead on their piece, including the tempo - follow politely
- Do not drown out the newcomer when they are playing; it is too off-putting
Happily, we know other great places to go now for playing and singing; so I guess the moral of my tale is that you may have to kiss a few frogs before you find the perfect match.....