Home » Arts and Entertainment » Music

Jam Sessions - The Secret Of Becoming A Superb Musician

Oct 9, 2007
Music is something that has to be made, played, appreciated and enjoyed together. While it's great that you can listen to your favorite CD in the car and sing along (when no one is looking) the fact of the matter is that music is better enjoyed with friends. When you're a musician, this doesn't change. You don't become a brilliant musician by staying in your room all day and practicing your scales. You have to step out and join other musicians, learn from them, and find out that true creativity is not done solo. The closet is honestly not a very good teacher.

Jam sessions are the way to do this. This is when musicians get together and just... well, jam. Someone starts a groove, a lick, or a melody and the rest of the musicians are inspired and pick it up - letting the music take them wherever it wants to go.

Being a musician requires two things : head and soul. Most musicians have either a lot of the one and too little of the other. Musicians with a lot of 'head' know all the technical aspects of music - what mode to play when, which notes work best over which chord progressions, what kind of groove is good for a specific time signature etc. Musicians ought to know these things. But musicians that are on this side of the scale tend to lack a serious amount of creativity - they live in the box, and music is supposed to be about breaking free from the box.

The other type of musician - the one with a lot of soul - is usually the kind of musician with a lot of natural talent. He can play a groove well, or can easily pick up notes with his ear and play them. He is very creative, but has no idea how to actually structure that creativity in an effective way. Usually, he is the 'misunderstood' musician - he struggles to work with others, and tends to feel frustrated with them. The truth is that he is less of a musician if he can't work with others, and needs to learn how.

To be a fantastic musician, is to be a well rounded musician. This is why jam sessions are so important - they help a musician to acquire the skills that he lacks. A musician with a lot of soul learns how to structure his talent into a song, learning when to play and when not to play. A musician with a lot of 'head' and technical knowledge learns how to break free from his box a little and just let his creativity take over. This is why band's should jam, and to jam A LOT. They learn each other's (and their own) strengths, weaknesses, and learn how to 'play off' each other and inspire each other. Many a fantastic song has been written out of a jam session. Take for instance U2's "Pride (in the name of love)" - that song was written in a jam session during a sound check. U2 is a good example of a band that writes their albums from jam sessions - that's when the creativity is flowing.

Jam sessions teach musicians a number of things :

1) Songwriting - which we've discussed above.

2) Groove. A lot of technical guitarists or even drummers lack groove, which is a very bad weakness. When a jam session is going, the subtle difference between groove and sound starts becoming evident. Also, it's helpful to jam with a metronome, as it can help all the musicians to learn how to keep their rhythm in time - even if only the drummer jams with a metronome.

3) Tone. Not just guitarists need to worry - or get excited - about tone. All the musicians, including the singer and the drummer, learn during a jam session how to tweak their ear to the subtle frequencies going on, and adjust their tone to fill in the gaps that are missing, and complement the other instruments.

4) Dynamics. To know when to play, and when not to play. Many great musicians have said that it's not so much what you put in, but what you leave out, that makes a great song.

5) Using your skill tastefully. Shredding the guitar at breakneck speeds are fantastic to look at, but if every song has that kind of solo, it gets boring very quickly. In Jam sessions, you learn melody and note-placing very easy, so that when you break out into a lightning speed solo it's tasteful more than just plain showmanship.

The benefit from jam sessions cannot be understated - and once you start them, you will soon find out that they're way more fun than just going over the arrangements of a song over and over again. Jam sessions also improve your confidence - both as a musician and as a band - preparing you for the live performance, and allowing you to relax into your instrument.
About the Author
Kevin Sinclair is the publisher and editor of MusicianHome.com, a site that provides information and articles for musicians at all stages of their development.
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 106
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Accounting
    • Credit
    • Currency Trading
    • Debt Consolidation
    • Insurance
    • Investing
    • Leasing
    • Loans
    • Mortgage
    • Mutual Funds
    • Personal Finance
    • Stock Market
    • Structured Settlements
    • Taxes
    • Wealth Building
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Acne
    • Aerobics
    • Alternative Medicine
    • Beauty
    • Cancer
    • Cosmetics
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases and Conditions
    • Fitness Equipment
    • Fitness
    • Hair Loss
    • Heart Disease
    • Medicine
    • Men's Health
    • Muscle Building
    • Nutrition
    • Skin Care
    • Supplements and Vitamins
    • Weight Loss
    • Women's Health
    • Yoga
    • Arts and Crafts
    • Babies
    • Collecting
    • Elderly Care
    • Genealogy
    • Hobbies
    • Parenting
    • Pets
    • Pregnancy
    • Woodworking
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors
    • Article Writing
    • Book Reviews
    • Copywriting
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Quotes
    • Screenplay
    • Tools and Resources