Thursday, October 30, 2014

Playing well with others: How to find people to jam with

Whether you want to be in a famous band or just play a special song for a loved one, jamming with other musicians is a great way to learn and get closer to your goal. Once you’ve mastered a few easy songs on the guitar or gotten the hang of a basic drum beat, it’s time to start looking for other musicians around your level who are interested in playing music together.

Jamming is more about experimenting and learning than showing off, and this sort of open creativity can be really appealing and fun. Don’t wait until you’re “perfect”; even the most talented and accomplished artists have certain skills they want to improve. You’ll learn more and have more fun if you start sharing what you already know. So how do you find people to jam with?

Use your NMM & social networks
Are you looking for a drummer to jam with but you don’t know any drummers? Reach out to other musical friends and see if they can introduce you. Talk to your NMM instructor—he or she might be able to introduce you to another student with similar interests. If you’re looking to join a band or choral group, NMM has several teen bands and an accapella group you can get involved with, and we’re also looking to start some duo and trio groups in 2015. Throw up a post on Facebook or Twitter if you don’t know who to reach out to directly. You never know who will know someone who will be perfect for you!

Phone a Friend
Playing music with your friends is one of the most fun things you can do on this planet. When you’re jamming with someone you already know and trust, you feel more relaxed and more open to try out new ideas and let the creativity flow. If you have a friend who’s also learning an instrument, why not get together with your instruments and see what happens? Even if you sound terrible, you’ll still have a good time!

Hit the Open Mic Nights
Going to open mic nights is a great way to meet new musical collaborators. Play a few songs and see what happens! Or, if you’re feeling shy, you can go and watch the performers and chat with the ones you like after they play. A good open mic night should be a positive and friendly place where people at all levels have the chance to share what they’ve been working on, so you may see seasoned performers and total beginners all in the same night. Riverwalk Café in Nashua and Tupelo Music Hall in Londonderry have regular open mic nights, as do many other businesses in the Nashua area.
By now, hopefully you have some good ideas that will help you reach out and find people to jam with! Remember to keep it fun and don’t be too hard on yourself, especially if you are just beginning. It’s totally normal to feel nervous about playing music with new people. There are plenty of seasoned musicians out there who still feel nervous when they walk into a room to play with new musicians for the first time. Once you start playing, your nerves will most likely melt away and you’ll leave every jam session knowing something new about your instrument, a song or music in general that you didn’t know when you walked in.
How do you meet people to play music with? Share your experiences with us in the comments below!

Adapted from this article on takelessons.com.

Photos by Robyn Neville.