As a musician there is hardly a better way to enjoy your music than having an impromptu jam session, according to the definition by Wikipedia a jam session is “an informal musical event, process, or activity where musicians, typically instrumentalists, play improvised solos and vamp on tunes, songs and chord progressions.” Some jam sessions happen just by chance and are a reaction of two or more musicians playing together without a designated score to follow, or they elaborate on an existing piece of music by going out left-field. However, there is no reason why a group of musicians cannot have a pre-arranged jam session just to have fun with their instruments. If this is the case, we have some tips how to really enjoy your time.
Beware of Feedback
In small rooms and spaces often there is the terrible problem of feedback, which normally occurs when volumes get too high, or commonly when a microphone is too near a speaker or pointed directly at it, which then amplifies the sound causing a loop. If you ensure that all microphones are pointed away from the speakers, this should address the problem.
Avoid Volume Battles
Quite often in jam sessions the musicians get carried away with it all and want to hear their own voice and instrument over anybody else. When everybody starts to crank their own amplifiers up then tempers can get frayed and it could lead to a premature end of the session. A way to eradicate this is to employ a sound technician on a mixing desk who is unbiased and keeps everybody in check. Having a jam session does not mean a volume fest.
Ensure the Speakers Are Positioned for the Best Sound
There is no way better of spoiling a really good jam session than have muffled sound quality and feedback spoiling everything. If you ensure the speakers are properly positioned before you start will help out immensely. There is supposedly a golden triangle, whereby the speakers are exactly eight feet apart and also eight feet away from the audience, the musicians should be in the centre of the triangle.
Don’t Tidy Up Too Well
A sterile room is a terrible place to make music, clutter, such as guitar cases, furniture and the like make great sound absorbers that help to reduce echo and feedback. If you visit proper sound studios, then you will see many devices, such as baffles and wedges to add dampening.
Remember That You Are Not Playing to an Audience
The reason why musicians enjoy jam sessions, so much is that they are self-indulgent and creative, a good idea is for the vocalist and one or two other musicians to face the rest of the band so that the other jam members can see what chord progressions are being played etc. This is especially true if the band are trying out new songs.
Jam sessions are first and foremost all about having fun, if you follow our guidelines then you will enjoy your impromptu sessions even more and get the most out of your musical collaboration. Quite often jam sessions that are acoustic are the most enjoyable, there are no technical difficulties and no one performer is louder than another.