A couple of Thursday nights a month, I get to have the most fun a picker gets to have. On those Thursdays I head up to McGinley’s Golden Ace in Indy for a jam session with Patchwork, The Peach Pickers and anyone else who shows up with an instrument.
I really believe jam sessions are the most fun as a musician, mainly because that’s what everyone is there to do. Have fun. We’re not trying to put on a perfect performance. Odds are that this is the first time we’re all playing the song together, and that gives everybody a lot of freedom.
If you’ve been playing for a while, a jam session lets you try something new in friendly confines. Sometimes you discover something great; other times you learn what doesn’t work. If you’re just learning an instrument, a jam session helps you get more familiar with your instrument while you get a feel for playing with other people.
Jam sessions are free of judgment. Everybody gets a turn, regardless of skill level. Everybody gets encouraged, and the atmosphere is light and merry. At a jam session, you’re free to doodle, to make mistakes, to play the break you weren’t really ready for, and occasionally to shine with a stroke of musical genius.
The jam session puts the living room, as Emmylou Harris put it, back in the music. We play to have fun and hope that our enjoyment rubs off on anybody else hanging around.
Fun. Enjoyment. Now that’s music!