INCLUSIVE MUSIC JAMIFESTO
A Jam is a musical conversation between two or more people. The key to a successful jam is COMMUNICATION and CONNECTION. Overbearing egos are best left at the door: everyone has equal worth here.
One person needs to start something simple: a basic rhythm, not too fast, not too many
chord changes, loud enough for everyone to hear.
An inclusive jam is guided by the current limitations of the least experienced player or the
most limited instrument. The most experienced musicians can still have a good time playing with beginners (it is often the sign of how great they really are!). If they are finding it hard to have a good time, suggest they jam on an instrument they have never played before. If that is too hard, they could swap hands or play standing on their head.
Let the starting person find their groove before you join in.
Listen to what is there
Feel the Groove (dancing/gestures/tapping etc are important non-verbal communication in a
Smile and connect with your jamming circle
Quietly ask someone the Key or Chords (beginners cheat: you can play the root note of the
key: eg in the “key of G” you can just play a G note over the whole thing (The G chord will go with most chords in the Key of G and if anyone asks about the interesting ones, just say it’s Jazz) OR Find someone playing the same instrument to copy their hands.
Add your bit. Play softly to start with and get louder as you become more sure that what you are playing “fits” with with conversation. It’s OK to take risks, because this is meant to be fun!
Be a champion of musical spirit: create a safe space for people (you too!) to make mistakes
and take risks by refraining from any judging or critiquing. Build up rather than tear down.
Include others by making eye contact, smiling, handing them your instrument and showing
them something simple to add, or doing something vocally with them.
Take turns starting or leading the jam. Encourage others to have a go doing something they
haven’t done before.
MIXING IT UP (when things get boring…)
Make a simple change to what you are doing: try double time or half time, go back to
playing just the root note: experiment a little. Make sure you communicate to your jamming
team if you do something radical!
Maybe it’s time for a solo? You can encourage others to take a solo or step into the space: try
not to take a solo for too long: once you have finished, indicate non-verbally that you are
finished and let there be some space afterwards.
14. During another musician’s solo play more quietly and give all your listening energy to the
soloist: nod “yes!yes!” Or shake “this can’t get any better”. Give the look of “That was a
freaking awesome solo” when they are done.
15. Call out “instrument swap!” after about 30 minutes if things are getting stale.
♪ KEEP IT SIMPLE
♪ LISTEN TO WHAT IS THERE
♪ FEEL THE GROOVE
♪ SMILE & MAKE EYE CONTACT ♪ FIND OUT THE KEY/CHORDS
♪ ADD YOUR BIT
♪ CHAMPION MUSICAL SPIRIT
♪ INCLUDE OTHERS
♪ TRY NEW THINGS
♪ TRY A SHORT SOLO
♪ SUPPORT A SOLO
♪ INSTRUMENT SWAP