Getting your band together for a serious jam session is exciting. You’ve put in the hard hours of rehearsal and now it is time to strut your stuff in front of a small group of friends. There are a few reminders that will help you pull off a heavy jam without any hitches or glitches.
Make a Set List and Stick to It
There is a common misconception that jam sessions lack structure. The truth is that you want to make your jam sound and feel spontaneous even though you have given it some structure. Sounding your best means having a set list and sticking to it.
Know Your Songs
You don’t have to be as rigid about your set list as Bruce Springsteen but every member of the band should be familiar with it prior to the jam. Tape lists where each band member can see them but the audience cannot. You can always adjust the order of the list on the fly but rehearse the songs you intend to play in their listed order. Doing that will give you a feel for how your performance will flow. A smooth jam will also help to avoid the awkwardness that comes when someone requests a song that you don’t know. If the jam is flowing the audience will be flowing right along with it.
Take Safety Measures
Before you invite the friends and family over for your jam there is some planning you should do. One of the key elements of this is arranging your power cords to minimize safety risks. will allow you to place your mixer out front just like it is in a concert venue. These cords are crucial for getting power to your equipment, especially in a small venue. They need to be secured with duct tape and ran beneath any area rugs you use for your performances. Nothing will ruin the night quicker than someone tripping over a cord and hurting themselves or shorting out your equipment. It can also be useful to place your band in such a way that some access to the front of the stage or performance area is restricted. All of these preparations amount to professionalism, which is the image you want to project.
Jam sessions are exciting. They give you a chance to evaluate the impact you will have on an audience before you embark on paying gigs. Use them to provide yourself with valuable feedback.