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Nickie
09-01-2014, 01:45 PM
Well, I did a search, but didn't find any threads on this topic. I have been granted "event organizer" status in TBUS. This is because I wanted a jam session at night, which the club doesn't host yet. And there happens to be a Saturday evening open once a month. I have a small indoor area donated to the club for this event.
We have 2 jam sessions a month now, but we want them all to be different.
I need some ideas from you guys, my UU buddies!
what do you do at your jams? What would you like to do at a jam?
Fire away....

lindydanny
09-01-2014, 03:15 PM
It depends... Is it a round robin sort of jam, a performance jam, or a uke meeting sort of jam?

Round robins are where most everybody sets in a circle and take turns (usually clockwise) leading a tune. Typically, there are no music sheets given out at this and it is relied on that musicians will either already know the basics of the tune, or the tune is easy enough for everyone to pickup quickly. These also are accompanied turn taking for solos.

Performance jams are similar to the round robin, only on a stage where the players/musicians are actually performing for a gathered audience. In this case, I would suggest limiting the number of people up on stage to a manageable amount. You do this by having a signup sheet and taking turns off the sheet and asking (nicely) those who have been up for a while to move off for the next person.

Uke meeting jams are, well, uke meeting jams. Usually everyone either has the same music and sits around in either a circle or class room setting... You've probably got the idea here already.

As for making them different, you can try keeping them tight to certain genres. Say, jazz night or fifties night. That's always a good way of keeping it specific. But sometimes the best jams are ones where you really don't know what is going to be played until the guy with the coolest song ever shoes up and wails on it for a while.

Hope that helps,

~Danny

Ukejenny
09-01-2014, 03:42 PM
If you already know some of the folks who will be coming to the jams, I'd ask them to write down what they'd like to do, then take all those notes and work from there. I like the idea of themes too - like love songs in February, or Irish tunes in March... stuff like that.

mds725
09-01-2014, 07:03 PM
The ukulele group to which I belong, the San Francisco Ukulele Rebellion (http://www.meetup.com/San-Francisco-Ukulele-Meetup/), plays from The Daily Ukulele and The Daily Ukulele Leap Year Edition. Each meetup is assigned the next ten pages from whichever book we were working from so that people who want to can practice ahead of time. There's also a limited amount of additional material that people provide by posting sheet music to the file section of our meetup.com page. The Santa Cruz Ukulele Club produces its own books, and pages from those books are, I believe, also designated in advance of each meeting.

Our group evolved to the system we use now, and because we've now been through both of the DU books, we seem to be a little more informal about chosing things to play, although pages are still assigned for each meetup. In your situation, I'd consider approaching whoever shows up for your first jam with some ideas about how the jam might be organized but to also discuss what the people who are going to show up regularly want to do. Good luck!

bunnyf
09-01-2014, 08:05 PM
Nickie, I do themes for my meetup, and also enjoy the jam circle, with each person (or at least most people) taking a turn leading a song they bring. But here's a different thought, I'm finding that there's an awful lot of beginner level players in my group and neighboring clubs that I go to and while I try to bring easy stuff, it is too challenging for many and they are left behind. I have begun to think that something more like Jim D' Villes 3 chord club might be a more fun way to go. You'd be teaching a little ear training and music theory and chord progressions to those who want to understand that and also make it easy for folks who only know a few chords to get in on the fun. I may do something like this with my group, getting down to simpler fun pieces and perhaps have a separate more adv group for people who want more challenge.
'

Rllink
09-02-2014, 04:19 AM
I went to the MightyMo Ukulele Festival earlier this summer. I went on the early registration day so that I could participate in the beginner's jam, because I had never jammed and didn't know what it was about. The guy who was leading it handed out some songs that he had printed off. We played some songs out of the Daily Ukulele book, and we played a few songs where he just wrote the chord progression on a white board and we just winged it. Later that night we went to the Boat Paddle Ukulele shop and were hanging around there. The headliner, Brook Adams, told me that they were going to jam and asked me if I wanted to join in. There were six or eight of us. He just gave everyone the chord progressions and we just played. I wrote them on a paper plate. Sometimes he would call out a chord change. The rest of the weekend was pretty much the same. Printouts, Daily Ukulele, chords on the white board, and a lady even had a giant flip chart with songs on it. It was lots and lots of fun. But sometimes someone would have a song they wanted to play and they would tell everyone the chords and you could either remember them, or write them down. Then we would go through the song slowly, with someone calling out the chord changes, and then when we felt that we had it down, we would go for it. I liked those the best.

DownUpDave
09-02-2014, 10:52 AM
I attend three different uke jams on a regular basis. All three are lead by one person whom has chosen the songs to be played and sung. There is oppourtunity to vote for songs later in the evenings and we do theme nights as well. Two are run with the sheet music projected on a wall and the smallest gathering (20 - 25 people) he uses a flat screen connected to his computer to show the sheet music. I do enjoy the sing and play along aspect of pre-selected songs. One or two songs are work shopped at the begining to aid those that need it but also to introduce some more complex elements to the song if so desired.

This eliminates everyone else having to show up with printed music. I do like the idea of the Daily Ukulele Books being used, as another posted. Pros in using those books are there is no work for you as the organizer, cons are all those attending must have that book and a music stand

ricdoug
09-02-2014, 10:54 AM
We have several locally. I like a local acoustic meetup format:

http://www.meetup.com/acoustic-116/

People have tons of songs loaded on their tablets and bring several copies of sheet music for others to use, Everyone jams together. I do not enjoy song circles where an individual plays solo and you have to wait for 25 people to finish to play. That's boring. Ric

KaraUkey
09-02-2014, 12:35 PM
I now run two regular jam sessions a month. I started out with the round robin format which is boring as ricdoug says when you have a larger group, lots of people just sit and wait until their turn comes around again, and all of the songs have to be really simple. I then went to PDF files on my PC projected on a big screen. There are often absolute beginners so I usually start out with simple 2 chord songs then go to 3 chord songs in C then add a bit more challenging stuff further into the set. The PDF's all needed to be on one page so that sort of restricted the size of font I could use and people could not sit to far from the screen, which was also a challenge with the bigger groups. Some would lose their place when they looked away and you needed a pretty strong lead to keep everyone in time. So being an ex computer programmer the next step was to have synchronised chords and words on the screen karaoke style.

The words can be much bigger because you are only showing about 4 lines at a time you can have a simple drum beat and bass line or a more complete backing that the ukes can play along with and we can all sing. So I now have my PC plugged through my mixer for the sound and a VGA chord to a projector for the big screen. I can also show chord charts on the screen if I need to. I still start with the easy songs and work my way up.

.70443

When I first started using this format about a year ago people started coming up after the jam and asking where they could get the songs. That led to a digital download licence and a website and eventually song books of tracks etc. There are now others running these sorts of jams using these books. My own jams are very popular. Both are in public venues and the players all love it when we draw a crowd. I was a singer/guitarist for many years at lots of different venues but nothing was ever as much fun as a whole group of ukulele players, playing along and singing. Several of them have formed their own little bands and sing at seniors gatherings and the like. I now spend a lot of time adding songs to the collection, there are now around 400 songs.

itsme
09-02-2014, 01:31 PM
When I first started using this format about a year ago people started coming up after the jam and asking where they could get the songs. That led to a digital download licence and a website and eventually song books of tracks etc. There are now others running these sorts of jams using these books.
That is interesting. How did you manage to secure permission from all of the copyright holders to publish your arrangements? There was a discussion on this recently, and rather than hijack this thread, it would be great if you could add to the other thread.

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?99969-copyright-and-selling-arrangements

janeray1940
09-02-2014, 01:35 PM
That is interesting. How did you manage to secure permission from all of the copyright holders to publish your arrangements? There was a discussion on this recently, and rather than hijack this thread, it would be great if you could add to the other thread.

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?99969-copyright-and-selling-arrangements

Seconding that request! Thanks.

Nickie
09-02-2014, 03:24 PM
Thanks for all of your great suggestions and ideas gang! I am technologically challenged, but the gal who offered the venue is a teckie, so she may be able to do the computer/TV screen stuff! I got a great idea from a friend from Nashville who reminded me that the musicians there sit in a circle.
I may have enough info to get started now, but as always, I'll be ever open to new ideas as they come to mind. This is going to be fun!

itsme
09-02-2014, 05:44 PM
I am technologically challenged, but the gal who offered the venue is a teckie, so she may be able to do the computer/TV screen stuff!
I think a big appeal for many who play uke (like me) is that it allows us to "unplug". Sure, at almost every meet there's someone with an ipad, but we generally play from plain old stuff on paper.

Uke is that sort of DIY activity you can do around the campfire without any electricity at all. It's a genuinely old-fashioned way to have fun. :)

Sometimes there are handouts, other times the host will post PDFs online in advance for people to print for themselves, and lately one group has started using the the first Daily book. I think more than half the people had it, and there was ample sharing.

Personally, I don't want to have to be watching a computer or projection screen when I'm playing with others.

KaraUkey
09-02-2014, 09:10 PM
That is interesting. How did you manage to secure permission from all of the copyright holders to publish your arrangements? There was a discussion on this recently, and rather than hijack this thread, it would be great if you could add to the other thread.

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?99969-copyright-and-selling-arrangements
I have added broad details of the licence I hold, to the other thread as requested.

And since that thread is now closed I would like to clarify as follows

My licence quite specifically includes publishing Karaoke which does include Lyrics and chords. The royalties for karaoke (or karaUkey) are approx. 3 times what they are for straight backing tracks. (MP3's etc.)

Where I have referred to KaraUkey Books these are a collection of Midi files with lyrics and chords OR MP4 videos with lyrics and chords, which I publish in accordance with the terms of my licence.

KaraUkey
09-03-2014, 01:37 AM
I guess it's a bit different when you are not in a public venue like a pub or a club. The "social electricity" is amazing.

KaraUkey
09-06-2014, 03:35 AM
We just did our session today. At this pub it is not so much a jam I guess, as it is a group of us "performing" together. We had around 30 players plus about 15 non playing singers and various "listeners" or audience throughout the afternoon. People from other parts of the pub come and listen, dance, take pictures and sing along. It was a great afternoon, a few newbies, lots of old hands and everybody friendly and helping each other out. That's the Ukulele effect at it's best.

I found an old video of Ukulele Ninja doing a version of Shame and Scandal in the family on the forum, that sounded pretty good. I added the song to the set today. Everyone thought it was great. lots of people had never heard it before.