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View Full Version : I attended my first "old time music" jam



elisdad
02-03-2012, 02:58 AM
I had the pleasure of attending my first old time music jam last night. It was a far different experience than the uke jams I have attended. There are no chord sheets, the key of the song set is called out before hand and you play in that key and try and keep up. You are sort of thrown into playing by ear. It was a humbling experience being around so many fantastic musicians. There were 3 upright basses, several fiddles, banjos, guitars, and a squeezebox. I was the only uke player there as my buddy decided hit guitar would be a bit easier for jamming. Everyone was very welcoming.

It was such a fantastic experience and the music was wonderful. The one thing I can say is that "old time music" folks have a serious love for music. The group was very welcoming and encouraging, just like "ukulele folks".

I will be attending these jams regularly from now on. If you have anything like this near you, don't worry about being "good enough". Go, learn, play!

tnfishdaddy
02-03-2012, 04:05 AM
We have a lot of old time and bluegrass jams in my area. Always wanted to go but basically I am chicken. I really do need to venture out sometime.

Chap
02-03-2012, 04:08 AM
I went to one of these but was completely lost. My play-by-ear skills weren't up to the task.

gokidd
02-03-2012, 04:33 AM
I've found that if you use a light plastic guitar pick, your uke can fill that space in a bluegrass band that's usually occupied by the mandolin.
And you can give that same chop stroke, percussive effect (handy when I have no clue what chord we're on).
It's cool!

ScooterD35
02-03-2012, 06:10 AM
I. Thou shalt not ever forsake the beat.

II. Thou shalt arrange thyselves in a small circle so that thou mayest
hear and see the other musicians. Thou shalt listen with thine ears to
the songs and attempt to play in accord with the group; also, open thine
eyes betimes to look about thee, lest there be some visual sign someone
is endeavoring to send thee. Thou shalt play softly when someone lifteth
his voice in song, when playing harmony, and when thou knowest not what
thou is doing.

*III. Thou shalt play in tune. Tune thine instrument well, and tune it
often with thine electric tuner, lest the sounds emanating from thine
instrument be unclean.

IV. Thou shalt commence and cease playing each tune together as one, so
that the noise ye make be a joyful noise, and not a heinous tinkling
that goeth in fits and starts, for that is unclean, and is an
abomination. Whensoever a musician sticketh forth his foot as though he
were afflicted with a cramp in the fatted calf, thou must complete the
rest of that verse, and then
cease.

V. Thou shalt stick out thine own foot or else lift up thy voice crying
"This is it !", or "Last time !" if thou hast been the one to begin the
song, and it has been played sufficient times over. If the one who began
a tune endeth it not by one of these signs, then the tune will just go
on and on, like the Old Testament, until the listeners say, "Hark ! It
all soundeth the same."

VI. Thou shalt concentrate and thou shalt not confound the music by
mixing up the A part and the B part. Most songs, but not all, proceedeth
according to the ancient law "AABB". But if thou sinneth in this regard,
or make any mistake that is unclean, thou may atone - not by ceasing to
play - but by reentering the tune in the proper place and playing on.

VII. Thou shalt be ever mindful of the key the banjo is tuned in, and
play many tunes in that key, for the banjo is but a lowly instrument,
which must needs be retuned each time there is a key change.

VIII. Thou shalt not speed up or slow down accidentally when playing a
tune, for it is an abomination. (See commandment I)

IX. Thou shalt not, by thine own self, commence noodling off on a tune
the other musicians know not, unless asked or unless thou art teaching
that tune, for it is an abomination, and the other musicians will not
hold thee guiltless, and shall take thee off their computer lists, yea,
even unto the third and the fourth generation.

X. Thou shalt have fun and play well.

Hippie Dribble
02-03-2012, 07:18 AM
i. Thou shalt not ever forsake the beat.

Ii. Thou shalt arrange thyselves in a small circle so that thou mayest
hear and see the other musicians. Thou shalt listen with thine ears to
the songs and attempt to play in accord with the group; also, open thine
eyes betimes to look about thee, lest there be some visual sign someone
is endeavoring to send thee. Thou shalt play softly when someone lifteth
his voice in song, when playing harmony, and when thou knowest not what
thou is doing.

*iii. Thou shalt play in tune. Tune thine instrument well, and tune it
often with thine electric tuner, lest the sounds emanating from thine
instrument be unclean.

Iv. Thou shalt commence and cease playing each tune together as one, so
that the noise ye make be a joyful noise, and not a heinous tinkling
that goeth in fits and starts, for that is unclean, and is an
abomination. Whensoever a musician sticketh forth his foot as though he
were afflicted with a cramp in the fatted calf, thou must complete the
rest of that verse, and then
cease.

V. Thou shalt stick out thine own foot or else lift up thy voice crying
"this is it !", or "last time !" if thou hast been the one to begin the
song, and it has been played sufficient times over. If the one who began
a tune endeth it not by one of these signs, then the tune will just go
on and on, like the old testament, until the listeners say, "hark ! It
all soundeth the same."

vi. Thou shalt concentrate and thou shalt not confound the music by
mixing up the a part and the b part. Most songs, but not all, proceedeth
according to the ancient law "aabb". But if thou sinneth in this regard,
or make any mistake that is unclean, thou may atone - not by ceasing to
play - but by reentering the tune in the proper place and playing on.

Vii. Thou shalt be ever mindful of the key the banjo is tuned in, and
play many tunes in that key, for the banjo is but a lowly instrument,
which must needs be retuned each time there is a key change.

Viii. Thou shalt not speed up or slow down accidentally when playing a
tune, for it is an abomination. (see commandment i)

ix. Thou shalt not, by thine own self, commence noodling off on a tune
the other musicians know not, unless asked or unless thou art teaching
that tune, for it is an abomination, and the other musicians will not
hold thee guiltless, and shall take thee off their computer lists, yea,
even unto the third and the fourth generation.

X. Thou shalt have fun and play well.

priceless and going up on thine own wall!!!

Hippie Dribble
02-03-2012, 07:21 AM
hey Eric, don't suppose you've seen this film have you?
http://elderly.com/videos/items/724-DVD1.htm
gee it's good. I'd highly recommend it...entertaining, insightful, will make you smile for hours afterwards :)

elisdad
02-03-2012, 08:42 AM
hey Eric, don't suppose you've seen this film have you?
http://elderly.com/videos/items/724-DVD1.htm
gee it's good. I'd highly recommend it...entertaining, insightful, will make you smile for hours afterwards :)

Hi Jon, I haven't seen it but will certainly check it out.

Ukuleleblues
02-03-2012, 10:18 AM
VI. Thou shalt concentrate and thou shalt not confound the music by
mixing up the A part and the B part. Most songs, but not all, proceedeth
according to the ancient law "AABB".

Love it, I want to send it to our uke club, but shouldn't that read AABA?

myrnaukelele
02-04-2012, 07:41 AM
ScooterD35- love this! Did you come up with these? Can I repost this to all my musician friends on Facebook? :-)

ScooterD35
02-04-2012, 07:46 AM
I did not come up with The Commandments. That was someone far wiser and funnier than I.

Share at will, far and wide!


Scooter

ricdoug
02-04-2012, 09:57 AM
A local friend attended http://baywooduke.blogspot.com/ and they play all their songs by ear, their. She had a blast. Some groups use songbooks. Some use projection screens. Others use the Nashville Number System. The I/IV/V (1,4,5) progression works well with bluegrass, gospel, country, rock and other classics styles. With Hawaiian music, many locals are not familiar with the tunes and words. This keeps them glued to a songsheet until they are familiar with the song and lyrics. We have some large 500+ member groups locally. Those numbers would be greatly reduced, if all played by ear. At the Ukulele Society of America in Carlsbad, California there is a huge projection system for the songsheets. It had a malfunction at one meetup and a large portion of the members left, as they no longer carry songbooks. Low price Android tablets http://www.geeks.com/products.asp?cat=TAB have made it more affordable to get rid of the huge club songbooks and still be able to enjoy their preferred style of playing. It takes some balancing to keep beginners and advanced players interested and active. Ric

strumsilly
02-04-2012, 10:33 AM
I've found that if you use a light plastic guitar pick, your uke can fill that space in a bluegrass band that's usually occupied by the mandolin.
And you can give that same chop stroke, percussive effect (handy when I have no clue what chord we're on).
It's cool!
I occasionally go to "old time [contra]dances, and there is one group[whose name is escaping me, Tractor Family?] that has a banjo uke that's muted with a rag and played with a thin pick. the percussive sound really drives the music!

3nails4holes
02-04-2012, 12:45 PM
my kids and i went to our first weekly bluegrass jam at a little coffee shop in mooresville, nc (http://www.welcomehomeveteran.org/). lily (5 yo) played her concert uke and i brought my tenor sceptre.

we got there a bit late to a packed house so we squeezed into the corner. the ukes immediately caught the eye of many. eventually the musician ring called for me to come join (when some seats freed up in the circle) & we had a great time.

we've also gone to the charlotte folk society meetings. they're always lots of fun! there's a free concert to start and then they break up into different groups for jamming (http://www.folksociety.org/).

in both groups we were the only ukes in the house. but we were warmly received and welcomed!

the toughest thing about the first jam i mentioned was what someone previously said about these groups. they just call out songs & away they go! no music sheets or lyric sheets, just hold on tight & try to find the chords (for me, at least). it does provide some great time to work on my solo/melody stuff.

great time!