I've been a closet picker since starting my banjo learning journey eight years ago this fall. I always felt that I was not a good enough to play music with other people. So far, I have only played for family and YT videos for posting here on BHO. Lately, I have been getting the itch to try and play music with others. The Mohawk Valley Bluegrass Association holds a monthly jam September through May about 20 miles from me. September 21st is the first one, and I'm going. In preparation, I'm diligently working on my backup playing, which is sorely lacking.
At the jam I plan on observing, taking notes on tunes played, and sitting outside the circle vamping quietly. Maybe there will be other novice level pickers there for slow jamming. I'll see how it goes. If all goes well, I may just join the Association and attend all the jams. Wish me luck.
Tuesday, August 27, 2019 @6:24:52 AM
Jeff - we've all been there. My first time I left the banjo home, I was so nervous about playing. I should have been more aggressive, but that's a learning experience. What you should do - take notes. Most jams have members that repeat songs, session to session. So if you know what songs (and the key) you can go home and practice the ones that you know, or learn the ones you don't. I am fortunate to have guitar background, so I can tell the key from watching the guitar player.
Do exactly what you said - bring your banjo and stay in the background, unless you feel comfortable to play along, and who knows - they may hit upon a song that is right up your alley!
ron robinson Says:
Tuesday, August 27, 2019 @7:00:08 AM
i bet you have a great time and you will want to go back you should meet new mates and learn new things just enjoy it you will be a little nervous at first but so was everybody GOOD LUCK
Tuesday, August 27, 2019 @8:21:44 AM
Good for you taking this big step. You can do this!
Tuesday, August 27, 2019 @8:36:30 AM
Go for it and jump in with both feet. We've all been there. That's also the beauty about the bluegrass community...very welcoming and forgiving. You'll be fine and please report back. Remember, you know more than you think you do. Congratulations on coming out of the closet. Can I say that? You know what I mean.
Wednesday, August 28, 2019 @4:33:35 AM
Don't get discouraged if you can't join in right away. If you don't play guitar, ask a rhythm guitar picker to show you some basic chords: G, C, D, A, E and then watch him/her and when he changes chords, you do, too. It'll take a while, but you'll get where you feel a chord change coming up and then you'll anticipate and get it right. It's ear training with a little help.
I hope they do have a slow jam for those who are just learning to play with others. It will be of great value to you. If not, you can still sit, watch and learn.
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