Have you been playing guitar for a while and are looking for opportunities to jam with other musicians?
Are you starting to feel overwhelmed with all the lesson content you are getting and want to start applying what you can already do to real music?
Do you feel like you have spent a long time ‘learning’ guitar but have never really experienced the thrill of ‘playing’ in a group or band situation?
Read on for more information on how our jam sessions will help you become a better guitar player.
Read on for more information on how our jam sessions will help you become a better guitar player.
Play Real Music!
As a guitar teacher, I believe in giving my students as well-rounded a musical experience as possible.
This means that, in addition to their regular lessons, I encourage them to play real music as often as they can too.
This could be in the form of learning to play their favourite songs, forming bands, or even performing in our twice-yearly student showcases. Sure, in order to become a great guitar player there is a certain amount of ‘stuff’ you have to learn: basic chords, some scales, listening skills, and music theory. But, I’ve found time and time again that just learning this stuff on its own doesn’t make you a great guitar player. The real fun starts when you get to apply the things you have been learning into real-life musical situations.
In my experience, it is always the students who regularly jam and make music with
others that make the most progress with their playing and feel the most accomplished. In turn, these students stick with their lessons, go on to become even better guitar players, and have even more fun making music. After all, what’s the point in learning to play an instrument if the only person who ever hears you play is you, in the comfort of your own bedroom?
Why Our Jam Sessions Are Different
Many pubs run regular jam sessions, and while this is a great thing, I have found that they are not always suitable for players of every level.
Students have told me in the past that they’ve felt intimidated at the prospect of getting up and playing in front of better players than them, or that they find the songs being played too hard.
This can lead to frustration and even a knock in their confidence. On the flipside, more advanced players may find the material too easy and get bored just strumming the same chords over and over again with little opportunity to go beyond that.
I personally prepare materials for our jam sessions and ensure that there is something suitable for players of ALL levels. This way, you can be sure that the songs we play will be comfortable for you, whether you’re a beginner or a more advanced player. If you’re just starting out, you can strum some basic chords, or even have a go at a simple bass line. If you’ve been playing a while and would like to work on your improvisation or solo composition, no problem, you’ll get that opportunity. Even if you’re having lessons with another teacher, we can fit the material around what you are learning with them, so that you’ll be able to use it in real-life situations.
In over 12 years of teaching, I’ve found these sessions to be invaluable to the development of my students’ playing abilities. I am continually looking for new ways to help them improve in the most effective and, of course, fun way possible, and I have found that these jam sessions are integral to achieving that goal.
Probably the number one thing prospective students tell me when they contact me looking for lessons is that they want to learn to play their favourite songs. Our jam sessions are the perfect place to do just that!
Why You Will Love Our Jam Sessions
- They are relaxed yet structured, so that you only have to worry about which part is right for your level.
- They are a perfect way to practise playing guitar with other musicians in a no-pressure environment, so that you won’t feel intimidated in front of other players.
- They take place in a convenient Croydon location, so that you won’t have to travel far to experience the thrill of playing with others.
- We play a number of well-known songs of different genres and from different eras; there’s something for everybody, regardless of musical taste or guitar-playing ability.
- Whenever possible, a drummer and/or bass player joins us to help keep time and create more of a band-type experience.
- Perhaps most importantly, you’ll have a lot of fun and will improve your playing in ways you never thought possible.
Are You A Good Enough Guitar Player?
One of the most common objections I get from students when I suggest they start
playing regularly with others is that they don’t think they’re good enough yet.
Even experienced players who have been learning for several years can shy away from coming to the Jam Sessions. They tell me they don’t think they are good enough, or that they’re going to hold other players back, or that they’ll make a fool of themselves and not be able to keep up.
I completely understand why you might feel like that. Jumping into any situation out of your comfort-zone can be nerve-wracking and I have spoken to many guitar players in the past who have felt the same way. However, what I’ve found, once people take the plunge and start attending the Jam Sessions, is that none of these things are true!
Don’t believe me? Well, after many years of running these sessions, I can debunk these reasons with some authority – here goes…
1. I don’t think I am a good enough player – this is probably the #1 reason I get from students and guitar players in general as to why they are reluctant to come to the jam sessions. Even students who have been learning with me for many years and are way beyond beginner level sometimes tell me this!
What I tell them is the same thing I will tell you now: if you don’t think you’re good enough, you’ll never do it and therefore will never feel good enough!
How will you know when you are good enough to start playing with others if you never try it? The answer is to just do it! If you don’t try it, you’ll never find out.
We run jam sessions for players of all levels (we even run special ones for beginners) and our aim is to get you playing, having fun and improving your musicianship at the same time. This goal is always achieved, as participants tell me how much fun they have at these sessions!
From my own experience, and the experience of many other professional musicians and guitar teachers I know, getting out of my bedroom and taking the plunge to play with other musicians was the single biggest thing that helped me sharpen up my playing and become the musician I am today.
This is stuff you just can’t get from attending lessons alone.
2. I’m going to hold other players back – again, I hear this a lot. Students are worried they’ll hold everybody back by having to be babysat through their part, while better players sit around twiddling their thumbs, getting annoyed with them.
Well, you really have to attend the jam sessions themselves to see that this simply does not happen! Less adept players will be given a part within their comfort zone to play, while other, more accomplished players, will have the opportunity to solo, improvise or play a more challenging part.
This is what jamming is all about! Creating a bunch of different parts that students can play together, at their own level. This also teaches participants about how songs are arranged and gets them listening to music in a more active why, just like a real musician would.
So, again, by coming to our jam sessions you will not hold anybody back. My aim is to get everybody playing together and sounding great at a level they are comfortable with.
3. I won’t be able to keep up and will make a fool of myself in front of others – I totally get this and completely understand how nerve-wracking it can be, going into a room full of other musicians for the first time, worrying that everyone will be a better player than you and that you’ll look like an idiot!
I can actually remember feeling this way myself.
But our students are a supportive bunch, who have all been where you are now. Everybody attended a jam session for the first time, everybody felt nervous. So everybody (including me) will understand how you feel.
You won’t be expected to shred along with the person sitting next to you and you won’t be pressured into attempting something you don’t feel comfortable with! Remember, this is about having fun (which is what playing guitar should be all about, after all).
And, the vast majority of the time, participants leave feeling like they’ve had a great experience, that their playing has improved and that they want to come to the next one.
So, if you are interested in coming to any of our jam sessions and have felt any of the issues above, I hope I have reassured you that you absolutely are good enough to attend, that you won’t hold anybody back and that you’ll be playing at your own level throughout.
The mixture of levels and abilities is actually one of the things which makes our jam sessions so much fun!
So, don’t let fear stop you from doing what you’ve always wanted to do. As I said before, what’s the point in learning to play guitar if you only ever sit in your bedroom, hunched over your amp with the headphones on, and no one else hears you? Give your playing the respect it deserves and hear it come alive alongside others at our Jam Sessions.
Amazing Additional Benefits!
As well as improving your guitar playing and having a lot fun in the process, our Jam
Sessions also provide guitar players with the ideal opportunity to meet other likeminded musicians.
This is especially important if you’re having private lessons or teaching yourself and don’t get to interact much with other guitar players. Sometimes this can feel pretty isolating and can even cause some players to feel frustrated and stop playing altogether.
Hanging out with other guitar players on a regular basis will help you:
Get your playing questions answered – It’s amazing how many other guitar players have overcome the same playing challenges you are experiencing and can offer helpful solutions.
Make new friends – Get to know other guitar players who share the same musical tastes as you.
Find a jam buddy – Meet up with other players whenever you like and continue improving your playing outside of the jam sessions.
Form a band – Students who have met at our jam sessions in the past have ended up forming bands of their own and creating their own music together. Pretty cool, huh?
Become part of an awesome musical community – I cannot stress enough how important it is to be around other musicians when you are learning an instrument. As well as making firm friends, you’ll stay motivated as you progress and take your playing from strength to strength.
Why not come along to one of our upcoming Jam Sessions at our studio in Croydon and find out for yourself how rewarding and how much fun playing alongside others can be!