Every Wednesday evening we host an Acoustic BLUEGRASS jam session at Pleasantview Community Hall (10860 - 57 Avenue Edmonton, Alberta). Jamming begins at 7:00 p.m. Both the basement and main floor are open for jamming. Please take advantage of the available jamming space this will help keep the jamming circles smaller and feel free to move from one jam to the other.
Spectators are welcome - we set up tables and chairs in addition to the chairs in the circle. A donation of $2.00 per person is requested. The club provides free coffee.
Guests and newcomers are always welcome, so please come out and have some fun!
ABOUT THE JAM
Our jams are totally acoustic in the spirit of traditional bluegrass music. We provide microphones for sound reinforcement until 10:00 p.m. You may stay and jam acoustically after that. The focus of our jam is bluegrass. Acoustic stringed instruments only please. If you play accordion, harmonica or percussion (or some other instrument not usually associated with bluegrass), check out our Resources page for a list of other jams in the Edmonton area.
ENTERING THE CIRCLE
The participants of the jam sit it in a circle in the centre of the hall. Before entering the circle make sure you are in tune to concert pitch. The best way to achieve this is with an electronic tuner. If you do not have one, someone would be glad to lend you one. Or there is a tuner available at the front table.
Take a seat in the circle, if you are a novice at jamming you may want to sit next to a more experienced player playing the same instrument. If you wish to just play back-up or quietly in the background, that is quite all right. The dos and don'ts of jam etiquette are merely suggestions; there are no hard and fast rules and each situation is a little different.
We generally proceed in a clockwise pattern around the circle. Participants are allowed to sing a song or play one song of their choice when it comes to their turn. If you do not wish to pick a song when it comes to your turn, simply pass on to the next person in the circle.
WHEN IT IS YOUR TURN
You may want to bring a list of a few songs to the jam that you want to play so you are ready when it is your turn. It is usually best to pick a familiar tune or one with not too many changes that is easy to learn by ear.
Call out the name of the tune, the key and any unusual changes before starting. Request harmony back-up on the chorus if you want it. For the benefit of all players, try not start a tune at too fast a tempo.
Instrumental breaks should also follow a clockwise pattern. Keep eye contact with others around the circle. Encourage those who wish to take a break, but do not intimidate those who do not want to do so.
PLAYING ALONG WITH OTHERS
Remember to give the feature performer their turn. We often have lots of instruments playing at once, so be careful how loud you play along. If you cannot hear the vocalist or the lead instrument, please play softer. If someone motions for you to take a break and you do not feel up to the task, just shake your head or offer the break to the next picker or instrumentalist in the circle.
When taking a break, increase your volume and position instrument close to a microphone. Try not to speed up during your break. If you add harmony, make sure you are in harmony and that you do not overpower the lead singer.