Sponsoring a high school jam club

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by weldon, May 9, 2005.

  1. weldon


    Jan 3, 2003
    Denver, CO
    Next school year (August) I start my new career as a high school history teacher (after ten years in telecom). One of the things that I decided to do was sponsor the "jam club." It came up when talking to one the Assistant Principal's that there was a group of students that wanted to get together once a week and jam, but they needed a sponsor. Since I started playing in middle school and high school, I thought this was a great idea. I'm just hoping that they let me play with them every now and then.

    So here's my question, what do you think I should try and teach them? I'm obviously going to let them choose the music and go where they want to go (it's not a class), but are there some basics that everyone should know when they show up at a jam session. Some of the stuff may be so basic that we just take it for granted now, but the kids might need to learn.

    I'm thinking of basic musicianship stuff like...

    constant tempo (maybe slight changes)
    dynamics (crescendo, etc.)
    steady beat/rhythm
    12 bar blues

    Does anyone have any other suggestions? Maybe standards that you like to jam to?
  2. Whatever you decide to do please please please make sure that they play a little bit of everything. Depending on where you live in the country, EMO is really big right now, and SCREAMO EMO is even bigger. If they're going to play that make them break out some Grand Funk Railroad, or something of the sort, every once in a while. They'll thank you for it in 3 or 4 years.
  3. I'm not too sure exactly what you're talking about, we didn't have anything of the sort at my school. What instruments are we talking about? Just anyone who wants to come along?

    Anyway, a worthwhile exercise might be to get each player to sit out through the head chart once. They should listen to what the other players are doing, and think about how their part fits into that framework.

    IMO the most important thing players can learn when playing with others is to LISTEN to what everyone else is doing. Too often people say "here is my bit and i'm playing it like this". It's an ongoing process for everyone, but to start with, sitting out for a chorus can help.
  4. jadesmar


    Feb 17, 2003
    Ottawa, ON
    For a small number of people, a "spin the bottle" type game may be fun. Here are the rules I am thinking of.

    1. Spin a bottle/randomly choose a player
    2. The player comes up with a 2 - 4 note lick.
    3. Move around the circle adding musicians playing the lick in unison.
    4. Spin the bottle.
    5. The next player adds harmony/melody over/under the lick.
    6. Contiunue with harmony such that the players learn their harmonic range.
    7. Spin the bottle.
    8. The next player adds a counterpoint rhythm.


    Just a thought.
  5. FenderBassp


    Nov 14, 2004
    Teach them scales and how to use them in solos, play songs like word-up and an 1-4-5 chord progression. Take turns soloing. Its an jam session.