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Sitting-In Etiquette
Posted On 12/11/2007 15:06:39 by VinceAdame
Most jams operate similarly. Usually a host band generously provides the back line of amplifiers, microphones, and drums. This keeps things moving at a brisk pace, and reduces the downtime between sets. The host band will perform the first set of music, then the jammers are invited to play. The order of play is where jams may differ. Some hosts will provide a sign up list and make selections based on a first-come, first-play basis or they may first bring up their favorites, friends, regulars or special guests. At some jams, the newbies and late arrivals, in an unspoken rite of passage, may have to wait their turn until later in the night. Some will undoubtably make their feelings of being ignored known to the host, quite possibly pushing them further down the order.

So when you arrive, find the host and introduce yourself. Briefly tell him or her a little about yourself, including your instrument of talent. Don't make the wrong impression right off the bat with a monopolizing conversation. Find a good spot to watch the stage, enjoy yourself and order something from the bar or grill, and remember to tip the waitstaff. The dollars you put down count toward both the venue's success and the continuation of the host band's standing gig. Simply stated, a happening jam is when musicians flock, and fans follow, translating to a full till and a good night for the club.

When you are called to play, hopefully you haven't overly imbibed because you need to stay sharp to play a jam. There will be good and mediocre jammers on stage. If you are pleasant, confident, and a tad humble, consider yourself in the good category. For a drummer, it also means that you approach the supplied drums with respect. Don't bang into them when you are settling in, even if the stage layout is confined. Do not over adjust the positions and settings of the drums and hardware just to suit your comfort. Rather, decide on the one thing you just can't overcome, make the adjustment, and this is crucial: leave them like you found them. The host drummer is already sacrificing his gear for you, the least you could do is return anything you changed back to its original position. It can be frustrating for the host drummer to have to constantly readjust his own drums. Bring your own stick bag and you'll appear more professional. You don't want to leave the host drummer with the carnage of broken sticks and mangled wire brushes.

When you are done or before you leave, make sure you thank the jam's host and drummer. They will remember that you appreciated their efforts, enabling you to play out. So be the best version of yourself and have fun.



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