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Talk me into (or out of) this


(@doug_c)
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Several months ago, I emailed the local Adult & Community Education office to ask if they might be interested in holding a course like I'd seen at a couple of other districts in Maine, "Acoustic Jam Session(s)." One of those was described as "a low pressure, non-judgmental opportunity to experience the joy that comes from making music with other people." Somebody at the A&CE office had replied in early May, expressing some interest, but said she'd have to get the director's approval. (And the director was on vacation at the time.)

Yesterday I got another email from them, with an attached "Course Information and Proposal Form," asking if I wanted to "organize and facilitate" the course. Umm, I dunno. I was thinking somebody who was better at music theory, etc., than I am would be a better leader for such a thing. Then again, there's that "hammy" part of me that thinks I could be the "hootmeister" one night a week for a couple of hours per night. The instructor who ran the guitar course I took through Adult Ed a few years ago will be teaching another course this fall, and I don't know if he'd want to take on another class. (And Pat would probably tell me to "just go for it.")

All I really wanted was to meet some other folks around my age, who know some of the same chords I do (or a few different chords), who might enjoy putting those chords into various progressions and see what comes out.
The A&CE folks are going to print the fall course catalog sometime in August, and they wanted me to reply by the end of this week.

I think I'd like to be in a course like that, but for something people would pay for (the other school districts charged $65 and $79 dollars for theirs), I'm not sure if I'm the right person to run it. :?


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(@s1120)
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Interesting idea. So its not really a course.. but more a learning experience for the class. [and teacher] Id almost call it more a intern program. :) I would not worry about so much about your playing/theory skills, and more your skills at keeping things flowing, and running smoothly. Might want to start in with a handful of songs in your bag of tricks, and just let the class morph into what the class wants. Good luck!!

Paul B


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(@doug_c)
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Thanks for the input, Paul. I like the "intern program" description. Yeah, it's kind of a "networking thing," satisfying my curiosity about who's buying the other two copies of Acoustic Guitar Magazine at the local supermarket. I know there have to be other players out there, maybe now I can find out who they are. Some of them might be wondering who else in our little corner of the world plays guitar, too. :)

And as the course description for one of the other school districts said, it's for those who are "tired of strumming [their] guitar alone in [their] basement or garage." An open mic night could still be a little intimidating for some, and there's only one venue around here that I know of. I've never been to one, but from what I've seen in the local newspaper, that one seems to be more for "pro" players.

If I do it, I think on one later night I might ask who'd like to try an alternate tuning, and show 'em "Harvest Moon." (Thank you, David!) As you said, kind of let it "morph" into whatever the members want. I think it could be a chance for some of the folks to find out out they really are ready to play out a little more. Could also be a good chance to "compare notes" on things like capos, stands, etc.

Last night, I contacted a guy from the evening class I took several years ago at the same school where this one would be. I think he's a better player than I am, and he said he'd be interested in the jam session course, so I took that as a sign to go for it, too. 8)

Gotta go work on the course description.


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(@doug_c)
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Update: It looks like it's gonna happen. The instructor who usually teaches guitar courses for Adult Ed is unavailable, so we're going to try my idea for three weeks.
I'm still waiting to hear from the A&CE office about when it'll start, and on what night of the week it'll be.

This is kinda scary, and yet I think it could be fun.


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(@alangreen)
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Nice one. Don't overthink it - your class will probably be happier with coming along and learning to play some decent songs and learn some techniques rather than coming along to get loaded up on music theory.

Practise your singing though - that'll probably all be down to you.

"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger"
I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk
Wedding music and guitar lessons in Essex. Listen at: http://www.rollmopmusic.co.uk


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(@doug_c)
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Thanks, Alan.
Yep, I may not have much to teach 'em, so it's mostly about getting folks together in one spot for some fun. (And using the music room at the school is mostly so I don't have to clean up my living room or basement to have a group come over and play. )

But I'm sure I'll learn something out of it, and I hope others will too. I just ran across this gem in one of David's lessons: "Music is meant to be shared. It is its nature. The high that you get from playing is amplified enormously when playing for and (more so) with others." Sounds good to me. 8)


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(@redyama)
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I say go for. I've been wanting to start something similar.

When I can, I go to a couple of different Open Jams. One is mostly experienced players who sit in a circle and everyone takes turns leading a song. As a novice player, I send more time watching fingers to trying to figure out chords and playing muted strings than actually playing along. But I am getting better at figuring out patterns and anticipating changes. My confidence, strumming, and singing have improved dramatically. But most of the people there are not there to teach, they are there to play. The other one I go to is at a local guitar shop, mostly students from the shop. Sometimes there will be 5-10, other times there may only be 2 of us. More learning happens there, but you never know what you are going to get.

I want to start something that goes for 2 hours. The first hour is learning songs from an experienced player or better yet a hired teacher (As a group lesson, $10-$15 per person per week or a flat fee of $40 month). Beginners would just do basic strumming, and the teacher could teach fills, bass lines riffs, etc to the more experience plays. One or two songs a week. The last hour would be an open jam where people could lead songs learned in the past meetings, or new stuff they are working on. Since the "easy" versions of most songs are in G, I thought a fun name would be GC/DC.

Best of luck, and I need to get off my butt and get things going here. So, if anybody knows any instructors or places to meet in North Dallas/Plano/Allen/McKinney are, please let me know.


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(@doug_c)
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Welcome to GN. There's lots of good learning stuff here. I hadn't been on here for awhile, but your reply got me back looking over some things (Travis picking, etc.), so thanks for that.
I say go for. I've been wanting to start something similar.My idea to do something through Adult & Community Education didn't happen, because nobody registered for it. I haven't given up on it, but things like home repairs, etc., have kind of reduced my free time lately.
I also noticed that it looks like nobody else has been buying Acoustic Guitar magazine at the local supermarket lately. Maybe whoever else was buying it there has been fixing their roofs and other chores caused by the past winter. (I' was listening to the Beatles' "Fixing a Hole" as I typed this. :|)
When I can, I go to a couple of different Open Jams. One is mostly experienced players who sit in a circle and everyone takes turns leading a song. As a novice player, I send more time watching fingers to trying to figure out chords and playing muted strings than actually playing along. But I am getting better at figuring out patterns and anticipating changes. My confidence, strumming, and singing have improved dramatically.Good! I think that's called the "immersion" thing. I should do that, but haven't gotten up the ambition (nerve) to try it yet.
I love this suggestion from Tom Serb, on page 2 of David Hodge's Making Music – Tales of Playing Well With Others from our Guitar Noise Readers: "Learn a Beatles song, a CCR (Creedence Clearwater Revival) tune and a Dylan number and you’ll find you can play at least one of them with just about everybody."
Of course nobody can choose just one song from any of those artists, so it should get you started. Let's see, "Eleanor Rigby," maybe "Down on the Corner," and "Knockin' on Heaven's Door."

Have you led one song yet? Maybe pick a "three-chord special" like Neil Young's "Helpless" (D-A-G), with some vocal harmonies in there, or Dylan's "Knockin'." Maybe some of the experienced players could use their capos to play in different areas of the guitar, and thereby add something to the mix. David gave me some good advice on that here: < https://www.guitarnoise.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=46565&p=476233&hilit=capo#p476233 >
The other one I go to is at a local guitar shop, mostly students from the shop. Sometimes there will be 5-10, other times there may only be 2 of us. More learning happens there, but you never know what you are going to get.Ah, the "life is like a box of chocolates" thing.
I want to start something that goes for 2 hours. The first hour is learning songs from an experienced player or better yet a hired teacher (As a group lesson, $10-$15 per person per week or a flat fee of $40 month). Beginners would just do basic strumming, and the teacher could teach fills, bass lines riffs, etc to the more experience plays. One or two songs a week. The last hour would be an open jam where people could lead songs learned in the past meetings, or new stuff they are working on. Since the "easy" versions of most songs are in G, I thought a fun name would be GC/DC.Good one.
I even thought of renting a storage unit as a practice/jam space. I think the units have overhead lights, but I don't know about wall outlets. It could provide a place where no household members would have to listen to us play, and probably wouldn't bother any neighbors at night, but I don't think it would work well during the winter. There are all kinds of potential funny band names there, too.
I think I'd kick in $40/month to hang out with your group, but Dallas is "a bit of a ride" from here.
Best of luck, and I need to get off my butt and get things going here.Thanks, and I hope you find some folks to jam with. I'll bet there are others out there looking, too.


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