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- Jam Sessions

Want to know what's going on right now? Every week I send out an e-mail to all of my students listing my upcoming classes, jams, workshops, etc. If you would like to be added to my e-mail list and receive my weekly updates, or have any questions whatsoever about my teaching, please e-mail me at tonywatt@gmail.com

 

JAM SESSIONS
I offer a wide variety of "teacher-directed" jam sessions for bluegrass musicians in Boston and Albany, where students have the opportunity to learn from each other, from tabs and mp3s I distribute, and from our discussions about how to improve our playing. The jams vary according to the number of tunes the participants know, and both rhythm and lead players are invited. My teacher-directed jam sessions provide a level-appropriate, supportive environment to help students grow their skills and repertoire. If you are interested in any of these jams, or have any questions, please e-mail me at tonywatt@gmail.com
My teacher-directed jams are usually weekly or biweekly. Jams typically last 90 minutes, although some go as long as three hours, and the cost varies depending on the length. Students can also sign up for a block of jam sessions, which guarantees them a spot in the jam of their choice and gives them a substantial discount. Otherwise, students are invited to RSVP to jams on a first come, first served basis at the regular per-session cost.
JAMS BY LEVEL AND SCHEDULE
My teacher-directed jams are open to all instruments, both rhythm and lead players, however they are primarily intended for mandolin and guitar players who can play both rhythm and lead. You can attend even if you don't know all of the tunes, as I will have mp3s and copies of tab, chords and lyrics (where applicable) for most of these tunes, however I only have tabs for mandolin, guitar and bass at this time. Students are encouraged to sign up for a block of jam sessions, which guarantees you a spot each week and provides a substantial discount. Otherwise, students are invited to RSVP to jams on a first come, first served basis at the regular per-session cost. Enrollment is limited to 8 or 9 for each jam, so please e-mail me at tonywatt@gmail.com if you are interested or have any questions.
OTHER JAMS
VOCAL TUNE JAM (corresponds to the Wernick Method Class)
The vocal tune jam is modeled after the Wernick Method Jam Class, but please note that you are welcome to attend even if you didn't attend the class. This jam is open to all instruments, all levels, and the only requirement is that you're able to switch between G, C, D and A smoothly. The primary difference between this jam and my other jams is that we will be playing only vocals with no handouts (other than lyric sheets if needed). Furthermore, this jam has no set repertoire, and we will try to play as many new songs each week as possible. Therefore you'll be able to practice important skills such as how to follow a guitar player's chords, and how to build a basic bluegrass solo by ear. Because of these core differences, this jam is appropriate for people who would attend any of my jams between the Beginner and Intermediate/Advanced levels.
BEGINNER SLOW JAM (goes with the Slow Jam Class)
These jams correspond with the Introduction to Bluegrass Jamming (Slow Jam Class), however the class is not required to participate in the jam. We will play through songs from the BEGINNER Jam repertoire (above) as well as other songs brought to the group by the participants. Intended for all bluegrass instruments, both melody and backup, there are no prerequisite songs, and you don't need to be able to play leads on your instrument, sing, or read music.
ADVANCED JAM (dozens of songs)
These jams are intended for mandolin and guitar players who know at least a few dozen fiddle tunes. In addition to fiddle tunes, we will also be working on breaks to vocal tunes, as well as general concepts of improvising, practicing, etc. These jams sometimes meet on Tuesday evenings at Sandy's Music at 896 Mass. Ave. in Cambridge, between Harvard and Central Square. When we meet at Sandy's Music, we finish up in time for folks to head over to The Cantab Lounge (about 4 blocks from Sandy's) in time to catch the featured act upstairs or jam in the downstairs.

JAM SESSIONS


I offer a wide variety of "teacher-directed" jam sessions for folks throughout the Boston area, where students have the opportunity to learn from each other, from tabs and mp3s I distribute, and from our discussions about how to improve our playing. The jams vary according to the tempos we play at and the number of songs the participants know, and both rhythm and lead players are invited. My teacher-directed jam sessions provide a level-appropriate, supportive environment to help students grow their skills and repertoire. If you are interested in any of these jams, or have any questions, please e-mail me at tonywatt@gmail.com


My teacher-directed jams are typically held every week, at the same place and time. Jams typically last one to two hours, although some go as long as three hours, and the cost varies depending on the length. Students can also sign up for a Confirmed Jam Series (CJS), which guarantees them a spot in the jam of their choice and gives them a substantial discount. Otherwise, students are invited to RSVP to jams on a first come, first served basis at the regular per-session cost.


My teacher-directed jams are open to all instruments, both rhythm and lead players, however they are primarily intended for mandolin and guitar players who can play both rhythm and lead. You can attend even if you don't know all of the tunes, as I will have mp3s and copies of tab, chords and lyrics (where applicable) for most of these tunes, however I only have tabs for mandolin, guitar and bass at this time. Students are encouraged to become Confirmed Jam Series (CJS) subscribers, which guarantees you a spot each week and provides a substantial discount. Enrollment is limited for each jam, so please e-mail me at tonywatt@gmail.com if you are interested or have any questions.

 

JAM REPERTOIRE BY LEVEL

Here is the list of songs that we currently play at each jam session, along with the tempos we play them at (as of winter 2017):

 

SONGKEY

SUNDAYS

(BEG/INT)

MONDAYS

(INT)

WEDNESDAYS

(ADV)

Old Joe Clark

A

70, 85 & 100

90, 100 & 110

95, 110 & 120
Red Haired Boy A 80 & 95 90, 100 & 110 110, 110 & 120
Nine Pound Hammer A 85 & 105 105 & 115 115 & 130
I am a Pilgrim G 65 & 85 65 & 85 65 & 85
Whiskey Before Breakfast D 65 & 85 90 & 100 100 & 115
Wayfaring Stranger Em   55 & 120 55 & 120
Cherokee Shuffle A   90 & 100 110 & 120
Clinch Mountain Backstep A   100 & 110 75 & 85
Little Maggie A   105 & 115 80 & 90
Big Spike Hammer A   105 & 115
Bill Cheatham A   95 & 110
Gold Rush A   95 & 110
Billy in the Lowground C     95 & 110
St. Anne's Reel D   90 & 100
Fireball Mail G   110 & 120
Big Sciota G   95 & 105
Blackberry Blossom G   95 & 105


OTHER JAMS


WEEKLY VOCAL TUNE JAM (at the Cantab Lounge in Cambridge)

TUESDAYS from 6 - 7:30 pm at the Cantab: Weekly Vocal Tune Jam
  -  please note: no rsvp needed if you plan to join us for this jam
  -  every Tuesday at the Cantab Lounge in Central Sq. in Cambridge
  -  see below for details of the "Song of the Week" system
  -  otherwise no instrumentals, very fast vocal tunes, or difficult songs
  -  the Cantab is located at 738 Mass. Ave. in Central Square in Cambridge, MA 02139
  -  held upstairs at the Cantab immediately before bluegrass night
  -  this jam is open to the public and there is a $10 requested pass-the-hat donation
  -  more details at http://cantab-lounge.com/public_html/cantab_calendar.html

Cantab Jam Details

Weekly Vocal Tune Jam - Tuesdays from 6 until 7:30 pm at the Cantab Lounge
(1) the jam meets every Tuesday from 6 until 7:30, no rsvp required
(2) unlike my other jams, we don't know what songs we'll be playing each week
(3) we don't play instrumentals, very fast vocal tunes, or obscure/difficult songs
(4) you don't need to be able to sing, but it's more fun if you can
(5) improvising solos is also not required, but it's more fun if you can
(6) the best preparation is to learn a common bluegrass song to sing with us
(7) the Cantab Lounge is one block from the Red Line, or try these "secret" parking spots:

There are six parking spaces very near the Cantab that are almost always free if you can get there at exactly 5:55 pm. These six parking spaces are all loading zones (that means tow zones) up until 6 pm, but if you arrive at 5:55 they are almost always empty. You can then sit in your car for a couple minutes, after which the parking spaces become non-tow zones and are free. There are two of these spots directly in front of the Cantab and the 7-11 on the corner, but don't park in the handicapped spot unless you have the placard! And there are four more of these loading-zone-until-6-pm spots directly across Mass. Ave. from the Cantab in front Pill Hardware down to the 1369 Coffee House.

"Song of the Week"

The Weekly Vocal Tune Jam at the Cantab had been limited to easier songs (that is, no very fast vocal tunes, or songs with very complicated chord changes), but with the new "Song of the Week" system gives everybody attending the jam almost a week to work on a more difficult song for next week's jam. These songs will be chosen on a nearly weekly basis by people at the jam, or by e-mailing me directly if you know you can attend next week's jam.

We might play the Song of the Week from previous weeks too, so I have included the list below. But you never know what songs we songs we're going to play at the Weekly Vocal Tune Jam, so you'll have to come out to the Cantab Lounge to find out!

Recent "Song of the Week" List (as of winter 2017):

Moonshiner (in D) - www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1ffOWyIOWQ
Cold Rain and Snow (in G) - https://youtu.be/s1UZsH7rubI?t=50s
Christmas Time's A-Comin' (in E) - www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXfBYXElPII
If Wishes Were Horses (in A) - www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JUR_Lw-n-M
Things in Life (in E) - www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mxbiu2AuX0Y
White House Blues (in B) - www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8rk5rTxOBk
My Saro Jane (in G) - www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWl9iVnxxSY
Ain't No Ash Will Burn (in D) - www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmdm8E5uWlk
Come On Up To The House (in A) - www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzapgZI5SEc

MAILING LIST SIGN-UP

Want to join my mailing list?

Please just send me an e-mail at tonywatt@gmail.com and let me know where you live and what you're interested in hearing about (such as performances, classes, jams, etc.)

Thanks so much!