Do I have to know some songs to participate? No. In fact, the dynamics of the jam are such that you will spend more time learning songs in a jam setting than you will playing songs you do know. We will seek to emulate this in our jam.
Is this for all instruments, or just the banjo? All instruments. I lead the group typically playing guitar, and I will occasionally demonstrate something on mandolin or banjo. The camp is designed to get you going on your instrument, be it a bass or a fiddle, dobro or banjo.
How good do I have to be? (Will I be utterly humiliated if I try one of these? I just bought a banjo a couple of weeks ago.) Literally, if you can tune your instrument, know 3 chords and can do a few right hand rolls, you are ready. You can play hundreds of songs with just the basic level of knowledge.
How fast do I have to be able to play? Speed is a function of accuracy and familiarity. Most jams operate pretty slowly because all the people don't know all the songs. We will go as slowly as we need to, but we will often play at near full speed. It depends completely on the makeup of the group. This is not strictly speaking a slow jam, though, as we will occasionally play songs at nearly full speed.
What forms of payment do you take? Cash or checks, please.
When is payment due? I may eventually come up with semester pricing, but for right now the amount is due each session.
What do I need to bring? Just your instrument. Sometimes people bring recorders, but that is totally optional and up to you. I'll have coffee, and that's about it, so if you want soft drinks, byo.
So, I have to know the words to the songs we will play? No, although people can and do pick up bluegrass song books. I am pretty much a "no paperwork" guy. This music was learned and passed down by folks who didn't use musical notation or tablature. You'll be surprised how quickly you'll remember the songs. Remember, also, unless you are singling lead, you only have to know the words of the chorus. Part of learning how to learn songs is picking up the words for the chorus so that you can sing a harmony part when the chorus comes around.
Do I have to be able to sing to participate in this jam, and all jams? No, although you don't have to have a "great" voice to sing, either. Bluegrass is a form of folk music, and as such does not require trained voices. Just bring your voice, and be willing to share it. But if you are just here for the instrumentation, that's fine too.

 

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