Feeling annoyed about an open mic night jam

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3,194
My band starts every rehearsal with a jam. It’s always hit or miss, oftentimes forgettable, occasionally awesome. And we’re all on the same wavelength musically.

Expecting a random collection of musicians to gel around one person’s vision is expecting a lot, especially on the first attempt. I’d say don’t give up on the open mic if people were receptive, it could end up sounding great.
I don't mean this rudely at all but I think you've missed what my problem really was. I don't doubt a lot of your rehearsal jams are hit and miss and often forgettable but I'd be surprised if you guys didn't make much effort to feed into each other and adjust to what you were hearing from each other while these jams were happening. I couldn't imagine staying in a band with people who seemed like they weren't listening (I've been in bands with one or two people like this and thankfully it didn't last long). These guys really felt like that to me. Like they just weren't listening to what was happening. Even if it was my first time sitting in with another musician I'd be doing my best to listen and make my best effort to complement the feel. The end result might be that you'd hear me changing up a lot and stopping a lot if I couldn't make it work but at least you'd know I was trying and that was another thing, they both played constantly, leaving no room for space so I tried to make up for it by stopping in a couple of places.

I've seen something similar even with some people who were really good musicians otherwise where they'd join a band and then just do their own thing over the top of the music without making much of an effort to actually get the music in question if you know what I mean. I dunno, I just feel like these are basic listening skills that are also really essential and I hope that I'm not guilty of violating them myself without having the self-awareness to realise it.
 
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3,194
Jams are tricky because very few musicians (guitar players especially ime) don’t know how to listen and play collaboratively as an ensemble.

add unique instruments and who knows what can happen... :YinYangl
BINGO. This is exactly it. I like to think I've at least grown out of this problem as well but I can never be sure that I'm not guilty of pot calling the kettle black here.
 

WordMan

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,064
I've been playing Didgeridoo between a year and a half and two years now and while I'm not super advanced with it, I'm good enough to get some attention from it for sure (can do circular breathing etc, etc). I'm also doing it alongside guitar in a new band where we are still set building.

Tonight I decided to take it to an open jam night at a venue I really like. This guitarist said he'd jam with me (realized when we got on stage that his Fender was a 4 strong model, built to be more banjo like apparently) and then at the last moment this guy who had opened doing a singer songwriter type thing with his electric asked me if he could do drums.

With that being said, here is what happened: I launched into a sort of ambientish drone with overtones etc, etc only to have the guitarist dude burst into this fast paced bluesy funk sort of playing that I felt completely ruined the vibe. The drummer also just jumped into this fast paced really basic 4/4 beat that I felt didn't fit the feel of what I was doing any more than the guitar did.

Now I know this could all kinda make me sound like a Karen seeing as I'm not the band leader of people at an open mic night and it isn't like something that is so informal matters all that much. Also, I know that someone might ask why the Didge playing should dictate the feel of the whole jam but if you've played or heard one much you might not ask that question, plus they did want to jam with me because of it.

If you've ever jammed with musicians who you felt like just didn't listen to what was going on at all then you probably know some of the frustration. It might be that I'm also just annoyed because the venue owner was really enthused about me playing it and I feel like an opportunity to show him what our band could potentially do might have got spoiled. Then again, maybe it sounded good to the audience.

Flame away if you must...
Sorry man. As others have said, this is fundamentally about Communication between musicians. Most musicians don’t have a lot of experience really paying attention, which is why open mics have the reputation they do.

I would find someone who you can communicate with and bring them to the open mic with you!
 

Digital Larry

Member
Messages
432
Maybe they were trying to coax you towards their comfort zone, i.e. "Mustang Sally". Here's a totally random thing I did at an open mic with two guys who had never heard what I was about to do. It may surprise you to learn that I'd actually practiced for about a month ahead of time, and still screwed up in a few spots. I'm the portly guy on the right. I think it worked out pretty well considering!

 

NSW

Member
Messages
116
I don't mean this rudely at all but I think you've missed what my problem really was.
I understood that you had two problems: other players weren’t playing the style of song you wanted, and they overplayed in this different style. My comment addressed the first, since I thought that would cover the second if fixed. Maybe not.

But yes, listening is key...
 
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3,194
I understood that you had two problems: other players weren’t playing the style of song you wanted, and they overplayed in this different style. My comment addressed the first, since I thought that would cover the second if fixed. Maybe not.

But yes, listening is key...
I really should have been clearer about all this with the original post. I don't think the choices were great in terms of style but yeah, I think what the whole thing came down to from my perspective was a listening thing.
 
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3,194
Maybe they were trying to coax you towards their comfort zone, i.e. "Mustang Sally". Here's a totally random thing I did at an open mic with two guys who had never heard what I was about to do. It may surprise you to learn that I'd actually practiced for about a month ahead of time, and still screwed up in a few spots. I'm the portly guy on the right. I think it worked out pretty well considering!

Looks like you are all listening to each other from what I can hear!
 
Messages
2,298
I've been playing Didgeridoo between a year and a half and two years now and while I'm not super advanced with it, I'm good enough to get some attention from it for sure (can do circular breathing etc, etc). I'm also doing it alongside guitar in a new band where we are still set building.

Tonight I decided to take it to an open jam night at a venue I really like. This guitarist said he'd jam with me (realized when we got on stage that his Fender was a 4 strong model, built to be more banjo like apparently) and then at the last moment this guy who had opened doing a singer songwriter type thing with his electric asked me if he could do drums.

With that being said, here is what happened: I launched into a sort of ambientish drone with overtones etc, etc only to have the guitarist dude burst into this fast paced bluesy funk sort of playing that I felt completely ruined the vibe. The drummer also just jumped into this fast paced really basic 4/4 beat that I felt didn't fit the feel of what I was doing any more than the guitar did.

Now I know this could all kinda make me sound like a Karen seeing as I'm not the band leader of people at an open mic night and it isn't like something that is so informal matters all that much. Also, I know that someone might ask why the Didge playing should dictate the feel of the whole jam but if you've played or heard one much you might not ask that question, plus they did want to jam with me because of it.

If you've ever jammed with musicians who you felt like just didn't listen to what was going on at all then you probably know some of the frustration. It might be that I'm also just annoyed because the venue owner was really enthused about me playing it and I feel like an opportunity to show him what our band could potentially do might have got spoiled. Then again, maybe it sounded good to the audience.

Flame away if you must...
I would sue Guitar Center and out everyone involved on a public guitar gear forum.
 

middy

Member
Messages
964
I know what you mean about “musicians” who don’t listen. Infuriating. Sometimes I’ll just play dumb and stop and say “Sorry, I don’t get it.”
 

johnsav

Member
Messages
1,510
A lot of musicians simply do not listen!
Playing with those that hear and respond appropriately is satisfying.
Playing with those that hear themselves above all others is frustrating.
 

KiddBilly

Member
Messages
400
Those damn didges :rolleyes:

In all seriousness, you'd have to get pretty lucky to bring something as far left of center as a didgeridoo to a open mic jam and find musicians comfortable with accompanying it there. Let alone on the first time.

A lot of us musicians don't listen well, and don't listen when we need to. That is why there are a lot of good players, but not a lot of great players. Not enough of us play what works!
 

BlueRiff

Member
Messages
6,068
the guitarist dude burst into this fast paced bluesy funk sort of playing that I felt completely ruined the vibe
This is what open mic jam guitarists do. Burst blues licks over the top with little/no restraint. Next time say "no thanks, all set...".
 

Overdriver18

Member
Messages
968
Obviously funk and blues licks should have never been their approach. I'm not particularly familiar with didgeridoo outside of one or two songs, but I do listen to a decent amount of ambient. You've got me curious now in the small chance I get to play with a didge player. How does the didgeridoo normally fit in with accompaniment within the usual context? Does it usually dictate melody / rhythm? I'd think that maybe the drummer would focus on toms and maybe a brush would be more appropriate for use with anything else in the standard kit, kind of avoiding any sharpness. For guitar I'd assume that having some arpeggiated chords or repeated chords with some reverb is where I might start, and avoiding any single note runs.
 

jturner

Member
Messages
319
Another thing. They both played constantly. No attempt to dropout to create variation and dynamics or anything.
It's not you, it's them.
The best musicians know how to give their notes (and those of others) room to breathe. Most of making music is listening.
 

Kriskov

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
584
I guess I've been fortunate in finding jams that work. I thought the whole point of it was to listen to what's going on and figure out where you can contribute. One of the things I love is to get up with people I've never seen before and figure out where I need to be.

One time at the solar music fest in Taos, Hot Tuna was playing some great blues and a guy named Robert Mirabal, a native american musician and kind of de facto MC, jumped up with them, with a digeridoo, and took a 48 bar solo. Damned if it didn't work incredibly well! But we are talking top tier musicians.

At a jam one night a guy gets up with a trombone. When I say he ripped the roof off the place, that vastly understates how good he was. He wove in and out with every other player and took great pains to make each player sound great. turns out he was the trombone player in Doc Severinson's band! He could have melted everyone on that stage, but he chose to support everyone. To me that's what a jam is all about, and I've been lucky to find them.
 




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