Jamming Is The Life Blood Of a Band
Sometimes it seems the best music is coming from bands that are playing live. Not to say that the singer who hangs out in a studio performing other peoples songs is somehow wrong, but you get the idea; a band with a good songwriter can really be almost unstoppable. Add in to that some musicians who like to play their instruments together, and you have the right recipe for success, because jamming is the lifeblood of a band.
But to make jamming an effective part of songwriting and to help a band build it skill level there has to be some kind of structure to it, because lets face it lighting does not strike and create a great idea each and every rehearsal. So what should you do? Each member of the band should be responsible for bringing in a groove, a simple chord change, a cool beat, or whatever idea that can get the jamming juices flowing.
So then after everyone is tuned up and while things are getting going the import thing to do is listen carefully to each other. Jamming is a time to practice soloing, of course it is, but it is also a great time to get your rhythm section functioning together. While you are jamming the rhythm section can experiment with some rhythmic phrasing remembering how to play behind the beat at times or pushing it at other times. Bass and drums should really focus in on each other so that in a live situation they can really bring on some spontaneity and energy to the show. Locking in the kick drum and the bass is a very key element in creating a solid rhythm section and this is the time to do it.
Soloist of course use this time to work on their solos. But instead of just playing notes, a lead instrument player, keyboard guitar whatever, should not just play runs, but should key in on the drummer and trade riffs, or even better try and lead and follow into different grooves. When performers can do this onstage the audience easily picks up on it and the show becomes a very exciting spontaneous happening instead of something that resembles a prearranged too rehearsed recital.
For vocalists jamming is a great time to try and work out some melodies. Instead of singing words just do what the Beatles did, you know La La Ya Ya, so that you can really get some ideas about melodies, then of course later you can use those melodies during song writing sessions.
If you want to have a great live show, if you want to have fun at rehearsal instead of just going over the same boring thing all the time – then get to jamming, after all jamming is the life blood of music.