The Jam Band - on hiatus for now, but stay tuned!
What This Is
The JAM BAND is for people who are comfortable reading music, and would like to get together to play and practice playing for dances If the name calls up thoughts of plums and raspberries, so much the better. Originally we only played for English Country Dances, but we've gotten kind of popular, and play for other things as well, mostly Community-style dances.
When and Where
We've taken a well-deserved break, but will resume again at some point. We gather at the home of Martha Edwards and Bob Green at 433 Marford Drive in Creve Coeur, MO. (There are directions here.) Officially, we meet from 7-9pm, but sometimes, we go a bit over.
Who It's For
This is primarily aimed at people who already dance English or its American cousin, Contra Dance, but anyone who can play an an instrument, is able to read music in major and minor keys up to two flats or sharps, and wants to play for dancing is welcome.
(For people who prefer playing by ear, or who want to learn to play by ear, there are wonderful opportunities at the St Louis Folk School.)
What We Do
The main focus will be on reading “lead sheets”, that is, the tune plus someone’s idea of which chords should be used to back it up. So, for rhythm section players (keyboard, bass, guitar) you will eventually need to learn how to read chord charts if you don’t know how already.
We will supply copies of the music - and you can download much of the music we've played in the past.
We also discuss what makes music “danceable,” and welcome everyone’s thoughts on the subject. Whoever has a compelling argument for this or that way of doing things will be “the expert of the moment.” You may very well be that expert.
We will also (gasp!) learn how to do some simple improvising – that is, playing something that goes well with the tune, but is not the tune. We will experiment!
Should I Bring Anything?
Bring your instrument, of course. Bring a music stand if you have one, otherwise, we have several you can use. There is a piano and an electric keyboard for keyboardists to share, or you can certainly bring your own.
We'll have snacks on hand, and you should feel free to bring some to share if that's easy for you.
Why Should I Do This?
Playing for dancing, in case you’ve never done it, is an incredible musical treat. Good music already has motion, but to see your music transformed into patterns of dancing just feels great.