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Improve Your Playing by Finding Live Venues

pmgpmg Atherton, CANew Dupont MD50R, Shelley Park Custom, Super 400, 68 Les Paul Deluxe, Stevie Ray Strat
edited December 2019 in Gypsy Picking Posts: 140

As a lot of more experienced jazz musicians will attest, there is nothing better than playing in live venues with other musicians to rapidly improve your playing and build a repertoire of memorized tunes which you need to have in most jam settings. So where do you find live venues and other musicians to play with - especially if you are working on gypsy jazz stuff?

Coffee houses are a great choice and the typical vibe works well for acoustic gypsy jazz. GJ is not too loud or distracting and seems to engage a lot customers who tend to stay longer and spend more money and leave bigger tips.

Finding the right coffee joint can be a challenge. Seek locations that have a nice sized room where you can perform without crowding out patrons. Saturday - Sunday afternoons are best IMO as this is good time for many folks to grab a Joe and relax before they head home or go out for the evening.

If you are new to playing live, practice tunes with another guitar player and add a bass if you can before you play in public so you sound decent. Check out coffee shops in well trafficked locations and ask the manager/head barista if you can play acoustic guitars. If you exude confidence, most will at least let you do a few tunes to start - and that could build into some weekly jams with buddies that, like you, would love to play in public.

Don't expect or ask to get paid. Free drinks are the best you can hope for - and you may need to put a few bucks conspicuously into the barista's tip jar when you finish to insure a warm welcome on your return. Once you get a steady thing going, you can place adds in craigslist for other musicians if needed and have a nice outlet and practice venue that could lead to paying gigs from gratified patrons.

I have more to say, but I'll reserve my additional comments to await feedback from others.

I'm always interested in jamming with experienced jazz and gypsy jazz players in the San Francisco - San Jose area. Drop me a line. Bass players welcome!
BucojonpowlTwangMichaelHorowitzBonesrudolfochristScoredog

Comments

  • crookedpinkycrookedpinky Glasgow✭✭✭✭ Alex Bishop D Hole, Altamira MF01, Godefroy Maruejouls
    Posts: 805

    Interesting point of view which I agree with. However, I'm sure others will disagree. I started up a fortnightly session in local bar, we don't get paid but they are really generous with drinks. It's turned out to be a great session.

    always learning
  • AndyWAndyW Glasgow Scotland UK✭✭✭ Clarinets & Saxes- Selmer, Conn, Buescher, Leblanc et.al. // Guitars: Gerome, Musicalia, Bucolo et. al.
    Posts: 389

    Be sure you know whether it's a performance, or a jam session...

    "I brought my bagpipes, ok if I sit in ??"

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    '---''(_/--' (_/-'
  • crookedpinkycrookedpinky Glasgow✭✭✭✭ Alex Bishop D Hole, Altamira MF01, Godefroy Maruejouls
    Posts: 805

    Good point Andy W.

    always learning
  • pmgpmg Atherton, CANew Dupont MD50R, Shelley Park Custom, Super 400, 68 Les Paul Deluxe, Stevie Ray Strat
    Posts: 140

    In a coffee house setting, open jams do not work as you need to be mindful that some are there to read, study, and do other things other than watch musicians. Most coffee houses play background music and you are there to replace it with something more interesting - but still be primarily background music. Not a setting for dazzling virtuoso performances or loud instruments (no trumpets, drums, saxophones, etc.). Think cool, low key acoustic jazz for players that would like to play in front of others rather than play with backing tracks at home. I personally think that one hour of playing with some decent playing partners is way more productive than playing alone for several hours. You can also attract playing buddies that otherwise might not be interested in jamming with you.

    I'm always interested in jamming with experienced jazz and gypsy jazz players in the San Francisco - San Jose area. Drop me a line. Bass players welcome!
  • geese_comgeese_com Madison, WINew 503
    Posts: 269

    We have a weekly jam at a coffee house and that has worked out well so far. Although we do not get a lot of people who actually watch us. I just think of it as a practice in a public setting.


    Another option is to host jams. I try to host a jam at my house once a month. I primarily only invite guitar players so that we can all geek out about guitars and trade licks and ideas. It sure beats just jamming to backing tracks.

    Buco
  • h24015h24015 New jean barault, mateos
    Posts: 17

    Another good forum a local veteran's care center. THey are attentive, very appreciative and you can play almost anything (I play about half originals and mix in some songs that they may recognize).

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