Why Working On Your Playlist Is Not Enough (Part 1): The Importance of Jam Sessions

Advice for Bands, Blog, ISQ Journals

In Sanity Q has been around for almost a decade now, and staying alive as a band hasn’t been easy. We love what we do, and we would do anything to keep on doing what we love…  but, as the saying goes, love isn’t everything. So what is it that keeps us going?

After a productive meeting with the boys the other day, we agreed that it might be a good idea to keep a public In Sanity Q (ISQ) journal and to share some of our ‘band secrets’ with everyone via blog posts.  We are not sure whether or not you will find our posts valuable, but at least they will remind you that the band is still alive. If, at some point, you decide to unfollow us, that’s okay. We will come to you at night and pop your eyes out of their sockets with a spoon… Hopefully, we’ll keep you entertained as we share our band’s adventures.

As the title of this article suggests, our first blog post will help you understand why you need to jam with the boys every now and then. So let’s get started.

***

You are not a rock/metal band unless you play music together. You don’t need us to tell you that. But working on your playlist exclusively (whether they’re original songs or cover songs) is not enough. Sometimes, you need to relax and let the music take you where it wants to take you.

A very long time ago, years before ISQ was formed, Dany and I were at my parents’ house, working on a song. We kept repeating it for some reason. We knew that there was something missing, but we didn’t know how to proceed. I think the song was called ‘Dark Girl’. Then my father, who was a somewhat known musician, came in and said: “Do you know what you guys need? You guys need to learn how to jam.” And he picked up one of his acoustic guitars and ‘taught’ us how to jam.

Music is not solely for the listener (the audience) to enjoy, it is also for the musician to get lost in. Sometimes, musicians forget that. They forget why they fell in love with music in the first place. Their repertoire becomes their ‘work’ and they suddenly stop enjoying the music that they are playing. In such cases, we advise you to stop the excruciating repetition and let the band members jam freely. Give the band members a chance to rediscover themselves, whether they like it or not. (“Whether they like it or not” was added in the previous sentence because sometimes asking a noob musician to jam freely is like pushing him outside of his comfort zone, where he thinks he’ll drown.)

Unless you jam, it is impossible to escape the painful repetition and the ongoing attempts to perfect your songs, and there is no way you will enjoy playing the same song a thousand times during practice. Jam sessions help you rediscover what you love and why you all came together when you decided to form a band. Jam sessions help band members bond, improve chemistry, and explore the unexplored. Of course, all of that is not going to happen overnight, so be patient. Relax, and jam freely.

To put it artistically, jamming sessions are like dives into the collective subconscious of two or more band members, where fate meets the free flow of uncontrolled, metamorphosed thoughts, creating an awful harmony. (If that makes any sense to you, share it on Facebook and give credits to James McJammer. We don’t know if he’s real, but he sounds like the right guy who would say such a thing.)

So jam, and jamming will set you free.

Besides, you never know. Maybe the muses will come right then and there and gift you a masterpiece.

 

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