#DearBands: Stop Jamming.
I hate jamming... straight up.
I was originally thinking of calling this "Stop Practicing" because I dislike practicing just as much as jamming... but I don't mind practicing... I just hate when people show up to rehearsal to practice.
What's the difference?
Well, it get's down to what your focus is.
Most of the time when I hear people are getting together to jam, what they actually mean is they're getting together to get high, have a few beers, sit around, run the set, play 2 chords over and over pretending they're writing a song, etc.
Jamming is a focused, complete lack of focus, that bands will do 3-4 times a week, months on end, pretending they're being productive within their rehearsal space.
This is not productive.
This is hobbyist, recreational, weekend warrior, friends and family nod their heads when you talk about the band, shouda, coulda, woulda, in textbook form.
So still, what's the difference?
Practice: In a band sense, something that should be done on your own time.
When you shit the bed at rehearsal, take those soiled sheets home with you, and practice on your own time. Police yourself. You know what you have to work on if you have any competency in your ability whatsoever. It's one thing to run over a part a couple times in rehearsal in order to clarify something in context... but if you flat out can't play a part, don't know a part or the arrangement, or can't remember the words/melody. Practice. At home. On your own time.
Rehearsal: In a band sense, something that's done to prepare for shows and/or recording.
Although it does apply to preparing for the studio, usually the goal is to iron out the set... you're practicing the set... not jamming out the set... unless you 100% plan to jam it out on stage.
What you do in the rehearsal space is what you're going to do on stage... and bands wonder why they end up getting drunk and stoned at shows, spending huge amounts of time with dead air between songs, meanwhile still "killing it" to an empty room.
Writing: In a band sense, this can be mistaken for jamming, but writing is introducing new ideas with the goal they become new songs.
You can pretend your hero's get in a room and jam... but they're actually writing. It's premeditated. There are ideas brought to the table, a pecking order to vote up/down ideas, and there's focus. Most of the time they aren't doing most of their writing in the rehearsal space anyway... they core writers are doing that on their own time, and refining the ideas there, with the rest of the band.
The amount of times I've heard bands run over the same two chords for 20 minutes, truly believing they are breaking new ground, especially in the rock world, just to show the idea to the singer, and expect them to make some lyrics fit.
This is the wrong way to do it.
Sure some bands get lucky... I've seen it first hand... but most of the time trying to jam and stumble across a new song... it's going to suck. We all heard that song Paul McCartney and Dave Grohl did... they were "just jamming and it's what they came up with"... that's along the lines of what Paul said to a massive crowd... the ol' pre-song disclaimer.
Think about that.
Paul and Dave jammed... wrote a new song... and it was sucky.
... and they knew better.
... and you think jamming is going to work out for you?
... it's not a good choice... I'm telling you... as a friend.
Personally, I think they knew it kinda sucked (hence the disclaimer) but because of who they are, they knew people would eat it up... or at least forgive them for jamming when they could've been writing... then again some days you sit down to write and nothing comes out.
... I'm getting a little off topic, but you get the idea. Stop jamming unless the main goal is to simply have fun.
If you're trying to run your band as a business... every time you pick up your instrument, have a goal in mind. A goal to practice, to rehearse, to write, or as much as I hate to say it, even to jam (fart around). Your time is valuable, especially since you most likely have a day job and other commitments. Jamming should be at the bottom of the list once you get going, or at least once you decide to start going... because once you get going, you'll quickly learn how little time you actually have to spend playing music.
... yup, read that last bit again.
Mike Langford - Official Blog
Being on both sides of the glass, I get the chance to wear many hats in the music industry. This is a place to share my thoughts, views, predictions, rants, stories and news!