Homemade Music Etiquette

Discover how these homemade music etiquette rules can help you fit right in when joining a community music group.

| April/May 2003

  • Homemade music etiquette: The do's and don'ts when gathering in a group to make music.
    Homemade music etiquette: The do's and don'ts when gathering in a group to make music.

  • Homemade music etiquette: The do's and don'ts when gathering in a group to make music.

Learn these simple but helpful homemade music etiquette rules when joining a community music group.

Homemade Music Etiquette

As one who has made every dumb mistake in the book, I've come to some conclusions about what works and what doesn't. (Example: I took a tambourine to my first bluegrass jam and played it enthusiastically for hours. This didn't work.) Here are some observations:

• All jams are not equal. Some are strictly instrumental, some mostly singing, straight-ahead bluegrass or wildly eclectic. Some jams don't welcome beginners, some do. Find or start a jam that's right for you.

• Learn the rules and standards of your jam. Some have rigorous rules, others are free-form. Observe before you barge in. When in doubt, ask questions. Listen. Appreciate. This doesn't mean every jam has to take place in hushed silence, but courtesy and respect do matter

• Jams are supposed to be fun. Don't worry about the competition, except to the degree that doing so keeps you on your toes mastering new material.

• If you play a novelty instrument, remember it's called "novelty" because it's unusual. If you play your saw or bodhran or glockenspiel all the time, it isn't novel or, probably, even very musical.

12/26/2007 11:08:47 AM

a great instrument to add to your sound and fun is the cigar box guitar. they are just what they sound like, a guitar made from an old wooden cigar box. they're fairly easy to make and provide a nice early delta blues sound. many famous guitarists got their start playing these including jimi hendrix! i've made two so far, and plan on making more. cigar boxes aren't required for these either, i made one from a box i found at an arts and craft store. for the tuning machines i used some ones i had lying around from an old electric. but you could fairly easily just make tuning pegs like violins use. just do a search on the internet for "cigar box guitar", there's a wealth of information and pictures to get you on your way to being your own local blues star! ;)

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