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What are some rules or guidelines for jamming?

Sure you can just do whatever you want when you jam. But, having some rules or guidelines (including ones you create) can be helpful – even if you break them sometimes! 

Think About

  • What are the “rules” or guidelines of improvising, or jamming?
  • Why have rules or guidelines at all?
  • What do you really need to jam, to improvise?
    • Is it a beat? A mind-set? An instrument? A skill? None of those things? All of those things?
  • What if you create a really awful jam, or if you just can’t do it at first?

Get Started

  1. Let’s get a jam going:
  • Stomp each foot, at a walking pace (faster or slower is fine, too)
  • Now with your feet still going as beat we are going to jam with your hands clapping (or pencil/pen cap tapping etc.)
  • Keep the beat steady with your feet. Pretend you’re walking, or actually walk if you’re having trouble. 
  • Now, add your hands clapping with different patterns. Keep it simple. Go!
    • Repeat some patterns for a bit
    • Then, make up some different patterns that don’t repeat

Make it social: Do you have some other people willing to join in? Here are some ideas on how to make it a group jam!

  1. Think about and answer the following questions:
  • How did you feel about what you created?
  • Was it hard, easy? Stupid, boring, fun? Were you self-conscious when you jammed? Why?

Even professional musicians can get self-conscious! A big part of learning to jam is to try getting comfortable with trying new things and just being willing to go with it and hear what happens. 

Share What you Learned

If you are using the LRNG platform:

  • Go back, find out what to submit, and complete the XP
  • If you want, you can then learn even more with the optional “Go Further!” activities below

If you are not using the LRNG platform:

  • Continue below and share with your teacher or organization:

Sharing What You Learned

  • Describe what the jam was like and what types of rules or guidelines (if any) you seemed to follow to jam

Return to the XP: What are some rules or guidelines for jamming?