Thanks to the Beaverton Ukulele Group for these great tips!

There are only two reasons to come to a jam song circle session – to make music and to have fun doing it! 

​Jam sessions are so much fun! Jams are why most of us learn to play an instrument. It is a lot more fun to get together to play your uke with a few friends than it is to sit in your living room playing alone.

Jam Tips

  • Tune your instrument before the jam starts. Clip-on tuners that sense vibration work best in noisy group settings, and are not very expensive. Ask to borrow a tuner if needed. If you arrive late, please turn up in the hallway before joining the group.
  • Manage your own gear including bringing your own music stand, printing your music or if you use a device, making sure the files are downloaded from the cloud.
  • Join or leave the circle on a break between songs.
  • Be mindful of the volume of your instrument. You don’t want to drown out the other instruments/singers.
  • If you do not know all the chords it is OK to strum with the Zen chord (strings muted) & sing along.

Jam Session Tricks for Beginners

  • Let’s say you are a complete beginner with maybe 3 chords shakily at your disposal. Hang back and watch for a while, and get the feel of the jam first. You can simply sing along during this time.
  • If all you know is the C chord in the song, strum with the Zen chord (strings muted) while waiting for it to come, play the C chord at the appropriate time, then strum with the Zen chord once again when the song moves on to another chord.
  • If your chord changes are not quite fast enough to keep up, try deliberately playing every other chord, to give yourself more time.
  • ​It is OK to quietly ask the person next to you for information, perhaps about seemingly tricky chords, etc.
  • Try to locate someone who knows the song, and make sure you cansee their hand well enough to identify chord shapes. If nothing else, you can see when the chords change, if not exactly what chord they are using.
  • Keep it fun & playful

🙂 Relax & have fun! You can always just stop playing & sing along!

According to Jumpin’ Jim Beloff, when a room full of ukulele players of all levels of experience join together to play a song, you can expect a combination of well-measured chords along with off-key hacks, perfectly tuned ukes along with poorly tuned instruments, and vintage Kamakas along with $20 eBay specials. Somehow, this collection of sounds will always result in beautiful music — which is part of the magic of the ukulele!