The term ‘Jam session’ is derived from jazz music. It involves a musician improvising, unlike a band practice session that’s more structured. A jam session will give you the chance to have fun playing your chosen instrument, while improving your technique, often without you even realizing it.
One of the top benefits of jamming with other musicians is improved timing. While sitting at home noodling on your guitar can help you learn your instrument better, putting yourself out there at a jam will help you realize there’s so much more to keeping a beat than just having a metronome going in the background. The more you jam with a full band it’s more likely you’ll develop what’s called ‘in the pocket’ timing – which is often what you're trying to achieve with all that solitary noodling anyway.
If you want to get in on the music scene, what better way than to network with other musicians? Get in touch with like-minded musicians (a music school is a great way to do this, trust me it’s simpler and more reliable than trying to pick up musicians at your local pub) and keep the connection going. A big part of maintaining the connections you make and having other musicians invite you to jam is being approachable and having a positive attitude toward your musical compadres. Whether you think you are, or maybe even are, as good as old Slowhand on the guitar no one is going to be terribly impressed or eager to play with a guy (or girl) with an attitude or superiority complex. Be nice, it won’t kill you.
When you jam with a variety of musicians you will be challenged to adapt. Everyone’s got their own style and musical preferences, and the challenge this offers can be one of the most rewarding things to happen to you your playing. Of course, you’ll have to choose to jam with musicians on your level, but ensure that as a group you all challenge each other to step out of your comfort zone – try out new genres, jam to each other favorite tune, just mix it up and keep it real.
If you’re studying music, you have an unparalleled opportunity to meet up with your fellow students with similar musical interests/tastes and form a band.
And remember don’t monopolize a jam session, this really is a democratic environment that should be fun for everybody.
Folks, jamming will get you used to performing with and for other people while ultimately making you more confident and comfortable on your instrument aka being performance ready.