Going to your first ukulele jam session may be a daunting experience if you go alone and don’t expect to know anybody there. Like crashing a stranger’s wedding party, you simply don’t know what to expect. If it’s a small jam session, you will feel like an intruder for it would seem that everyone else knows everybody there, except you. If it’s a large session, you might feel totally invisible and unwelcome.
What can you do to make your first ukulele jam an enjoyable experience?
- Contact the group via its Facebook page, Website, Meet-Up, or other means
- Enquire about their next jam session and introduce yourself briefly
- Budget your travel time to include slack, for getting to and from a jam session should not interfere with your jam experience.
- Arrive early to introduce yourself to the leader who is usually setting up.
- Find a good seat. Tune up. Smile. It’s much easier to approach someone who is smiling than one who isn’t.
- Introduce yourself to those sitting next to you. Large ukulele groups may have fluctuating attendance, snow birds who fly in certain months of the year and disappear when the weather gets cold and jetsetters who travel for work or pleasure. They won’t know if you are new or not.
- Don’t hesitate to ask questions of your neighbour, but don’t chit chat. This is a jam session not speed dating. Don’t be annoying.
- When it gets too difficult, stop playing and just sing. There are ways to play just the chords you know and hold the neck of the ukulele such that it becomes percussive.
If you go by yourself, you will be able to mingle more. If you go with someone you know, you’d probably not notice as much, for you will be interacting with the other person.
If someone in the club invites you to join the jam session, by all means, do it. This is the best way to join —- to be an invited guest. A good host will make you feel at home and introduce you to the others. I have invited many friends to join my ukulele groups.
The only time I did not have an optimal experience was when I arrived with a friend unannounced and did not introduce myself or ourselves to the leaders of the group. I was absorbed in conversation with my friend who didn’t play the ukulele.