Getting The Most Out Of Jamming
"Everyone has talent; what's rare is the courage to follow that talent to the dark place where it leads." ~ Erica Jong. At the Bean, you'll have plenty of opportunity "to follow that talent"! The only rule: Show courtesy and respect to everyone. Don't try to be a superstar - jamming is about being a good supporting actor. When it's your turn to take a solo or a lead, close your eyes and give it all you've got. Let the music set you free and follow your heart - you might be surprised where it takes you! The rest of the time be sensitive to what others are doing. For example, most music does NOT call for a harmonica to be playing all the time. Harmonica players need to either stop playing when the guitar player is soloing, or quietly chug the rhythm; either way, if you stay out of his way he'll be your friend. Know when to be silent, know when to wail. Work to create feelings and emotions that match the music. Speed notes are often not as impressive as a well placed, well executed single note. Follow your heart on all these things - you'll have a blast - and the other folks will love having you there!
Amplified Music - Be Careful
Amplified jams often evolve into battles to determine who can be loudest. These amp wars totally disrupt the breath taking sweetness of the campfire jams. Amplified music, if not properly controlled, can knock out any acoustic jam within 100 yards; we do not allow that at the Bean Blossom Blues Fest! If you would like to jam amplified, you must make certain that you are not upsetting any campers or jammers around you. Adjust your amp to the lowest level possible that still allows you to jam, but doesn't bother anybody in the process. If anyone around you is jamming too loudly, simply inform our security staff. We want to allow amplifiers, but we also must protect the acoustic jams and keep sleeping campers happy.
Note to Harmonica Players
Knowing what key of harmonica you need for the music being played seems to be a challenge for beginning harp players. The guitar player usually chooses the key. If you can't tell what key he's in by watching his finger positions or by listening, just ask - he was supposed to tell you in the first place! The next challenge for beginners is understanding that most jamming is done on the harmonica while playing in cross harp, or second position. Click here for a straight harp to cross harp conversion chart.
Note to Guitar Players
We need you! There will be a ton of harp players at the fest looking for guitar, ukulele, banjo and mandolin players. Be ready to crank out a lot of 12 bar blues using the old I-IV-V chord progression. Lots of harp players don't know how to tell which key you're in by reading your fingering positions, and even fewer can tell a key just by listening, so just before you start a new song or jam session shout out the key you're going to be in.