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Plan for Organizing Jams at EM07
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sbowman



Joined: Jun 02, 2005
Posts: 38
Location: Media, PA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 4:50 pm    Post subject:  Plan for Organizing Jams at EM07 Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hello,

I've created and written a plan to govern jams at EM07. The attached document explains all. You'll see that I'm recommending some very specific rules and protocols to channel jam energy and facilitate a variety of truly musical events.

I welcome comments and feedback.

Steve

[editor's note: Since .doc files are proprietary and not everyone has a program that can read them, I have posted Steve's document here: --mosc]


    Electro-Music 2007 Jam Sessions Proposal
    Steve Bowman
    steve@BizClarity.com
    February 6, 2007

    This plan is intended to facilitate jam sessions at E-M 2007, to encourage as many musicians as possible to join in, and to foster a variety of music. It’s also intended to avoid some of the problems I observed at the last two conferences upstairs in the big studio. And last but not least, to encourage high quality jams—thoughtful, musically interesting encounters, and to avoid the chaos and cacophony that jams, especially “space jams,” can so easily devolve into.

    I offer it as a suggestion, a draft proposal. I welcome feedback, comments, and further ideas and anybody else who wants to put energy into making the jams at E-M 2007 a vital component of the whole experience.

    Here are the components of my system for jams. All the components work together, so read the whole thing before forming an opinion.

    2-hour Time Slots


    Designate a series of 2-hour blocks of time for each day when jams can be held up in the big studio on the second floor. (Or possible 1.5 hours blocks, depending on the level of interest.)

    Designate the slots with a running alphabet series.
    For example: Slot A = noon to 2:00 on Friday; Slot B = 2 to 4; Slot C = 4 to 6, etc. The first slot on Saturday could be Slot D, etc.

    Dual Setups

    The big studio space on the second floor is divided into two equal performance configurations. Each configuration has a PA and a mixer hooked in to the PA. Hopefully we can get a pair of kick-ass speakers for each side, or move one set of speakers back and forth.

    The idea is that as a group of musicians jam on one side of the room, the previous group is tearing down and the next group is setting up in the other side. The next group should then be ready to play as soon as their time begins. Theoretically, the result will be continuous music.

    Audience


    Set up chairs roughly in the middle, between the two performance setups, for anyone brave enough to come listen. Maybe bring in some mattresses for lying down and spacing out.

    Assigning Slots


    Anybody can apply for a jam slot by submitting a brief description of what they want to do with the time.

    The same people who pick the acts (Howard and Gregg) assign the slots. Or their designees. Assignments are made and ordered to ensure a variety of music and opportunities for a range of musicians.

    Assignments are made to one person for each slot. Groups who want to jam will designate a representative to be that one person, the liaison with E-M authorities. This will avoid confusion.

    That person—let’s call him/her the “Owner” of any particular time slot—has total discretion over who jams during that two-hour time. This can be a “named” group, though the idea is to encourage jams of combinations of musicians who don’t ordinarily play together. The Owner can accept, or deny, requests by others to join the jam. Owners are encouraged to keep the groups small enough to be musically interesting, and to resist gang jams. But the decision is there’s to make.

    Some Owners may wish to designate a theme or creative parameters for their slot, and announce the theme and invite musicians in advance (or on the spot) to join in. For example, home-made instruments, all-rhythm instruments, all toy synths, all analogs, a laptop battle, total ambient, total noise, etc. Hopefully, this will spawn some very interesting musical events, and a variety.

    Jam Host

    A single person is designated in advance to be the Jam Host for two or three consecutive slots. The Jam Host doesn’t influence the type of music played, but is more an administrator there to manage everything necessary to keep things running smoothly, and to let the musicians focus on the music and their equipment. The Jam Host will enforce the time limits and other rules, make sure the PA is working, invite the audience in and make them feel welcome, and introduce the jammers to the audience. The jam host does not need to be present during the entire jam, once things are under way.

    The Jam Host should also encourage interaction between the audience and musicians, when appropriate. Maybe field questions and encourage demonstrations.

    That’s it, in outline. I’m confident this will work. I can’t wait to see what results.
    Questions? Comments?
    Steve



Electro-music jam proposal, 2007.doc
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mosc
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2007 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Steve, thanks for taking the initiative to write this up. I like what you have done and I think it might make things go smoothly as you say. I suggest dumping the word "owner" and replace it with facilitator or angel or something more nurturing sounding.

Also, even though there are a lot of problems with open jams, there were some great sessions in the previous two years. It would be good to default to open jams if nobody "signs up" for a given time slot. Maybe the Jam Host could determine what side of the room to use and help people plug into the PA in those cases.

We also need to make sure we have some sort of recording apparatus for the jams.

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egw



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2007 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Lots of good ideas here. Thanks!
At this point, I don't think we can count on having two PA systems for the upstairs room. But it wouldn't be a problem to have breaks between the sessions so people could set up. Maybe 1.5 hour sessions, with 30 minutes break.
Also, I don't know how many volunteers we will get to host the sessions, so Howard's suggestion of defaulting to open sessions is a good idea.
It's hard to predict these things - some times there was a big crowd, other times a small private jam, and other times no one at all.
Anyway we should be able to do something close to what Steve describes.
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sbowman



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2007 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Howard, I don't like the word "Owner" either. Maybe "Leader." Or "Jam Boss." Or "Director" might do it. But the concept I think is important: have one person decide what happens, musically, in that space. As I tried to hint, that could be a wide-open, first-come first served jam, if that's what a Director wants to foster. You could take one slot and designate it open jam.

I'll probably be able to bring my Mackie 450's, so there's one speaker set. The idea of two stations is important to keeping things moving. I envision two mixers, one at each. We could always shuttle the speakers from one side to the other. The musicians when setting up will want to use the mixer to get levels right before going live; headphones can be used for preliminary sound checks.

I prefer to go with 2 hours to keep from squeezing the players, to make it worthwhile to go to all the trouble. If magic happens, nobody's going to want to quit.

The Host doesn't have to be present the whole time. The change-over is the critical time. It's just good to have somebody at least theoretically in charge. I think just knowing that will keep people adhering to the few simple rules. I imagine it will be mostly self-policing.

I see the Host as being most important as the person who welcomes in the audience. I remember last year seeing people come in to listen but weren't sure if they were welcome, or if they were intruding on a private session. Ideally, I'd like to encourage some interaction between the audience and musicians--something that doesn't happen much in the regular performances.

I know there were some great jams the last two years. I heard some of them. I also remember times when nobody know what the parameters were or who was in charge. I think with a little organization, we'll have more fascinating musical moments.

Recording would be easy--just plug in to the mixer. You'd definitely want to get a record of it, and maybe stream edited highlights later.

Steve

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Mohoyoho



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PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2007 7:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Why not have some headphone amps available where four or five could plug in and jam silently. You could have two or three groups of jammers going simultaneously. Maybe there could be some extra cheap headphones available for listeners. Just a thought. I don't know if headphone amps are easily available. I don't own one.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2007 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

sbowman wrote:

I see the Host as being most important as the person who welcomes in the audience. I remember last year seeing people come in to listen but weren't sure if they were welcome, or if they were intruding on a private session. Ideally, I'd like to encourage some interaction between the audience and musicians--something that doesn't happen much in the regular performances.


Yes, this is a great point. We need to do more communicating than in previous years. I'd like to see every performer take a minute or two to explain to the audience what they are doing.

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egw



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PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2007 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Mohoyoho wrote:
Why not have some headphone amps available where four or five could plug in and jam silently. You could have two or three groups of jammers going simultaneously. Maybe there could be some extra cheap headphones available for listeners. Just a thought. I don't know if headphone amps are easily available. I don't own one.


This is certainly an option for any group that wants to jam or rehearse in private. In fact there are some rooms on the lower level (that we are not planning to use) that would be available. Headphone amps are inexpensive and easy to find. The downside of this, of course, is that no one else will be able to hear!
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:

Yes, this is a great point. We need to do more communicating than in previous years. I'd like to see every performer take a minute or two to explain to the audience what they are doing.


Howard,

I agree wholeheartedly. I think if we encourage more interaction prior to any and all performances, it'll improve the whole experience. Do you want to start a new thread on this idea? It's important.

Steve

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 12:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

New thread? Sure, why not. Very Happy
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JEM



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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 10:44 am    Post subject: EM2007 Jams
Subject description: Idea for Specific Jam on Sunday
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Wonderful ideas, Steve. I'm glad you put so much thought into this and discussed this matter with Greg and Howard early in the game.
So far, all your suggestions sound solid to me.

It so happens that I was planning a Symmetry 25th Anniversary Jam Session with all three of the original members from 1982.

The plan would entail my having "ownership" of the first jam session slot on Sunday.
We would start with with three or four improvised tunes,...a fusion of electro-jazz and hip-hop,...and gradually invite others to join in until a whole new jam session evolves and I can pass the baton to someone else, like Steve perhaps.
This should give me enough time to break down my gear and go set up for the Fringe Element performance.
Sounds plausible?
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egw



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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I thought Symmetry was only two people - who's the third?

You don't want the first jam slot on Sunday - that will overlap with your setup time for Fringe Element. Better to plan for Saturday or maybe Sunday evening.
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JEM



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 9:09 am    Post subject: Jams at EM07
Subject description: Symmetry Jam
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Sisco Kid, a fellow graduate from the School of the Arts and active participant in the production of the motion pictures "Beat Street" and "Krush Groove", has made frequent contributions to Symmetry,...primarily in the mid 90s.

Fringe Element comes on between 5:15 and 5:45.
The first jam session is between 2:00 and 4:00.
Where's the overlap?
I bringing less equipment than lass time so that it won't take an hour to set up.
We plan to leave together to save you the trouble of taking me to the bus depot. That's why Sunday is better.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

pre-staging for Fringe Element is 3:00 to 3:45.
There is no jam scheduled for noon to 2pm. You could do your jam then.
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