BMAM’s Eastern Jam will be held this SUNDAY, March 5th at the GRANGE, 1266 No. Main Street in Brewer from NOON to 5pm.

THIS MONTH ONLY – – There will be a BLUEGRASS JAMMING WORKSHOP from 1pm to 2pm – UPSTAIRS at the Grange in Brewer sponsored by the Bluegrass Music Association of Maine. No additional charge for workshop, just usual entry fee ($3 BMAM Members/ $5 Non-Members). Memberships available for purchase at the Jam. Downstairs jam will take place as usual.

Workshop attendees can expect the following:

Attendees will be welcomed, introduced to instructors Ken and Jane Brooks, given an overview of the workshop and receive packets.  Then there will be a demonstration jam circle in center of room (led by Ken Brooks, assisted by Jane Brooks on bass, and one local banjo, mandolin, and fiddle player).  This is not a band performance, an open mic, or an audition – it is a DEMONSTRATION JAM.

Participants watching this demonstration will be asked to observe: song and key named; how Ken chooses to kick off the song (there are many different ways); what is the song pattern, e.g. chorus, verse, chorus, break, verse, chorus, break or some other pattern; what each of the musicians are doing with their instruments while Ken is singing his song; group sings with Ken on the choruses; how does Ken pass out instrumental solos or “breaks” after the choruses – look for eye contact and body language cues and/or calling out a name or an instrument; the quieting down of instruments during the singing and backing up solo breaks; how Ken ends the song.

The attendees will join the circle after the demonstration.  Then there will be a brief discussion of observations of the   demonstration and brief instruction on the role of each instrument in supporting the jam and backing up the singer (or solo instrumental break).  Attendees will learn about and practice the following: basic rhythm guitar, alternating bass pattern , also the banjo vamp, mandolin chop, fiddle chop and/or draw bow.  Each instrument of traditional Bluegrass except for dobro, will be covered.  Workshop attendees will practice these back up skills with another song led by Ken.   Then workshop attendees will practice skills with a volunteer participant leading the song(s).  Question and answers as time allows.

*Please note: in the time allotted, only the basics of Bluegrass jammin’ can be covered.  Future workshops may be able to cover Bluegrass harmony singing, improvising breaks, advanced back-up, etc.