You’re a drum beginner, and you’re finally going to jam with other musicians?
There’s a lot of fun waiting just around the corner. 🙂
At the same time, you might wonder:
How can you collaborate and jam with other musicians?
After all, that’s a whole new experience for you.
In this drumming guide, you’ll find some tried and tested tips helping you successfully prepare for your jam sessions.
You’ll also learn about things you should avoid when collaborating with other musicians.
But first, let’s answer this frequently asked question:
When Can You Actually Join A Jam With Other Musicians As A Drum Beginner?
Do you have to drum at a certain level to join a jam?
No, not at all.
Basically, you can jam with other musicians from the first day of playing the drum set.
I did so myself, so I know it’s definitely working.
However, I recommend finding musicians who have slightly more experience than you.
By doing so, you will feel WAY more comfortable while being pushed to give your best.
It’s always helpful to not be the best musician in the room (motivates you to keep improving).
At the same time, you shouldn’t feel overwhelmed by the skills of your fellow musicians.
So yes, you can jam with other musicians as a new drummer from day 1.
But make sure to jam with fitting musicians – and vice versa.
How To Prepare Before The Jam
There a three possible scenarios for a jam:
a.) You and your fellow musicians decide on playing a certain song.
b.) Some songs are planned, while there will be space for improvising.
c.) No songs are planned. The jam will be totally improvised, which is the most frequent scenario at a public jam session.
For each scenario, you can prepare differently.
Scenario a.) Certain Songs Will Be Played
If you decide to play certain songs at the jam, make sure to listen to them closely upfront.
You certainly don’t have to mesmerize each song, but it’s outstandingly helpful to know what you’re going to play.
If you like to, you can also write down some drumming ideas for each song.
Maybe you also want to take a look at drums sheet music to get ideas upfront.
The Drum Ninja offers a lot of free drum transcriptions for popular songs online.
You can jam with the original tracks before the jam as well.
In fact, I highly recommend it.
It’s always different to play with actual people than jamming with a recorded tune.
I also don’t think it’s a must for a casual jam, e.g. just playing for the fun of playing.
If you want to join a certain band, however, things are way different:
NEVER go to an audition unprepared.
But that’s a whole different story.
Scenario b.) There Is A Set-List & Time To Improvise
It’s also possible that there will be only a few songs set for the jam.
The rest of the time is reserved for improvising.
How can you successfully prepare for this scenario?
Again, I recommend listening to each song closely.
Get to really know it.
You can also write down notes again, and play to the tunes upfront.
Also make sure to check out which style of music is going to be played.
Some people like to jam in a certain genre, e.g.
- Stoner Rock
- or Jazz.
If you know the genre, you might want to freshen up your drumming repertoire, and learn some typical grooves or fills.
Scenario c.) The Jam Is 100 Percent Improvised
You didn’t decide on certain songs for the upcoming jam?
There is no set music genre you’re going to cover?
And you also don’t attend an official audition?
Then, it’s time to relax.
Basically, you only can wait and see what happens at the jam.
You’ll surely continue your usual drumming exercises.
Perhaps you want to play to more songs before the jam.
But you can’t really prepare if there’s no set goal.
Actually, jamming is the only goal right now.
And having fun, of course. 🙂
During The Jam: 5 Extremely Helpful Tips
Finally, the jam has arrived.
But what should you do now?
These 5 tips will prove helpful for your successful jam:
- Listen To Your Fellow Musicians
- Keep It Simple: Don’t Overplay!
- Treat Others Like You Want To Be Treated
- Be Authentic
- Enjoy The Jam & Learn From It
Let’s take a closer look at each jam session tip.
Listen To Your Fellow Musicians
When making music, you just don’t know what will happen.
That’s the magic of playing live!
For this reason, it’s outstandingly important to listen closely to the other musicians you’re jamming with.
This will give you crucial clues on what you can play on the drums.
Keep It Simple: Don’t Overplay
When jamming with somebody for the first time, you have to get to know each other on a musical level.
Maybe you’ve listened to recordings or videos, but actually jamming with one another is different.
To find a solid musical basis, my advice is to keep things simple.
Just play the music.
You don’t need to throw in complex stuff, unless the music or your fellow musicians ask for it.
Easy drum beats might do the trick as well.
Treat Others Like You Want To Be Treated
- Do you enjoy waiting for people showing up late?
- Is it ok for you if somebody has a bad day, and is therefore rude to you?
- Would you mind if a person uses your equipment without asking?
I know, you might be nervous during the jam.
Maybe nervous as hell.
But still, try to stay cool
Treat other people just like you want to be treated.
And yes, I’m writing out of personal experience here.
It’s always possible that you don’t vibe with a musician at a jam.
However, it’s not the best idea to make him or her feel it.
Just take a deep breath and carry on.
Everybody deserves respect, whether you enjoy each others presence or not so much.
You don’t need to be anybody else except yourself to make an impact.
So, just stay authentic when joining the jam.
- You’re nervous,
- not sure what to play
- or want to ask a question?
No problem at all!
You don’t have to act a certain way to successfully jam with others as a new drummer.
Just be yourself – everything else will fall into place.
And yes, you also don’t have to be afraid of mistakes.
Everybody makes them.
(And a mistake can turn out to be a hidden musical gem, anyway.)
Enjoy The Jam & Learn From It
Most of all, jamming with other musicians should be fun.
At the same time, you will learn a lot by making music with others.
That’s my final tip, for this reason:
Enjoy the jam and learn from it.
This could mean
- being better prepared next time,
- learning that you still need to work on your timing
- or finally understanding that you have what it takes to join a jam.
Final Words On How To Jam With Other Musicians As A Drum Beginner
Joining a jam as a beginner drummer can be as intimidating as it can be fun.
However, I know you will make it.
Yes, you might struggle or feel a little overwhelmed at first.
But that’s ok, too.
After all, you grow by mastering new challenges.
And you will definitely get used on how to jam with other musicians as a drum beginner.
So, enjoy the jam session!