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Old 08-11-2012, 06:39 AM
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Default Are there places you can just go to jam with random strangers? (besides Guitar Center)

I really don't want to commit to anything and it seems that whenever I jam with people once, they keep trying to get me to do it again. Which is fine, except for when they don't take their music seriously and I have no interest in jamming to what they provide. I dream of there just being some place with drumsets and other instruments set up where you could just sit down and jam with some other random musicians without having to go to each other's houses and exchange information and all that. Does anything even close to this exist? I say "besides Guitar Center" because 1) they usually get annoyed after you play for a few minutes and 2) there aren't any near me.

I also would like to play in front of an audience at some point, but again I don't want to commit to a band. Is there such a thing as putting an ad out to be a substitute drummer for a band whose drummer is temporarily gone or something? I would mainly be interested in doing covers to make it simpler to practice beforehand.

Any advice for me about anything is good and appreciated. I have very little experience beyond practicing and jamming a few times.
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Old 08-11-2012, 06:55 AM
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Default Re: Are there places you can just go to jam with random strangers? (besides Guitar Center)

This is probably where you start using your inherent people skills and create your own place to play. What did Walt Disney do when he was dissatisfied with the current state of amusement parks? He built his own. Find a place and create your own vibe and try to attract other like-minded folks to you. Successful business people do this every day. Good luck!
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Old 08-11-2012, 06:58 AM
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Default Re: Are there places you can just go to jam with random strangers? (besides Guitar Center)

I'm sure there's a bar around that has an open mic/jam night. Just have to look and ask. It's not always apparent and they seem to usually be in the middle of the week on wed or thurs.
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Old 08-11-2012, 07:10 AM
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Default Re: Are there places you can just go to jam with random strangers? (besides Guitar Center)

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Originally Posted by Dr_Watso View Post
I'm sure there's a bar around that has an open mic/jam night. Just have to look and ask. It's not always apparent and they seem to usually be in the middle of the week on wed or thurs.
I've never been to an open mic, but I always assumed that was just for bands to go to. What is this open jam night that you speak of? Do people regularly just show up with their drums not knowing anyone else there and start grooving with other musicians?
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Old 08-11-2012, 07:40 AM
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Default Re: Are there places you can just go to jam with random strangers? (besides Guitar Center)

Usually a house band plays a set, then calls up the jammers. You use their kit. It's everything you asked for in your OP. Blues jams are popular because the genre allows people who never played together before to come together and jam under a "simple" song form. There are other types of jams where anything goes, they are a little harder to get strangers all on the same page, musically speaking. I suggest going to Blues jams. It's a simple song form that's a great thing for drummers to ease into music. You can build a great foundation if you can play good blues drums. The Blues is at the root of nearly all popular music today.

Open mic jams are just what the doctor ordered in your case.
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Old 08-11-2012, 07:48 AM
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Default Re: Are there places you can just go to jam with random strangers? (besides Guitar Center)

Wow, thanks Larry. That sounds awesome. I can't believe I didn't know about this.
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Old 08-11-2012, 09:07 AM
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Default Re: Are there places you can just go to jam with random strangers? (besides Guitar Center)

This is funny because going to GC is the last place in the world i would ever think of to go jam with random people. Although, it is in and of itself a tangible idea, given the right circumstances, of course.

But since I chimed in here, my suggestion would be a drum circle. I know they used to have one every Sunday at Huntington Beach Pier. Maybe they still do, I don't know. It's been awhile.
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Old 08-11-2012, 04:56 PM
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Default Re: Are there places you can just go to jam with random strangers? (besides Guitar Center)

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Originally Posted by ba dum tish View Post
I really don't want to commit to anything and it seems that whenever I jam with people once, they keep trying to get me to do it again
As mentioned, there are local jams everywhere. But many of the same folks are at those jams on a regular basis, so they're not going to be random strangers for long.

Quote:
I say "besides Guitar Center" because 1) they usually get annoyed after you play for a few minutes and 2) there aren't any near me.
GC doesn't exist so people can wander in and jam. It's hardly a surprise they'd be annoyed when people are making noise while the sales staff is trying to conduct business. However, Sam Ash does have an actual jam night, but you're likely to see the same people there on a regular basis, so after a few weeks, no more random strangers that you seek.

Quote:
I also would like to play in front of an audience at some point, but again I don't want to commit to a band. Is there such a thing as putting an ad out to be a substitute drummer for a band whose drummer is temporarily gone or something?
There's an obvious pattern here: you don't like doing the same thing twice. And that's fine, but 99.9% of players out there can't make that goal work for very long. They simply run out of options.

You use the word "commit" as if it's bad thing, or somehow stifling, and depending on the band, that may well be the case. But if you enjoy playing drums, you're probably going to have to commit to something at some point. You can then cultivate the project, play far more than you would trying to be a sub, and maybe make some money at the same time.

Not wanting a commitment stems from not knowing what you want to do with yourself. Some people figure it out early and seek a path to what they want, and others never quite figure out what they want, and are content/miserable with the process of always seeking something. Neither way is necessarily wrong, but with regard to playing music, you're going to run into more people who are commited to a specific band, than those who are constantly on the move, always looking and never finding.

I guess it boils down to that: if you don't know what you're looking for, you'll never know when you find it. If you're really sure you want constant change, you're going to run out of options at some point. You're not required to make drumming a career, but know that most of the players out there who are serious enough about their instrument to make them worth jamming or subbing with, are commited to moving forward with their playing, and will expect the same from you.

Sorry about the philosophy, pursuing drumming isn't always a simple concept.

Bermuda
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  #9  
Old 08-11-2012, 10:12 PM
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Default Re: Are there places you can just go to jam with random strangers? (besides Guitar Center)

bermuda:

The thing is, I wouldn't mind committing to regular practice with people whose music I was really into. But I'd like to try them out first without them expecting anything long-term from me. It seems like a lot of bands just want a drummer, and would be kind of annoyed by having you sit in once and then not continue. It's also pretty annoying on my end to have to tell people that their music "doesn't really jive" with me, because let's face it people take things personally whether they should or not. I'm not against committing, it's just that I don't want it to be expected of me every time I find someone new to jam with, which has been my experience in the past. But maybe my experience isn't representative of the norm.
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Old 08-11-2012, 10:41 PM
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Default Re: Are there places you can just go to jam with random strangers? (besides Guitar Center)

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Originally Posted by bermuda View Post

It's hardly a surprise they'd be annoyed when people are making noise while the sales staff is trying to conduct business.
Excellent point. If you sold cars, you would expect the customers to be interested in checking out the car to contemplate their next purchase. You wouldn't want people coming in so they could practice their driving skills on your equipment. Why is it different with musical instruments?

Of course not every trip to the store will lead to a purchase, but so many stores that I try to shop at have people practicing, showing off, etc... At one store, there was actually a mother video recording her teenage son "running" on double bass drum pedals while others were seriously trying to shop.

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  #11  
Old 08-11-2012, 11:35 PM
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Default Re: Are there places you can just go to jam with random strangers? (besides Guitar Center)

Every town probably has several.
There's a senior citizen's activity center downtown here and it has a pretty big autitorium. People rent it out to have wrestling events, church, things like that. Every monday night they have an open mic jam session. They take two bucks at the door for people why aren't playing or singing, and at the end of the night they divide it up and give it to the musicians. I go play when I feel like it.

There's also a sports bar, and a cafe in the town center that both have open mic nights, but it's usually bands that come in and play instead of random musicians And the town I live in isn't big at all.

My advice on finding a jam session is just ask around. Put an ad on craigslist, or google live music in your town. Somebody should know something. And if that doesn't get any results, I'll plus one the 'make your own' statement.

There's a city park here where the many pavilions (SP?) provide electricity for b-day parties. We'll go to an empty one away from others, plug in and jam for a while. Just don't get too loud if you go that route, because people can and will call the police. And then you could be banned.
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  #12  
Old 08-12-2012, 01:10 AM
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Default Re: Are there places you can just go to jam with random strangers? (besides Guitar Center)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ba dum tish View Post
The thing is, I wouldn't mind committing to regular practice with people whose music I was really into. But I'd like to try them out first without them expecting anything long-term from me. It seems like a lot of bands just want a drummer, and would be kind of annoyed by having you sit in once and then not continue.
That's why they call the first time you play with someone an audition. It's an interview. You interview them, they interview you. Normally, it only takes one time getting together to know if everyone's a good fit, or not. Maybe there'd be a 2nd audition, but 9 time out of 10, the band can make up its mind after playing together once. Sometimes they know after just one song or two.

So trying them out works both ways. You're not obligated to join a band, but if you audition for them, isn't that the purpose? To see if it's a good fit for a commitment? You can't go around sitting in with bands for sport. It's not fair to them, and you will run out of bands fast. Players who are known for not making commitments end up not getting called much as a result. That's why trying to be a sub is a poor idea.

It really comes back to deciding what you really want to do. You're starting to say you'd join a band under the right circumstances, but I don't see any genuine interest beyond wanting to play drums when you want, with whoever will let you play with them. If I was a band looking for a drummer, I'd be wary of having you audition.

Just sayin, that's how it looks to me. I'm not passing judgement on your choice, I'm just telling you how things are in the real world.

Bermuda

Last edited by bermuda; 08-12-2012 at 01:21 AM.
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  #13  
Old 08-12-2012, 04:42 AM
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Default Re: Are there places you can just go to jam with random strangers? (besides Guitar Center)

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Originally Posted by SticksEasy View Post
Every monday night they have an open mic jam session. They take two bucks at the door for people why aren't playing or singing, and at the end of the night they divide it up and give it to the musicians. I go play when I feel like it.
That's awesome. So there's a drum set there and you just hop on for a song or two? Or can you play longer?
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Old 08-12-2012, 05:53 AM
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Default Re: Are there places you can just go to jam with random strangers? (besides Guitar Center)

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Originally Posted by ba dum tish View Post
That's awesome. So there's a drum set there and you just hop on for a song or two? Or can you play longer?
They play oldies stuff. Some Beatles, Elvis, a lot of 3/4 waltz songs, and even a little jazz and blues. It's all older people. Typically they play from 7:30 'till 9:00. Most of the time that I go, I'm the only drummer, so more often than not, I get to play the whole set. But there have been other drummers come in and play. I've invited drumming friends of mine to come play with me just so I could chill and watch.

They do have a house drum set that you can setup and use but it's a cheapo, so I've always brought my own. The music is all really simple, so I just throw my bass drum, snare, and hats in the car and haul it down.
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Old 08-12-2012, 06:18 AM
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Default Re: Are there places you can just go to jam with random strangers? (besides Guitar Center)

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Originally Posted by ba dum tish View Post
I say "besides Guitar Center" because 1) they usually get annoyed after you play for a few minutes and 2) there aren't any near me.
Quite frankly, I don't get this mentality. Music stores are there to sell musical gear, not be practice spots. Employees there are trying to make a living, not set up stuff for people to randomly jam on. Or at least, when I work there, I was trying to make a living. And yes, it is annoying to have people just randomly jamming when you're trying to answer the phone or talk to someone who wants to make a purchase and needs advice on what to get.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ba dum tish View Post
Is there such a thing as putting an ad out to be a substitute drummer for a band whose drummer is temporarily gone or something? I would mainly be interested in doing covers to make it simpler to practice beforehand.
Bands on every level can need subs from time to time. But 99% of the time, subs are people the band already knows and trust, either via being friends, having a professional relationship (i.e. worked together in a prior gig), or at least, the sub has an established reputation because of the bands they are already in. Coming in cold based on an ad is most likely not going to happen. To get sub gigs, you generally have to be gigging already.

Although there was a time way back when I got those 1% where I got paid to sub for bands who had no idea who I was and vise versa, but those came about because they called someone they did know to fill, but that person already had a gig or whatever, and they gave out my name out as a replacement sub. So there was still a level of connection, even if it was not direct.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ba dum tish View Post
Any advice for me about anything is good and appreciated. I have very little experience beyond practicing and jamming a few times.
Beyond ads and open jams, you can try going to meetup.com and seeing if there are any local musician meetups, or, you can try forming your own. It can bit a little hit or miss though.

In Los Angeles, it's easy enough to rent a rehearsal room that has a drum kit and amps already in it, so you can just hold a meet up in one of those places so no one is lugging gear to a house.
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Old 08-12-2012, 06:26 PM
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Default Re: Are there places you can just go to jam with random strangers? (besides Guitar Center)

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Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum View Post
Quite frankly, I don't get this mentality. Music stores are there to sell musical gear, not be practice spots. Employees there are trying to make a living, not set up stuff for people to randomly jam on. Or at least, when I work there, I was trying to make a living. And yes, it is annoying to have people just randomly jamming when you're trying to answer the phone or talk to someone who wants to make a purchase and needs advice on what to get.
I agree on all counts. The main reason I said "besides Guitar Center" is because I saw a similar question to mine on a different forum and "Guitar Center" was the main response. Even if there was one near me I wouldn't go there to jam. I would feel extremely uncomfortable doing so.
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Old 08-12-2012, 07:08 PM
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Default Re: Are there places you can just go to jam with random strangers? (besides Guitar Center)

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
Usually a house band plays a set, then calls up the jammers. You use their kit. It's everything you asked for in your OP. Blues jams are popular because the genre allows people who never played together before to come together and jam under a "simple" song form. There are other types of jams where anything goes, they are a little harder to get strangers all on the same page, musically speaking. I suggest going to Blues jams. It's a simple song form that's a great thing for drummers to ease into music. You can build a great foundation if you can play good blues drums. The Blues is at the root of nearly all popular music today.

Open mic jams are just what the doctor ordered in your case.
Larry, Thanks for this description. Motivating me to head to Fiery Ron's Blues Club and BBQ. I just have to bite the bullet and do it.
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