Jam with Friends!
It can be quite a daunting thing to go from someone who enjoys playing guitar at home by themselves, to playing in front of real other human beings! I have had many adult aged students reach a point in their playing where they are really getting comfortable playing in their chosen genres and are keen to take it to the next step, but struggle to do so if they don’t know of anyone or have any opportunity to jam with other people. This is a crucial step to becoming a better musician, as playing with others teaches you skills that you just can’t get from playing along to recordings, or even with your teacher in a 1:1 lesson.
The best place to start is to have a good think about who you may know that plays an instrument. It doesn’t even have to be someone that plays the guitar! If you’re a guitarist then you could be a good pairing with pretty much any instrument; drums, bass, keyboard, a singer, or another guitarist! If someone comes to mind, maybe bring up the idea next time you run into them. It doesn’t have to be overly formal either – catch up for some drinks and play through some of your favourite songs. If you want to be organised you could even brainstorm what songs you both already know or could learn ahead of time to make the jamming even more enjoyable.
Although some may be lucky and have a friend that they can jam with, many people will not know anyone that would be suitable! This is when it can be great to jump online and have a look at casual jams in your area for beginner/amateur musicians. Although jam nights or open mic nights can be a great way to meet people, these are often for musicians who already have a bit of stage experience, so this may be a bit daunting to jump straight into if you’ve never performed or played with others before. A great place to start is to go on Facebook and look at some of the local musicians groups in your area.
Join a few of them and keep an eye out for ads promoting casual jams. If it’s aimed at more amateur players, it will usually say in the ad something along the lines of “not looking to gig, just for fun, no experience necessary” etc. You will most likely have to contact the person ahead of time either way, so this can also be a great opportunity to suss out if this will be the right fit for you! Another website that will offer a similar service is meetup.
Music Store Flyers
If you’re a bit more old school and don’t fancy going online, you can do it the way all the big bands did it back in the day and keep an eye out for flyers looking for musicians! A great place to find these is in music stores, as many local musicians will drop these in when they are looking for members or people to jam with. The same goes with this method – try to contact the person ahead of time and get a feel for if this jam will be suitable.
Band Tuition Schools
Another great option to meet other likeminded musicians is to attend a band tuition school. These exist in pretty much every major city, and are a music school that place their students in bands to teach them how to play together, not just how to play songs on their instrument like in a traditional 1:1 lesson. They will often group students based on their ability level and musical interests as well, so this can really fast track the process of meeting others and make the process a lot easier on you! A teacher or instructor will usually be present in the rehearsal who will be able to assist in fine-tuning your parts, and mention specific tips on how playing in a band will differ to just playing by yourself at home. This can also be a fun and creative way to come up with your own versions of songs rather than just copying the original recordings note for note. Try googling “band tuition ____” with your city to find a local school near you!