GWU Jazz Program Hosts Open Jam Sessions Every Friday
One of the biggest secrets in the city for jazz lovers is the weekly jam sessions held by the GWU jazz music department.
Led by one of the area's top saxophonists, Peter Fraize, the award-winning jazz studies department at George Washington University performs at all the top places and boasts a faculty that specifically caters to the art of jazz.
Although the main entertainment will come from the faculty members playing in conjunction with students, you are free to call a song provided you have an ample enough grasp of jazz and an instrument (unless you play piano or drums). There aren't that many places where you can literally watch the music and play along.
A few tips for the brave:
- Call a widely-known song that people know (Generally something from what many musicians know as "The Real Book") or bring sheet music for the other parts.
- Make sure you practice a little beforehand.
- Watch and observe before calling.
- Don't be nervous about messing up. Just keep going.
- Know your role (i.e. a trumpeter takes melody, a piano adds chords, etc.).
Trust me, I have some first experience. I first showed up a few years ago armed with three semesters of piano lessons from college and thought I might be able to jump right in. Two notable things happened here:
1. I messed up badly. I didn't understand the phenomenon of "comping" and started playing the wrong part. On top of that, I lost my place.
2. The world didn't stop. The piano instructor jumped in, took over for me. The embarrassment lasted a few seconds. Just like jazz, mistakes are forgotten fast.
The jam session can be found on the bottom floor of Phillips Hall at 801 22nd Street NW on the Foggy Bottom Campus of GWU. It is free of charge and happens every Friday from noon to 2pm.
Short URL: http://bit.ly/NnjMho