Let’s Get Jamming in 2021!

Karen Davis March 5, 2021

Music is a big part of camp! We sing. A lot.

This year, however, it’ll look (and likely sound) a bit different. We’re still planning to sing, but only outside with lots of distance between us. And that’s okay! We’re continuing to learn ways to adapt and adjust for the times, and to do so with great joy. So in 2021, we’ll experience new expressions of an age-old camp activity. 


New expressions. New ideas. Adaptation and adjustment.

Sounds like a jam session where participants improvise with other musicians! It’s inspiring to observe and exhilarating to participate in one. Resident camp musicians Dan Davis, Mike Peckham, Daniel Weatherby, and Chuck Flournoy know this feeling all too well. They can tell you about the joys of jamming (ask Dan about the time he got to jam with folk artist, Gamble Rogers, when he was in middle school!). Even if you’re familiar with a certain tune, you never know what to expect


A jam session is similar to a group conversation.

When folks jam together, they are practicing the art of communication, a skill that transfers to all areas of life.

Learning to listen attentively to the individual instruments while also hearing the blend of sounds develops focus.

Watching for the non-verbal cues of each person to indicate that he is ready to solo develops awareness.

Waiting for your turn to solo develops patience.

Claiming your time to be in the spotlight and let your ideas be heard develops courage.

Becoming mindful that you aren’t dominating the conversation by playing too long or too loudly develops humility and appreciation of others. 

It isn’t about one person. It’s about the chemistry of the whole group. It’s a collaborative endeavor rather than being competitive. Players learn to musically support what others play and to try out new ideas of their own. 


A jam session is welcoming!

The goal is participation not perfectionism. It’s not a performance. It’s about offering your voice to the conversation. This makes it a safe space for those moments when mistakes or miscommunications occur. In fact, mistakes are welcome. In this environment, individuals take greater risks to play more freely and creatively. This encourages confidence in the participants and amplifies the fun for all. 


This summer, we’re adding more jam sessions to our musical repertoire.

In addition to learning some camp songs and Appalachian music, campers taking the new Mountain Music skill will practice the art of jamming. And anyone can join the pop-up jam sessions which will be hosted during free time. Together, participants and observers alike can enjoy the relaxed, care-free, and improvisational experience.  


So, c’mon: bring your instrument and let’s get jamming!

It’s going to be lots of fun and we can’t wait to get started!


Karen Davis

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