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The List: jam night etiquette

Ashley Bethard • May 13, 2015 at 8:42 AM

This list was cobbled together from the wonderful world of the Internet. Some of the tips are serious, others are kind of funny — but they’re all pretty much true.

1.) Have a working knowledge of popular songs from the last couple decades. Okay, it sounds like a tall order. But it’s kind of obvious. You don’t have to know every single song, but a decent familiarity with a handful of songs is a pretty good bet. If you don’t, well, that’s okay, too.

2.) Don’t wear your sunglasses onstage. It’s dark inside and you’ll look like an idiot.

3.) Don’t abandon your instrument mid-song in favor of your unpolished interpretive dance moves. It’s really not the time to do your impression of Black Swan. Or on a less classy note, Michael Jackson.

4.) Be respectful of others. Some people like to get up on stage and then refuse to come off. This is fine if there’s no one else waiting for a turn, but it’s usually best to keep your onstage appearance a bit limited. Take your turn, then let someone else have a go. You can always perform again later that night.

5.) Listen. This is true for both musicians and any other non-musical attendees of the jam night. It takes a lot of guts for some people to get up on stage in front of a crowded bar, and it’s nice to give someone the same respect you’d want in return. Plus, there’s always some really awesome talent at these events — you don’t want to miss that.

6.) Have fun! That’s what jam nights are all about, really. It’s supposed to be a low-key way to share your talent, enjoy that of others and support local music. Cheers to that!

Have something to say? Tell us all about your best (or worst!) jam night experiences!

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