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The concept of a jam session is simple: Musicians who may or may not have played together before get together to play songs they know. It is an unrehearsed situation, and every player has to be alert. Here are some tips to make your next jam session experience better for you and everyone else.

First, know the tunes. There are many fake books and lead sheets with basic standard songs, and it’s best to learn as many of these as possible, and in several keys. If you sit in on any session and don’t know the tune, you will most likely flub your turn in the sun and possibly incur the wrath of the other musicians. Know the melody, chord changes, and form. If you don’t know a tune they call out, and you can’t ask for a tune you do know, then…

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