College Jam Bands: Getting to Know Your Style

jam bandJam bands are some of the best ways that you can really find and discover yourself as an artist. The first jam band that I got involved in was the start of my sophomore year in college and it was one of the first moments in life that I realized I wanted to pursue a career in music long term.

A jam band is really unlike any other group to play in and it’s really different than any other type of show you can play at. It’s a much more intimate setting than—say—a stadium or a nightclub. The crowd is usually smaller and oftentimes interacts with you while you’re playing on stage. Sometimes they’ll request songs, sometimes they won’t. But the main thing that sets a jam bands apart from other bands is the relationship that you have with the other people in the band.

We shouldn’t really be too surprised when a “jam band” is basically exactly what it sounds like should we? What does the term “jam band” conjure up in your mind? When I first heard it, I just thought of a couple of guys getting together and jamming out. No official set list or songs that need to be completed, but just rocking out together. Well that’s exactly what they are and that is exactly why they are such great groups to be in for beginning artists. They allow you to test out new genres and figure out which ones you like playing with best. Not only do they let you test out new genres, but jam bands (at least the ones that I have been involved in) have been all about the music. Most of the time we focus almost exclusively on the music and lyrics are almost an afterthought, if we have them at all. This really allows you to dig down deeply into what you like as an artist and where you want to go with your music.

Of course, jam bands aren’t for everyone. A lot of people view them as “hipster” type of bands and try to write them of as a simple fad, but they’ve been around for a long time, so the critique of them being “hipster” isn’t all that accurate. They’re just recently becoming popular and widespread making them popular right now, but not necessarily hipster. That and jam bands can cover any and all genre types, not those that are generally thought of in the hipster, indie music scene.

In the end it all comes down to the music and jam bands focus almost exclusively on just that. I, obviously, am a big fan of them and encourage everyone to join one or start one of your own. I think it is a great experience to try at least once in your life. You’ll meet some really incredible people and it will always make for a good story. If you have different thought than me on them, let me know below. What do you think of them?