High Strung Violins & Guitars, 1803 West Markham Avenue in Durham, hosts several regularly scheduled music “learning jams,” where you can learn the basics of an instrument or musical style, and then join in with other players. They are all free to attend. All the following information is straight from High Strung’s website, but it’s always a good idea to check in with them on Facebook to make sure there haven’t been any changes.
Ukulele Learning Jam & Advancing Players Jam
The longest-running of High Strung’s learning jams, the Uke Jam happens on the first and third Mondays of each month. (This is the jam that was the launchpad for the Durham Ukulele Orchestra.) It’s so popular that we’ve had to move it to a bigger venue!
Beginners are welcome, especially during the first 30 minutes when basic chords and strums are taught and then incorporated into familiar tunes. After that, it gets faster and the music gets a little more complex but everyone is welcome to try their hand at the tunes and there are shared books of music to use so it’s not completely by ear. But be prepared! There’s a lot of singing at the Ukulele Jam so you’d better brush up on the lyrics to Maxwell’s Silver Hammer, You Are My Sunshine and (yes!) Pinball Wizard.
When: First & Third Mondays, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Where: High Strung Violins & Guitars, 1803 W. Markham Ave. Enter through Markham Ave door.
Who: all ukulele players, complete beginners to old pros.
Old Time Learning Jam
Open to all acoustic stringed instruments, this jam is for players interested in learning the repertoire and style of Old Time Music. Tunes are taught by ear, phrase by phrase, using a “call and response” technique. Fiddle, guitar, banjo, mandolin and bass are common sights at the Old Time Learning Jam and by the end of the evening they make a pretty good ruckus!
When: Tuesday evenings, 6:30-8:00 p.m.
Where: High Strung Violins & Guitars, 1803 W. Markham, Durham, Please use double doors.
Who: all players who are comfortable enough with their instrument to play in G major, D major, A major and the occasional e minor.
Irish Learning Jam
Jigs, reels, hornpipes and slip jigs. Whatever your fancy, we probably play it. This Learning Jam is designed to build a common repertoire of tunes you’ll hear in local Irish sessions; phrase by phrase, with a call and response technique and time set aside to explore bowing and ornamentation. Players are encouraged to record the sessions, and links to recordings of the tunes we work on are sent to anyone who joins the Irish Learning Jam email list.
When: Thursday evenings, 6:30-8:00 p.m.
Where: High Strung Violins & Guitars, 1803 W. Markham, Durham, enter through Markham Ave door.
Who: all players who are comfortable enough with their instrument to play in G major, D major, A major and the occasional e minor. Fiddle, guitar, mandolin, flute, tinwhistle, concertina, tenor banjo and harp are the most common instruments you’ll find at this jam.