Spread the Jam is a book and workshop written, created, and lead by Joe Kennedy. In clubs and venues everywhere musicians are getting together with no rehearsal and making memorable music on the fly. How do they do it? Why do they do it? They communicate, listen, and exchange musical ideas through verbal and non-verbal ways. There is a communal energy. They are all working together for the music. They do it because it fulfills them. It's exciting, it's challenging, and it's creating bonds that last a lifetime.
Do you want to grab your guitar or horn and jump on stage? Have you been playing at home for years and want to venture outside of your comfort zones but don't know where to begin? Grab a copy of Spread the Jam and play along with the examples. Create a game plan to explore the jams in your area or call your friends and create the scene you want to be a part of. Get out there and bask in the unknown.
Get a paperback copy mailed directly to your doorstep! Click the Amazon link.
Would you like a paperback copy of the book and a copy of the CD Spread the Jam, Vol. 2 or Vol. 3? We can do that too!
How could you use this with your ensemble?
You could be the host! You could host a recurring jam in your classroom or on your campus. You can use the song list and downloadable sheet music on this site to give the learners a starting point for their musical adventure. Grab a copy of the book and use Chapter 7 on calling a tune as the framework for how players will call tunes at a jam. Download the sign-up sheet on this page to have the students go through the steps of attending a real jam session and signing up on the list. Chapter 4 covering form can be used to engage the aural detection skills to identify the differences found in each form type. One example would be training the students to hear the progression of mm 2 going to the IV7 chord in a quick change 12 bar blues and then back to the I7 for mm 3-4, versus the I7 chord being played for 4 measures as is the basic 12 bar blues. Improvisation techniques used by the pros are explained and transcribed in treble and bass clef, and transposed for Eb, Bb, and F instruments in Chapter 8. These techniques can be broken into lessons and taught to the improvisors in your classroom over a series of weeks. Styles are covered in Chapter 6 and the students can be assigned a specific style, artist, or song to listen to and you can use the writing prompts from the website to spur conversation in the classroom about the style, artist, or song and it's impact on each individual. Chapter 5 covering listening and communicating includes a section on hand signals we use to communicate with the other players on stage about a song's key, stops, solo breaks, or other information we can relay with nonverbal clues. Have the students practice identifying a key by the number of fingers held up or down. 4 fingers up is E major, 4 fingers down is Ab major. Be the facilitator! Listening examples to all illustrations that have recorded examples are hyperlinked in the eBook and available on the website.
Are you planning a band trip to New Orleans coming up? We can jam with your students with local professional musicians! Give your students some high intensity experiental learning. Download the songs and let the students practice the pieces they like before your trip. At our workshop the students will get on stage and call their tune based on the principles covered in Chapter 7. We can scale it to gradually put more responsibilities on the students as the session goes on. We can call the tunes and dictate the solos in the beginning. By the end we would encourage any participant interested in calling a tune to do so, and offer constructive feedback for the learner in what they did well, and what needs improvement. The students will be able to see the hand signals and nonverbal communications found in Chapter 5 as they happen and see how we get the message across and the effect that has on the piece. Your students will be in the middle of the action, trading solos and creating that camaraderie with other musicians. The 2 hour program will include an opportunity for your students to ask questions, play, try things, and get real stage experience.
We can also reserve a local recording studio and the students could have a keepsake to take home and reflect on the experience! We have options.
We can bring the band to you! Have skills, will travel. We can come work with your ensemble, or coordinate with your district to offer our program to multiple schools. This could be done individually, or all at once in a larger assembly of a couple jazz bands. We can also perform a concert the evening we are there. We can partner this with a local performing arts venue and give our workshop to your students and have them attend a public concert put on by us demonstrating all the skills we just showcased. We can also work with a corporate sponsor or philanthropic donor if you know one.
Download the tunes here for your students to learn and play with the professional musicians in the workshop.
We can also play standards such as: All Of Me, All Blues, All The Things You Are, Back Home Again In Indiana, Blue Monk, Blue Skies, Bye Bye Blackbird, C Jam Blues, Caravan, Doxy, Fly Me To The Moon, In A Mellow Tone (Rose Room), Mack The Knife, My Little Suede Shoes, Oleo, Satin Doll, So What, Solar, St. Thomas, Straight No Chaser, Struttin' With Some BBQ, Summertime, Take The A Train, Tenor Madness, and more.
How does this workshop align with the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) Standards?
MU:Cr1.1.E/MU:Cr1.1.H Generate musical ideas for various purposes and contexts.
~ The students will be generating melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic ideas for improvisation.
MU:Cr2.1.E/MU:Cr2.1.H Select and develop musical ideas for defined purposes and contexts.
~ The students will be developing draft melodies, improvisations, and accompaniment for the pieces performed in the workshop, displaying an understanding of musical characteristics from historical periods of music development. The students are also free to use mp3 recorders or their phones/devices to record and preserve the improvisations.
MU:Cr3.1.E/MU:Cr3.1.H Evaluate and refine their work through openness to new ideas, persistence, and the application of appropriate criteria.
~The students will be evaluating and refining improvisations based on established criteria, and developing their own criteria to further refine their improvisations to develop their own voice. Some questions that could lead the evaluating and refining process could be: Did you follow the chord changes? Were you in time with the rest of the group? Did you rush or drag specific parts or sections?
MU:Pr5.3.E/MU:Pr5.1H Evaluate and refine personal and ensemble performances, individually or in collaboration with others.
~ The students will be evaluating their own personal performances individually. The ensemble performance can be used as an indication of how the person calling the tune relayed the information to the rest of the group. Did the group play the introduction or opening as specified? Was there confusion around who was going to solo when? Did everyone know where the top of the form was when the melody or vocal line came back in? We communicate these things with other players verbally after a song or after a set, depending on how brief and convenient it is to share it. It can be a quick question and answer; “Hey, you missed the entrance to the melody after solos?” A response could be; “I didn't know if you were going to sing it again or wanted us to play the melody.” Both players have now shared their interpretation of the event, and can reflect on the experience of the other in refining their next time on stage.
MU:Pr6.1.E/MU:Pr6.1.H Perform expressively, with appropriate interpretation and technical accuracy, and in a manner appropriate to the audience and context.
~The experienced musicians will be modeling the appropriate interpretation for the learner in a manner appropriate to the audience and context. By the student joining the professional on stage they will be engaged in experiential learning, and receiving critical instruction and guidance through verbal and nonverbal communications utilized by working professionals in the field. The student will be able to view the professionals modeling the skills and behaviors, the “I do” portion from an instructors point of view. The student will be able to practice the skills in real time with the professionals, the “We do” portion from an instructors point of view. The students will then take their new knowledge and try calling a tune on their own to have the band play, the “You do” portion of “I do, We do, You do” instruction technique.
MU:Cr3.2.E/MU:Cr3.2.H Share/Perform final versions of improvisations and compositions, demonstrating technical skills in applying principles of composition/improvisation and originality in developing and organizing musical ideas.
~The students will be sharing improvisations individually, and creating spontanious complimentary melodies in an ensemble setting that address the indentified purpose of developing their skill set in the area of commercial music performance. The students will be applying principles of composition and improvisation to generate organized musical ideas and participating in procedural learning and experiential learning.
MU:Cn10.0.H Demonstrate how interests, knowledge and skills relate to personal choices and intent when creating, performing, and responding to music.
~The musicians performing the workshop will share personal experiences and how they respond to music. We also can discuss how to create a set list to further explain and demonstrate the rise and fall of intensity or change in moods and emotions through the selections played and how that can curate an engaged audience.
MU:Pr5.1.C Evaluate and refine personal and ensemble performances, individually or in collaboration with others.
~The students will create individual rehearsal plans for the pieces they enjoy playing and develop their expressive and technical performance skills, and identify ways musical performances convey their emotions and intent to the audience.
Master classes represent an opportunity for initiation into the music profession, providing insights...into the thinking of a professional musician...[Master classes] enhance goal-related learning strategies by raising intrinsic motivation, providing performance and self-appraisal opportunities through comparison with peers.
- Marion Long, Susan Hallam, Andrea Creech, Helena Gaunt and Linnhe Robertson, "Do Prior Experience, Gender, or Level of Study Influence Music Students' Perspectives on Master Classes?"
Perhaps one of the most fascinating aspects of witnessing or taking part in a master class is the idea that the performance heard at the beginning of the session is not a finished product but a starting point.
- Angela Taylor, “Participation in a Master Class: Experiences of Older Amateur Pianists,” Music Education Research 12, no. 2 (June 2010) 199.
Spread The Jam Volume 1
BIG JOE KENNEDY
Recorded examples to accompany the Illustrations in my book, Spread the Jam. Big Joe on piano, Ted Long on bass, Mark Weliky on guitar, Mike Fulton on trumpet and Bryan Besse on drums.
Illustration 1 2:040:00/2:04
Illustration 2 1:160:00/1:16
Illustration 3 2:010:00/2:01
Illustration 4 1:160:00/1:16
Illustration 5 0:580:00/0:58
Illustration 6 1:020:00/1:02
Illustration 7 1:050:00/1:05
Illustration 8 0:430:00/0:43
Illustration 9 1:260:00/1:26
Illustration 10 0:470:00/0:47
Illustration 11 0:560:00/0:56
Illustration 12 0:560:00/0:56
Illustration 13 0:410:00/0:41
Illustration 14 0:380:00/0:38
Illustration 15 0:350:00/0:35
Illustration 16 1:130:00/1:13
Illustration 17 0:400:00/0:40
Illustration 18 3:020:00/3:02
Illustration 19 1:340:00/1:34
Illustration 20 1:380:00/1:38
Spread The Jam Volume 2
BIG JOE KENNEDY
Big Joe on piano, Mike Fulton on trumpet, Catie Rodgers on trumpet, Mark Weliky on guitar, Ted Long on bass, Simon Lott on drums, and Bryan Besse on drums.
Spread the Jam Volume 3
BIG JOE KENNEDY
Vol. 3 of the series Spread the Jam. Big Joe on piano/vocals, Simon Lott on drums, Jory Dexter Woodis on clarinet/alto, JD Haenni on bass.
Here we have That Da Da Strain. In the first video you can see us talk through the piece and how we are going to play it. We quickly sort out if we will be playing the verse and when we will be playing it. There is some back and forth as we figure out if we want to go back to the verse after solos or just stay on the chorus.
The second video is us playing the piece and following the format we discussed. Verse, chorus, verse, chorus (solos), stay on chorus after solos until the end. Another thing to note is that just before the end Mike gave the signal for "4" telling us all that he wanted to tag the last 4 measures.
The next video is Margie. An important thing to watch for is near the end Catie holds up 4 fingers meaning she wants to tag the last 4 measures but the rest of us missed it. We ended cleanly at the end of the form. Sometimes these things happen.