Jam With Humans COVID-19 contingency plan
I can now confirm the cancellation of all Jam With Humans workshops and shows in April and May. The Jam Society season has been extended with another show on July 4th, as a replacement for the April 3rd show. However, it's important to notice that we'll only resume activities past May if it's generally considered safe by experts based on developments during the following two months.
In other news, we'll be giving live-streaming a go, so you might want to follow us on Instagram and Facebook and get notified when we're live!
Cancellation of activities
As you are certainly aware, preventive measures are required to contain the spread of the SARS-CoV-2. Thus, there will be no workshops or rehearsals in the next two weeks: the activities scheduled for March 15th and March 22nd are cancelled. Cancellation of other future activities might happen, pending the development of the pandemic.
Musical suggestions to fight house-lock boredom
Yes, there is a need for all of us to stay at home as much as possible. In case you need suggestions about how to spend your time (perhaps the time you’d otherwise use to join a workshop), here are mine. Personally, I feel like having fun and being creative helps the anxiety brought by the pandemic.
If you’re looking for a good movie, let me recommend you Space is The Place. It’s an afrofuturist space-jazz sci-fi story written and starring one of the biggest inspirations for the Jam With Humans musical ethos, Sun Ra.
If it’s technical musical knowledge you’re looking for, YouTube can come to the rescue! If you’re not familiar yet with the master in musical education that is Adam Neely, well, you’re in for a treat! Any of his videos are extremely insightful - perhaps The Devil in music (an untold history of the Tritone) is a good one to start with. If you’d like to know more about unusual instruments and their history, check out Rob Scallon’s YouTube channel - perhaps start with his videos on the octobass, the theorbo or the hurdy-gurdy.
If you feel courageous, Adam’s frequently recommended book Twentieth-Century Harmony by Vincent Persichetti is an amazingly comprehensive ride over what last century composers did with harmony. The way I like to study this book is in front of the piano, so I can hear what are the theory sounds like.
If you’d prefer to have people talk music into your ears, you might want to check out the podcasts Strong Songs and Song Exploder. Both of these break down remarkable songs, one per episode. Strong Songs is hosted by Kirk Hamilton, who is able to break down musical theory in a very accessible way (check out his episodes on I Will Always Love You, Think and Satisfied). Song Exploder guests the song composers themselves, giving them leeway to explain the “why” behind their compositions (I recommend John Roderick’s breakdown of The Commander Thinks Aloud).
Finally, this list needs some albums. If you haven’t yet, brush up on your Frank Zappa. The Joe’s Garage records are interesting choices to hear in one go, as they comprise a rock opera telling a very silly but also sad story. In these one can really appreciate the eclecticism of Zappa’s compositions and the mastery of those who’ve played with him. If the extremes in Zappa are not extreme enough for you, perhaps you’d like to hear Naked City. This is my preferred entry point for John Zorn’s work, as it really helps to show his range. This album includes Latin music, grindcore, free jazz, avant-garde rock and so much more. Actually, Zorn is another big source of knowledge for the Jam With Humans composition style so you might just want to read everything about him after, including his works Cobra and Masada.
Support the artists
In this pandemic, I’ve seen many artists lose a lot of work. Most artists I know are freelancers, and for them losing work for a month can be a devastating financial disaster. From the postponing of corporate gigs to the cancellation of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, many have already lost from a few hundreds of dollars to well above 10k. So, if you have the availability, consider looking for the artists you really like and go support them. Many will have Patreon pages, merch stores or simply donation pages. A good place to start is to follow a few new artists on the Facebookstagrams of life. Nothing like falling down a rabbit hole of good, new and interesting artists as a Sunday afternoon plan!
Make music, be safe, stay home, be creative, be silly, have fun!