Now Playing: Revisiting this today...
For the past several years I've been able to jam with some very diverse groups of musicians (although I am personally partial to old time jams). Often when I suggest folks come to a jam I get responses like, "I'm not a good enough player," or, "I don't really know tunes, I'd be embarrassed," or, "They play too fast for me." Now I must admit that the first jam I went to as a dulcimer player I ended up playing my guitar most of the time because I was uncomfortable. However once I let go of my pride - yes, I said pride - and played I found that I was putting into practice things I was learning and I was also really learning rhythm, something I had been a little weak in. As I went to jams, mostly dulcimer related early on, I began to pick up some of the tunes folks were playing and I met a lot of neat people too.
In 2005 I started attending an old time jam in Bethlehem and was the only mountain dulcimer there (typically still am). They played pretty much up to speed and a lot of tunes I didn't know but I hung on the side, played the chords a little and listened a lot. As I went each month I started to pick up the tunes and after a while got to know them... it was a revelation because my playing was also improving and I was feeling much more comfortable with the instrument. I was amazed!! I began to find and join the jams at festivals and heard and played lots of others stuff, besides old time tunes, and was surprised to realize that I could pick things up. I tell you all that to tell you this... Jamming helped to improve my playing... a lot! And I believe, if you're willing to try, it will help your playing too. So... get out there, find a jam, or 2, or 3 and play! See what you can learn.