With our regular columnist, local musician Dr Michael Whiticker
What is a musician’s club?
A musician’s club generally begins as an informal opportunity for musicians to get together and make music. It might develop into a formal not for profit organisation and might eventually have its own venue and present top quality shows, but its humble beginnings are usually with a group of people wanting to provide opportunity for themselves and others to get together and make music in a non competitive environment.
You come across musician’s clubs or musician’s sessions under a range of names – Musos Jam, Acoustic Session, Open Mic night and Folk Music Club are typical. There are also Jazz Clubs and a range of others specific to genre or style, such as Brass Band, Bluegrass or Country Music Club. What distinguishes a musician’s club more than anything is that it is not limited by style, although it usually ends up being lead by folk, blues and popular musics. And, although dominated by musicians with intermediate skills, they encourage all ages and skill levels. Beginners of course are fostered and it is just a matter of them being brave enough to get up. If they bring some chord charts along to a session there will always be someone prepared to get up and back them! And sessions are wonderful for singers who are looking for the opportunity to perform with live musicians, although some bring their own backing tracks.
The appeal of such clubs is not just to musicians, as many people enjoy the atmosphere that surrounds new comers getting up on stage followed by old timers “strutting their stuff”, or a beginner sharing the stage with a more experienced performer. The fact that a musician’s night will often see half a dozen or more acts on stage all providing short sets, or jamming together makes the evening even more successful for a general audience.
One of the biggest attractions to musicians of such a club is the opportunity to see who is around in your field, and to network – there is nothing guitarists love more than talking about their equipment! Often they will form groups with other like-minded players and rehearse independently of the club. Certainly they will come together for the jam at the club.
The Glasshouse Mountains has its own musicians club, but more about that in my column next month.
Have a creative musical month!