Jam session or open mic?

This one goes to the music players. It is not just about nice sounds, but also passing your personal state to the outside world. Playing music is for me like a therapy and lets me connect with others, which quite balances the current digitalized yet impersonal venues.

If you play an instrument, then you may be interested to build your friends’ circle in Vienna with other musicians. Sounds like a plan, so where to start? for the last couple of years I noticed two particular types of events: jam sessions and open mics (microphones). Both are aimed to connect musicians, but are different in the context and type in interaction. So I decided to make a short list of characteristics for you to better decide:

What to expect in a jam session?

  • You will play with others: fun and knowing new people is guaranteed.
  • However, if you are not good enough, it will be fair that somebody else takes over your instrument.
  • It will last pretty long: you could play between 30 and 60 min without interruption. It is just about putting some chords on the table and/or following others.
  • There is an after party. Or even more, non-musicians will dance and make a party together with you.
  • You meet musicians with high spirit, most of them are having their 15 min of full fun.
  • There are always exotic instruments to watch around.

What to expect in an open mic?

  • Everybody will have 10 min to play their own songs. It is a chance to test and/or introduce your repertoire to a public.
  • It is smooth: just chill and relax hearing others while waiting for your turn.
  • There is also an after party of course, so you will also interact with others.
  • These events are more common during the week, there are at least 2 open mics during weekdays.
  • You meet musicians with good technique. Most of them are studying music and bring good inputs to learn from.

You probably found advantages and disadvantages for each type of event. Generally, I recommend you to go to open mics if you already have some songs and want to motivate others to join you. Also if you are in a chilly mood and just want to stay for a few moments.

On the other hand, jam sessions work better if you are willing to… jam around. There is no pressure to prepare a program. It is also more fun if you want to party a bit longer and want to mingle with the people.

Try both and check what suits you best.

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