I looked forward yesterday to going to another old time music jam with the group that meets weekly. My previous experience had left me frustrated, and this time I was looking forward to my teacher attending the jam as well.
Earlier that day, I recalled how someone at another jam had a tablet computer with him, which I presume he used to look up information about the songs that were played. This made a little lightbulb light up over my head and I thought I'd bring my laptop to the jam so I could look up the chords. Then at the dog park, E suggested I just use my phone for the same purpose. Brilliant!
So I settled in at the jam, took out my phone, and saw a text from my teacher that she was unable to come to the jam because she was nursing a sick boyfriend. *sigh* I ordered a beer, started playing and it all worked out. Most of the core group knows the songs so well that all one of them has to do is start playing, and everyone knows what it is. Last night, they called out the name, I'd look up the song and try to follow along.
These people play pretty darn fast. But I don't want them to slow down, I need to be able to speed up my playing. As it was, I just strummed in time instead of doing the finger picking with my right hand, and concentrated on trying to do the chords. Most of the time, I am proud to say, I could follow visually where we were on the chord chart - which is saying a lot for me! I even made my hand make the right chords in the right order a few times - success!
I feel like I'm better prepared now to go to these things, and will have my trusty phone with me to help with the chords. There are over a hundred songs (easily) that they choose from, so I have no hope of getting them all learned immediately. This link is to a site with the chords, and I suggest you go there if you'd like a laugh because of the names of some of these songs. My personal favorite: "Squirrel Heads and Gravy".
And my teacher did show up eventually. She came without her banjo, which told me that she thought it was important to be there because I was there, even if it was for the tail end of the evening. I appreciate that. I offered my banjo to her to play for a couple of songs, and she got to play a bit.