Live-Looping Groove Jam - FAQ's

Tom Weiser and Roy Willey at a recent Groove Jam at The Muse. (Photo by Lisa Siciliano, Dog Daze Photography)

Questions and answers… 

What is a Looper anyway? A looper is a piece of audio recording equipment that records a musical phrase, (in our case created by our voices), and then repeats the recorded phrase back through a speaker or amp. It has the capability to record and loop multiple phrases, thereby creating complete vocal compositions. 

What happens at one of these "Groove Jams?" Tom Weiser and I use our loopers to improvise multi-layered vocal compositions in the moment. If you've ever been to Circle Singing, imagine that, except that instead of a circle of singers holding the parts, all of the parts are being "sung" by the looper. This leaves space for the most fun part — the solo — to be sung by participants. 

Can anyone participate? Absolutely! Tom and I create the tracks, and anyone is welcome to sing along, try a solo, read a poem, improvise some spoken word, or even join in with an instrument. Or you can express yourself through movement and dance. 

Do I have to participate? Absolutely not! you're more than welcome to sit and listen! (And anytime you feel like dipping your toe in, you're more than welcome.) 

I've never done anything like this before, what if I sound bad? This is a completely judgment-free zone, and we have participants of all levels join us. We'll even facilitate some forms that make it easier for audience members to join in.  We strive to maintain a safe space for play. 

Is there an admission fee? All of our groove jams are donation-based. No pressure. All donations go directly to the venue (i.e. Swallow Hill Music, or The Muse Performance Space.) 

What's the point?  To create a safe place for singers to experiment with their voices; to allow space for singers to experience what it's like to "solo" improvise;  to allow singers to tiptoe out of their comfort zone and boost their confidence; to give singers' experience using a microphone (if desired); and most of all, to have fun co-creating interesting, beautiful, vocal compositions in the moment. 

Is it strictly singing? Not at all. We often have instrumentalists join in. 

When do these Groove Jams happen? Normally, we hold groove jams every first and third Thursday, at Swallow Hill Music and The Muse Performance Space, respectively.  (Sometimes scheduling conflicts necessitate changing the dates. Click here for most current information.

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