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Hello everyone, I bought my first guitar on September 1, 2010 and began taking lessons on September 3.  Last night, as the invitation of my instructor, I worked up the nerve to join in with a very welcoming and informal group  of players of varying skill levels (I was clearly the most unskilled!).  It was a euphoric experience; I thought I was having fun practicing and playing by myself, but it sure doesn't compare to playing with others!  Everyone there told me playing with others is the fastest way to improving, so I'm going to do it on a regular basis!  I love it!

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Congratulations on finding a good group to play with!  You are right -- it helps a lot and is also a lot of fun.  You might be interested in reading comments from other discussions about this, starting with this one posted by Six String:

If you follow the links in the posts in this discussion, you'll read about others' experiences too.



Hi Mike, I Started playing a couple of years ago, again (that is another story). I started taking lessons a few months after I got my guitar. I was almost ready to give up before I started the lessons.  I have been getting together with a group of guys once a month at a very informal jam session. Last night I went to my 2nd open mic I had a good time and look forward to going to both again

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to find such a group?   The music store near me has jam sessions, but they charge $12 to attend, and I think I would be much more a beginner than most of them. 


Here are some ideas pasted from a previous post:

In my area (Greensboro, NC) there is an organization called High Lonesome Strings that is a loose association of acoustic string players and bands . I haven't joined it, but the leader of the band and weekly music circle I'm in does belong to it, and so I'm aware that there are scores of musicians of all skill levels and walks of life around here, and I've met many of them. There may be such an association in your area through which you could network and find out about other musicians who might like to get together with you. There are also songwriting clubs and groups (a local chapter of NSAI, for example ) you could check with to get leads on jam sessions or informal music circles.

Check with the music department of any nearby colleges/universities. If you go to a church that has a worship band, connect with some of them for leads or to see if any of them would be interested. Your city or town may have a cultural center or a library that hosts or fosters musical events. 


Finally, Lisa McCormick, one of the guitar teachers in the Newb group, suggests asking a guitar teacher if he or she knows of any open groups.

I'm still fairly new at this, but the amazing discovery is that there are good musicians all over the place, and most are generous and friendly and willing to encourage all kinds of musical endeavors.

Good luck.


Thanks so much Walt.   I am considering taking some private lessons, and perhaps the teacher would be heloful in that regard.  I joined Guitar Tricks and have found that very helpful, but playing with others, REAL music, would be a real kick!   I am also signing up for a fingerpicking class at the local junior college, so perhaps they will have suggestions.  


These look like good sites, especially the first one.  You can sign up for e-mail alerts and also post your own group or activity.  Thanks for sharing this information!


Wow!   Thanks so much.  I found several local groups!   I'm excited.   Although, I may be too much of a beginner, I am definitely going to check them out.   They all seem to be "country" or bluegrass.   Thanks for the tip.  


Also, does anyone have any personal experiences with taking private lessons?  I'm trying to decide--have taken a few group lessons and am joinining another in Jan (fingerpicking).  I have a pretty good basic knowledge, play scales, know chords, but am wondering if a private instructor would be a way to move forward.  Oh, and I also work on the lessons on Guitar Tricks (online).   Suggestions?   Thanks.

linus 28 is correct in that it does take time to find a teacher that is the right fit for you.  And sometimes it is good to work with different teachers to add to your learning.  I was self-taught for most of my guitar playing time.  About 10 years ago I began with a teacher and my playing improved immensely.  I think I learned more since that time than I did in the first 30 years of playing on my own.  A teacher will guide you on the journey -- creating a plan, showing you how to practice, showing you how to accomplish your goals and helping you to determine realistic goals.


Also - the traditional types of song circles or jams do tend to be folk, country, or bluegrass.  However - many are open to all kinds of music.  I have gone to a local one where play folk, country, bluegrass, and blues.  There are classical guitar societies as well -- and those are free.   If you start studying with a teacher in the style of playing that you love, I am sure your teacher will be able to point you in the direction of others who meet and enjoy that style.

hey sandy-

i took an 8 wk group class (6 folks) to get the basics then worked with a private instructor and i love it. everytime i think it's time to move on he dials it up and gets me some new challenges, i am learning so much and having so much fun.  would highly recommend it if you can find the right teacher for what you want.  i go everyother week and get plenty to work on each time. if you go, take a recorder so you can continue to learn over and over.

Thanks Robin.  I, too, just finished a group class (blues) with 6 people.  Unfortunately the teacher was one of those "nickels"---we spent most of our time listening to him play!   But it was fun to connect with others trying to learn.   I'm semi-retired so I have lots of time to practise, and am definitely thinking about the private lesson thing.   Thanks for the tip on the recorder - GREAT idea!


ah, too bad about your "nickle" teacher.  some days with mine i spend a fair bit of time listening to him play, say a total of 10minutes out of an hour, but it's been good "learning to listen time" - and helps drill things into my sometimes slow head, and it gives me a good look at how things sound up to speed. some days he talks alot, sometimes we play together alot, sometimes its call and response or all of the above. It varies to suit what we are working on and the mood of the day. I realize that won't work for everyone, but it suits my style of learning.


 it was his idea with the recorder - it's been a super tool.  good luck if you get to try privates! hope you find someone you enjoy. i feel lucky that i enjoy my instructor.

Playing with others is the very best way to learn many things quickly as long  as you don't have  some nickles among your group that think they are 5 dollar bills. Keep on truckin'.


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