The Big Jam at the Recovery Café in Paisley was my first experience of jamming with other musicians. My main fear before going was that my guitar skills wouldn’t be anywhere near good enough. However, once we sat down and started playing, it suddenly dawned on me that how good you are really doesn’t matter an awful lot.

Meeting with the Buddy Beat drumming club and a group of local guitarists was at first quite daunting. However, once the more enthusiastic members of Buddy Beat started jamming, all my doubts melted away. The drummers and guitarists there represented all abilities, from professional tutors to novices like myself.

And the most beautiful thing about the Big Jam that I came to appreciate was that once you have started, the music really can go on as long as you like. A circle of around thirty of us ended up playing for the best part of 90 minutes, and every one of us was sad when our time was up.
What I cannot stress enough, since this was part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival, is the therapeutic nature of the jam session. After getting over my initial jitters, I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed myself. It is a wonderfully social experience, which doesn’t put any pressure on you to play but does make you want to!

The podcast below is just a brief taster of what came out of the session. We began with ‘Perfect Day’ by Lou Reed, followed by an African party song by the drummers, some Johnny Cash, and finally ended up jamming for real.

If you’re thinking about going to something like this, but, like me, you’re worried about not knowing enough, our final jam was only one chord. So if you can play one chord, you know enough.


Written by Andy Revill


Listen to the highlights from the session here: 




Buddy Beat is also hosting an Open Drum Circle at the Charleston Centre in Paisley at 6pm on Wed 28 Oct. Come down to learn to play the djembe and have fun making music.