Honing Our Skills

Jam Pak members range in age from 5 - 90! One of the goals of the band is to teach basic music skills to each member. Everyone currently has the opportunity to earn special recognition at two levels.

Once members achieve these levels, they can go on to learn more complex items. Some members play more than one instrument and also serve as teachers for each other.


Level 1 - Seven Bluegrass Songs

Band leaders, teachers and other members of supporting bluegrass organizations chose seven traditional songs as the first achievement level. These familiar songs were chosen so the kids would have a core list of songs they could play with other "pickers".

  • Ol' Joe Clark - Key of A
  • I Saw the Light - Key of G
  • Meet Me on the Mountain - Key of G
  • I'm On My Way Back to the Old Home - Key of G
  • Your Love is Like a Flower - Key of G
  • Boil That Cabbage Down - Key of A or G
  • Two Dollar Bill - Key of G

Band members are expected to be able to play along with these songs by memory and be able to take a short "break".

Level 2 - Seven Bluegrass Skills

Once Jam Pakkers receive the first award, they may work towards the Level 2 trophy. This level requires members to learn several skills which show their increasing proficiency on their selected instrument.

Be able to play scales in the keys of C, G, D, and A (for fiddle, guitar, mandolin, dulcimer, and bass players). Banjo players must be able to play forward rolls, backward rolls, alternating thumb rolls, and be able to read and follow tablature.

Demonstrate the I, IV, V, and relative minor chord for the keys of C, G, D, and A. (Players may use a capo.)

Be able to improvise a break for a bluegrass tune.

Demonstrate jam signals during a jam for a turn-around, stop, and passing the break.

Be able to do rhythm back-up and change chords at the proper time.

Know how to tune to another instrument or tuning machine.

Keep a working notebook of bluegrass tunes and words and be able to describe what traditional bluegrass is, who formed the tradition, and what instruments are generally acceptable.

These skills may be refined as we travel this musical journey. The ultimate goal is to be able to enjoy playing and singing with other people.

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