Over the last few busy months I’ve been meeting one-to-one with friends (old and new) to jam. These duets are casual, playful and unstructured. They flow from the personal energy/life zones we bring to our sessions. Just as each friendship is unique, so are these musical relationships.
Journeying through rhythmic and melodic landscapes as they quicken and transform, we listen and respond in a circular way. Some of the musical patterns that emerge become fertile ground for explorative song-making, others serve as transition zones that quiet the mind or help us reconnect.
During each session I try to follow my curiosity to connect with the beginner in me who is always ready to learn something new. No matter how many times I have sung with my partner, each improv is an opportunity to explore the energy of the moment, practice intuitive listening and leap into the creative flow.
As we listen and interweave with our partner’s voice, both singers make responsive adjustments to vocal timbre, pitch, volume and tempo. This seemingly casual sound play exercises not only intuitive, improvisational muscles but also sharpens technical singing skills. A beautiful synthesis of left and right brain expression.
If you’re interested in developing a singing practice with partners, you could start your sessions with a Call and Response and see where that takes you. Or, you could begin with Personal Jams and move into a Dual Jam. Listen, Respond and Play . . . what a wonderful way to learn!
Here is a flow of outtakes from an informal session with my friend Izetta Smith, recorded May 24, 2013. It was a week filled with disastrous weather and tragic world news. After sharing family news and thoughts of the day we began singing.