Jam Session: A Night of Community Music Making

MA student Tim Sullivan playing a barry sax solo after a Beatles chorus.

On the evening of Tuesday, April 22nd, the fourth floor of Horace Mann was alive with the hit songs of the Beatles. Hosted by the Musical Communities Project in conjunction with the Music & Music Education department, Dr. Lori Custodero planned the first jam session of the semester and extended an open invitation to all students, staff and faculty members.

With an array of instruments about the room, microphones poised to invite singers to center stage and spare amps at the ready, the group of graduate students who gathered took turns leading the songs or contributing accompaniment. The theme of the night was The Beatles in tribute to the iconic rock group’s fiftieth anniversary since their first performance in the United States. Tab sheets and lyric books were passed out for the playlist of over twenty-five hit Beatles numbers, from “Yellow Submarine” to “Don’t Pass Me By.” The well-known melodies for “Blackbird” and “Hey Jude” were crowd favorites, but each song brought new laughs and pleasant surprises as trumpet, drum or saxophone soloists improvised over the riff sections.

An aerial picture of the Music Education students at the Jam session improvising together on Beatles songs such as “Blackbird” and “A Hard Day’s Night.”

Dr. Custodero herself took turns singing and playing the piano, and other Music Education faculty in attendance included Dr. Abeles on the tongue drum, Dr. Allsup, and Dr. Becker. The Beatles Jam Session was a night full of energy, community, and music making. We hope to have more Jam Sessions in the future so that more members of TC can experience the joy, power and rejuvenating effects of community music.