A live shot of the Producer Mondays jam session, at New York’s NuBlu.

Jamming is an essential part of American musical tradition, and should be part of yours. Here are some bass-centric tips.

Jam sessions have been an essential part of the history of American music, going back at least 120 years, to a time when “live in person” was the only way audiences could experience music. In those days, one might attend informal house parties, social clubs, or basement speakeasies, where liquor flowed plentifully as musicians provided entertainment. Sometimes, musicians would arrive with a preset show. But quite often, and especially in the case of jazz, the music would be completely spontaneous, and that was the whole point. There might be a house band, but what they’d play, how long they’d play for, how they’d play it, and who might show up and join would be completely unscripted. This gave birth to what many now regard as the beginnings of jazz.

Read MoreShow less

Every time I play guitar in public, my internal critic is performing a coup on my self-esteem.

Pretty much every time I play music in front of people, the sound of what I play will at some point be drowned out by the imaginary criticism of everyone within earshot. I'll be having a great time making music, then hit a note I don't like, and it all changes. From then on, all I hear are the collective thoughts of the other musicians, audience, and engineers. Their unified minds join together in unanimous, silent chant: "You suck. You do not belong here." All are united by their disdain toward me … rightfully so.

Read MoreShow less