Mission Statement: To connect musicians of different backgrounds, abilities, and life experiences through interactive personal live music experiences. This purpose recognizes that benefits extend beyond the jam and hours played, as we nurture an environment where musicians can respect that each member is on their own musical path. By teaching our methods, perspectives, and techniques, we validate and encourage the development of each member as an individual musician. Further, our organization supports and encourages musical collaborations and projects that benefit our larger local communities, through interactions with live music. Sharing our methods and technology, Community Jams will connect with other cities and communities to expand the positive impact of live music.
How we started: In 2007, 16 years ago, Rob “Bodhi” Wolff founded Portland Casual Jams to support groups in the Portland area who play live music and develop their skills in collaborative, inclusive environments with a wide range of abilities. Using Meetup.com, this group has grown to nearly 5,000 musicians who connect through weekly and monthly events including unique community jams that offer experiences learning and enjoying how to share live music with others. These jams are popular for their ability to transform lives, enhancing physical and mental health as much as building skills and teamwork. People learn together, play together, and develop musical connections forming priceless memories.
As the group grew, members requested more space, better technology, more types of jams and events, more equipment, and more education. In response, a nonprofit organization called Community Jams was created in 2019 to provide more formal support to Portland Casual Jams, sharing the joyful experience of community music jams locally and around the world. Some major goals include:
• Manage spaces designed for live music played by inclusive community groups
• Develop and manage technology to help groups play, record, and stream live music jams
• Build a collection of donated instruments for community jams
• Develop mobile programs to share community jams in Portland and beyond
• Develop weekly programs for musicians of every age, ability, and walk of life that teach key concepts around playing live music as a group:
– Playing as an informal team
– Playing for performance
– Improvising with live music
– Practicing and recording live group music
– Integrating specific instruments into jams
– Singing with freedom and confidence
– Improving quality of life in physical and emotional ways
Volunteers work incredibly hard creating our community studio, developing software and song charts, organizing events, educating musicians, and sharing the pleasure of music connection. We are so grateful for the support from our community for this service!
Let us know how you would like to get involved and help Community Jams work for everyone. And keep playing music!