SCVFA Beginners’ Circle
Just starting out, or haven't played traditional music in a while?
The Beginners’ Circle is for you!
This is a slow-jam group held at most of our regular
at Hoover School. All instruments are welcome, so bring your fiddle,
mandolin, guitar, dulcimer, bass, whistle or whatever, and give it a try.
Besides offering a place to play a little more slowly, we hope to help players
get more comfortable playing by ear, learn to coordinate with others in an
informal group, and build confidence and repertoire.
Depending on interest we can also discuss ways to learn tunes,
jam-group dynamics and etiquette, differences among styles, and more.
One of our experienced members will generally lead the tunes, answer questions and
offer various kinds of help. The leader will normally be on hand for an hour or so,
but we love it when the participants continue to play together on their own.
When and Where? The slow jam is normally held from about 2 to 3 pm
not far from the main entrance. But the schedule may vary due to other activities
at the jam, so check the
Events Page for updates —
or at the jam, ask at the admission desk or look for a “Beginners’ Circle”
We like to have a variety of leaders, to provide exposure to different tunes
and playing techniques. If you're an experienced player and would like to help,
let us know!
Thanks! to those who have volunteered in the past, including Jean Avram,
Paul and Laura Barnett, Dave Barton, Gary Breitbard, Tom Clausen, John Heron, Norio Kawato,
Sarah Kirton, Mark Llewellyn, Pete Showman, Ann Whitesell and John Williamson.
While this isn't intended to be a class or workshop, some leaders may choose to
teach a tune or two as a way of focusing the group — and may even provide
written-out music for the tunes.
Below on this page are a few tunes that have been taught during previous
Beginners’ Circles. You can find more (mostly old-time) tunes on
Showman’s Tunes page — and many other places on the Web.
If you'd like to participate and have other favorite tunes you'd
like to work on, let us know. You can call Pete Showman at (408) 255-0297,
or email us at slowjamscvfa.org.
You can get the sheet music in one
(~1.2 MB), or get the pages individually below.
Many of the tunes have MIDI and MP3 audio files (see
note below), usually at a slow speed such as
60 bpm (beats per minute) as well as at a typical playing speed such as 90 or 100 bpm.
Individual Tunes, Listed Alphabetically
MIDI files are small (about 4-16 kB), as they only contain instructions to the sound
card on your computer, which makes the actual sound. The quality varies considerably depending
on your computer. MP3 files are audio files that should sound the same on most
systems — but they're much larger (about 300kB to 1MB).
And almost all of these MP3s are made from the MIDIs (sorry!), so try the MIDIs first.
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Updated by PS 8/22/11.