Making music accessible: Community Jam gets back in tune Monday |

Making music accessible: Community Jam gets back in tune Monday

Submitted to The Union

Community Music Jam, a free open session mentorship program, resumes Monday at the Center for the Arts in Grass Valley.

The jam runs for 10 weekly sessions with professional musician-mentors guiding participants on keyboards, guitars, bass, percussion, vocals and other instruments.

All sessions are limited to the first 60 people to sign up before 6:30 p.m. Registration opens at 6 p.m. There is no pre-registration.

In March of 2013, the Center for the Arts launched its first-ever Community Music Jam; the program proved to be a huge success, averaging around 60 aspiring musicians getting together and playing each week.

"The musician mentors took a lot of pride in guiding people in singing and playing instruments and being part of a cohesive group on the main stage," mentor Lorraine Gervais said. "The participants played everything from country to pop to rock, and it was a real band while the mentors guided from the sidelines. People took solos and sang who had never done that before. It's very exciting to be a part of that."

This latest session, which runs through May 12, will include music by The Beatles, Bob Marley, Dolly Parton, the Byrds, Jimmy Buffet, Martha and the Vandells and more.

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These fun and interactive sessions are for people who have at least a basic knowledge of an instrument, but no prior experience is needed for those who want to sing or play percussion.

This is a chance to experience playing and making music with a group, to develop new connections with like-minded folks, hang out with pros and just have a good time. Leading these structured "jam sessions" is a team of local professional musicians: Gervais (program coordinator), Kelly Fleming, Rick Kirkpatrick, Craig Thomas, Jen Knapp, Charlie Faber and Ty Smith.

They all have years of professional experience performing both locally and nationally in many different music genres and venues.

The center's primary goal is to build community through the arts; part of the nonprofit organization's mission is that arts are fundamental and every person should have access. By offering programs that are accessible, free and fun, the hope is to engage those who have not had exposure to the creative process, according to the Center for the Arts.

The center is located at 314 W Main Street, in Grass Valley. For more information, go to

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