So just what are JamDice and Jam?
Everybody has habits. Many musicians have favourite licks, chord patterns and even keys. Breaking habits promotes new thinking and frees creativity.
JamDice is an idea that we dreamt up to ramdomise parts of the process of songwriting. We'd found that spending hours jamming away, searching for that elusive riff, we could get stuck in a rut. We needed a way to push ourselves into new ideas and try new combinatons of keys, scales and chord sequences. We didn't realise it at the time but by adding a random element to our quest we were just ahead of Edward De Bono and his book How To Have Creative Ideas.
We turned our process into a set of dice but we found that they kept rolling under speakers and getting lost - and roadies liked to chew on them. So instead we turned it into an iphone app that we named Jam.
You can downoad Jam from the Apple app store but don't blame us if a roadie starts chewing on your iphone. He's your roadie, you deal with him.
Whether improvising or composing, Jam can lead musicians in to new areas, offer fresh chord sequences and suggest new scales. And Jam helps put spontaneity back into daily practice.
1/ Spin the Key and Scale drums: This selects the keynote for your improvisation or composition and gives you a scale. e.g. F Harmonic minor.
2/ If the drum has given you a major scale - Major or Pentatonic - press the major chords tab and if it chose a minor scale - Minor, Ancient minor, Harmonic minor - press the minor chords tab (yes, we think it's obvious too).
3/ Now spin the appropriate drum to get a chord sequence. Jam's major and minor drums have been probability weighted towards more commonly used chords because completely random choices lead to a lot of wasted time playing very avant-garde (horrible) jams.
4/ Take a look at the chord sequence Jam gave you. There should be a 1st chord (I) in there somewhere. If there isn't either spin again, because it's the root chord and the foundation of your key so you'll need one to get going OR assume that it's there and play it, followed by the rest of the sequence on the screen.
Play the chord sequence a few times, see how it sounds. Try playing all the chords for one bar each. Try the first chord for three bars and all the rest in the forth bar as a 'turn around'. Try playing them as single notes in one bar and make a riff. Have some coffee. Invite a friend over and try it on two different instruments (preferably in time and in tune). If it isn’t inspiring you, ditch it and spin again. If it is, go with it.
Now you're jamming and here the fun begins! Will you choose to ignore any doubled chords and rearrange the order ? Keep all the chords but not the order? Throw out one chord that doesn't fit or add a chord because "you know it's right". Some of you will undoubtedly try spinning the major drum for minor scales and vice-verse. We heartily support your adventurousness and rock 'n' roll disregard for guidelines but don't blame us if your cat leaves home.
If not much of the above has made sense to you then you may need to learn a bit more about your instrument and about music theory.
You'll find help with using Jam and general music theory on this website, which you can also access direct from within the app while you're jamming. There's also a forum to talk with other musicians and let us know how it's going. Otherwise you can email us at email@example.com