25 April 2023

Groningen is a city filled with lots of culture. You can wander through museums, visit music venues every other night, go to the movies on a rainy Sunday… Groningen has many cultural activities and places to offer you, at any time of year. But did you know that as a musician (or live music lover) Groningen has quite a few jam sessions to offer you as well? And not just any type of jam sessions… classical ones!

When we think of musical improvisation we often think of jazz or similar genres. But have you ever seen classical music in the form of a jam session? Probably not. Classical music is often played within the fine lines of tradition. Improvisation in the classical world is rare and additionally, difficult.

However, it is possible! Interesting sounds and music regularly fill the bar in Brouwerij Martinus (brewery). An organisation called Classic Jamming hosts a classical jam session at the brewery every first Tuesday of each month. Musicians gather together to create something new and unexpected. Something you usually would not expect of the classical genre.

Classic Jamming is meant to encourage (classical) musicians to get out of their comfort zone and enhance their skills by playing outside of the traditional boxes that classical music usually has. Both former and current students from the Prins Claus conservatory join these wonderful evenings. By improvising together the musicians approach their classical playing in a whole new way. And it is a lovely opportunity to meet like-minded people.

How does it work? During each jam session a dice is rolled. The dice determines how many people will play together. Every person who would like to join the jam has to put their name in a hat. After the dice has been rolled names get pulled from the hat and the musicians have to improvise together for a certain amount of playing time. This process gets repeated several times throughout the evening.

Not only are these classical jam sessions a great opportunity for musicians, they are also a great opportunity for those who love to listen to live music or something new! Not only that, you can enjoy the music while drinking specialty beer from the brewery. Whether you would like to play or listen, classical jamming just might be what you are looking for.

Still curious about other jam sessions in Groningen? There are many more places to discover than Classic Jamming. An example is the USVA jam sessions. USVA regularly hosts different jam sessions, almost every week. An example of these jam sessions is Jambition, a jam for jazz and blues music. It takes place every Monday night. Another place to enjoy live music with your friends or fellow musicians is in cafe de Zolder. Each Tuesday and Thursday night there is a live jam session to visit. Want to combine a good beer with jamming? Then perhaps swing by O’Malleys or O’Ceallaigh Irish Pub on Wednesday evenings. Believe it or not, there are even more jam sessions and live music to discover in Groningen. But we will leave that opportunity up to you!