Welcome to the Northern Lights Bluegrass and Old Time Music Society’s Jam Page

Update: All Jams are currently canceled due to rising covid cases in the province. Please check the Facebook page regularly for updates
Jams are normally held every Sunday. See details below for when in person jams resume

Saskatoon Academy of Music

629 1st Ave N. Saskatoon, Sk

  2:30 to 4:30 PM

1st Sunday – Old Time Jam hosted by Paul Gitlitz 
2nd Sunday – Bluegrass Jam  hosted by Michael Taylor 
3rd Sunday – Jam hosted by Paul Gitlitz 
4th Sunday – Jam hosted by Michael Taylor 
Masks will be required at Jams at this time. Thank you for your cooperation.

Please sign up for our monthly newsletter or subscribe to our Facebook page to receive Jam information

Please join the group Northern Lights Public Jams for further events and updates:

Click the link to Paul’s Oldtimey Tunebook

Click the link to Michael’s Bluegrass and Jam songs Tunebook

How It Works

Most of us play by ear, and we encourage new players to learn how to play, and to learn new tunes, that way.

  • If you do need music that’s OK but please put your stand where it won’t be in the way.
  • Recognize that (a) you may not always hear the tune name before it starts, and (b) the group won’t be waiting for you to find the page.

Choosing and Starting Tunes: Each person takes a turn naming a tune to be played, in deference to banjo players who need to retune, it is preferably in the current key  .The tune list will have a guide as to the key.

-Whoever chooses the tune will start it off (setting the tempo, which we’re then supposed to maintain) — or may ask someone else to start it.

-It’s also helpful to set the tempo by starting with a couple of measures of “potatoes” (shuffle bowing on fiddle) or strumming to lead into the tune.

Stopping: Whoever chose the tune should always indicate when to stop.

-This is usually done by raising a foot as we approach the end of the tune (preferably part-way through the last part of the tune, a few measures before we are to stop).

-Calling out “one more time” or “last time” at the start of the last time can help too, especially if you can’t raise your foot, or it can’t easily be seen by the group. 

Here is Some Old Tyme History

Old-time is a genre of North American folk music. It developed along with various North American folk dances such as square dancing, clogging and buck dancing. It is played on acoustic instruments, generally centering on a combination of fiddle and plucked string instruments (most often the guitar and banjo) as well as the mandolin.

Learn more about North American folk music HERE.
Learn more about North American folk dances HERE.

Appalachian old-time music is itself made up of regional traditions. Some of the most prominent traditions include those of:

This music is also found all over the US and Canada with each region having their own styles. Loads of modern composition is being added to the repertoire.