Spotlight: How to Make the Most of Jam Sessions and Freestyling

Many artists use freestyling and jam sessions as a central component of their creative process. However, for a newcomer this whole process can feel confusing—how do you approach recording jam sessions and organizing sound files?
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Many artists use freestyling and jam sessions as a central component of their creative process, mainly for the purpose of then taking bits and pieces from certain recordings to create full-length songs. Through freestyling and/or jamming, storing their recordings, and subsequently transcribing them, artists can continually hone their lyrics and improve the music that they're creating. By being able to create in an improvisatory nature, artists can continually improve their overall creative process.

However, for a newcomer this whole process can feel confusing—how do you approach recording jam sessions and organizing sound files?

You'd be surprised at how much technology you already have. For example, if you own a smartphone, you don't need any more equipment to record your improv sessions or even to start organizing your sound files. iPhones and Android devices have built-in microphones that also allow you to organize your audio documents pretty easily, typically with pre-installed systems to do so.

Transcribing is often the next step for artists looking to document their improvised sessions. This is especially true for musicians who engage in freestyle rap during their creative process. By separating the lyrics from the rhythm, artists can examine their recordings as if they were bits of poetry, which arguably they are. They can zero in on certain patterns and themes they may otherwise miss if only listening to the audio.

If you can type on a keyboard and listen to headphones, you can transcribe. By using Microsoft Word and a few keyboard shortcuts memorized a musician can start transcribing their own recordings today. It just takes a little practice, especially if you’re keeping up with speed rap.

Those unwilling or unable to transcribe their own audio recordings can always outsource the job instead. Taking time to find top rated transcription services will ensure quick turnaround and fair prices.

While you can use an elaborate digital audio workstation (DAW) like Logic Pro X or Ableton to edit and save audio files, you don't have to break the bank to do so—applications like Audacity and Reaper are accessible ways to do this that are also available for free online.

There are also many different apps that you can download for your smartphone with which you can record your freestyles with—for example, apps such as Garageband and other types of DAWs that work on smartphones can be great ways to record and save your work without having to worry about spending a lot of time storing it. Each of these apps allows you to put recordings down as specific tracks, after which you can click "save" and keep the file on your drive or export it into whichever audio format is your personal preference.

Even if you don't have a computer ideal for music production, uploading your work to a storage site like SoundCloud can be a great way to not only keep track of your files but also potentially get feedback from others.

Another useful way to get the best out of your freestyles is to have a schedule to set for yourself. For example, if you try and push yourself to record one freestyle per day, you'd be surprised at how efficient you can be within a matter of days.

Regardless of which method you use, encouraging yourself to improvise, whether it be through jam sessions or freestyles, can be a huge part of advancing your overall creativity!

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