Jamkazam Breakthrough: Proof of Concept

If you saw the Jamkazam concert a couple of weeks ago, you may agree that it implies a new opportunity for musicians and music teachers. I confess, I didn’t stay for the whole program. What I did see was excellence in music performance and collaboration. The ensemble timing of each act was good, even when they did stop time tricks. Proof of Concept.

The Handlers band
The Handlers appeared on the Jamkazam concert.

What this means for me is, I can use Jamkazam for teaching and be able to play along with my students. This teaching, or learning technique is called entrainment. We play a tune together and they hear our sound as a combined effort. I believe entrainment is a real thing in the psychology of teaching. I’ve felt strongly about it all along. With Skype, Zoom, or FaceTime, it was not possible. The lag between sounds coming from me and the student prohibited playing together in a meaningful way. Now that frustration is over.

My own experience as a fiddle teacher has shown many, if not all students getting to where they can play a tune. This was after many sessions of playing together. Not just, “okay, play the tune. Now try this. Okay that’s good.” No the experience of playing with your teacher and hearing the sound as it can be when it’s good, that’s a powerful learning experience.

That’s the very thing that has been missing from online lessons, in my opinion. Now it is potentially available. All I have to do is get up the learning curve and help others do the same.

The Frustration of Latency

There may be an issue with distance and lag, or latency, as it is called in this context. During the concert, the comments talked about latency. That’s the gap of time that occurs due to connectivity issues. Up to 40 miniseconds is okay. More is making too big a gap. The purpose of Jamkazam is to eliminate too much latency.

Then, there is the hope of doing actual collaboration with one of the musicians I know. Several that I have enjoyed working with would be good prospects. We could actually develop a sound, an ensemble, without traveling. I hope this works out.

Learning Jamkazam

Now, on to Jamkazam and its software. I went on their web site for some research. On the site I searched for “tutorial” and got nothing. Then, on to YouTube, where all is revealed about everything if you know how to look. I searched for Jamkazam tutorial and got a good handful of results. 

The first video was about set up. There is more to it than I thought. You need to do something about using several ports on the router. Comments on the video were mostly appreciative and grateful. Many complained of the program not working for a long time. It’s more complex than I thought. 

I have a Jamkazam app on my MacBook. I still puzzle over the page I saw originally that showed the acceptability of your configuration. I did not see it again. In the video there was a panel of radio buttons in green to show that things were right. I may have to watch it again. Maybe even take notes.

Elan Chalford

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