Performing music in Zoom on laptop or mobile phone

Playing music in a Zoom meeting doesn’t always work out because Zoom is optimised for conversation and suppresses what it thinks is background noise, sometimes including your acoustic guitar between each vocal line – or worse. The whole thing breaks up.


To override these settings and play the original unprocessed sound on a desktop go to Audio settings> advanced settings and enable the in meeting option for original sound.

When you are in the meeting look for the Turn on Original Sound option on the top left corner of the screen. Select this option before playing music and switch it back when going back to conversation. (You may need to hover your mouse over that area to make the option visible)

Mobile App

The process for mobile apps is similar. (These screen shots are from an Android app). First log into the app – you don’t need to join a meeting for this step. Go to Settings>meeting

Within meeting settings select Use original sound.

You are almost done. When you next join a meeting on your mobile, before you play music, put your finger on the screen to bring up the menus and options. Select More>enable Original Sound. When you are done playing to optimise for conversation again repeat the process and select disable original sound.

Videos and photos

Your performance at the Auckland Bluegrass Club will be photographed or videoed and excepts may be used by the Auckland Bluegrass Club for publicity purposes on various platforms.  Don’t worry, we will not use material where you look funny because you were singing with your mouth wide open, or videos where you fluff your words.

You may also be photographed or videoed as part of the audience, or at one of our social events.

If you don’t want your image to be used by the Auckland Bluegrass Club please advise the MC or photographer, and if you want an image taken down email

Individuals attending Auckland Bluegrass club events may also pull out a mobile or camera at an event. In this case approach the individual concerned.



Jamming etiquette

At a festival or social occasion jamming etiquette is much the same as joining in a group conversation at any event, you take your time, be considerate, show willingness to listen and you will be gradually invited to contribute.

In our case someone leads the jam and asks people to suggest and lead songs. There is no pressure to do so, nobody is going to point to you and put you on the spot.

If you want to play but you aren’t confident just sit on the edge of the jam.

Listen, listen, listen.  Watch, watch, watch.

Suggest good jamming tunes

If you suggest a tune to jam on, make sure it fits in with the flavor of the jam.  For example suggesting a Western swing tune in a jam that has an old timey flavor is likely to make everyone, including you, uncomfortable.

Jamming songs are either simple or a standard that pretty much everyone knows.  If your original song fits that description that is fantastic, otherwise suggesting songs people have difficulty following or trying to teach everybody a new song with complicated chords is likely to make people uncomfortable.  However if there is one ‘trick’ chord in an otherwise simple song, then explain what it is, and people can pick it up.

If you are a guitarist play the chords in obvious shapes so everyone can see.

On this site under Song Book, you will find some example standard jamming songs that have been played at our club.

Don’t play guess the song

Please don’t start playing and look around expectantly like everybody has to guess what the song is.  Suggest a song by name and tell us what key you want to do it in.


The person leading the song should catch the eye of the next instrumentalist and will nod to them or verbally cue them when to go for it. If you don’t want to, just give a slight shake of the head, and you will be skipped that round. Don’t worry about being called on unexpectedly in a jam, we won’t do that to you.

Playing in a jam you need to watch for those cues so you know what is happening and who is going to play next.

If you start a song you must give these kind of cues as to who will solo next because it is very unsettling otherwise because nobody knows. It can be helpful to go around the circle in order.

If you lead a song be prepared to play a strong rhythm to keep the group together.

Look out for a leg going out – if the person leading the song is playing they are putting a leg out to show the song is ending.

When not to play

Playing in time is the most important thing – if you can’t mange it, or it is too fast, sit out for that song.

If it get messy through too many instruments playing – don’t play for a while.

When a quieter instruments like acoustic guitar begin a lead break or a vocalist is singing, quiet right down, or stop and leave other people to keep the song going.  Otherwise it is really hard to sing or play lead acoustic guitar over a big group jam.



Make sure you are in tune, and give others time and space to tune. For tips on tuning see Performing at the Auckland Bluegrass Club

Performing at the Auckland Bluegrass Club


Of course there are no hard and fast rules saying where one genre stops and another begins, but the focus is on the club genres, in much the same way as the Irish club or the blues club focus on Irish or blues music.

Guest evenings first half

In a guest evening we generally have about 5 or 6 first half performers singing 1 or 2 songs each. If you are from out of town and making a special visit you may get an extra song.  All this might means not everybody can be fitted in.  If you miss out or are new to performing, a club concert will probably suit you better.

If you are not sure whether to practice or whether to bring your instruments for a first half floor spot email well beforehand and ask for a spot.

Club concert night

Club concert nights are not for only for experienced performers but a time we also encourage less experienced performers to get up, limited by the time available. If you  want to have a go – practice up some songs and put your name down with the MC.  At the end of the evening we generally have a jam, see jamming etiquette.


Although gifted solo performers are welcome, we encourage performers to play with others, as we are a social club and it is suits our genres. There are lots of experienced musicians who will happily help back you, and the MC will help you find some backers if you are shy to ask.

Get your instruments ready

If you have a performing slot the MC will tell  you who the preceding performer will be. Please have your instrument ready and tuned, as it is very disruptive to have a performer called upon to play who then starts banging around in the guitar cases.

Don’t start with excuses

Please don’t get up and apologise or make excuses – saying things like you haven’t practiced, or it probably won’t be any good, or you don’t really know the song, or whatever.    Everybody has moments of doubt just as you are about to launch into a song, especially the feeling that you didn’t practice enough.  Hide it like the pros do.


Here’s a tip you can see by watching good performers. If you are singing you will give a far better performance if you learn the words. Even if you keep a lyric sheet in front of you ‘just in case’,  you will end up looking at it all the time instead of interacting with the audience.  Professionals learn the words for a reason. If you are desperate, do what the pros do and write the first couple of words of each verse on a paper and put it on the floor or somewhere where you can see it if you have a brain fade.

Singing is better standing up

Of course you can sing sitting down, but standing up is better.  When was the last time you went to a big time concert where the singer was sitting down? (Yes yes, Elton John or some other pianist, but they are forced to sit down by their instrument.)

Use an electronic tuner

Use an electronic tuner and trust it. It is very easy to tune up and then play a test chord and then worry that you are out of tune.  If so, use tuner to recheck. Unless you happen to be an audio demi-god, don’t torture the audience with your tuning- put your ego to one side, buy a tuner and use it like pros do.

(There is a real scientific reason why a guitar tuned perfectly by ear to, say, the chord E, will sound out of tune when you play the G chord.  To find out more Google just tuning and equal temperament tuning or watch  Howard Goodall’s Big Bangs Ep2 Equal Temperament)