: a food made by boiling fruit and sugar to a thick consistency

: to become blocked, wedged, or stuck fast

: to become unworkable when a movable part becomes blocked or stuck

: to force one's way into a restricted space

: to improvise on a musical instrument with a group : to take part in a jam session

: to make unintelligible by sending out interfering signals or messages

: a difficult situation or state of affairs 

: a musical piece

: a favorite or much-loved item, subject, interest, activity, etc.


The word jam has many definitions so I thought it would be fun to play with that in the illustration. The jar is jam-packed with traffic jams, music jams, paper jams, and more! 


I prefer to pick words with many interpretations for Alpha Projects. I never know what I’m going to create ahead of time so I have more freedom when a word has multiple meanings.

When I thought about the word jam, several associations came to mind: 

  • A typically fruity condiment I often put in our oatmeal breakfast bowls
  • Being stuck or blocked 
  • Improvisation, often done in music
  • Time-constrained events like game design jams, service design jams, and tech hackathons
  • Something you love to do that can be the answer to “what’s your jam?”
  • Pop culture references like Def Jam, Space Jam (sequel coming in July), Pearl Jam…
  • Collaboration, which often includes improvisation
  • Culture jamming, a phenomenon I became interested in when I worked in advertising 

I’m busy with my day job right now which means I had little time to work on this project. Fortunately, jamming quickly on a project whose theme is “jam” felt thematically aligned.


I quickly locked onto the idea of doing some sort of music jam project. I’m utterly musically illiterate. My family couldn’t afford instruments or lessons when I was growing up so my musical experience mostly peaked with “Hot Cross Buns” on cheap school recorders. I had minimal experience with a school choir and a few piano lessons from my aunt, but I never found it intuitive to read music and match that with the sounds I was making or hearing.

Despite lacking natural music talent, I excel at karaoke. I’m able to read quickly to a beat. My range covers everything from Jefferson Airplane to Joan Jett to Jay-Z.

In my research on jam, I came across an app called Endlesss that I downloaded to my iPhone. The looper app helps you “record, jam, sculpt and remix” using built-in instruments or whatever you happen to add to it. I used the microphone setting to capture the satisfying popping sound from opening a jar. As someone who finds making music intimidating, the app definitely didn’t feel intuitive. 

Since a primary feature of the app is to jam with others, I shared my jam jar riff with my fiancé.

The original sound was tricky to add beats to given the long delay. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to edit that in Endlesss. I also couldn’t find a way to import sounds into the iPhone app. My fiancé added a workable baseline.

From there I added some drums and silly vocals resulting in this gem of a jam about jam made with some jam (jar).


I continue to be surprised by what comes out of Alpha Projects. I would have never imagined I’d jam on a jam about jam with a jam (jar) sound. Or prototype a friendship connections generating no-code app. Or design a board game called Flock.


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