Good Things are not Always Easy

It’s time, to be honest with you all. This last week has been fairly unproductive in my Banjo practice.

If my progress is a reflection of my effort, and I think that it is, I seriously need to kick it up a notch (or five)!

My plan: PRACTICE HARD! This site has some great tips to use for making practice time more effective (it’s like it was made for me). I am going to double my previously determined (before I knew what I was getting myself into) practice time for the next couple of weeks.

This isn’t going to be easy, but I really want to do it because I really love the banjo and I know that I will love it even more once I can actually play something… especially if it’s like this:

I thought back to my early piano playing years when practicing felt like nothing but a chore. I do not want to fall into the same pattern with the banjo, so I went looking for inspiration. What I discovered is awesome… playing the banjo may actually make my brain work better!

I am driven and I am inspired. I will progress this week. I will practice with all my heart and I will master this fantastic instrument one day. I truly believe this… even if it is potentially unrealistic. But hey, unwarranted confidence can be a good tool for success!

Please feel free to cast your vote or leave a comment with some musical stories of your own! I would love to hear from you.

Until next time… stay inspired in whatever area you may be struggling with!

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B.A.N.J.O.

 

B     A     N     J     O,

B     A     N     J     O,

B     A     N     J     O,

and… Banjo makes her grin-oh!

Let me guess, you simply read those first few lines. If so,  listen to this and then start reading this post all over again…

Okay.. that’s better!

I really am enjoying learning the banjo (check out this blog to see why)! I was unable to put in as many hours as I had hoped this week, so I have to admit that my goal was not met in regard to practice time. I am not giving up though- I will master the banjo and I will find time (need some time management tips too?) to practice more!

This week, I have been inspired by Willow Osborne:

 

You can probably see why! Although it will presumably take me years to come close to her level, she makes me want to keep trying!

This week, I went through lesson 2 of the “Learn to Play Bluegrass Banjo” channel by Jim Pankey on Youtube.

The first setback that I faced was accessing the video itself. The speaker on my laptop has stopped working, and I did not want to try using headphones while playing. Thankfully, I was able to connect to my Youtube account on our TV:Capture

This lesson taught me two new techniques: a hammer-on and a slide, which I have attempted to demonstrate in the following video. Jim’s teaching style works well for me, as he is encouraging while stressing the importance of practice. He begins lesson 2 with a review of lesson 1, and stresses that viewers should be able to play the basic patterns while holding a conversation at this point (I think I need to step back and practice for longer before I move any further)! Even though I these are not face to face lessons, he keeps me focused and gives adequate time for me to catch on (not perfect or make it sound good, mind you) to what he is teaching.

If you feel like witnessing my okay-ish attempt at these new techniques, as well as my (not so obvious) progress with the lesson 1 techniques, take a look at this video:

Thanks for staying TUNED (get it?) in on my banjo playing journey! Until next time, take care and enjoy my music (I use that term very loosely here).

Because Actual Notes Just bring Opulence

B…A…N…J…O… not the easiest letters to work with in creating a title…

Anyway, my journey in banjo playing has begun and I would like to share with you my progress thus far, if you would like to be enlightened.

Here are some pictures to help you get a sense of the tools I am working with, as well as my feelings as I pulled my banjo out of its case.

I began with this video as my first lesson.

So far, I have been taught three basic patterns, all of which are solely using the right hand. I will be practicing these patterns for a couple of days before I attempt anything else.

Here is a video of my progress thus far:

As you can tell, these basic skills need some work, but I will get there!

To sum it all up:

Challenges: My phone will no longer connect to my laptop, so I had to learn how to use my computer’s camera feature to take photos and make videos. It went better than I anticipated though!

New skills: 1) 3 basic banjo patterns (although they are not perfected yet)

2) uploading videos to my Youtube channel

3) wearing finger picks properly

Realizations: I am going to need to not only practice, but tune my banjo as well!

Thanks for following along!

The Time has Come to Dust off That Banjo!

Have you ever looked into the back of that storage space that has been piling up over many years? As you begin to sort through the layers of dust and neglected boxes, an object catches your eye. Maybe it is a suitcase that you have longed to make use of, or maybe it is something special that you’ve never bothered to use.. an instrument perhaps?

I am all too familiar with this scenario. I got my banjo several years ago after being deeply drawn to it in a music store. The strings seemed to call my name and the unique sounds of the instrument warmed my heart. I ask myself now, though, how have I put this off for so long when it is something that I want to learn so bad? 

The good news? I am going to pull up my socks and start right now! That’s right; I’m going to learn the art of banjo playing once and for all! I invite you to follow me as I begin this exciting new journey.

Below is my recipe for success:

Ingredients:

Approximate Time: 1 hour per day/ 3 days per week (Tuesdays, Wednesday, Thursdays)

Steps:

  1. Gather needed videos and save them to my Youtube playlist.
  2. Gather websites and save them to my favourites.
  3. Create some accountability by revealing my plan on this blog (you can expect weekly posts to ensure that I am actually trying).
  4. Self check: Who? me What? learning the banjo Where? in the comfort of my own home When? now! Why? It’s about time I fulfill my long awaited desire to do just this How? awesome online resources
  5. Dust off that banjo!

Yields:

One happy camper!

With my recipe for success laid out and my ambition through the roof, I am officially ready to begin this incredible journey. Please follow along as I move from simply owning a banjo to, hopefully, playing a little closer to this!