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Actually playing the banjo and banjo firsts

Posted by Brentk5s on Tuesday, February 24, 2009

So I've written a about the new Buckey that is being built, but I haven't really written about actually playing the banjo.  I do play the banjo from time to time and not just dream about it. 

I am currently taking lessons at the Folk School (http://www.folk-school.com)  with the amazing Dave Landreth (http://www.geocities.com/dave_landreth/).  I am the least accomplished of the five students.  Although I think that three of the others have previously taken Banjo II before and the other student plays multiple instruments.  The good thing is that I believe most of the phyiscal acts of playing I can do (well... most of the time).  My problem seems to be learning the songs.  I have a really hard time hearing what is played and getting my hands to do it before everyone wants to move on.  In my defense, however, this is the first time I have ever tried to learn anything without tab.  I'm getting it, it just takes a while.

When word gets around that you play banjo people will ask you to play (at least until they've heard you play).  So I've been asked to play at my shul (synagogue or temple).  Back in November the president asked if I would like to play for a Chanukah party.  No way I wAs going to do it solo so I got some guys together and we started working out some songs.  We could not pull it together for Chanukah, but we will be playing for Purim.  This will be my first formal experience palying in front of people with a band (unless you count playing clarinet back in junior high).  We're not exactly playing old-time music.  Our pro-level guitar player has set the repitoire of mostly Jewish party music and Carlbach (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shlomo_Carlebach_(musician))tunes. I play clawhammer banjo on most songs except one.  We're doing Adon Olam to the tune of Ripple and I just was not happy with my clawhmmer arangement so I'm finger-picking our set closer.  This has really been a new experience for me.  Not only is it my first band experience it is my first attempt at working out my own arrangements. 

I think we sound pretty good in practice anyway.  Like I said our lead guitar could play pro anywhere.  He's amazing.  The vocals are pretty good.   While I'm satisfied with my banjo playing, in this context, I'm a pretty good baritone.  I just can't seem to sing and play at the same time... yet.

I'll post again after the "gig."



1 comment on “Actually playing the banjo and banjo firsts”

clio Says:
Tuesday, February 24, 2009 @5:58:39 AM

Brent, where is that banjo shop in your avatar? I once lived in south St Lou and only music shop I remember there belonged to the Lester family, a gospel music group.

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