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Teaching Banjo

Posted by cnsayer on Thursday, June 4, 2009

I just read some more grim economic statistics in the news, and am feeling incredibly lucky.  Yes, a couple of my tours have been affected as sponsors have pulled out or budgets reworked, but still others are fine and I’m looking forward to them and other upcoming gigs as usual.  Additionally, I realized that teaching has also grown to be an unexpectedly important part of my work, both personally and financially.  It has helped my professional life to remain stable in spite of these unstable times, plus it has enriched me to a surprising degree.            


Funny enough I used to flatly dislike the idea of teaching too much, and would rarely accept having more than 5 or so students at any given time.  I’m embarrassed to admit that I used to have a sort of snobbery about it as I associated teaching with not having enough “real work” i.e. gigs.  Somewhere along the line I was contaminated by that old saying, “Those who can’t do, teach.” Rubbish.  I finally discovered that teaching is a privilege. I never would have guessed then that my enjoyment of it would grow to be right up there with gigging as a source of reward and satisfaction.  And aside from the thrill of watching others grow on their banjos, the process has led me to learn enormously about my own playing – quite a perk. 


Additionally, the people who have an interest in learning to play the banjo seem to be unfailingly nice and usually quite interesting.  Maybe its less conventional aspect attracts more cool people?!  And ever since I began teaching via Skype as well, it’s been extra fun to meet players from all over. No matter what level, they usually have a sincere passion for the instrument and for music in general.  Of course this is a teacher’s dream.  


So as I said, I feel lucky.  I get to play music I love, and I also get to help grow it and spread it around a little.  

2 comments on “Teaching Banjo”

banjotef Says:
Thursday, June 4, 2009 @6:36:49 PM

I know what you mean, Cynthia.   I built furniture for years before I started to teach woodworking to adult hobbyists.   And I have been lucky to combine woodworking and music,  and build some nice banjos of my own!  You keep at it! 

banjopaolo Says:
Saturday, June 6, 2009 @3:57:22 PM

HI Cynthia when I started my professional career (not as a banjoist of course but as a Viola player in synphonic orchestra) I soon realized that playing music I didn't care, with people who did not have the same feelings I had about music, was not my way! Teaching to childs as to adults was much more intersting for me to make a living, so now I teach to a lot of people and only play the music I really love with people who are great friend! I feel much better, and I don't think to be one of "those who can't do"!!! best paolo

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