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Posted by Dock Jekel on Saturday, January 9, 2010


It has now been a year that I have virtually hung out with you.  So here are my reflections of the experience. Honestly, there have been some pretty rewarding times on Banjo Hangout, but, some frustrating ones, too. 
 I am very impressed by the way the BHO puts a vast community together. We are all types, from all over the world!  Ya gotta love it.  I am genuinely awe stricken by the amount of information available on BHO.  All I got to do is ask some silly technical question, about anything banjo, and I am flooded with helpful feedback from, literally, the world’s foremost experts! You people know an incredible amount about banjo playing.  Amazing... and it’s totally free!  I also appreciate the enormous sense of wit on the forum. You people are quite a collection of goof balls with all your humor! 
The most frustrating moments are the "invisible in the crowd" ones. The banjo hangout forum can be curiously clique-ish and political.  Sometimes, it seems that not everyone is heard equally.  Also, there is often very little meaningful feedback given to a homepage for ones efforts posting music, pictures and blogs.  Example- someone’s music posting could easily get 300 hundred ‘play counts’, without a comment.  And, get this!, the rating system is confusing...  Do I understand correctly, that, 5 stars means “totally rocks”, and that 4 or less stars means “kinda sucks”?!  
Thanks to everyone who sent some complements and encouragement my way this past year- definitely appreciated! Thanks to all who posted their music for me to listen to. Thanks to those who could put up with my tersely opinionated and sarcastic forum posts. Thanks to everyone who shared their knowledge about banjo playing on the forum. I have learned an enormous amount about all the aspects of playing clawhammer banjo this past year, and that comes after being somewhat isolated banjo-wize out here in northern California- there can’t be more than a handful of clawhammer players in the entire county where I live.
Good notes to you all, Dock

4 comments on “YEAR REFLECTION”

BRUNO25 Says:
Saturday, January 9, 2010 @11:41:03 AM

Thanks for putting up this blog, Dock. I'd have to say that I agree with you 100%. I have had some of the same good moments and frustrating moments. I have learned so much here over the last year. And at the same time, I often wonder why I keep posting replies in the forums. It seems that no one ever cares. I remember doing a TOTW a few months back. It hardly got any response at all. Made me feel kinda dumb. Oh well, I guess that's what you get when you put yourself out there. I don't listen to the jukebox as much as I could. But I have noticed that Don Borchelt is the most consistent in responding to peoples' music. And he always has something positive to say. I like his style. And he's an outstanding player to boot.
I'm glad you're on my friend list, Dock. I enjoy your thoughts and comments. Nice to know you're out there.


TopCat Says:
Saturday, January 9, 2010 @3:26:58 PM

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I know what you mean about the ratings - I believe it's because people on here are so scared about not being seen as "nice" enough. However the upshot is that everything is given 5 stars unless it really is rubbish - not particularly helpful. The other thing for me is that there is no way of seeking out members' blogs unless you just happen to catch one just published - like this - or from those on your friends list. And don't worry about your forum posts - it is supposed to be about opinions, after all! Keep on keeping on.....

alfiedog Says:
Saturday, January 9, 2010 @4:42:54 PM

I dont know about the rating system. I have posted Vids that i thought were rubbish and got 5 stars,
then posted Vids that i thought were "good" and got 4 stars. The only thing that really annoys me is
negative comments from people who rate themselves as "PURTY GOOD" Then you go and check out there homepage and they havent posted a Vid, or an MP3. Lets see more Purty Good Vids. Dont be shy nearly every house in the western World has a stills Digital Camera, with Video function. Thats all i use.

cwdean Says:
Sunday, January 10, 2010 @8:44:30 PM

First of all thank you for the befriending on the hangout and all of your comments on my page!

I completely agree with you! There is a wealth of wonderful information and people to help each other out, here on the forum. However, at times it can feel as selective as a high school lunchroom. But for the most part, this has been a great place to help others and ask questions.

I also agree with you regarding the audio section of the hangout, and comments. I think a rubric for rating music would be beneficial. This way, we all have a standard to go by. I also believe, that if one rates a piece, they should leave written feedback as well. I feel that some of my best work has received zero ratings, or comments. A few tunes that I play the best, have gotten the lowest of my ratings. When assessing (or rating) music on the hangout, individuals need take their playing styles out of the picture and assess tunes, without compating it to their own. We all are different musicians and all have our own musical voice.

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