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Banjo - Extreme Sport

Posted by Kevin G on Monday, February 15, 2010

For those of us who haven't been playing so long, banjo can seem like an extreme sport. (Yes, I'm watching some of the Vancouver Olympics.) Without dedication, determination and practice, it's hard to feel as if you're making much progress at all. Indeed, at times, it's easier to just lean back a little and play the songs that you know, instead of focusing on improvement and learning something new. Also similar to extreme sports, there is some risk involved. Everytime you stand up and play in front of someone, even if it's just one person, the butterflies start to flutter around inside, your hands start to shake a little, and until you've laid back your first two or three tunes successfully, it's hard to relax and enjoy the performance. In fact, I get the jitters sometimes playing on my own: When I start to learn a well-known song, turn on a recording device, or play outside on the porch.

I'm convinced that like most things in life, the key is to just keep going. Most of us won't be standing on podiums (Podia?), collecting medals of any kind. But it's the pursuit that matters, and I can tell, 4 years in now, that I can play much more banjo than I could 2 years ago. If I go on a longer trip without my banjo, when I come back, I can still play it. (I had a 3-week vacation in Europe my first year, and it was almost like starting over when I got home.) So I'll keep taking whatever banjo risks I'm comfortable taking, learning to leap, twist, spin and slide (!), and I'll squeeze in as much practice as possible. There's so much to learn. So much to experience. And that's the beauty of it, isn't it?

7 comments on “Banjo - Extreme Sport”

spinley Says:
Monday, February 15, 2010 @2:06:22 PM

Very true Kevin. I have been playing 36 years and I find something new to learn every week. I just spent two weeks learning a new melodic run I heard on you tube. I don't think us mortal humans can ever master the banjo put it sure is fun trying. My podium day came when my son played in public with me a few years ago.

TopCat Says:
Tuesday, February 16, 2010 @10:16:20 AM

You are so right, Kevin! Nice blog, once again. I am also enjoying TV coverage of the Winter Olympics, although the time difference is a bit of a nuisance......great excitement in the men's downhill yesterday!

Jane C Says:
Friday, February 19, 2010 @2:22:46 PM

I'm always in awe of anyone who can get up and play in public, especially my two sons, they keep asking when I'm going to do the open mic night? ..... ha ha probably when hell freezes over. Also enjoying the winter olympics and loving the name Callan Chythlook-Sifsof, a native Alaskan woman skier. The commentator must've spent three days learning to pronounce that correctly.

Kevin G Says:
Saturday, February 20, 2010 @5:46:59 PM

You're right, great name. I think you guys get more coverage over there than we do. Here they have to fit at least 30% advertisements in between. By the way, Jane: Nice new pic.

Jane C Says:
Sunday, February 21, 2010 @2:17:28 PM

Thanks, someone thought I was 30 (I wish) so I thought I'd put them straight. : )

Jonno B Says:
Monday, February 22, 2010 @1:19:53 AM

Kevin, playing music good is only to do with practice and more practice. The love of the instrument plays a big part. Jane I have had the pleasure of meeting you and I still think you are 30.

Horseshoot Says:
Saturday, March 6, 2010 @8:32:40 AM

What a great read this blog was. Sums up a lot of how I have been feeling as an absolute newbie. And here I thought I was the only one with stage fright with recording devices. HAHA! My wife said to me: "You know if you don't like what you record, you can erase it, right?" She doesn't understand. *grin* Michael

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