Posted by Kevin G on Saturday, December 4, 2010
My wife, although extremely tolerant of my banjo playing, has one strict rule: No Christmas songs before or after the month of December. This makes it a little tough to work up to the Big Day and roll out the banjo with any sort of confidence. When I was taking lessons, I could sneak in some practice with my banjo teacher at her store, but now that I'm going it alone, I have to be very sneaky. Every now and then in July, I'll fire up Jingle Bells or Silent Night, to howls of protest from living room downstairs, but it does help keep the muscle memory fresh. I know I can only get away with it once, though, so I have to make the most of it.
Now, of course, I'm frantically practicing, because I know when Christmas gets here, my wife's parents will call from Germany, and I'll have to haul out the 5-string and wow them with my progress. (They can never tell what song I'm playing over the phone anyway, but they're very kind about it.) But at least it's ok to play them, and I have this nice book of Christmas tunes by Janet Davis that gives me easy, intermediate and advanced versions of many well-known tunes. So I'm working on some of the easier ones and they sound pretty good despite the fact that I haven't played them in 11 months. I'll still freeze up and suck ice during the annual phone call, but it's fun to have a little Christmas in the air right now.
Of course, this brings me to acknowledge another miraculous thing: There are people on the planet who can actually play an instrument and sing at the same time! It's an amazing feat, as far as I'm concerned, and if you're one of the people who can do this, you are a truly talented person. Even if you're not a good singer, if you can make rhythmically adjusted words come out of your mouth with a reasonably loud voice while playing guitar, banjo or any other instrument, I applaud you and marvel at your abilities.
That's why Christmas carols are so valuable in my repertoire: Other people can do the singing. But I have to go practice now. The PHONE CALL is only 20 days away! (It's a Christmas Eve phone call.) My best to all of you, as you prepare for your own holiday celebrations. Practice hard, and practice loud!
Karen Kruske Says:
Saturday, December 4, 2010 @4:12:00 PM
I hear you. I just started working on a few Christmas songs, but it's only for my enjoyment. Doubt I'll have the courage to bring out the banjo when company shows up on Christmas. I play well enough alone, but not for others! Go figure.
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