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Lunchtime Practice - Unexpected Lessons

Posted by dbrooks on Friday, July 13, 2007

I often go out at lunch and practice on the Belvedere by the Ohio River in downtown Louisville.  (Actually, it's pretty well removed from the river by elevation and by I-64 passing under it.) This 45 minutes away from the desk is a welcome break and provides a chance to work on a new tune or technique.

This week while I was playing, a teenager walked up with a banjo case. There appears to be a summer arts program going on nearby, and I think he is involved in that. I'm not sure if he had seen me there previously or just happened to bring his banjo with him on that day. He asked me if I could tell him anything about his banjo. He mentioned that a local guitar shop couldn't help him. (I suspect they may not have wanted to spend time on him because they know their stuff.)

I opened the case, and there was a Harmony Reso-tone longneck banjo. It was in pretty good shape as well. Since I have an old Vega longneck, I felt qualified to tell him about Pete Seeger, the Kingston Trio, and others who adopted the longneck banjo to facilitate their singing.

I asked him about his playing, and he said that he was taking (or had taken) some classical guitar lessons but didn't know anything about the banjo. He asked me where he could get a book to help him out, and I suggested he try to listen to some music to see what he liked and would want to learn. To try to dispel any stereotypes that that he had about banjos, I mentioned the classical music available for the banjo and Michael Miles. I also suggested he browse on the Hangout and listen to the jukebox to hear different styles.

I hope I see him again this summer and learn a little more about his interests and background. I realize now I probably talked too much in our brief meeting and didn't listen as much as I should have.

Because you never know what you might learn when parcticing at lunch time.

2 comments on “Lunchtime Practice - Unexpected Lessons”

PruchaLegend Says:
Saturday, July 14, 2007 @12:33:22 AM

What a great experience! Sounds like you had a good time.

mainejohn Says:
Thursday, November 8, 2007 @9:06:07 AM

I like any story that brings different generations together. Another victory for the longneck! :)

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