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Shakin' the Jitters

Posted by Cohumulone on Friday, January 31, 2014

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Not sure if my blog is read, but I suppose I don’t mind writing in it. Something to look back on I reckon.

This week saw a decent “jump” in things. As I’ve mentioned in my last two posts, I’ve been working on backup quite extensively. On any given practice, I’ll warm up with rolls for several minutes, then play the 5-6 songs I have breaks for. I usually play those back to back without any pauses. Just to keep those up to date really. Afterward, I move straight into backup practice.

This past week, my focus was figuring out finger efficiency. Not sure if there’s a better term for that or not. What I mean here is: If I’m doing a particular lick, which finger order is going to make the most sense? Once I got that a bit, I’d practice that lick repeatedly (moving into and out of it as well) until I felt like my brain had a pretty good idea on what I would do.

First Jam!

Saturday, I went to a Bluegrass Festival (second week in a row) and brought my banjo with me to find some jams after the shows. There were plenty! It took me 3 hours to work up the nerve to get into one and I made sure they were ok with me being new. They were nice enough and I really spent most of the jam simply vamping, but going back and forth from F shape to D shape chords within the pattern. Really helped my movement speed tremendously.

They even let me kick off a song! Now, this jam was not the most advanced, but boy did it have a solid crowd around. I was literally shaking when I started it, but I did it. My only problem with that song is by the time my turn for a break came back around, they had sped up the tempo considerably. It was a little above my comfort level and quite frankly not the right tempo for the song, but I managed. The good news for me is that although I messed up a few times, I had the sense to keep on going and pickup so the band could stay in their time.

Next Up

Last night was my lesson. For the first time, I wasn’t nervous to play in front of my instructor. I really think sitting in on that first jam helped me get rid of some of those jitters. I was able to back him up pretty efficiently and he showed me several more back up licks to work on for next week. Some are WAY up the neck, some are not. Looking forward to working on these.


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