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My Plan for 2014 - "So...How did I do?"

Posted by yopasjim on Wednesday, January 7, 2015

In February of 2014 I wrote these following learning goals for 2014.  By the end of 2014 I wanted to...

  1. Identify, memorize and proficiently play 10-12 of the most popular chords (Beginning with G, C, D, F, A, Em and ?)
  2. Smoothly transition from one chord to another without pausing or searching where to put my fingers.
  3. Learn how to sight read the basics of a new song (chords, timing, etc.).
  4. Learn to play the 8 different roll patterns my friend Ross Nickerson shows in his material (Alternating thumb, forward, forward-reverse, backward, FMB, Forward-Backward Combination, Doug Dillard and Single string rolls)
  5. Competently jam with others (whether at church, with a local group that meets on Thursday nights or with my friend Derek).
  6. Learn how to proficiently change the strings (I know, I know...basic stuff...but).
  7. Attend two bluegrass festivals where I can hear and see people play.
  8. Play special music for the church (maybe at the Thanksgiving Service or Christmas Eve).
  9. MEMORIZE five songs and become tab free!

So…how did I do?

  1. I memorized many chords.  Probably many more than 12.  I picked up Geoff Hohwald’s “Banjo Rhythm and Backup 101 Package” and I focused on the G-shape up and down the neck.
  1. I will answer this briefly, but will cover it more under #8.  But I became much more successful in smoothly transitioning from one chord to another.
  1. I have a much better understanding of the sight reading skills.
  1. I practiced the 8 rolls relentlessly.  The more chords I learned…the more I tried to incorporate the rolls with the new chords and transitioning to another chord.  This was probably the most revealing and exciting part of my learning this year!  I still have a long way to go, by my year of practicing has shown to be very productive.
  1. I still long for jamming with others.  Derek probably thinks I can do this, but I have a serious lack of confidence.  I need to feel more competent in my chords and rolls before I can jam with others.
  1. I had watched a video that Deering put out on how to change strings.  So I watched it then asked Derek to come and “oversee” my efforts.  I successfully changed my strings….with Derek’s supervision.
  1. I did not attend any festivals this year…now I am hoping to go to a couple this year!
  1. The Coolest!  I heard this song on Marty Stewart’s gospel album called “The Master is Waiting”.  I gave it to a guitar player in our church and told him I would love for him to sing it.  He listened to it and said, “I will play it if you play with me.”  I agreed and this was incredible.  I had to identify the chords, learn to play them and proficiently transition from one chord to another.  We started practicing together Rick (guitar and singing), Bill (harmonica and singing) and me (banjo).  We played this song on November 16 at the end of our service.  We actually performed it twice!  We got lots of compliments.  After that successful venture we got together and did “Silent Night” as a prelude for the December 21 service.  Then I got REALLY bold and I played 4 songs as prelude on Christmas Eve.  It was a tremendous year for playing with others in this way!
  1. I memorize more than five songs and can play them tab free.  The song that gave me the greatest feeling of accomplishment was playing the song “Simple Gifts” by Tom Macomber.  It is so freeing to play a song without looking at tab.  I found I could put a lot of passion into my playing without tabs.

Colossians 3:23-24 (NCV) - "In all the work you are doing, work the best you can. Work as if you were doing it for the Lord, not for people. Remember that you will receive your reward from the Lord, which he promised to his people. You are serving the Lord Christ."

3 comments on “My Plan for 2014 - "So...How did I do?"”

edpottenger Says:
Wednesday, January 7, 2015 @8:18:33 PM

That's fantastic Jim! Sounds like you're on the right path!
Blessings on you!

sctoney Says:
Tuesday, January 13, 2015 @6:23:15 PM

Hi Jim. I just read your blog, and it looks like you did make a lot of progress this year. Good to read that you and others played in church, too. Was it Rick S. on guitar?
I'm still working on Jeff H's Rhythm and Back-up book also, and improving slowly. This book really helped me with chords, which I really needed. Now need to dedicate more and more time to it, but.........
Miss y'all. Stan

yopasjim Says:
Tuesday, January 13, 2015 @8:30:33 PM

Yes....Rick was on guitar and Bill Allen on harmonica! I need to work through more of Geoff's material. He does a great job explaining it! How do you eat a elephant? One bite at a time!

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