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Peaks and Valleys

Posted by dbrooks on Tuesday, June 17, 2008

You know all about it.  The quality of my playing seems to come and go.  For the last two weeks, I seemed to be stuck.  Left hand was slow and imprecise.  I couldn't tell too much about the right hand because the left hand gummed things up so much.  I had trouble picking tunes to play.  They seemed foreign or uninteresting or mechanical.

I missed the last two weeks at the Monday night contra dances.  Two weeks ago, they had a paid band, so our "volunteer" group had the night off.  Last week, I was traveling on business and missed the dance.  So last night, I somewhat reluctantly grabbed my banjo and headed to the contra dance.  When I got there, there seemed to be a few more musicians thatn usual: 3 fiddles, 3 guitars, 1 mandolin, 1 hammered dulcimer, 1 harmonica, 1 accordian. No banjo player yet -- except for me.  Later, a fiddler/banjo player showed up with his young son who also had a fiddler.  Then 4 or 5 high-school kids showed up with 2 guitars, flute and a mandolin or two. So defintely a big group.

And we had a large number of dancers too. Enough for two contra lines.  Lots of dancers always makes it better.

Well, my clawhammer playing seemed to be OK. I was lucky enough to get a microphone, and I could hear my quiet 1890's banjo in the monitor pretty well.  We played no new tunes last night, so I was comfortable and my playing was relaxed. It seemed to take much less effort to be heard above all of those instruments than usual.  Maybe my mic was turned up a bit more than usual.

During the break, one of the fiddlers came over and told me that she thought my playing was sounding really good. She said that she always felt good when someone made that kind of comment to her and she wanted to be sure to tell me that as well. At the end of the evening, Mark, our lead fiddler, told me how much enjoyed playing fiddle with the banjo.  Wow, two compliments from two fiddlers. Does it get much better than that?

Well, I am out of my valley, at least temporarily, for now and enjoying this peak.  I really wish I had more opportunities to play with fiddlers. Playing just seems so much easier with someone else than playing solo. Ah, practicing will be a little easier this week.

1 comment on “Peaks and Valleys”

ElGringorio Says:
Monday, August 11, 2008 @7:23:42 AM

Wow, two compliments from two fiddlers. Does it get much better than that?

No, it really doesn't.


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