Posted by jrjenks on Saturday, June 21, 2008
It's J.R.'s one year banjoversary and he's writing a series of posts on where he's been and where he's going, banjo-wise.
You can pretty much divide the past year into two parts: the first six months in which I didn't practice enough and the second six in which I did.
Here's a look at those first six months.
Month 1: Getting started
- I get my banjo and start blogging about it.
- I begin lessons with Mike at Flatts & Sharpe.
- Mike shows me Seeger-style boom-titty-boom strumming.
- I learn to read tablature.
- I learn three chords (G, C and D7) and assume that I'll be rapidly learning many other chords. (Spoiler: I do not rapidly learn many other chords.)
- I'm supposed to be doing some homework that Mike gave me, but instead I get distracted by plunking out bugle calls on my banjo.
Month 2: Trouble begins
Month 3: The left hand learns a little
- I learn to slide.
- I pick up a few songs (like Cripple Creek), all in Seeger style.
Month 4: Lack of practice makes imperfect
Month 5: Thinks perk up 'cause I have a goal
- Flatts & Sharpe announces that it will be hosting a recital for its students, so the month is pretty much dominated by my preparation for that event. I decide to do "The Preamble" from School House Rock.
- Mike helps me figure out the chords.
- I try to learn a few new tricks for the piece (like Scruggs-style forward rolls), but I wind up abandoning them because I can't learn them well enough in time.
Month 6: Shoving myself onstage
- I perform at the recital and I'm a hit. But, being honest with myself, I realize that I got through it on enthusiasm and a really good slide show.
- Think I'm being too hard on myself? Check out the terrible hand positions from these photos of the recital:
See? I'm having fun, but my right hand is doing everything from the wrist (like Mike had warned me against in month 2) and I'm holding my left hand like a claw (ditto).
- I get involved in the holidays and don't do much with the banjo for the rest of the month.
Sorry to end the post on such a downer, but that's really where I was after six months. Things will pick up in the next post, though, because I've created a trick that helped me stick with my practicing.
Cross-posted at J.R. Jenks' blog
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