Posted by cnsayer on Sunday, August 31, 2008
It's about time I wrote something here....
I first want to say that I think Banjo Hangout is cool because it's for every kind of banjo and every kind of banjo playing. I'm so tired of "banjo segregation" between different genres and kinds of instruments.... thanks to places like this we are coming together more. Don't worry, I won't break out into singing "Kumbayah" .... but I do love hearing all kinds of playing.... so mind-opening! And it's great to meet more of the people who do it. Anyway, though I'm rather a neophyte with blogging and chat, it's really nice to be here.
So this is what's going on lately: One thing is that lately I'm really into teaching. I decided to tour much less this year, and teach much more. I've always taught some, maintaining a small number of students, but this is the most I've ever done and I didn't realize I'd get into it to this degree! Of course a big part of it is lucking out with great people who really want to learn. And as all people who teach already know, it's amazing what you learn about your own playing when you must analyze it for others. Plus, for whatever it's worth, I should mention that I also teach some over the internet via Skype. Technology continues to amaze me.
Summer flew by, didn't it? Yikes. But I"m glad to report it was a good one on this end. I enjoyed some nice gigs both home in NYC and out of town, plus even took a week long vacation to Hawaii sans banjo. Yes, I'm allowed to leave it home on occasion. And it was a cheap thrill to get on the airplane with only a carry-on and not have to guard anything in the overhead! I also signed with a new manager which I'm happy about. Additionally, I'm working on a couple of new projects, though I don't want to jinx anything by mentioning specifics yet. One of them is a whole new direction for me and I've no idea yet if it will work out, but I'm sure enjoying working on it.
I admit I feel thoroughly and deeply guilt ridden that my booklet of Elmer Snowden Jazz Solos from his great recording, "Harlem Banjo" did not get completed this summer. The transcriptions and layout were finished ages ago, but I haven't managed to finish getting copyright permission on the tunes so I can get it published already! I got into a difficult tangle with it all a ways back and got so frustrated that I put it all aside. But geez it's now been a year and it's about time I give it another go. -- It's embarrassing at this point! Elmer's solos are so completely wonderful -- this recording is what made me decide to be a jazz banjoist! I'm confident that banjo players -- and also maybe mandolinists and guitarists -- will enjoy playing them. So maybe by writing about it here, it will shame me into tackling it again this fall....
On a more upbeat note, I'm glad to report that my newest CD "Attractions" is doing really well, and I'm quite proud of the extensive good reviews. My most widespread distribution is in Japan, where I play only rarely. Go figure.
OK, that's it for now. I thank you most sincerely for your interest, and wish you very happy banjoing!!
on “It takes all kinds”
Monday, September 1, 2008 @4:35:44 AM
Thanks for writing. We need to hear from folks like you more often; IE, people who are very involved in the music, and teach and perform. What's wrong with a little "kumbayah" anyway?
Monday, September 1, 2008 @8:13:29 AM
I also really appreciate the different styles presented here. While I have jumped on the clawhammer bandwaggon after some 3-picking lessons, there are some 3-pickers here at BHO that have astonished me with their musicianship and expressiveness (e.g., Manuel Stocks and Chris Cairns). Thanks to the Banjo Hangout, I have discovered the classic (or classical) style of banjo playing. Thanks to Mary Cox I learned more about minstrel and gourd banjos, and thanks Cathy Fink I have discovered (through her pal Marcy Marxer) the cello banjo.
So my banjo universe is replete with musical ideas and instruments to covet and eventually purchase. That should keep me busy and out of trouble for the rest of my life.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008 @8:52:13 PM
Thanks for the update Cynthia! I am teaching again. I don't like to mostly because many students don't practice what you ask and it kinda stinks not being able to move them forward week after week. However, this 16 year old girl's mom called me out of the blue and asked if I played Dixieland Plectrum banjo. I said I play Dixieland but mostly tenor and a little (very little) plectrum. I told her I was not teaching at this time anyway. It is a hobby for me. Anyway after some begging, I said "put you daughter on the phone." She was so excited about some old jazz records she heard and really wanted to learn how to do it. Well I could not turn down someone who truley has an interest in the instrument, especially someone that young and excited about it. It has been very rewarding so far. I am learning plectrum at warp speed now! :) If they were all like her I can't think of any vocation I'd rather do more! Between the preperation for the lesson and the actual lesson time the money is ok. But when a kid like this is digging the banjo this much and making progress, that is the real profit!! She plays a mean accordian too! Anyway your comment about teaching inspired me to share. Thanks Cynthia, your write quite well also!!
Monday, September 22, 2008 @12:18:15 PM
Hi Cynthia: I just came across your blog for the first time. I enjoyed what you wrote and your comments regarding the HO bringing various styles, both 4 & 5 string, together. As a player of both instruments, I still find divisiveness, but not as severe as it used to be. It was good to see you at the "Spring Fling" (you probably don't remember me), and hope to see you there and hear you play again.
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