I am well aware that my blogs of late have taken on a darker, less-positive slant; this is simply a reflection of my continually-evolving life, and my continually-evolving view of life.
My worst fear in life is not what it used to be. I used to fear becoming just like my Dad; I have for the most part gotten past that. My worst fear now—and growing stronger with age—is being forgotten.
I have decided to take a longer tack on the subject of learning. There are so many aspects to consider; I think some extra time spent on “learning theory” will set you up for a higher level of understanding when I actually get to some banjo-specific information. Much of that has to do with our self-expectations; what do we expect of ourselves? What do we think we are capable/incapable of?
Most of the time I revel in the things I can do, but sometimes I wallow in the things I can’t do. I go through this process with everything I do in life, but it is in music that I am most keenly aware of it.
As I’ve gotten older, I have become more and more fascinated with learning. As a child and young adult, I really didn’t care; I guess I thought I already knew everything I needed to know!
In my last blog, The Club, I lamented my lack of professional experience on the banjo. I thought it would be constructive for me—and hopefully a little interesting for you—to quantify the experience that I do have.
The Banjo Snob
Toward a more intellectual understanding of the banjo
[Note: For a complete listing of my blog posts, click on the Articles tab. For my lessons, click on the Technique tab. For my videos, click on the YouTube icon in the upper right corner of my homepage.]
“Why The Banjo Snob?” you may ask; well, because I am one! I have this strange notion that the banjo—in all of its incarnations—is a real musical instrument, worthy of serious study, and even worthy of some “serious” music. The banjo is not generally seen as something to be taken seriously (or to be used for anything other than entertainment); well, I take it way too seriously! Actually, I take everything too seriously, so there you have it!
Of course, I also have a sense of humor, twisted as it may be—and am not afraid to laugh at myself—so the title The Banjo Snob is also meant to poke a bit of fun at those of us who do take things too seriously! Who knows, maybe the banjo is just a simple, “fun” instrument after all, unworthy of serious study (and maybe life shouldn’t be taken so seriously). . .did I say that? I grew up with the banjo-as-entertainment device, so I have some thoughts about that admittedly more-popular aspect too.
My life revolves around the banjo—you might say I have a “banjo-centric” view of things. Because of this, most everything I do—even the never-ending search for self—is seen by me through banjo-tinted glasses. If you want to know what I really feel about the banjo and life in general, you need to know me!
Anyway, you’ll find my frequently-updated blogs on various banjo/music/life subjects (things that matter to an old banjo snob like me), an archive of my old Resonator and BMG articles, and video tutorials covering various techniques (some covered in BMG magazine). Since I self-published a method book (The Plectrum Banjo: Beyond Chord Melody—limited printing of 110; did you get yours?), and co-edited another for the Clifford Essex Music Co. LTD (Plectrum Playing for Modern Banjoists), you’ll also find extra material and FAQs for them. I play and write about the four-string plectrum banjo specifically, but a lot of the material here can be applied to all types of banjo (and music in general for that matter).
I’m just getting started, so I don’t have everything up and running yet; check back in occasionally, or maybe even subscribe to my blog so you can be notified when I do post things.