The main reason I started writing magazine editorials (BMG) and then blogs in the first place is to learn! In the absence of a clear understanding of this strange phenomenon called the four-string banjo (and the lack of clear information), shouting my opinions into the abyss and then listening for the echo has been a very effective tool for this purpose.
Ear Training Lesson #1. You may have to download the PowerPoint presentation…
“The ear, once stretched by a new sound, never returns to its original limitations.”
This blog marks a new direction for me; I have decided that rather than blather on with my “opinions” (and piss people off—I tend to be just a bit passionate about the banjo!), I would concentrate on actual “facts”—my learned/experienced observations in the form of mini banjo/music lessons. This is of course in the hopes that you may decide to study with me at some point (in person or via Skype). My last blog, A Tale of Two Musicians, got some good responses, so I thought I would follow along in that vein.
Here is the BMG Winter 2015 article.
Peabody Stroke Tenor Banjo Addendum
Click here for the supporting materials for the Peabody Stroke Video Tutorial.…
In my continuing quest to more-fully understand musicians and the banjo (and to generate healthy, honest discussion—hint, hint), I have decided to write a parable; this is based on several musicians (including myself) who I have worked with and observed through the years in both the banjo world and the “legitimate” symphonic music world. You may recognize the stereotypes; in reality, most of us are a mixture of the two.
I started The Banjo Snob with the intent of writing serious-minded blogs that would get people thinking and commenting on the present/future of the four-string banjo; on this I have succeeded, but I fear at an increasing cost to my credibility and reputation as a nice guy. If you knew me better in person, you would know that I often think out loud, looking for answers where there don’t seem to be any (and you would absolutely know that I have the banjo’s best interest at heart—it is my life’s work).
“Competition makes losers of all but a few.” This was my negative childhood assessment of the concept, and it hasn’t changed much in 50 years! So the idea of competition as applied to music—specifically the banjo—turns my stomach. However. . .
Having once been a “young banjoist” myself (I started at the age of 12), I have often thought about what it takes to get kids (or even young adults) interested in the banjo. I have sadly watched the four-string banjo fade in popularity in my 40+ years of playing, so this question has taken on increasing importance—indeed, it has become a call to action for me.