A weekly check-in on the Banjo versus TV project — J.R.'s resolution to spend more time in 2008 on his banjo than on TV.
The numbers will tell you that my last three weeks have been light on the banjo, averaging only 4 hours per week of banjo time. That's half my usual pace. But I think this has been an important period in my banjo study, because I've been thinking.
Here are some of the things I've realized – most of which Mike has been trying to get me to learn for a while:
- I really enjoyed my sister's jam party a few weeks ago. It was nice, being able to keep up with the other players.
- Most of a banjo player's time will be spent accompanying, but that's not what I've been concentrating on.
- I've been training myself to be like a player piano. I'll pick a song out of my books and practice the tab from beginning to end. That makes for a pleasant tune, but it doesn't make me very flexible.
OK, so I've had a realization or two. What am I going to do about it?
- Watch Dan' Huckabee's DVD, How to Figure Out Music from Recordings
- Practice the licks from Jan Davis' book, Splitting the Licks
- Mike showed me how you can really mess things up by playing the melody over a singer, so I'm going to try singing as I play. This should help me develop a more singer-friendly style.
- Find some more jams to go to.
- Go to Midwest Banjo Camp! (Stay tuned.)
Also in the last week:
- Hurray once again for buying cheap CDs at pawn shops. This week's haul:
- My Dixie Home by Jim Mills
- Here Today by David Grisman, Vince Gill, Herb Pedersen, Jim Buchanan, Emory Gordy Jr.
- Honoring the Fathers of Bluegrass: Tribute to 1946 & 1947 by Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder
- Had a playdate with Bill Ihnow; something that really deserves its own post.
- Got all packed up for Midwest Banjo Camp! Boy, I'm looking forward to this!