Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Banjo versus TV: Week 62

A check-in on the Banjo versus TV project — J.R.'s ongoing plan to spend more time on his banjo than on TV. This post covers 5/3/2009 through 5/9/2009.
Banjo 384 hrs, TV 367 hours

This was the week of my little sister's annual jam. She invites all of her musician friends to come together at her condo and play together for the evening. Lots of fun!

I was very pleased with my progress as a banjo player since last year. What was different?

Last year's jamThis year's jam
I'd been playing the banjo for 11 months (really seriously for 5).I'd been playing the banjo for 23 months (really seriously for 17).
I'd only been to one jam previously.I've been to a couple dozen jams, had played along quite a bit with Pete Wernick's jam DVDs and had made it my 2009 resolution to get good at jamming.
I could only play along with songs for which I had the written chords.I knew how to read the chords from the guitarist's left hand.
The only chords I could play at speed were G, C and D7 in the first position, so every song had to be in G or I couldn't play along.I knew a bunch of chords, some of them in the second or third positions and was comfortable playing in the keys of A, D, G and C without a capo.
I could sing or play, but not both at the same time.I could sing and roll at the same time (though I couldn't play anything complicated like the melody).
When a song was too complicated for me to play on my banjo I banged on some pots.When a song was too complicated for me to play on my banjo I could turn to the jug band instruments I'd learned in class at the Old Town School: washboard, kazoo, spoons

An important thing I learned at the jam: If you've got an iPhone, you've got pretty much any lyrics you need.

Using an iPhone at a jam

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