Wednesday, February 29, 2012


I went to my second old time music jam last night, and was disappointed and frustrated. Boo. And intimidated, I felt intimidated as well. This was all internal, no one made any comments or in any way discouraged me. I just didn't know how to keep up, besides strumming with the rhythm (which is really fast!)

Here's a random video I pulled from youtube of one of the tunes, where the player is going about as fast as they were going last night.

The tunes they play at the jam all sound about like this. There's two phrases that get repeated and I know (so they tell me) that one can either play the melody, like in the video, or one can do rhythm, which means just doing chord changes, and not the really quick stuff on the neck. My goal for the short term is to be able to play rhythm. It's an endurance thing as well, my hands got tired!

Bleh. I've been practicing what my teacher has been giving me, and doing well at that, but it's like I'm learning a different language that doesn't translate into keeping up with the playing at this jam. At my lesson this week, I'll be able to say, I want to play like the guy does above. I also got a list of songs to learn from friend B, who is an awesome (really impressive) fiddle player and dog park friend (who watched Sally when I was out of town last time), and who coordinates the jam. It's because of her and her boyfriend, an awesome banjo player, that I'm even going to the jams, as I would die of embarrassment if I didn't know anyone.

The banjo may look like a simple instrument, but there's lots of ways one can work either hand, and that's one of the things that is taking me time to learn. Different styles. And tunings. About three or four different tunings.

I know I need to do what I've been saying all along. Practice and I'll get better. Now that I know specifically what I want to learn, I'll learn it.


  1. I think that string instruments (especially the banjo) have to be some of the most difficult to both learn and play! Be kinder to yourself - you just started to learn and it's going to take some time before you are referred to as "Linda Lightning Fingers"! But you will get there because you are both talented and determined. I am guessing that the folks who strum up a storm are people who have been at it a lot longer and have more time to devote to it. Don't give up!

  2. Thanks Susan! Yes, I think the other players had a decade or so of playing under their belts. Good to keep in mind.


Hi, sorry to make the humans do an extra step.