I love the soulfulness of a banjo when it’s being played well. I’m not a fan of speed so much, but the notes are rich and I enjoy that. Usually. When I don’t think I suck anyway. My hyper focused must-be-as-good-as-Alison-Brown-in-six-months dementor of a brain can suck the fun right out of this adventure of mine if I’m not careful.
I’ve been ready, able, and almost willing to chuck the banjo and start over with a kazoo many times over the past month. I had one of those really rough banjo lessons last week. The kind where I tried so hard that I crashed and burned. I was trying to get Salty Dog from 140 (Which is what I can presently play it at) to 200 (where it needs to be) in seven days. I’d achieved 170 at home, twice and with LOTS of mistakes. I mostly hung around at 160, which is still okay. My hands and brain were so tired by the time I showed up to class I could barely play. Add insult to injury, I did an emotional and mental crash and burn that resulted in my forgetting the song almost completely.
I felt so bad for blowing it, that I actually apologized to my teacher for wasting his time. Oh yeah, no issues with self loathing here. (Insert eye roll) Fortunately for all of us, teach doesn’t share my opinions on what constitutes a waste of time. We put away the books and the sheet music and just started a simple roll pattern. Good call on his part because I’m pretty sure I was on the verge of tears. Then we started picking out notes from Will the Circle be Unbroken. Awesome song if you’ve never heard it.
Instead of trying to kill myself over notes licks and speed, I get to spend the week finding this song on my banjo and writing my own arrangement to it. Do you know what? I’m having a blast. Not that I’m knocking it out of the park or anything. I don’t even have an arrangement I like yet. I have however, spent more time and have had more fun playing with my banjo, testing out chords, finding riffs, and listening to the music than I have since I started playing last year. I even found a really pretty lick (8 full measures) that I can tuck away and keep for a song some day.
I came across this video while I was researching the song. I love it and thought you guys would as well. Have a great Monday y’all.