Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Al mentioned Kevin Burke's left hand. Grace notes in minstrel music pop up in the Irish and Scottish flovored tunes. Listen to Kevin do them. And watch his fingers staying close to the fretboard. IMO there's NO other fiddler who can sound so 'at ease' while playing and yet produce such a PULSE. He talks about it in this video later on...he says, 'Never push a tune, don't try to make it happen, LET it happen...'   or something like that. Kevin's is an OLD sound.

Besides minstrel banjo, I play clawhammer, piano, guitar, slide guitar, and fiddle, and after watching Kevin's videos it changed the way I play music on any instrument. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76SnXKveZ00

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I guess it doesn't really matter but I thought I was replying to Paul and didn't realize I was, instead, replying to the entire list!  I still haven't figured out this form of technology! 

I think you did reply to Paul's page, it's just posted also on the main page.  We're like a small town, things get around.

 

Fluidity and economy of motion are an excellent topic for any instrumental group.  A favorite quote of mine is one that Dan Gellert made about the stroke-style position of the banjoists right hand in the WS Mount painting...

 

"As a teacher, there's something I'm always looking for in my students' hands, a sort of confident, relaxed intimacy with the strings..."

 

I love that quote.  I'm thinking these days in my daily practice about acquiring a confident, relaxed intimacy with the strings and my banjo. 

Wouldn't it be nice if we could stand back and hear ourselves play?

I wish I could take the easy notes seriously like I do the more challenging parts. It always amazes me when I hear a recording of myself - that the difficult parts are there, yes........but those simpler, catchy lines are something I'll always blow by, not thinking 'That's' what makes the song. Usually.   With a crowd of people listening, my awareness of what the song is about is obvious to me, just from observing the audience.

Good teachers will always say, "Ya gotta get out more!!"

 

That's how I felt playing softball .....and now vintage base ball.  I liked diving for the difficult ones.  I had nothing to lose.  The easy ones are the ones that I had/have the most trouble with (mentally).  I'd think, "Oh no!  What if I blow this one?!"  Well, actually, I think it is different!  When playing banjo (like when I played fiddle) I didn't worry too much of the easy stuff, but when I tried the hard ornaments, etc., I tend(ed) to speed up as though trying to hurry up and get through them, thus making them even more difficult.

"Confident relaxed intimacy with the strings and banjo"

That is what art of all forms is about... it is more about confidence than even skill, in my opinion. As a teacher I was often amazed that a student could have such confidence when he really didn't know what he was doing.... but I found myself believing in him because of his confidence more than his skill and more often than not eventually my belief proved justified.

I am not positive one can teach anyone to become confident but if it can be done it is more than half the battle.

Yes, I think that is true.  Confidence is half (or more) of the battle.   Knowing that, it would seem that I should not continue to allow myself to be vexed by confidence issues!

Confidence  (thanks to Dr. Amos....."performance is the constant art of recovery" )

 

Oh, too bad you can't see the CON underlined....goes with what Bart said.

Can't think of the times I have sung utter nonsense lyrics when I forgot....kept going like God himself told me to sing it. Then it's over.

Usually on Keemo Kimo....

Tim, "Kemmo Kimo da O hoo HOo HI HO Income Sal and he's sinkin' sumpthin' bullwinkle somethin' somethin' about a cat Ding Dong can ya get yer ya's ya's out...."      that one?

Tim Twiss said:

Oh, too bad you can't see the CON underlined....goes with what Bart said.

Can't think of the times I have sung utter nonsense lyrics when I forgot....kept going like God himself told me to sing it. Then it's over.

Usually on Keemo Kimo....

ha ha..that's the one...and that's about how it came out once

 

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