Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Greetings from the UK

As part of the learning process, I think it is helpful to play for others. I'm able to do this once every three months where I have about six minutes to shine or burn (last time out was a bit of a car crash) in front of a friendly and supportive audience.

I'm looking for suggestions as to what might constitute an interesting beginner instrumental repertoire from which I can pick and combine 2 or 3 tunes for my next outing.

Your ideas would be most welcome. Please bear in mind that the British audience will not be familiar with minstrel music.

Many thanks

Eric

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I would say any of the Stephen Foster stuffs. I occasionally play a decent foster medley with oh susana, ring the banjo, Angelina Baker, brudder gum and any other songs I can remember while playing. They are similar enough to transition nicely.

You can also go for some tunes from Briggs book. A bunch of the tunes in that book transition nicely into and out of each other. I like to do trio of johnny Boker, Jim along Josie and Ethiopian cracciovienne.

Even though I don't drink often I do have a beer or two before performing in public so I don't freeze up with anxiety haha

Hi Chris

Thank you for this.

I haven't played any of the Stephen Foster stuff yet. I have played two of the three Briggs tunes you mention so that maybe the way to but will need to have a look/listen to Ethiopian cracciovienne.

The idea of performing is to ensure that I get a piece up to standard and performance tempo rather than get 80% of the way there and then moving on. My car crash was a combination of not having the pieces absolutely nailed down but mostly nerves, my right hand was shaking so much, I juts couldn't get my fingers to move properly!

Thanks again.

Eric 


Chris Prieto said:

I would say any of the Stephen Foster stuffs. I occasionally play a decent foster medley with oh susana, ring the banjo, Angelina Baker, brudder gum and any other songs I can remember while playing. They are similar enough to transition nicely.

You can also go for some tunes from Briggs book. A bunch of the tunes in that book transition nicely into and out of each other. I like to do trio of johnny Boker, Jim along Josie and Ethiopian cracciovienne.

Even though I don't drink often I do have a beer or two before performing in public so I don't freeze up with anxiety haha

I read that the Geisha are taught to play through such nerves by having them soak their hands in ice water before practicing on their shamisen. The numbness induced by the cold simulates the poorly functioning hand caused by the nerves that one encounters when one plays in public, and they learn to play through the handicap.

I was thinking that I might try an experiment to see if wrapping my hand around an ice cold beer would serve a similar purpose.

lol I was gonna say or you can just drink a beer :D

I'm for the most part free from booze but it does help me get loose and not worry so much.

Moonshine works for me.  It doesn't help the playing much, but after a couple of snorts you don't care. :)

Just don't mix this up and place your hand in a bucket of warm water before playing. Might result in an accident.

Brian Kimerer said:

I read that the Geisha are taught to play through such nerves by having them soak their hands in ice water before practicing on their shamisen. 

Ah. So that's what happened that night.

Actually, I never touch alcohol before I play in public. I am marginal enough on the instrument without being hampered by that stuff.

I do drink a beer on occasion, but I avoid the stage afterward.

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