Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Antietam Early Banjo Gathering - June 2015

Well, here goes... my first attempt playing in a public setting... at the Dunker Church at AEBG .. the audience was very kind! ;o}
Thanks to Jared Denhard for getting me up there...

Views: 445

Comment by Paul Draper on June 30, 2015 at 2:13pm
Comment by Andy Chase on June 30, 2015 at 2:43pm


Comment by Barbara Mullin on June 30, 2015 at 2:58pm

thanks.. You're very kind... ! Not only was the banjo feeling like a limp noodle, so were my fingers ..;o}

But glad I got that 'first time' over with! Thanks, Vida ! ( Paul Drapers wife  ) for shooting that momentous occasion.  lol

Comment by Andy Chase on June 30, 2015 at 3:39pm
The Dunkard church is a tough venue all right! It gets so hot and humid in that tiny building, and all of that at the end of a long weekend! But it sounded great, and there's nothing like getting that first performance out of the way. I remember thinking to myself "Wow, nobody threw a single vegetable!" the first time I played solo in front of an audience.
Comment by Barbara Mullin on June 30, 2015 at 3:42pm
:-) exactly! No vegetables!! thanks, Andy.
Comment by Al Smitley on June 30, 2015 at 3:44pm

The banjo malfunction almost seemed like a test but you didn't flinch and passed with flying colors.

Maybe a future presentation could address stage fright.  Quite a few of us (definitely me, included) would be interested.  BTW, how's your dog?

Comment by Barbara Mullin on June 30, 2015 at 4:20pm

Thanks, Al.  Overcoming stage fright would be a good discussion.  Maybe we could start that here.

I think Greg may have some pointers, for one.

And thanks, Nicky seems to have settled into the new Rx regimen.  He's sleeping through the night, well, mostly,  but that's what doggie doors are for.  It's just a waiting game, no telling how long he may go... or not.  Looking forward to browsing through your book over the next couple of rainy days! thanks again..

Comment by Andy Chase on June 30, 2015 at 4:54pm

Al, I've had the same thought RE: a presentation about "stage craft" in general;  I'm comfortable enough playing in front of people and due to the historical nature of this music I've had a couple of gigs fall into my lap just because there aren't many people playing it, and I think that with a little bit of gumption there are lots of potential historical society type gigs out there for the taking.  

But, I haven't done enough public performing to feel really at ease in the spotlight or develop any kind of audience rapport, so it's a bit of a vicious cycle; I don't perform because I feel like I haven't performed enough.

I've been meaning to crash some local open mics for this exact reason; put together a 15 minute set and get used to addressing an audience, but I never seem to get around to that either.  I have no idea what kind of reception early banjo might get, but it's probably novel enough that a person could get away with it!  

Comment by John Masciale on June 30, 2015 at 5:09pm

Great topic for discussion.  I've been playing in front of people for over 30 years.  There are a number of other people on the site like Greg and Tim that have a world of performance experience.  There are a couple of things that you have to accept if you are going to play in front of people. 

1.  You are going to make mistakes.

2.  You will play to your level of competence.  This means practice!  If you don't practice you can't expect to play well.  If you can't nail it in practice you likely won't nail it on the stage.

3.  Listen to recordings of yourself.  Nobody else has to hear them.  But recording yourself and listening is one of the great modern tools to improving your performing.  If you can't perform for yourself, how will you perform for others?

4.  With banjo, one thing that I have really learned from Greg is to focus on the beat of the music.  Use a metronome.  Find the pocket for a song and sit inside that pocket.  Pay attention to maintaining a steady tempo.  One thing I have noticed about playing at the gatherings is that we as banjoists like to play faster than we should, and tend to speed up.

5.  Generally, the audience is on your side.  They want you to play well.

6.  Don't get distracted.  I've train wrecked because I was focusing on things other than what I am playing.  Stay focused on where you are in the music.

By the way,  I really admired the way you kept going when the other banjo malfunction occurred.  That is great focus!

Comment by Jared Denhard on June 30, 2015 at 5:31pm

I was honored to be part of it , malfunction and all!

What a great weekend and thoughtful, talented, sincere and interesting people!


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