Upcoming Workshop #8!
There’s a legendary story about the old-time fiddler Tommy Jarrell meeting a younger banjo player that had come to visit him. I guess the young banjo picker had quite a large repertoire and perhaps tried to impress Tommy with its scope. The story goes that after the meeting, Tommy wryly stated that although this young banjo player knew 100 tunes, he couldn’t play any of them.
The reason I bring this story up is that so many of us (me included) fall into the trap of endlessly learning tunes, and calling it practice. Although it’s fun and rewarding to work on your repertoire, if at the end of learning a hundred tunes, the first tune you learned doesn’t sound any better than it did when you learned it, then where are you at?
This workshop will focus on some specific practice routines that I’ve found to be really beneficial in improving the overall quality of my playing. I think, given the chance, they may work well for you too. They all focus on improving the fundamental elements of your playing while at the same time your skills as a listener (both to others and yourself.) It’s not about learning new tunes, but rather making all the tunes you already know sound better and improving your musicianship in the process.
At the foundation of this approach will be learning how to work with the metronome. The metronome isn’t so much a tool that keeps your tempo steady (although it does do that) but a tool that teaches you the habit of listening while you play. If you’ve never done much metronome work, or have found it hard to play with, I’ll show you some tricks on how to really start listening to it that will make it more accessible (and ultimately enjoyable!)
On May 2, I will do a live workshop where I will talk about my thoughts on practice, demonstrate some specific techniques, and take questions.
The real work will start the day after the workshop where I challenge you to do an hour a day of guided practice for 30 days (for which there will be a follow-along video.) The first 30 minutes of each day’s practice will be a meditative slow metronome exercise. Each week the final 30 minutes will change and we’ll focus on a different skill (such as speed, and dynamics.)
There will be a blog (this may be a Facebook group) that we will all be able to access and share our progress, our experiences, and interact with each other. I hope that adding this community element will make the process more fun, as well as encourage us through some gentle accountability.
I will be doing this month-long challenge right along will you and plan to be active on the blog. At the end of the month, we’ll have a get-together to celebrate and talk about the experience.
I hope this sounds interesting to you and that you’ll join in with us.
This workshop will take place online on the Zoom platform. If you purchase this workshop, I will send you a link to the zoom meeting a few days before the workshop. If you are unable to take the workshop live, it's not a problem. I will send you a video of the workshop as well as all the support material. The only difference between doing the workshop live or in "re-run" format is that you can't ask questions in real-time.
HOW TO PURCHASE AND PARTICIPATE IN PAST WORKSHOPS
You don't have to take these workshops live. They are archived for you to purchase and participate in any old time! You get access to a video of the entire workshop as well as all support material provided. There's even a blog for you to ask questions. Click on the links below to read detailed descriptions and, if you wish, purchase the workshops.