Posts tagged ‘This Land is Your Land’

December 5, 2013

So Many Instruments

I have always been amazed by the amount of music out there (who hasn’t, I guess?) There is no way that I will ever hear it all, ever be able to find all the bands and artists that I enjoy, so I do the best that I can.  There are also so many instruments in the world, and I have a tendency to want to learn to play all of them, unrealistically.  The only instrument that I have actually kept up with is the guitar, even my bass playing which used to be my main instrument and which I loved has fallen by the wayside while I’m at college.

The banjo was my latest attempted conquest, my first in a while.

Instruments That I Have Tried to Learn (and pretty much haven’t)

-Harmonica

-Ukulele

-Piano

harmonica

I have some basic knowledge of these (I own a harmonica, a ukulele, and a keyboard- which kind of count, maybe)

All of these fell through because I didn’t practice, or I didn’t have time to.  I always want instant instrument gratification, and I need to realize that this is the farthest thing from reality.  I haven’t given up hope on all of them yet however.

I still want to learn:

-Sitar

Ravi Shankar

-Drums

-Fiddle

-Tuba (kind of)

 

Rick Danko with Fiddle

And, I mean, I’m pretty much open to other instruments as well.

The sitar is my dream, I’m pretty sure it takes like a lifetime to be really good- but who know… maybe someday!

While on this quest to learn banjo I realized that it will be difficult for me to ever learn any of these instruments without extensive practice.  I, of course practiced guitar and bass- but somehow it was different.  I move fast, I am always in a hurry, which sometimes makes it difficult for me to learn new things that take a long time to pick up on.

My mom has begun learning ukulele in my absence from home, and I can see so much how practicing every day has helped her improve tremendously.  Although she still feels as though she can’t play very well- I think she has a remarkable grasp on the instrument for only playing for about two months.

So- you’re like- this is NOT about banjos, where are the banjos?!

I’m kind of getting there, maybe.  Basically what I have realized through this blog, through this semester is that owning the instrument doesn’t mean you know how to play it.  Of course, I always knew this but it seems to have really hit me with this latest venture.  When I headed to college in the summer I was sure that I would come home for winter break pickin’ like a pro.  But, as break rapidly approaches I realize that this is not the case.

And that’s okay.

I’ve learned so much about the instrument, have a newfound appreciation for all of those that play it, and I haven’t given up hope that someday I will live up to my name of “Banjo Lil” and when people ask me to play them a song on the banjo I will quickly pull out my banjo and play a rollicking rendition of “This Land is Your Land” OF COURSE.

Advertisements
September 20, 2013

This Land is Your Land

1187062_10201957218589247_1516799086_n

I started learning a few basic songs on the banjo a week or after I got it.  I was learning from the Pete Seeger’s Book “How to Play the 5-String Banjo.” I was pretty excited to be learning from someone that I thought was a pretty amazing player (with an interesting life too!)  I had been to his 90th birthday concert when I was a freshman in high school, but had not fully appreciated the impact that he had made both politically and musically.

Skip to My Lou

Here he is playing Skip to My Lou.

The first song that I learned to play was “This Land is Your Land” by Woody Guthrie.  Woody Guthrie is another one of those musicians that I have a certain reverence for.  Although the song is pretty basic, I was pretty happy that I was able to play the recognizable tune, and it also gave me something to practice my picking on.  Playing “This Land is Your Land” also makes me slightly nostalgic, when I was younger my dad and I used to bike by the railroad tracks near my house, and I was always worried we would get caught and get in trouble, but my dad assured me that is someone asked us to leave, we would simply sing “This Land is Your Land” and all would be well.

When playing the banjo (the 5-string) you have to hit the fifth string at a certain point in your picking pattern.  I am still working on this, and can only hope that by the end of the semester I am able to play in a more cohesive way.

While I am trying to learn some more songs on the banjo (I pretty much have down “The Crawdad Song” as well as “Skip To My Lou,” it is almost time for the banjo tour again. You should check it out!

Banjo Tour

I wasn’t able to make it to a show last year, and I’m not sure if this week will work for me either, however, it is certain to be a good time.

I’m hoping that this week I will be able to advance my playing skills… I haven’t been able to practice a lot since I got back to school, but I think I should be able to find more time soon!