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Banjo Help ?

Deckman 01 Feb 11 - 11:02 PM
Desert Dancer 01 Feb 11 - 11:32 PM
Deckman 01 Feb 11 - 11:40 PM
GUEST,DonMeixner 01 Feb 11 - 11:56 PM
Deckman 02 Feb 11 - 12:03 AM
Crowhugger 02 Feb 11 - 12:24 AM
Deckman 02 Feb 11 - 12:30 AM
GUEST,donmeixner 02 Feb 11 - 12:46 AM
Deckman 02 Feb 11 - 01:00 AM
GUEST,Linda 02 Feb 11 - 03:03 AM
Les in Chorlton 02 Feb 11 - 03:17 AM
Allan C. 02 Feb 11 - 05:47 AM
banjoman 02 Feb 11 - 06:14 AM
Deckman 02 Feb 11 - 06:49 AM
GUEST,Russ 02 Feb 11 - 12:33 PM
Geoff the Duck 02 Feb 11 - 01:54 PM
Charley Noble 02 Feb 11 - 02:24 PM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 02 Feb 11 - 04:53 PM
Geoff the Duck 02 Feb 11 - 05:31 PM
Deckman 03 Feb 11 - 03:20 PM
JohnInKansas 04 Feb 11 - 01:30 AM
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Subject: BANJO HELP ?
From: Deckman
Date: 01 Feb 11 - 11:02 PM

This thread might become interesting ... I hope so. In a couple of months, I have to give several public concerts, over here in the left hand corner of america. One of the concerts I've agreed to do is a "children's concert." A CHILDRENS CONCERT ... that's enough to give me white hair.

Remembering my teaching years, I know that "children" require lot's and lot's and lot's of entertainment, variety, etc. To that end, I'm planning on bringing several diffent instruments on stage: a classical guitar, a steel string guitar, an autoharp, and a BANJO.

I play an open back banjo, five strings, heavy, but adequate. I've thought of some "stage tricks" (visual) I might be able to do to keep the rug rats (kids?) amused. I'll describe one, and I'd appreciate any other tips/suggestions you might feel like passing along:

I'm going to find a VERY LARGE pair of man's boxer underpants ... they'll need to be silk. With silk, I can roll them up in a tiny, tiny ball and stuff them inside my banjo, between the head and the truss rod.

Then, when I start to tune and play the banjo, I'll grab them from behind and throw them across the stage, along with several other stuffed toys and other things I can manage to secret in there.

ANY OTHER VISUAL IDEAS? bob(deckman)nelson


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Subject: RE: BANJO HELP ?
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 01 Feb 11 - 11:32 PM

This might not be conducive to maintaining a listening crowd...

What age children, and how many adults will accompany them?


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Subject: RE: BANJO HELP ?
From: Deckman
Date: 01 Feb 11 - 11:40 PM

I don't know those answers yet, but I'm guessing it will be all ages. They are going to empty this north Idaho town of the school children, deliver all the school kids from all the area, deposit them in the town library, and then leave them with me. And then ... I expect ... ALL THE TEACHERS will run out of the library, pour themselves into the tavern across the street, and try to drink temselves into quiet oblivion. (I know this... I was once a teacher also). bob


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Subject: RE: BANJO HELP ?
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 01 Feb 11 - 11:56 PM

Just play the banjo Bob. Thats funny enough.

Some kind of blinking lite device in the pot will glow through the head.

Don


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Subject: RE: BANJO HELP ?
From: Deckman
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 12:03 AM

"Some kind of blinking lite in the pot" ... Hmmm ... so I guess I have to be "wired" on stage. You know, now that I think about it ... a blinking light might be interesting. thanx ... bob


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Subject: RE: BANJO HELP ?
From: Crowhugger
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 12:24 AM

Not exactly banjo help that I offer, and my repertoire of banjo (or any) stage tricks would fit on the head of a pin! However, I do have some tried and true ways to amuse kids:

They like to DO stuff; sitting doing nothing isn't usually their forte. You can have them use various body parts as percussion to get a variety of sounds (clap, stamp foot, snap fingers, rub hands (takes a group to be heard well), slap knee, pop mouth or cheek, honk armpit etc--just kidding on that last one); you choose ahead of time which sounds to work it into one or more songs. One way to use multiple sounds is to replace the silent syllables in "disappearing songs." Even Row, Row, Row Your Boat is fun when you drop one word at a time and replace it with a sound until the whole song is body percussion. Tricky to give clear instructions, best to demo. Any simple, 1-verse song works, repeat it and drop another word each time. Could be construed as a sort of stage trick, in that it's physical and it's not singing.

Or do hand-out percussion instruments, half the room thumps/dings/scrapes on the down beat, the other half on the back beat(s)[I think of 3/4 time having 2 backbeats]. Any chance the local craft/art/shop-loving teachers could teach the kids make their own percussion instruments in time to bring with them? I'd put this sort of participatory segment 2/3 of the way through. Not that I'd ever actually try to entertain rug-rats on my own. But the handbell choir in which I ring does this sort of thing once or twice per year. Works well when the instructions are simple and clearly stated.

Good luck with it! Let us know how it goes.


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Subject: RE: BANJO HELP ?
From: Deckman
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 12:30 AM

Crowhugger ... Very good suggestions. "Kids" always scare me ... I've had several ... in fact ... I think I've still got a few alive and who occasionally ask me for money. (you'd have thought that I would have raised them better ... eh?) bob


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Subject: RE: Banjo Help ?
From: GUEST,donmeixner
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 12:46 AM

Bob are you in the US? Go to Radio Shack. They have all types of kits that involve flashing LEDs that run on batteries.

Don


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Subject: RE: Banjo Help ?
From: Deckman
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 01:00 AM

Thanx Don ... I'll do JUST that ... and I'll tell them that YOU sent me and I'm supposed to get a discount ... because "DON SAID"! bob


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Subject: RE: Banjo Help ?
From: GUEST,Linda
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 03:03 AM

The kids i work with enjoy action songs, sea shanties and anything that they can join in with.


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Subject: RE: Banjo Help ?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 03:17 AM

Book Crowhugger, if not possible carry on anyway.

It's much easier to get kids excited than calm. Ask them how long they can hold their breath for - then breathe out very slowly and silently - gets a bit of calm

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Banjo Help ?
From: Allan C.
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 05:47 AM

Forget the shorts idea. Unless they deploy just right they'll look like just any rag, leaving the kids to wonder why the heck you tossed a rag out of your banjo.


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Subject: RE: Banjo Help ?
From: banjoman
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 06:14 AM

Dont forget that a banjo has the same shape as a frying pan so why not "cook" breakfast at the start - have some ready cooked mini sausages to hand out to the kids. I did this trick years ago with a group of 5 - 1- year olds and they loved it and were more than ready to sing afterwards.
Good Luck
Pete


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Subject: RE: Banjo Help ?
From: Deckman
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 06:49 AM

GOOD IDEAS ... keep 'em coming. bob


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Subject: RE: Banjo Help ?
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 12:33 PM

Bob,
If memory serves me, Leroy Troy does banjo tricks a la Uncle Dave Macon. You might check YouTube to see if there are any clips of him performing.

Russ (Permanent GUEST and banjo player)


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Subject: RE: Banjo Help ?
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 01:54 PM

A number of years back I saw a guitarist who performed (if I recall correctly) under the name "The Amazing Mr. Smith". A brilliant musician, he did amusing things whilst playing. One which I have not forgotten was playing the Teddy Bears Picnic. Before playing, he took a large elastic band and fastened the bear to the back of his left hand. As he played, the bear moved up and down the guitar neck "watching", or "playing" the tune.

One I used myself, was an advertising beer mat, which was one of a set featuring characters from a newspaper cartoon comic strip. All the mats were a drawing on one of the caracters, but with holes at the bottom, through which you put fingers to act as legs. One of the cards was a dog, with four holes. I discovered that I could put my right hand fingers through, and still play clawhammer style banjo with the hand.

Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Banjo Help ?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 02:24 PM

Bob-

Some of the old minstrel banjo players would toss their banjo up in the air between verses, twirl around, catch it, and continue playing on beat. It's a neat trick and everyone will love it, if it works...

Cheerily,
Charley "5-string" Noble


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Subject: RE: Banjo Help ?
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 04:53 PM

it really does matter how old they are. Six to eight year olds will just like the songs off the kidz cds. Put your finger in the air, grand Old Duke of york, Acting out Mr Froggy went a courting - having fun selecting whose going to play what.. ...

In fact Mr froggy will fill half an hour on its own. Teaching the song,Putting in the ho hums, then the claps. then doing the playlet a couple of times trying a different set of actors.

Ask the teacher who will act. You don't want someone who will just stand there embarrasssed making dumb faces at the class.

Don't let the teacher bugger off. you're not insured for the situation. they probably won't - its more than their jobs worth. they are in loco parentis.


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Subject: RE: Banjo Help ?
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 05:31 PM

At a UK Old Time festival a few years back there was an Uncle Dave Macon "Tribute band" actually a duo from America reproducing Uncle Dave's performance.
"Dave" did the banjo tossing thing. The technique was to flip the bottom of the pot outwards and upwards, so it flipped back towards him and landed for a safe catch.
I don't think it works as well with a shoulder strap attached to the banjo.Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Banjo Help ?
From: Deckman
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 03:20 PM

About Leroy Troy ... I did find several You Tubes of "Leroy Troy" ... funnier than wheels. I don't know if I want to get into throwing my banjo in circles around the stage though ... thanx. bob


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Subject: RE: Banjo Help ?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 04 Feb 11 - 01:30 AM

Some kind of blinking lite in the pot" ... Hmmm ... so I guess I have to be "wired" on stage

Hide your pride and go to Walmart where the bicycle department has tail lights, battery powered, multi-LED, that flash in multiple patterns for about $10 or less (US).

Walmart has never sold a bicycle accessory that will fit on any bicycle they've sold, but I can visualize one of their tail lights in a banjo.

John


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