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Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie

Little Neophyte 10 Oct 00 - 07:45 AM
Allan C. 10 Oct 00 - 08:14 AM
catspaw49 10 Oct 00 - 09:31 AM
GUEST,Pete Peterson 10 Oct 00 - 10:06 AM
GUEST,Arnie 10 Oct 00 - 10:22 AM
GUEST 10 Oct 00 - 10:34 AM
Jeri 10 Oct 00 - 10:41 AM
Mark Clark 10 Oct 00 - 11:07 AM
Bill D 10 Oct 00 - 11:15 AM
Mark Clark 10 Oct 00 - 11:16 AM
Peter T. 10 Oct 00 - 11:23 AM
bbelle 10 Oct 00 - 11:36 AM
GUEST,CLETUS 10 Oct 00 - 11:37 AM
Amergin 10 Oct 00 - 11:42 AM
Little Neophyte 10 Oct 00 - 12:06 PM
GUEST,CLETUS 10 Oct 00 - 12:15 PM
Rick Fielding 10 Oct 00 - 12:57 PM
black walnut 10 Oct 00 - 01:51 PM
Fortunato 10 Oct 00 - 01:51 PM
Jeri 10 Oct 00 - 02:56 PM
Irish Rover 10 Oct 00 - 03:29 PM
GUEST,Arnie 10 Oct 00 - 05:26 PM
Mark Clark 10 Oct 00 - 06:22 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 10 Oct 00 - 07:43 PM
Froggie (inactive) 10 Oct 00 - 08:45 PM
Marion 10 Oct 00 - 09:00 PM
Little Neophyte 10 Oct 00 - 09:16 PM
thosp 10 Oct 00 - 09:29 PM
Little Neophyte 10 Oct 00 - 09:31 PM
Guy Wolff 10 Oct 00 - 09:49 PM
Guy Wolff 10 Oct 00 - 09:50 PM
Rich(bodhránai gan ciall) 10 Oct 00 - 09:53 PM
Guy Wolff 10 Oct 00 - 09:54 PM
Little Neophyte 11 Oct 00 - 09:12 AM
JeffM 11 Oct 00 - 10:10 AM
Jason LaPrade 12 Oct 00 - 12:26 AM
JeffM 12 Oct 00 - 09:45 AM
Jason LaPrade 13 Oct 00 - 10:19 AM
Sean Belt 13 Oct 00 - 10:39 AM
Mark Clark 13 Oct 00 - 12:22 PM
black walnut 14 Oct 00 - 09:30 AM
Jon Freeman 14 Oct 00 - 09:49 AM
Little Neophyte 16 Oct 00 - 10:04 AM
Micca 16 Oct 00 - 01:51 PM
Ebbie 16 Oct 00 - 02:30 PM
Fortunato 16 Oct 00 - 02:34 PM
Willie-O 16 Oct 00 - 02:42 PM
InOBU 16 Oct 00 - 03:51 PM
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Subject: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 07:45 AM

GoodTime Banjo that is

If I want to become a good banjo player, what should I do?

From what I understand, I need to practice 2 hours a day. In that time what should I be working on? Scales, increasing my picking speed, picking out fiddle tunes by ear, learning other tunes by ear?

What CDs would you recommend I listen to?

I got a great instructor, I know this is a very important thing to do.

Am I missing some steps here or overlooking some things?

How did you become a good player?

Little Neo


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: Allan C.
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 08:14 AM

I can't advise you in this except to say that whatever it is that you have been doing, Bonnie, it seems to be paying off.

I get the idea that you are in a hurry to be a better picker than you are. I wish someone had made a tape recording of your first efforts (which were made only a short couple of years ago, as I recall). If you could hear that tape, you would better appreciate how far you have come in that short time.

It is admirable that you are wanting to be better. Just don't lose sight of how very good you already are.


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: catspaw49
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 09:31 AM

I think Allan has said it. Whatever you're doing, its working!!!!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: GUEST,Pete Peterson
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 10:06 AM

Second what has been said already. I beleive you have come a long distance in a very short time. Don't forget you also have this gift for composition, something that many of us are very envious of! Lastly, the best way to get good is not to practice alone, but to jam with others; hope there are lots of opportunities to do this in Toronto area!


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: GUEST,Arnie
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 10:22 AM

Listen to a lot of different kinds of music with banjo. I have listed some favorite old time banjo recordings on The Woods Music and Dance web site last year. The address is http://www.mgl.ca/~jhcole/thewoods/music99.html Bug banjo players everywhere to show you stuff. They are usually pretty nice people even though they all drool from their mouths when they play. Arnie


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 10:34 AM

I don't know how much of what pertains to guitar also pertains to banjo, but.... If you have the equipment and are looking to hone your improvisational skills, you could 'sample' a favorite chord pattern and set your equipment to loop that pattern indefinitely. Then jam along. Besides being fun and educational, it's a good exercise for getting your improvisational ideas to flow seamlessly from one to the next.

A little more tedious approach is to record X number of minutes of yourself playing a chord pattern, and jam along with that.


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: Jeri
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 10:41 AM

Well, I haven't become a "good" player, but I'm workin' on it!

I second what Pete said. For me, there has been no greater help for my playing than doing it with others. It re-inforces timing, lets you hear if the chords/notes you play work, gives you a chance to hear (and steal) what other players are doing, and is just plain fun.

You've got a great "official" instructor, but you can learn from just about anyone - even those who aren't as skilled as you. Sometimes learning is about technical skill, and sometimes it's about imagination and how a person hears the music.

If you have any dances in your area, go. For one thing, you'll learn lots of tunes by osmosis. For another, it's my opinion that music should make people want to dance, and it's a good thing to watch how that happens. For a third, it's fun!


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: Mark Clark
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 11:07 AM

Bonnie, I think the single most important thing you can do to improve your playing is to play (music) with other people a lot. I don't mean in a song circle where people take turns performing, I mean ensemble playing. Assemble a suitably balanced group of friends who can spend several hours each week and work on things like Weavers arrangements and old-timey things like copying New Lost City Ramblers cuts. Work up ensemble arrangements of your original compositions. The main thing is to play together with others. In my opinion, this is far more important than spending a certain amount of time each day practicing alone.

Playing with others solidifies your sense of timing faster than anything else and it makes you more focused as you are striving not to let the other group members down. Your group can have people of mixed abilities but they shouldn't be too far ahead of you or they'll become bored or tend to dominate the process.

If you can't find a bass player, help a friend make a "gut bucket" bass and get them to come and help provide that constant thump. You should have a guitar player at least and another lead instrument such as fiddle or mandolin. You'll also want your group to sing. Not as a performance goal necessarily, just as a way of learning to work through and around the vocal parts with your instruments.

Good luck,

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: Bill D
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 11:15 AM

Michael Cooney used to do a spiel in which he advocated (in regard to guitars), hanging out with folks that are just a 'little' ways ahead of you...he claimed that they are the ones who are always anxious to show off and explain their new tricks and help you .....whereas the pros and REAL fancy pickers just intimidate and 'do their thing'. Like any advice, it needs to be taken with a grain of salt, but.....


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: Mark Clark
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 11:16 AM

Well, I thought I'd read this entire thread before posting but now I see I missed Pete's advice. Just add mine to his thoughts.

Oh, and Bonnie, I am looking for a good time. <g>

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: Peter T.
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 11:23 AM

I think that a basic thing would be to be as clear as is possible about why you are playing, what it is for (I don't mean that in a utilitarian sense). It seems to me that for every instrument there are a million things you can do with it, and a million roads to go down. There is a complex web of desires, hopes, models, etc that buoys one up, and holds one down. Given time constraints, if one is going to concentrate, and invest in practice, one should at least think about what one's "narrative line" is -- at the moment at any rate (it can certainly change). What am I trying to do, and where am I trying to go? That would certainly seem to me to be an important clarifier and organizer (I speak as someone with a muddy narrative line!)

yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: bbelle
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 11:36 AM

Well, Bonnie ... you're not exactly my type :~}

Until last year, I had never played with others and it was a real step out of my comfort zone to do so. It has taught me the "ensemble" thing and has increased my playing speed. Plus, it's just plain fun! One aspect of all this that I really love to do, is to accompany fiddle players.

moonjen


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: GUEST,CLETUS
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 11:37 AM

Ime shur lookin fer a gud time miz Bonnie an iffen ya will jez lemmee know whairzabout ya wanna git tagather, Ide bee rite willin ta commadate ya. Iffen ya want Ile take me a bath an everthang an even put on kleen droors.

CLETUS


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: Amergin
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 11:42 AM

Damn, Bonnie, and here I was hoping for some 1-900 number.....

Amergin


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 12:06 PM

I am getting excellent advice here, thank you.

Thanks for the compliments too and for those who want a good time I wrote my phone number in the Mudcat bathroom on the wall.

I can see how finding others to play with on a regular basis in an assemble is very important. Where I was involved with a 'suitably balanced group of friends' to play with. Makes much sense to me at this stage of the game.
There must be a thread on how to put together your first assemble? I am not sure where to start.

As for jam sessions, there are a couple of groups that I know of in the Toronto area I would like to become involved with.

Jeri, I never thought of dances. I have never sought that kind of thing out here. So do I go to listen or am I supposed to dance or play in the band? I wasn't sure what you meant?

I am very willing to become more involved. Finding others to play with on a regular basis sounds like my next best step.

Cletus, how about we take you to the dry cleaners and then we can talk.

Bonnie


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: GUEST,CLETUS
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 12:15 PM

Miz Bonnie, me un Paw went ta them dry kleenin playziz but we doan go thair no mor. The lazt time they dun covert uz over withinna smelly kemical stuff whut tuk the hide rite offen us made my droors chafe a mite fer weeks.

CLETUS


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 12:57 PM

Bonnie, remember when you first joined Mudcat? You hardly knew ANY banjo players. Now your world is FULL of 'em! Just keep on pickin'. Bill's advice is something I agree totally with. If ya wanna get better, pick with folks a little better than you. Be good enough not to bore them, and inexperienced enough to learn from them.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: black walnut
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 01:51 PM

bonnie, where is this all coming from?

when we adults start playing a new instrument, we learn so much in the first year. the next year can feel like a plateau, or worse, that we feel like we're going backwards sometimes.... the truth is, we are growing into the stage of learning what it is to refine what we've already learned. we're refining technique, refining arrangements, refining syles. our ears can hear better now what the players around us are doing, and we judge ourselves more severely as a result.

at the same time, we know by this time whether we feel a passion for the instrument, or if it was all a fleeting dream. we might be ready to step up to a better quality instrument, one that we can grow into more. perhaps the one we have is holding us back, or frustrating us. maybe we need to find new sources for songs and tunes. maybe we're ready to start writing our own.

it's the right time to listen to feedback. i've heard people say, and i agree with them, bonnie, that the banjo seems so natural to you, that it's a good fit. people have told me that about the harp. that kind of feedback stays in the back of my mind and helps energize me when i'm still learning hand positions and scale patterns and left hand patterns. i think having someone tell me that an particular instrument 'fits' me, is more important than having someone tell me that they think what i just played sounded good. the first comment is more grounding, the second is more subjective.

i think you know what it takes to be a good player. i think rick's given you great tools. jamming? be sure you can hear yourself in the crowd. 2 hours a day? it depends what you do with the time. 10 minutes, or 8 hours.....just fill that room with the most glorious sounds you can produce, and it just doesn't get any better than that!

~black walnut


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: Fortunato
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 01:51 PM

Folks that's scary. A world full of banjo players. Run quick, Bonnie they're breeding! Well not BREEDING, just replicating. Nobody ever recommended the banjo as a romance/marital aid (counterproductive, hee hee).

Just kidding, Bonnie. Lotso good advice here, but don't forget to learn the old time songs and sing them while you play, choose a novelty tune, make 'm laugh. Arrange tunes you like, dispite their genre, for the banjo.

good to see your thoughts. chance


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: Jeri
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 02:56 PM

Bonnie, if you feel comfortable and you know a bunch of tunes, and the dance band has said "everyone welcome to play." I was thinking more of dancing. You can hang out and listen/watch, but it's a whole lot more fun to dance. Just get through the door!

One thing about folks who are just a bit ahead of you - they may have just learned what you're trying to learn and be better able to explain it than someone who learned years ago.


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: Irish Rover
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 03:29 PM

The most important thing is to enjoy the music you are making. As you play it, it will improve and so will you. It' like magic.


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: GUEST,Arnie
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 05:26 PM

Unless you go to a music and dance camp, don't sit in with a dance band for a community dance unless you are invited to do so, and you know the tunes and feel you can keep up. Playing well for dances is an art, and there is a lot involved besides just getting out a bunch of notes on your instrument. Go to a few of the Toronto Country Dances and check it out. You'll have fun dancing too! It's a good idea to learn fiddle tunes well on the banjo by jamming with others who may at times play for dances. Your opportunity to play for dances may eventually present itself ( good banjo players are rare ). If you think you want to play some of this stuff Bonnie I'll let you know when some good fiddle type jamming will happen. Bring a little tape recorder (or mini disk recorder) to take the tunes home for learning. Try to play along with some new tunes as you hear them (without being too bold) -sit beside another good banjo player if there is one and ask questions about tunings or anything you might want to know -it's free, and even if you only pick up a little phrase of music at a time you will learn something and your knowledge will grow along with the dreaded banjo playing disease. Arnie


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: Mark Clark
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 06:22 PM

Bonnie, Just to clarify... what I'm talking about---and I'd guess Pete and Bill as well---is not a jam session. Going to jams is fine but not at the expense of getting together with friends and working stuff out together. You want to do, with friends, what you'd also do alone (e.g., work on the hard parts, practice certain tunes many times, etc.).

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 07:43 PM

Bonnie,

There is something that is missing in your playing--how do I know that? Because you told me-you are not doing something that you want to be doing--No one knows what that is except you--

What you have to do is figure out what it is that you aren't doing, and then focus on learning it--Maybe you feel like you want to be able to improvise, or maybe you want to play in a different style than you do, maybe you feel like you want to be able to play by ear, or maybe you just aren't satisfied with your repertoire--

After a certain point, there aren't absolute standards of what whether you are good or not--and there are no standard directions for what you need to learn--you are the one who has to decide--


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: Froggie (inactive)
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 08:45 PM

Hi Bonnie,

If I may add my two cents worth -- don't make playing the banjo become work. Play because you enjoy playing.

Practicing two hours a day is not necessary, although there was a time where I would have said the same thing. Now when I pick up the fiddle I first decide what I wish to do with the time I have. If I have only a few minutes, I may choose to learn a new tune. If I have more time, I might get into some of my clssical "studies". I believe that you practice, work on techinque, run scales and the sort when you have quality time in which to do so. The best advice I can give is to pick up and play the instrument once every day,-- even if it is for only a few minutes.

I noticed in other threads you were looking for fiddle tunes. I have tonnes. I can also help you to learn songs by ear. Give me a shout if I can help. I'd be willing to show or teach you any tricks I use to learn songs.

Lydia


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: Marion
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 09:00 PM

Lydia, I would love to hear you elaborate on this:

"I can also help you to learn songs by ear. Give me a shout if I can help. I'd be willing to show or teach you any tricks I use to learn songs."

I'm a fiddler (about fourteen months) who learns strictly from sheet music; I know I should be working on ear playing but it's always so much easier to find new sheet music on the internet that I take the shortcut.

Thanks, Marion


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 09:16 PM

Well you guys are sure addressing my issues, thank you all for your contributions.

Ted you are making me think, and you are right, I am the only one who can really figure out what it is I should be working on.

Mark has a very good point too. I would like to find a group of friends to play with and work on tunes. It would be ideal to find, like Rick and Bill said, players who are a little better than I am yet I can keep up and not frustrate the group.
That would be lovely.
Now how do I go about finding such a thing?


Bonnie


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: thosp
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 09:29 PM

Well Lil Neo --- you must never forget

-------WAX ON! WAX OFF!!!

peace (Y) thosp ;)


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 09:31 PM

I may have given the impression by saying that I would like to practice 2 hours a day, that all this banjo playing is work.
I enjoy playing my banjo, it is not work, but I do like the goal of etching out more and more time that I can find to play it. That is where the 2 hours goal comes in.

I also take an academic approach to things, even life, so sometimes I pretend I am in school when I am learning anything new and I get where I've got to go with that approach. I always loved school.

Bonnie


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 09:49 PM

Hi Bonnie, I loved learning from Tude Tanquay and his band.. They were an old Connnecticut square dance band going for years.. I realy took the place of a rythum guitar for a long time but as the years went by you find yourself putting together grougs of fiiddle tunes that have something to do with different couples danceing.YOu can go through 15 or 20 tunes in a Virginia Reel if you have a large enough group :and a long enough night!. I think the wildest thing to get is changing keys as fast as the other guys are going.. They would start of in G move down to F and move over to B flat (For the fun of it and to see if I could keep up).. You do learn the relationship between choral groupings very quickly when someone plays "boil them cabboge down boys" in G,.A ,. D & F in one dance!!!!!I think my first few years I was shouting over to the bass player "" WHAT KEY???" most of the time..The better the caller the wilder it can get.. Art Calstrum played acordian and called.. He was the culpret who keeped going to keys that were easy for him to call in.. But they could be very different on two seperate nights<><><>

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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 09:50 PM


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: Rich(bodhránai gan ciall)
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 09:53 PM

Bonnie, I don't know how much of a parallel I can draw between the banjo and the bodhrán, but I tell my students and I try myself to practice in a lot of small blocks. 20 minutes every day or a couple 20 minute sessions daily, will infinitely be more effective than 12 hours every Saturday. I got that advice from an article in Treoir magazine a couple years ago, on fiddle practice so it's probably applicable to the banjo. I like a lot of what's already been said here. One thing I would question is playing for dances. Your timing should be rock solid before playing for dancers. In truth, dancers are not the frightened sheep that players sometimes make them out to be and if there's a musical train wreck for a moment, they'll correct themselves and get back in time, but they really shouldn't be expected to. Definitely listen to dance bands and dance, but unless you're confident in playing to speed in time or unless there's a lot of players to cover a slip, I'd resist the temptation.

You know I was gonna say that that's a really bad thread title, but it gets attention right away!

Slán,
Rich


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 09:54 PM

Hi For some reason half of this went missing. I did say that following a consomate fiddler around is great to.. They like having a platform to work from and at the same time you are giving chordal and rythmic support you will be amazed at how quickly you will be picking out the tunes.. AND playing with banjo freinds would'nt be to bad either dont you think??? HA ,all the best fron CT . Guy <><><><><><><><>>><><><><><><>>


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 11 Oct 00 - 09:12 AM

Well I slept on all this and I came to the conclusion that having a group of friends you play with on a regular basis is equivalent to a marriage.
I know this analogy has been used many times. But how I see it is that I will grow so much more with my music if I become involved with a group of musicians the same as if I committed to a marriage. Being a single person can be as limiting as playing music on your own.

Bonnie


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: JeffM
Date: 11 Oct 00 - 10:10 AM

Sleeping on all that must have been very uncomfortable!

And trust me, it's nothing like marriage. Do you think they're going to say, "I think you've been seeing other musicians. I think we should just be friends"?

Remember the two words most often associated with marriage are 'committed' and 'institution'.


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: Jason LaPrade
Date: 12 Oct 00 - 12:26 AM

Bonnie said: "But how I see it is that I will grow so much more with my music if I become involved with a group of musicians the same as if I committed to a marriage. Being a single person can be as limiting as playing music on your own."

Being single myself, I hope it isn't too limiting. Actually, I think marriage can be just as limiting. Of course, both can be extremely rewarding.

Music can be very much like a marriage. I think both require balance. Both require "alone" and "together" time. Just like most things in life, too much or too little of something may not be the best thing for you. For example, I never wanted to learn theory at first -- it seemed too painful, too much like work. Now I wouldn't want to be without it. It's helped my playing a great deal. It's one small piece of the bigger puzzle.

Bonnie, speaking of theory, it may be one of the "pieces" you need to help you learn to play tunes by ear. The more you understand about music, the easier it becomes to hear it. At least it's helped me. It'll never replace playing with your heart, but it also won't take the heart out of music like many people believe. And that gets back to my original point about balance. Playing with others, and that "alone time" are equally important and allow you to grow as a musician and as a person.

Rock On! Jason.


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: JeffM
Date: 12 Oct 00 - 09:45 AM

Good points, Jason.

So, studying theory is painful, just like exercising? My view on that has always been "No pain, no pain". It works well.

Also, is "Rock on" the same as "Folk off"?


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: Jason LaPrade
Date: 13 Oct 00 - 10:19 AM

It all depends on your perspective, Jeff. Studying theory is no longer painful for me. I actually enjoy it! But then, I enjoy exercise too -- You should try it sometime.

Folk off! (not sure exactly what I just said to you Jeff-- but then again, it's only you. Jason


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: Sean Belt
Date: 13 Oct 00 - 10:39 AM

Bonnie,
It's good that you're even asking these questions! I run into many folks who aren't interested in playing better. And a lot of great answers as well. I hope you'll let me throw in my two cents...

As far as practice, I'll repeat an axiom that my teacher several years ago was quick to use: Practise music, not minutes. Keeping this in mind has made me a better practicer and a much better player than I'd ever have been without.

As far as getting a group of friends together to play with, what's worked well for me is to sit in at a few jam sessions in my area and get to know some of the folks who frequent them. Then when I've gotten to know whose company I enjoy and who has similar tastes and attitiudes towards music, I'll invite a few of them to come over for a pot of stew and to bring their instruments along. It kills multiple birds with one stone, since I love to cook for friends, and we'll all end up jamming by the end of the evening.

Just a thought.

- Sean


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: Mark Clark
Date: 13 Oct 00 - 12:22 PM

Sean, That's just about the way we used to do it forty years ago. We didn't have jam sessions, we had hootenannys but the operative principal was the same: make friends then invite them over for pot and stew. <g>

We'd go out in the fall and winter for squirrels and rabbits and make a nice burgoo of them.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: black walnut
Date: 14 Oct 00 - 09:30 AM

'practice music, not minutes'.....i like that, sean. and it doesn't hurt to set some goals. i try to do a combination of technique, improvization and tunes/songs each day on harp, and perhaps do something on another instrument too if there's time.

if i counted minutes, i wouldn't know if that should include the time it takes to tune 36 harp strings, 4 dulcimer strings, 6 guitar strings....

~'nut


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 14 Oct 00 - 09:49 AM

I think people can over analyse things and Bonnie, you will become good in your own time and pace, simply by listening to whatever music you enjoy (doesn't have to be banjo music - other music could add extra dimensions).

You have at least one exellent (I believe - not met him - but I've heard how he plays, and have read his views here) teacher in Rick Fielding and I would guess that much of what you ask comes down to you finding yourself as a musician (I'm a pea brained 1/2 wit musician with no real skill but I have heard you and I think you and think you have a lot of potential beyond what you do now which is good).

I'm trying to say just be Bonnie and let the music come out as YOU and take advantage of those who can help you with the technical skills you may need... As for the Good Time, maybe one day I will arrive in Toronto!

Jon


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 16 Oct 00 - 10:04 AM

Well Guys, I can not thank you enough for your contributions to this thread I started.
If has been most helpful.

Jon is right, I tend to over analyse things a great deal. I think M Ted has mentioned that to me too. It is part of my nature. Thinking too much when I should just allow the music to flow and work itself out.
I wish I could have experience the hootenannys that Mark speaks of. I bet I would have really enjoyed that.
As I continue to attend song circles and jam sessions I will mostlikely come across some people I would like to play music with.
I love Sean's idea of making a dinner at my place and inviting some friends over for a home-made meal and to bring their instruments. That sounds right up my alley.
Jason you make a good point, like a marriages, playing music needs its own balance. Requiring "alone" and "together" time. Finding that balance is a constant challenge because it is forever changing.
Black Walnut should I put my timer away? Actually the only clock I have around here that works is the one on my computer. I still find puttin time into my banjo every day is very important to me. How much, well I sure do sense when it was not enough.

And Jon if you do end up coming to Toronto, I do promise you a good time. Folks keep your minds out of the gutter.

Bonnie


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: Micca
Date: 16 Oct 00 - 01:51 PM

Bonnie, aim to be in the UK next October, middle of the month for Llanstock II, and get a chance to play in the hottest Ceilidh band in the West!!!!


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: Ebbie
Date: 16 Oct 00 - 02:30 PM

Just to add my view to the mix: Once I heard a fiddler, backed up with a lone guitarist who had to keep jumping time in order to stay with her, perform onstage at a festival. It was evident that she needed the discipline of playing with a group. At the time, we were a 'rubber' band when we played for contradances. We invited her to join us at our Tuesday night practices and to play with us on Thursdays. Which she did- and being a good player already, she broke her bad habits very quickly.

Ebbie


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: Fortunato
Date: 16 Oct 00 - 02:34 PM

Hey Micca, can I come too? Is the beer there any good at all?

regards Chance


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: Willie-O
Date: 16 Oct 00 - 02:42 PM

Oh rats, another music thread.

Just keep plunking that thing and, you know, tune it once in awhile!

The bit about finding people who are just somewhat better than you is true, but also spend as much time as you can afford watching and listening to the very best players you can find. It is more intimidating to actually jam with them, especially those that do have an elitist attitude...but sooner or later, someday, one of them will turn around and compliment your playing and your jaw will just hit the floor and it will make your month, because you know they're not just being nice, and will start thinking "hmm, I guess I _am_ pretty good". Now there's a confidence-builder.

W-O


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Subject: RE: Looking For A GoodTime?....Call Bonnie
From: InOBU
Date: 16 Oct 00 - 03:51 PM

Hi Bonnie, Sar san? Ronan Browne, one of the great Uilleann pipes said the other day, to a similar question, learn the basics and the orniments, then listen very hard to good players. Ask yourself what they are trying to convey in their playing, but really actively listen. All the best Lor


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