As of this writing, the banjo class is one week away.
I'm looking forward to it and I thought that I would give a little pre-class homework.
It turns out that the Mel Bay articles I wrote up until the last edition in 2012 are still on the net. The worker bees at Mel Bay keep changing the address but I think that they are now in a final resting place.
Your homework, if you choose to do it, is to watch them all and then critique me at the Tionol. Over the years I have evolved as a banjo player and these lessons chronicle that journey.
I've been very lucky to have had wonderful teachers at these weekend workshops that I write about. Many of them have been at the St. Louis Tionol (I saw John Carty there so many times that it could be classified as stalking) and all of the classes have been inspiring and helpful. Those of you in the Midwest who want a cheap and fun weekend with Irish music should apply no matter what your instrument or interest is.
I'm looking forward to seeing those of you who are coming. In the mean time, here is a compendium of right hands (again, I showed this in an earlier column) from my years of watching the best play.
And i know that no matter how many times I point out that triplets are not the most important thing in Irish music, I will still be asked about them, here is my usual answer from my Mel Bay article.
Bring your Ipads and equivalents. Try to find a tuning app (there are plenty for free, Gibson has one.) If you have the Amazing Slowdowner or Song Surgeon or Audacity, bring them. A video camera is very helpful as is an mp3 recorder. Your phone probably has all of these features.
We will discuss practice, style, technique and how to learn.