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Six Years in Six Days

Despite it being more than two months since my last post, this one comes early. The idea has been brewing since the beginning of March, when the realization that my banjo anniversary (banjoversary?) was this month. It was six years ago on March 24 that my banjo journey began.

Recording King Songster
For the first six months, my fingers flailed at Scruggs' style picking because that was the only way I knew of to play the banjo. When I bought my first banjo, I promised myself I wouldn't quit like I did with guitar back in high school. (These days I've really been wanting a guitar.) However, after half a year and meeting the woman who would be my wife, my banjo playing days were almost through. But then, hello, clawhammer!

I was still learning the difference between what was bluegrass and what was old-time music back then. It seems so obvious today, but I didn't really know anybody then who could have shown me the path. I had to find it on my own. When I did, the whole world opened up for me.

My New Year's resolution in 2009 remains perhaps my most successful resolution ever, as my goal was to rededicate myself to the banjo and learn how to play clawhammer style.

Here I am, still at it.

Although the fiddle has taken up the majority of my practice time over the past year, I still find time to play banjo a few times a week to keep myself sharp (well, sharp-ish). There is still a lot to learn. I've never been one to know a bunch of tunes, but I'd like to get better at picking up things on the fly. Most of my "new" tunes are those I'm learning on fiddle, which was one of my main goals of learning that instrument in the first place.

Passing it down
The most enjoyment I find playing my banjo these days, though, is the response I get from my six-month-old son. Sometimes, he'll kick along to the tunes. Lately, I've held him on my lap while playing. He likes to grab the fifth string and pop it.

I hold my breath every time for fear he'll break the nylon string. So far, that hasn't happened. But strings are replaceable. This time is not. Maybe in another six years, my son will be playing along with me. 

That's the dream.

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