Pick Your Battles

Sometimes, our musical efforts can be a lot like raising kids – you have to pick your battles. Just as with young ones, you have to know when to pursue discipline (lest the effect of discipline becomes worse than the original cause), so also, you have to know what to pursue musically. We all have only so much time, and I’ve come to face the fact that you can’t do it all in one lifetime. 

I’d love to be able to concentrate on old-time music, delving deeper into the nuances of Scruggs style, learn all kinds of melodic licks in all sorts of keys, get really fast and proficient in single-string style, learn about 500 standard songs, get very comfortable with every known chord progression you’re likely to hear in jazz, and also get up-to-speed with mandolin, guitar, dulcimer, dobro, fiddle, etc. But that’s a lifetime’s worth of work.

So, let’s let it be just that, and take a lifetime to make progress, shall we? We’ll never get to the end of learning, so don’t try to get there; just enjoy the journey.

So go after what interests you the most, long term, and stick with it till you either 1) see results or 2) see more clearly that this isn’t turning out as you had originally hoped or thought.

 

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About Phill Gibson

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama where I work as a Systems Engineer and part-time banjo and mandolin instructor. I've been playing various instruments since my teen years. I started mandolin at about age 17 and banjo at 20. I love just about all kinds of music. In terms of banjo styles, I play Scruggs and melodic and am working on becoming more advanced with single string. I'm also working on 4-finger banjo, which is way off the beaten path. I would like to see more jazz techniques integrated into bluegrass situations; counterpoint, especially. So long-term, that's what I'm doing. I'm also very keen on astronomy, ATM (amateur telescope making), birding, christian homeschooling, martial arts, organic gardening and about 30 other distracting hobbies to a (mercifully) lesser extent.
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