One of the main things I strive for in blogging is to complement what students learn in actual lessons. Sources for banjo lessons are plentiful these days, so I try to present a different perspective. One that you don’t get in a typical “How to Play the Banjo” lesson book. It’s more about how to “think like a banjo” (a phrase I have been using frequently these days). Because for many folks, discussing not only what to learn and how to do a technique, but also how to learn and how to think in a new way becomes a catalyst for more efficient and more enjoyable learning.
Because people learn in so many different ways. Some are visual learners, who like to see a diagram of what is being discussed in order to get it. Others like to get a book on the subject and go read it, taking time to reflect on all the nuances they find. Still others, being mainly auditory, like to discuss it with the teacher and other students in a very active way. It’s best to combine as many of these various ways as possible.
And one of the grandest things about approaching learning from different perspectives: success applies to just about everything! Not only banjos; not only stringed instruments; not even only musical learning, but life in general.
For instance, take the topic of how difficult it is to learn the banjo. Why is it difficult? Or more precisely, why is it perceived as being difficult? If it were easy, then everyone would be playing the banjo, just as almost everyone can read, or walk. Easy skills are taken for granted and thus not valued as much on a daily basis. But banjo playing is no more difficult than any other task that isn’t dead-easy. It takes the same gumption to play a banjo as it does to finish college, or learn the guitar, or whatever else you are thinking of at the moment. Some do take longer than others, but it is still the same mental process we must go through regardless.
So, to find success in playing the banjo means you also have the keys to finding success in whatever else you find difficult in life. The only challenge left is reasoning from the specific (banjos) to the general (life) to find the life application.
Life’s a banjo!