Friday, December 18, 2009

Tolerance for Courageous Sucking

It's been a while since I've posted anything, so today I thought I'd drag up something from the archives from over on the Banjo Lounge Blog.

I found some pretty good wisdom. There are things that you should know. You might even know these things. We're often needing to be reminded of them.

The following quotes are from "Photography, and the Tolerance for Courageous Sucking."

I accept upfront that the improvements ... will be slow, incremental, and, largely undetectable to anybody but me — a fact that’s never more painfully clear than when I swoon over the work of the more talented friends who inspire me...

...as far as I can tell, dedication to the process can’t help but make you a better photographer — or a better whatever, for that matter.

Nobody likes feeling like a noob, especially when you’re getting constant pressure on all sides to never stick out in an unflattering way. And, in this godforsaken just-add-Wikipedia era of make-believe insight and instant expertise, it’s natural to start believing you must never suck at anything or admit to knowing less than everything — even when you’re just starting out. Clarinets should never squawk, sketch lines should never be visible, and dictionaries are just big, dumb books of words for cheaters and fancy people. Right?

Good stuff, eh? Applies to so many things, including the banjo.

Go read the article at Merlin Mann's site 43 Folders. Oh, if you're offended by a "bad word" or three, then consider this your warning. Skip over those words, replace them in your mind with some other word, but read the article.

-=Jim

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About Me

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Short version:

With over 30 years of experience performing and teaching banjo I am eager to share my music with you.

I'm also available for your school or community event where I can introduce the banjo and present a fun program that demonstrates a variety of banjo styles.

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More Detail than you probably want:

I started playing banjo in 1977. I'm self taught... the old fashion way.  I'm a firm supporter now of the listen and learn approach. I've ruined many records and needles by trying to hit that particular spot in a tune I was learning.  

From the beginning I loved teaching others to play the banjo. I've had as many as 50 students a week. One of the greatest opportunities as a banjo teacher came when some of my articles were accepted and used by Banjo Newsletter in an article titled "The Workshop."  I've taught a variety of banjo workshops including The Maryland Banjo Academy, Steve Kaufman's Acoustic Kamp,  and Banjo Newsletter's SPBGMA Workshop.

While in college in the early 80's I took up playing the clawhammer style of banjo playing. I worked from a book I got from Grandpa Jones. I learned the basics and then spent hours trying to figure out Soldier's Joy from the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's Will The Circle Be Unbroken Album. Years later and many hours of practice I think maybe I finally understand the style. 

I'm currently playing with, quite possibly, some of the best musicians in the world. The Lone Mountain Band, made up of Bobby Burns, Diana Phillips, Roy Curry and myself has been the most fun and challenging group I've ever worked with. I hope to see you at some of our shows!