“Competition makes losers of all but a few.” This was my negative childhood assessment of the concept, and it hasn’t changed much in 50 years! So the idea of competition as applied to music—specifically the banjo—turns my stomach. However. . .
Having once been a “young banjoist” myself (I started at the age of 12), I have often thought about what it takes to get kids (or even young adults) interested in the banjo. I have sadly watched the four-string banjo fade in popularity in my 40+ years of playing, so this question has taken on increasing importance—indeed, it has become a call to action for me.
For years I have been hearing and participating in conversations about how to keep the four-string banjo relevant, and thus in the public eye (and thus “save” it from obscurity).
This blog post was inspired by my online conversation with my old friend Patrick Dinneen. This is exactly why I’m doing this; to get folks talking about the four-string banjo again.
I know that my previous blog posts have left many wondering “just what is he trying to say?” I know this is so because I am left with that same question when I read my own material!
There are some things that “need to be said,” and some things that are “better left unsaid”; deciding between the two is a difficult task, especially in a small, close-knit “hobby” community like that of the four-string banjo.
In my head, I’m hearing George Carlin’s smooth, ironical voice uttering this ultimate oxymoron (alongside Jumbo/Shrimp, College/Education, and Military/Intelligence). Quick test; say the word “banjo” and try to keep a straight face! Ha, I knew you couldn’t do it!
I chose the subject of “taking things too seriously” as my first published blog, simply because everything I do and say is affected by the habit. I’ve always had difficulty just “doing something for the sake of doing it”; without fail, I get sucked in by the fascinating details of the subject, making it hard to just have a “hobby.” Anyway, you’ve been warned!