Ben’s Blog: Jammin’ In The Big House

Ben Smelser

Ben Smelser

Yep, that's right folks, the Thursday night Jam was held at the Courtyard Marriott to help accommodate the Murphy Method Intermediate campers who are living there the next few days while attending camp. So....that makes a big house. Bigger than mine anyhow! 

Oh yeah, I'm blogging, not Murphy, trying to help her out cause she is busy with the camp. Since we had so many folks there last night I won't get into names. But here's my take!

Once we got the room set up and everyone got in the circle we were ready to jam. I missed the first song due to Murphy forcing me to drive to her studio and get the bass. But I rushed and that was the only song I missed. [It was a 15 minute version of Banjo in the Hollow!]

The first jam of Intermediate Camp

The first jam of Intermediate Camp

This Jam was like most of our jams, very instructional, which in my opinion makes them the best. If you're a great picker and never miss a beat then we love to hear you. But if you're someone who has never played with others before actually we need to hear you. Murphy's jams take the time to fix our hiccups that in the real world of music would be considered rude. Little things like tuning. Tune your instrument and then shut up. Don't keep doodling or trying to play backup with 10 other banjos which can create a hodge podge of music.

What's nice is over the past couple years of knowing Murphy she hasn't swayed a bit when it comes to her rules of jamming or playing. We have all been set on that straight and narrow path by her quite a few times. And if any of you are students of Casey's, she is no different. She will enlighten you in a heart beat. [We do try to do it with love! :-)] By the way, watch what ya say to one, cause the other will find out. They work very well together, sharing information about their students. I call it the Murphy Method Mafia. They will get ya!

Numerous songs were played and sung. Everyone took their breaks if they could and the singing was loud and good. What I noticed from up front playing the bass was that, without a doubt, everyone was trying. From taking breaks to just vamping everyone was constantly working on making their instrument sound right. In a room that big with so many instruments it is so noisy you can't hear yourself. So when ya see folks with their ear leaned over against the neck of their banjo they are definitely trying. I also noticed all the people that are staying in the hotel kept creeping down the hallway to take a peek at the show that you folks put on for them last night.

Before I close I have to say I'm pretty proud of Murphy for getting through a whole jam without one non-Sunday school word. Must of been cause Bob V. wasn't there. [It was tough, Ben. Don't expect such good behavior the rest of the weekend! 

If you're a first time camper, get ready for a real fun time of learning, picking, singing, eating, and laughing. Your teachers this weekend are the best in the business. Remember this: every time Murphy or Casey correct us in our ways of playing it shows that they truly care. If they didn't they would just let us continue down the wrong road of picking. Believe me they care! Now let's go have ourselves a banjo camp!

[Thank you, Ben, for the blog and your kind words. But I guess you'd rather help out by blogging than by coming over here and fixing our water heater, which gave up the ghost (way too early in my opinion!) and sprang a leak last night in the middle of the jam. Thank goodness Red was home to tend to that!]