Baby Boomers Skyping!

Murphy Henry

Murphy Henry

Short version (in case you don't want to read all this!): I am giving Skype lessons now. Email me at if you are interested. Put "Skype lesson" in the subject line, please.

Long version: Well, folks, I have finally entered the 21st century by giving my first two Skype lessons! I am pleased to say I thought they went rather well.

Of course, being a Baby Boomer, I had to get Casey to set up my Skype account and show me how to use it. My only contribution was buying a camera at Radio Shack and letting it sit around for six months before I knuckled and asked for help. Casey showed me how to work it, but since I didn't use it immediately, I promptly forgot everything she showed me. (Yeah, it happens to me too!)  

So, there was my Skype, all set up. And I was dragging butt. Obviously, new computer stuff freaks me out. (I still don't know how to post my Blogs. Casey does that!) But after our Intermediate Camp,  when Steve, from Atlanta, asked about Skype lessons, I bit the bullet and said, "Yes." (I have an admitted soft spot in my heart for grown men who call me "Miz Henry" in a Southern accent!)

Steve, also a Baby Boomer, was completely new to Skyping and had to set it up on his computer. Obviously, he succeeded. Still, when The Day For Skyping came, both of us were sitting in front of our computers at the appointed time trying to figure out how to make the damn thing work! I wish I had saved our text messages, as we tried to figure out how to call each other. Steve had sent his Skype number by text, but I couldn't figure out how to add it to my Skype page. (Oh, quit laughing!) It had something to do with me sending him an email by Skype saying that I was willing to be a "contact." I did that, twice, and finally after numerous text messages back and forth, he called me and we were Skyping! Whoopee!

You think all that would have helped with my Skype lesson the next day with Marty. No, it did not. Same thing happened. I texted Marty that I was at my computer, and he texted back that he was at his computer. So there we were, sitting in front of our computers--I had Marty's Skype number and he had mine--but we couldn't figure out how to call each other! (Land lines were so much easier!) It was that same "agreeing to be a contact" thing. I said "yes" twice and finally Marty's face appeared on my Skype screen but the button saying "video call" wouldn't work. So, he's in North Carolina calling HIS daughter for help (she had set up his Skype), and I'm in Virginia calling MY daughter for help. Too funny! Casey stopped in the middle of a banjo lesson to tell me that she didn't think Marty was actually online. So I called him on the phone to tell him that, and maybe he did something to get online, because pretty soon I could see on my Skype screen that he was calling me. Whew! We were connected! After that, the lesson itself was a piece of cake!

So now, I CAN SKYPE! I feel so technologically advanced!

So, all that is to say, that if you would like to try a Skype lesson--on banjo, guitar, or beginning to intermediate mandolin--"I'm your huckleberry" as Doc Holliday said in the Tombstone movie. (One of my all-time faves!) Just shoot me an email at We'll try to work something out. We can do a one-off or try for something regular. I just hope to goodness I can remember how to get connected. But, if I don't, Casey will be standing by!

2 thoughts on “Baby Boomers Skyping!

  1. Dan

    Welcome to Skype, Murphy! You will get the hang of it quickly. One thing to remember is that it actually was Boomers who built the Internet, so it’s really Boomer country to start with 🙂

    Another thing to be aware of is the dreaded ‘skypeface’. I learned this term from Richard Gilewitz ( guitarist) when he visited Australia late last year for a few concerts ( he is hilarious, by the way, apart from being a brilliant guitarist). Skypeface is that contorted facial expression that gets frozen in Skype videos when the data transmission is temporarily interrupted. No doubt you will get over any feelings of vanity after a few confrontations with those Skypefaces; not just yours but those of your students as well.

    BTW, I love your method of teaching. I do read tab as well, but I find there is no easier way to make a song your own, than to learn it by having it demonstrated visually, and then repeating it until it is ingrained. Once I can play a song from your lesson list, I just don’t forget it.

    Keep up the great work and have fun with Skype!

  2. Mike Owens

    Hi Murphy.
    I had a skype lesson with Eddie Collins in Texas a few months ago, and had exactly the same problems as you did, so don’t feel to bad about your lack of computer knowledge or having to rely on Casey so much.
    I’d love to have a lesson with you, but I’m “downunder” in Australia, so that could really cause some problems!!!
    Anyway, following the skype lesson, and much trying to progress with my banjo over the last five years, , and many many failures (by the hundreds), I have put the banjo away, it nearly broke my heart to give up, and being a sixty-seven year old male, my pride got hurt as well.
    I hope the skype lessons go well for you, I just try each day to get better on the other eight instruments I am trying to master!! Ha! Master indeed.
    Righteeo, I better let you get on with your life, I meet with you and Casey every Sunday for three hours or so, and try my best to work on a song (On each of the instruments) from the play-along dvd’s. So, see ya next Sunday,
    Regards and wishes,
    Mike Owens (a would be misfit if ever there was one!!!!!

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