Another Practice Tip

Murphy HenryOK, folks, this is gonna be short and sweet. I’ve got to get back to the football game. (End of first quarter: Pittsburgh Steelers are ahead! Go Steelers!)

Here’s something you might not have thought of, especially you beginning banjo players: Be sure to rotate the order in which you practice your songs. Don’t just start with BITH (Banjo in the Hollow), then CC (Cripple Creek), and on into either BTCD (Boil Them Cabbage Down) or CG (Cumberland Gap) and so forth.

Why not? Because this is what happened to Marty when someone asked him to play Cumberland Gap: He froze. He’d been so used to playing his songs in a strict order--BITH, CC, and then BTCD--that he honestly could not remember how to start Cumberland Gap without running through (at least mentally) all those other songs. After that experience he decided he needed to shake things up. I agree!

One more cute story on Marty: He was playing Cumberland Gap and I noticed he was failing to fret the third string at the second fret during the next-to-the-last lick in the first part. He was playing the string open, which actually didn’t sound terribly wrong. (In the backward roll of 1, 2, 3, 1.) So I told him that he needed to fret it at the second fret.

He looks right at me and says, “Really?”

Like he doesn’t believe me!

Then he says, “I don’t think that was on the DVD.”

So I said, “Right, Marty. Yours was the only DVD out of the whole batch didn’t mention that the third string should be fretted at the second fret!”

He did have the good grace to look sheepish!

That’s all for now. Back to the ball game! Casey is even now down in Tampa, Florida, getting ready to start helping our friend and banjo player Cap Spence coordinate volunteers for the Super Bowl half-time show. I’m sure she’ll be sharing her experiences on the Blog! Be sure to tune in!

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