Playing The Banjo For My Own Sake, By Kasey Smelser

Kasey Smelser

Kasey Smelser

Note from Murphy: Kasey's dad, Ben, wrote a blog on February 9 about what led him to start taking banjo lessons with his daughter. Recently, Kasey had to write an essay for school that focused on something she'd had to learn. Naturally, she wrote about the banjo. Naturally, her dad emailed it to me. Naturally, I asked him---and Kasey---if I could use it as a blog. Naturally, they both said yes! So here's Kasey's take on her banjo-playing experience.]

My Dad and my brother always had a special bond, but since my brother went to college he has become more independent and doesn't need my Dad as much anymore. Now that my brother is not at home my Dad decided he wanted to do something to stay close with me. Out of nowhere my Dad asked me if I wanted to play an instrument. I'm really into music so I just said yes. I had no clue he wanted me to play the banjo.

When my Dad and I started playing the banjo we knew it was gonna be hard. When we first started off my Dad was a tad bit better than me, but once we started learning the more advanced stuff, I took off. Let's just say the stuff we learn and play comes a lot easier for me because I'm younger. My Dad tries his hardest to keep up with me 24/7, but for some reason it doesn't work out. All in all we still have a lot of fun.

Playing the banjo requires a lot of things. You have to have the patience to learn the songs. I try my best to stay calm, buy there have been times when I have gotten really stressed. You have to keep calm and let the song that you're learning come to you. It's not a simple, short process. It takes a while for all the information to fully come to you so you can play it smoothly.

I have been playing the banjo for a little over two years now. I have became more confident with it over time. My Dad has me going to camps a lot now. I go to a jam once every week, and I have a lesson every week. I have performed from family functions up to small and medium-sized crowds at camps and events I was invited to. Most recently I have came out of my shell and started singing with the banjo. These small events have made me better in so many ways.

Playing the banjo has been a great experience so far. It has brought so many great people into my life. I will continue playing the banjo for my own sake. These past two years have been pretty good. The banjo has brought great people and great memories into my life and I am forever grateful.

One more word from Murphy: I LOVE Kasey's comment "Let the song that you're learning come to you." Profound wisdom! Out of the mouth of babes.....!

2 thoughts on “Playing The Banjo For My Own Sake, By Kasey Smelser

  1. Anne

    As a parent of two teenagers, I have to give Kasey heaps of praise that she has found a way to express herself through music. I know her dad must be extremely proud, and I bet he really cherishes being able to share the music experience with her.

  2. Betty Fisher

    Kasey! I just saw this! What an awesome and inspiring piece of writing. It’s really strange to have just seen this tonight. I was in a really bad place about my banjo playing and yesterday Murphy sent me an interesting e-mail, then tonight I read this. I have to agree with Murphy about your very profound statement,”Let the song that you’re learning come to you.” So maybe there is a reason for Murphy’s e-mail and then for me reading this tonight. I gotta just hang in there and be patient with myself. Your relationship with your father is special and wonderful. You are both very fortunate to have each other. You are both also great inspirations for me.

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