Have fun! (Or else)

I think our educational system does us a disservice when it comes to private music instruction. Essentially, the former is predicated on “right” or “wrong,” and in music there is no “right” or “wrong.”

Most people approach their music lessons as they would the taking of a math course, with the expectation of being judged and graded, and having to pass “tests” to show their increasing proficiency.

Well, music–and especially banjo music–just doesn’t work that way.  I tell my students right at the outset that I have no expectations for them: any expectations are strictly their own.  I do not hold them to some measure of improvement–all I want them to do is to have some fun.

And that’s what it’s all about.  In 50-some years of teaching, I have had but one beginning student who already had a gig lined up.  He was a studio guitarist who had accepted a job playing banjo for a commercial jingle.  He told me he hated the banjo but needed to learn one short piece for a studio session in six weeks (he did).

Other than that, not one of the thousands of people I’ve taught was trying to learn on a timetable because he had a deadline.  Instead, everyone has said he was doing it “for himself.”

So to me, that means there is no pressure, and that my job as a teacher is to try to make the learning journey fun, for there is no destination.

Taking music lessons is far too expensive to be a frustration.  If you want to pay lots of money to be frustrated, I recommend golf.  You should “practice” your instrument because it’s rewarding and fun. (I put the word practice in quotation marks because I highly recommend not regimented practicing, but playing, instead–please see my 5 June 2015 blog on just that subject.)

I tell folks that if they drag their instruments out the day before their lessons, thinking “Oh, yeah, I guess I’d better practice this thing” they will never learn to play.  The folks who do learn to play are the ones who can’t put the instrument down.  And why is that?  Because it’s fun, not a chore.

So relax, have fun.  Experiment, noodle around.  Try to do that which pleases you.  And if you’re not having fun, please tell your teacher–something has to change, or you’ll just lose interest.

And that’s no fun at all.

I’m a Horrible Blogger

OK. I started a personal blog many years ago, and it withered on the vine.  I, as do all Banjo Hangout users, have blog space available at http://banjohangout.org and I seem to be able to remember to get around to posting something there oh, maybe about once a year.

I just haven’t been very good at this, I fear… *sigh*

But I do post some things in threads and have come to realize that I repeat many things dealing with my teaching of the guitar and banjo.  Therefore, having more time in my retirement, I figured I might as well post some of those things here on what remains of the ZEPP Country Music, Inc. website, which I have promised a number of people that I shall maintain sans commercial content.

So, now I shall yet again endeavor to post some music-oriented blogs here, on my very own site.  I can’t promise that I won’t cut and paste some stuff from posts I’ve made, but at least things will be here in one place.  Likewise, I don’t promise this will be entirely music-oriented, as I suspect I’ll mention a few things about life and my philosophy.

Oh, I should also point out that my keyboard has had neither a “wIMG_20150519_142549404_HDR” nor a numeral “2” key for the past couple of years, thanks to the claws of a standard poodle who stood on my laptop.  So if one of those characters (or their shifted equivalents, “W” and “@”) seems to be missing somewhere, please feel free to use these to insert as needed: wwww 2222 WWWW @@@@

And if anybody actually reads this, who knows, I might continue…