Viewing entries tagged
JJ

JJ's Take: Commitments are important

Comment

JJ's Take: Commitments are important

Commitments are important.  When I tell my kids something, and I have three, and they do not forget, then I have a hard time saying I'm being a quality parent if I break that commitment. Even if there's a good business reason for that decision it's a stain on my reputation as a badass dad.

My parents are badass parents.  They quickly set me up with a $75 pawn shop banjo to learn on and got me started on lessons. Macklemore would be proud.

I think that some kids just enjoy stuff. I enjoyed playing banjo. Just to play banjo. I didn't like practicing but, by golly, I liked to play. And I think that's what it takes to squeeze the sounds you want out of an instrument, or to repair an engine, or to tackle linear algebra. It takes looking at it, and identifying the next little thing you can't do yet and grinding away on that little piece until you own it in your mind and your body.  That being said, if your kid is into something so much that they set aside things like video games and playtime so that they can do that something even more, just don't let them go into debt doing it if at all possible. Support them otherwise.

Anyhow, I digress... Y'all will want to be ready for that in my blog. A sentence is no good where a paragraph will suffice. I wonder if that's related to how much I like lots of notes and very few rests.

So there I am playing banjo, and jamming with my dad playing Styx and Marshal Tucker and Jerry Jeff Walker. Listening to a lot of Pink Floyd and some Police and that sorta thing.

Then I got a banjo teacher that made possibly the most tangential impact on my playing style possible. His name was Jamie and he introduced me to the music of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones.

To be continued...

Comment

JJ's Take: I like busy music. I always have.

Comment

JJ's Take: I like busy music. I always have.

My first instrument was a banjo. I started playing around on it when I was just a wee bit older than nine, and have always found it suited my desire to make notes float and weave and drift by in little circles in front of my ears.

When I turned nine, my parents told me, "You have to pick an instrument." I immediately said, "DRUMS." Dad looked at mom. Mom knew what he was thinking. They smiled at each other.

"No." 

They told me not to rush it, and to find something that I would really enjoy. Then one morning I was eating breakfast with my parents, who listened to the local AM country station religiously. Paul Harvey's "The Rest of The Story" was playing as usual and it was always something my dad tried to catch.  This particular morning just as the radio show concluded the station played a song rather than going to commercial break.

I listened to the sounds coming out of the tiny speaker of the clock radio in the kitchen make spirals and circles and as the Flat & Scruggs classic "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" continued to tear through the air, I decided that this twang was just what I would enjoy trying to emulate. I said, "I wanna play that."

My parents looked at each other again, this time with confusion on their faces. My mom asked, "Isn't that a banjo"?

to be continued...

JJ likes to get busy.

Comment