Tony Trischka's Essential Practice Techniques for Bluegrass Banjo

Tony Trischka’s Essential Practice Techniques for Bluegrass Banjo

Lessons from a pro! Tony Trischka’s Essential Practice Techniques for Bluegrass Banjo is a great way for a beginning banjo player to pick up important tips on best practices, but it can also be useful for the intermediate player seeking to brush up on key skills. Either way, foundational technique is the focus. Topics covered include: Rhythm. Slurs. Standard rolls. Right-hand finger independence. Playing by … Continue reading Tony Trischka’s Essential Practice Techniques for Bluegrass Banjo

Understanding Musical Keys: Identifying & Using

Understanding Musical Keys: Identifying and Using

Identifying Keys There are two ways to identify a key: Look at the key signature. Analyze the chords of the song. If you happen to be playing from music written in standard notation, such as a songbook or hymnal, the easiest way to identify the key is to look at the key signature—the number of sharps or flats written at the beginning of the staff … Continue reading Understanding Musical Keys: Identifying and Using

Music Practice

Music Practice

Don’t be fooled by the price.  Music Practice: The Musician’s Guide to Practicing and Mastering Your Instrument Like a Professional by David Dumais is not a cheesy little booklet full of half-baked ideas with no meat on their bones.  It’s a concise but thorough look at how to make the most of your practice time, no matter what instrument you play. The book starts at … Continue reading Music Practice

Benefits of Making Music

Benefits of Making Music

Those of us who play music typically do it for the love of it, not necessarily for any benefits it might bring us. However, research indicates that playing an instrument goes a long way toward making us healthy, well-balanced individuals. Here’s how: Enhanced brain function. About 90% of the brain is stimulated during music practice. Neural connections are made between the audio, visual, and motor … Continue reading Benefits of Making Music

Get Ready for July 2016

Get Ready for July 2016

Summer can be very busy, but don’t forget to learn and brainstorm.  Spend some time enjoying nature, researching animals, and growing healthy plants. Brush up on your birdwatching vocabulary. Discover how wood type affects the sound of your guitar. Explore the 11 physiographic regions of Kansas. Learn about rare and popular breeds of livestock. Consider growing beans as a field crop in Kansas. Find out … Continue reading Get Ready for July 2016

Get Ready for June 2016

Get Ready for June 2016

June is just around the corner. Take some time to sharpen your knowledge of farming, music, crafts, and history. Find out how glyphosate-resistant crops work. Brush up on your mandolin technique. Teach your kids how to knit on those rainy days. Discover the story of the Stetson hat. Make a strawberry shortcake. Collect five things every beginning charcoal artist needs. Consider what caused the Dust … Continue reading Get Ready for June 2016

Get Ready for May 2016

Get Ready for May 2016

Summer is fast approaching! It’s time to battle the bugs, brush up on music skills, and plan some family time for Memorial Day. Discover the historical geography of the United States. Choose the right string gauge for your guitar. Deter garden bugs before they show up for lunch. Start a homemade construction project. Learn how to communicate with a sheepdog. Improve your banjo technique. Read … Continue reading Get Ready for May 2016

The Roots of Western Music

The Roots of Western Music

One of the most interesting aspects of traditional American music is its lineage.  Traditional songs morph over time, perhaps getting their start in foreign countries and adapting themselves to fit the American experience.  As that experience changes and travels to new places, so does the music. Such was the case with cowboy music, also called Western music to encompass the songs of the Indian, the … Continue reading The Roots of Western Music