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 coveredContinue reading “Tony Trischka’s Essential Practice Techniques for Bluegrass Banjo”

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.Continue reading “Benefits of Making Music”

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. ConsiderContinue reading “Get Ready for July 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 thingsContinue reading “Get Ready for June 2016”

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 calledContinue reading “The Roots of Western Music”

The Kansas Poems of John Greenleaf Whittier

John Greenleaf Whittier was probably best known for his book-length poem Snowbound, but as a Quaker he was also an ardent abolitionist, even taking an active hand in political lobbying for the cause at one point. When the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 plunged the entire nation into a debate on slavery and the respective rolesContinue reading “The Kansas Poems of John Greenleaf Whittier”