Narrative and Audition Clip for the Blue Ridge Banjo Camp in August

PLEASE DESCRIBE YOUR BACKGROUND AND MUSICAL EXPERIENCE.

I have no musical talent or experience whatsoever, other than what I’m trying to do with the banjo. I retired from the Air Force in 2005 and then taught high school English for ten years and retired from that. Now I run 5k a day, write science fiction, and since about 2014, I’ve been trying to play the banjo. I’ve learned what I’m able to play from Tony’s ArtistWorks site, Murphy Henry banjo camps, and fooling around on my own with tab. I really enjoy playing in front of people in busking-type situations or in my OPS with my dog. That’s ‘outdoor practice studio’–the back of my pickup truck. I’ve got sort of a little stage deal set up there, and we park at the lake in my little town or various other places and practice. You can see clips on my YT channel (Top Hat Banjo), on our IG (@tophatbanjo), or at tophatbanjo.com. I’ve been practicing an hour a day for 18 months or so. Surprisingly, I’ve struggled mightily with stage fright, taking the incremental steps of videotaping, playing in the OPS, and busking as a way to get to the perform-on-stage level, but my technical skills need some attention. For example, I find it almost impossible to hear when I’m out of tune, and all the tuners I’ve tried (many!) don’t work very well. But I soldier on 🙂

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