Nearing the final stretch of the in-depth project, I have come to the reasonable conclusion that the outcome of the project and my participation would have been completely different (not for the better). My musical library of knowledge has expanded almost threefold since we started our lessons and I have never been this interested in a musical instrument. I plan to continue my lessons even after the project has concluded. Over spring break in particular I learned how to play popular banjo songs such as “Oh Susanna,” “I’ll fly away,” and “Worried Man Blues” to name a few. I was planning to make a recording for this blog post, but I had to send my banjo into the shop for a modification called an “action adjustment,” which allows it to play higher notes without them going flat (compressed strings).
The learning opportunities Josh provides to expose me to new learning is to put me in the forefront of my learning by letting me choose what I wish to learn and personalizing his standard teaching program to my personal learning style. This sort of openness accurately reflects the learning of the TALONS program so I found it very easy to learn via this method.
The learning opportunities that exist to promote new learning is the fact that music is an infinite field of new learning that you can never completely explore and the odd satisfaction that comes with it. With musical in-depths, usually the conclusion after six months of study is that you know nothing.
The opportunities that might accelerate my learning would to focus on just one specific field of interest within the different styles of playing the instrument, and to work on that area as much as possible. For example, in my learning I am focusing on the “bluegrass” style of playing the banjo as opposed to strumming, clawhammer, or the many other variations of making noise come out of the instrument.
When my mentor and I get together for our meetings (usually once a week) we mostly talk about my advancement with what we learned last week (homework), and what to work on for the next week. The rest of the time is spent practicing, because we can only meet for about half an hour at a time.
The thing that is going particularly well in my mentoring relationship right now is our work schedule. Our method of learning and gaining new information works really well for me and we can get a lot done at every meeting, even though we only meet for half an hour at a time.
What my mentor and I are learning about each other is that we actually have a lot in common. The age gap between us isn’t that great, but it is significant so it was pleasing that we have similar interests that did not involve banjos; like travelling, reading fiction novels and computer games.
In conclusion, I think my current mentoring situation is fantastic, much better than last year, and that I would have probably lost interest in my topic after a couple months if it hadn’t been for Josh, pushing my possible achievements to the project to greater heights. Once again, I apologize for not having any musical evidence for this blog post and I will have something on a recording for next time.
Until the next post,