So now that the dust has settled from the rush of the holidays and we’ve fully settled into the rhythms of a new year, it’s time to share with you what sorts of things are in store from the world of Brainjo in 2018.
2017 brought the launch of the long awaited fingerstyle course. And in 2018 – in a matter of a few days – we’ll have a new course to add to the mix! One that’s been over 2 years in the making, and one I’m thrilled to finally get to share.
Thing #1 – The Brainjo Method tackles a new instrument, with the help of an incredible instructor.
After taking up the fiddle several years ago, I soon realized that the world was lacking a comprehensive source of instruction on the topic. Even though I had the advantage of prior musical experience, and a dependable approach to learning that I could rely upon, there were still many fits and starts in my own learning journey.
It’s no wonder then that the fiddle has the reputation that it does.
I don’t think it should be that way. Besides, the best way to ensure that this wonderful tradition lives and grows is to give aspiring fiddlers the tools they need to be successful (it is an incredibly fun instrument to play as well).
So, it brings me great pleasure to announce that next week will bring the launch of “Fiddle for All,” a comprehensive, step by step course for learning to play the fiddle, based on the Brainjo Method of instruction.
But it gets even better! Because we have none other than the inimitable Adam Hurt as the lead instructor for the course (those familiar with Adam’s music and, more importantly, his teaching ability, will understand why I’m so thrilled).
This course has been over two years in the making, so I can’t wait for it to finally see the light of day. It’s the course I would’ve loved to have had 5 years ago.
And, there’s a reason fiddle and banjo are like peas and carrots, and there’s a reason so many clawhammer banjoists are also adept sawstrokers (one of the best things I ever did for my banjo playing was learning to play the fiddle).
So, if you’ve ever had the inclination to give the devil’s box a whirl, it’s never been a better time to rosin up a bow and get started (and no, you are not too old).
Click here to learn more about the Fiddle for All course. Register before launch day and you’ll get an extra two weeks in the $7 trial period.
Thing #2 – The Ear Laboratory experiments will begin.
As you may know, one of the goals of the Breakthrough Banjo course is to lead folks down the path to musical fluency, or the ability to take imagined sounds in their minds and play them on their instrument.
Doing such a thing requires a fully developed ability to play by ear.
The course already includes multiple modules for those purposes, including how to hear chord changes, how to pick out melodies by ear, and how to build a clawhammer arrangement of any song from scratch.
But this year I’m also adding the Ear Laboratory, a space dedicated to reinforcing those abilities.
As you may know, I create all the tabs for the tune and song of the week courses, and the laboratory will include step by step videos how to create arrangements, by ear, from scratch.
Non-members will be pleased to know that I’ll be doing this from time to time from the tunes in our tune and song of the week series as well. And the first installment is coming soon!
Thing #3 – More Brainjos will be released into the world to satisfy voracious appetites for an affordable, handmade, sonorous delight.
2017 saw 48 Brainjo banjos released out into the wild to the delight of their owners, and production is being ramped up to hopefully bring even more into the world this year (at this moment, 4 spots are still open for the next batch, set to ship in April).
In addition, Tim and I are also developing a much needed model for the old time fingerpickers of the world. I hope to have more details soon!
Thing #4 – The classics shall continue.
While shiny new objects are always hard to resist, it’s important to remember that the classics exist for a reason.
There’s far too much music left to play and musical brain building knowledge still to share.
Thing #5 – Camp Brainjo returns!
November 2017 saw the first ever Camp Brainjo. With myself, Adam Hurt, and Luke Abbott as instructors and a delightful, enthusiastic group of Brainjo students, we convened in the foothills of the North Georgia mountain for what turned out to be an amazing few days.
It will be a tough act to follow. But, in 2018, we will try!
Almost all of our initial set of campers have claimed a spot for round two, so, in order to accommodate some new faces, I’m exploring the possibility of a larger camp, or possibly two camps, for 2018 (first priority will again go to existing Breakthrough Banjo members). I hope to have more details soon!
Thing #6 – Last but not least, 2018 will be the year of banjofication.
First, a definition is in order.
- the act of equipping oneself with a banjo
- the process of bringing together the artificially segregated worlds of world of banjo into a cohesive, unstoppable force, allowing all those impacted to avail themselves to new worlds of sonic possibility and previously unrealized levels of auditory bliss.
Clawhammer, frailing, minstrel, old time 3 finger, old time 2 finger, index lead, thumb lead, Scruggs, Keith, Reno, melodic, single string, bluegrass, old time, etc….
While all of our various and asundry ways of classifying the music of the five string may have its utility, one of its major downsides, as you may heard me say before, is that it’s created arbitrary divisions amongst the world of banjoists. Divisions that, in multiple ways, limit players from fully exploring all the incredible things this instrument has to offer.
(RELATED: If you’re interested in learning not one, but all, styles of fingerstyle using the Brainjo method, click here to learn more about the course.)
So, there you have it! It’s shaping up to be a most excellent year.