Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Wild, Wonderful and Warm and Constult

Just got back from WV. Guess what? It's hot. Marlinton, West Virginia is surrounded by high mountains and a wonderful system of cool rivers and streams. It was in the upper 80's, low 90's every day. People of the area were in shock. It was still cooler than Georgia, but I didn't rub it in, I just went to the pool in the late afternoons.
The workshops were great. I had a great rhythm guitar class...a curious blend of older musicians to pre teens.

One of my students, an Australian by birth and circa my age, spends part of his year in Melbourne, Australia, and the other part in Texas. He plays a nice little Martin 4 string and a baitone Uke...something that I knew nothing about, but he did! he knew more chords than anyone there, as we used to be a tenor banjo player. Had a great time talking to him about Austrailia.

Another student was a teenage boy who came from a Mariachi band tradition in Texas...his whole family played. I don't remember the name of the instrument he played, a 7 (?) string affair with about 6 or 7 frets, and a fretless finger board above that about the size of a small guitar. He had won 4th place in the Texas State Contest last year on the instrument. His take on it was he would win the championship this year, cause all the others had graduated. He was lightning fast and very impressive. I sorta' felt sorry for him having to learn "alternating bass" rhythm guitar. I couldn't even chord that instrument!

The former director of the Greenbank Radio Observatory decided to "re-learn" guitar after having his stolden some 15 years ago. I had actually played with him in another life at a square dance in Washington DC, as we learned after talking. Jay was the one who told me about words that have gone into disuse. One word was  "CONSTULT" meaning, "to act together, stupidly". Congress came to mind...opps, no poltitics in this blog. 

I also learned that Myan Calendar will expire in 2012 when something happens that aligns the sun, the planets and the galaxy we live in. Not to worry, people, nothings gonna' happen except the Myans will have to rise up and recreate the most acurate calendar the world has ever known to last for another couple thousand years...I doubt it will happen. 

The nice thing about teaching is that one learns so much. I'm not easily intimidated, and have been known to consort with people who seem to know a great deal, just to see what'll happen next. We sometimes constult.

The Bing Brothers, Mike and Tim, put on a Master's concert one afternoon that was as good as any I' ve heard in my life.. The afternoon jam under the steps with people from all the different classes was impromtu and free flowing. The mini workshops in the afternoon on guitar, fiddle, banjo, and mandolin were much fun, and gave everyone interested in "witnessing" a chance to come together to do so for an hour or two after class.

My birthday was on Thurs night...that's the night Jake Krack, the Bings, Bob Shank and others, imvite me to a jam, get me up against the wall and don't let me go until I've sung everything I know. A birthday bottle of Black Label Bushmills gets passed around to sorta' fuel the session! They get to drink it, and I'm rewarded by having high octane music fired back at me. Good swap.

Finally, grandon Jacob was totally against takin his guitar, and wasn't interested in taking guitar lessons. Ten minutes after we got there, he learned all the other kids were taking lessons, and signed up. He did well, and was on stage for the student concert, having leaned 4 chords, a couple songs and rhythms. He told me afterward that he knows what I felt like when I got on stage for the first time. It brought back a distant memory. The second day he wanted to move up there.

All in  all, oral tradition and the folk process were alive and well in West Virginia last week.  Hope all of you had a constult week. Never have too much fun, you know.

1 comment:

  1. I never got to pick w/ him, but my Daddy was a tenor banjo/tenor guitar player. He played Traditioanl Jazz (AKA Dixieland) back in the 1920s and 30s. He played by ear and he also taught himself to sight read sheet music. Pretty cool for a dude with an 8th grade education