Last summer I taught at a camp in Colorado with Mark Johnson, who is a wonderful banjo picker. Mark is best known as one of Steve Martin’s teachers and he has a unique and exciting approach to the instrument. I was inspired to at least dabble a bit with this quirky but strangely appealing instrument. This year Rocky Mountain College purchased a Deering banjo for me to use in lessons and I’ve been teaching myself by using Murphy Henry’s DVD as well as a book by Janet Davis. It’s been a bigger challenge than I anticipated (I’m used to having my thumb play the low notes), but it’s also been a blast.
So I know at this point in my life that I’ll probably never be able to play banjo like Mark Johnson, or piano like Keith Jarrett for that matter. But who knows; with some practice I might be able to play the piano as well as Mark Johnson and the banjo as well as Keith Jarrett.