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Banjo Lessons: Composition Part 1: Noodling

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[MUSIC]
You
have a lot of material to work with at
this point and still, I think one
of the most important things you can do is
come up with your own compositions.
Even if you're a beginner, right off the
bat, you can start composing something.
And I don't mean for an orchestra or you,
you don't even have to write it down
necessarily, but you should record
whatever you do.
Or if you can write it out in tablature
and
it's good to be able to write out
tablature, so you don't forget it and
maybe keep a notebook of your
compositions.
I've given workshops to beginners in the
five-day workshop.
I would say, okay.
Everyone has to come up with a tune by the
end of the week and
90% of the people will do it, even people
that just started playing.
And they might come up with something that
sounds kind of Scrogsy or, and they might
come up with something in strange keys
very minor sounding, or, you never know.
Cuz everyone has musicality inside them
and
it doesn't necessarily have to be
Bluegrass.
It might be a product of what they've
listened to.
Maybe Broadway shows or classical music or
hip-hop or Bluegrass or
whatever it happens to be.
And all that just combined with your
personality will bring out
certain musical, musical touches.
So, I'm gonna discuss just three, there
are many, many strategies for
composing tunes and, I'll discuss three
for now.
And the first one is just noodling.
You just kind of fool around.
That's, that's one way to get stuff going
on and
I'm just gonna do this spontaneously and
see what comes out.
Sometimes, it helps to go to a part of the
neck that you're not familiar with.
Just try some, come down in some crazy
position.
[MUSIC]
That's kinda pretty.
[MUSIC]
Sort of.
[MUSIC]
It actually is kind of nice.
I don't know that I've ever done that
before.
Have the index on the sixth fret of the
second string,
the middle on the sixth fret of the, I'm
sorry.
Index on the sixth fret of the fourth
string.
No finger has ever gone there before, I
don't think.
[MUSIC]
Middle finger on the sixth fret of
the second.
[MUSIC]
And pinkie on the eighth fret
of the first.
[MUSIC]
And I'm doing four notes in a row.
[MUSIC]
Thumb.
[MUSIC]
Index.
[MUSIC]
Thumb.
[MUSIC] Middle. [MUSIC]
Just going down the strings.
[MUSIC]
And then fifth string, second, fourth.
[MUSIC]
And
you can just move it around, see what it
does.
[MUSIC]
And
if you don't like what you s-, what, the
sound you're getting, just move it up,
move, one of the fingers up or down a
fret.
[MUSIC]
Like maybe move the index down one fret.
[MUSIC]
It's the exact same position.
[MUSIC]
But
moved down here to the first fret of the
fourth string.
[MUSIC]
First fret of second,
third fret of the first string.
[MUSIC]
I'm not gonna go any farther than that
right now.
This is just, showing you the process that
I'm using right now.
And you could sit down and spend five
minutes or three months or
three years finishing the tune.
[MUSIC]
You never know,
cuz it's not always up to you.
Sometimes, something will come out or it
won't come out.
Sometimes, you'll be inspired.
Sometimes, you won't.
[MUSIC]
It's not Bluegrass, that's for sure.
[MUSIC]
But
you can find some really pretty sounds.
[MUSIC]
And
as much has been done on the Banjo in all
these years.
And there's still a lot more to be
discovered.
So it's really an exciting field,
getting into the compositional aspect of
Banjo playing.
[MUSIC]