Have you hugged your banjo today?

The poor, maligned banjo is actually quite a beautiful instrument.  Ever since I put on my first pair of finger picks, I’ve noticed a few things.

1)      When you play the banjo, everyone asks you to play Duelling Banjos.  This is reasonable, because it’s a very recognizable bluegrass song.  Thanks, Deliverance!  And it’s actually a really fun song to play.  However, it is a duet.  People will insist that you play it alone, with awkward pauses where Ronny Cox should be playing guitar.  They will not take “no” for an answer.  Damn you, Deliverance!

2)      Any time a television program discusses a topic such as cousin marriage or people who fish with their bare hands, there will inevitably be a banjo picking away in the background.

The banjo is subject to a lot of stereotyping, but it can be difficult to learn and to play.  It’s also a lot more versatile than a lot of people realize.  My sister used to always say “you can’t play a sad song on the banjo” but you can play beautiful, melodic songs on the banjo that can sound quite haunting.  She doesn’t say this anymore, because she has recently taken up the banjo herself.  Go, sister!

In any case, the banjo is awesome and I’m often disappointed that I don’t have more time to practice.  I have a sticker on my banjo case that says: “Have you hugged your banjo today?”

My poor banjo hasn’t been hugged in a while.  I would love to play it more, but it’s such a LOUD instrument.  And nap time is such a precious, precious time.  People have suggested that I take it downstairs to our unfinished basement and play it there, with the baby monitor close at hand while C naps.  There’s nothing very wrong with that idea, it’s just a hassle.

I could probably do some quiet picking in the front room of the main floor (where the banjo lives), but then, where is the fun in that?  The banjo is meant to be played loudly, vibrantly, and with enthusiasm.  A quiet hoedown is just not the same.

Can anyone relate to this?  Has anyone figured out how to do something pleasant, yet nap-unfriendly during the day? 

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