How to Excel Locally, by Wilson Harwood, Guitar and Banjo Instructor

In my experience there is nothing to help you improve your playing more than to go out and play with other musicians. To me, this is the greatest part of playing and one of the strongest ways to improve song repertoire, inspiration, rhythm and countless other nuances in your playing. We cannot forget to mention it is a whole lot of fun as well. So, for those of you in the Boulder area, here are some places to start getting out and playing. I am speaking from the perspective of a bluegrass and old time enthusiast, but this advice could help any musician.

To start, let’s talk bluegrass. It just so happens there is a Colorado Bluegrass Music Society. Their website has a great page devoted to “Jams”. On Tuesday there is a jam in Lyons at Oskar Blues. I haven’t made it up to this one, but I hear it is a big one with lots of incredible players. On Wednesday, check out “The Big Pick Bluegrass Jam” at the Pioneer Inn up in Nederland. In our very own Boulder, Abo’s Pizza hosts a Thursday night jam at 7pm. Always call ahead to check times. Those were just some local examples, but there are many more in Fort Collins, Denver, Loveland and more!

So now you have picked a bit, how about seeing some pros. If you check out KGNU‘s website, you will find a list of upcoming bluegrass shows around town, both in large venues and tiny hole-in-the-wall bars. Seeing shows is also an integral ingredient in your education (I know — life is hard; right?). Check out the Southern Sun Pub to see show times and jam times, not to mention great beer.

When I said excel locally, I really meant locally. The best way to play more than once and with those at your level is to ask friends, co-workers, and neighbors if they want to jam. Try it out and if you find it to be to easy or hard or just bad chemistry, keep looking. If it works, try to play once a week. Having a goal with a group is a great way to get motivated. Hope this first blog helps a lot.

Next time I am going to write a bit about Santeria and the music of Cuba.

Have questions for Wilson, or would you like to schedule a lesson with Wilson at The Lesson Studio? Call 303-543-3777 or e-mail: thelessonstudio@comcast.netbanjo instructor, guitar instructor, The Lesson Studio


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