With the hope of proving the old saying wrong, and showing that an old dog can learn a new trick, I am about to leave the Mountain State of West Virginia to travel to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, to attend Pete Wernick’s advanced Banjo Camp. Subsidized by a scholarship provided by Stelling Banjo, and having been selected by Dr. Banjo for this honor, I am both excited and apprehensive about the journey I am about to undertake.
I try to project confidence in my ability and think that my willingness to accept instruction reflects security, rather than insecurity or arrogance. However, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m a little anxious about getting exposed as the out-of-date, over-the-hill has-been (or worse, never-was) by a bunch of young turks. In actuality, I don’t know anything about the other participants other than the fact that the other scholarship recipient is 18 (I believe I still remember what that was like).
At 50, I know I can’t play quite as fast as I once could, and I have to warm up before a show (which I never needed to do in my 20’s, and 30’s). I also know that I’ll never be what I could have been if I had devoted myself to music, as I did in my teens before deciding against making it my career. However, I’m equally certain that I can be better than I am, and I am determined to learn, grow, and improve as a musician.
As I expressed to Pete Wernick in my scholarship application, I learned the majority of what I know from books, listening to albums, and attending shows, but with the exception of one afternoon workshop with Bill Keith about 30 years ago, I have not had the opportunity to be “up close and personal” with someone of his stature and I am excited to have this opportunity.
With the hope that my experience may be of interest, and perhaps even informative, I plan to write “letters home” from camp throughout this coming week.