Acoustic Meetup

Okay, check out this Youtube video:


That’s me on the banjo in a few years.  Except I’m wearing a shirt under my overalls.


I’ve always been a hard rock lover which still makes me wonder how in the world I bought a banjo. (Possibly the influence of Mumford & Sons more than Earl Scruggs)  But thanks to this video, it’s all clear.  Now I’ve gotta vision.

Once in awhile I like to get into my own personal WABAC machine and remember all those music lessons and practicing I had to endure as a small child. I liked the idea of playing but hated spending that loathsome half hour every day sitting at the keyboard or in front of a music stand. I just wanted to hang out in front of that black and white TV and watch Gilligan’s Island. Why were my parents so cruel? 

Fast forward several decades, and here I am happily spending hours trying to master my new instrument. Not crazy about all the jokes I get to hear about being a banjo player but I’m able to get beyond that. (What’s the difference between a banjo and a Harley? You can tune a Harley!)

 I took lessons for almost a year which really helped me get started but now I think I just need to practice more and play with other like-minded people.  Since March I’ve joined up with several other locals in an “acoustic meetup” at the Coastal Library in Crystal River. I’ve learned so much from playing with this group of acoustical musicians.

Acoustic Group
From left, Paula Bateman, Bob Richard, and Dennis Marshall.  There are more in our group but these are the only three that I could coerce into having their photo taken.

 Paula Bateman organized the group and continues planning the meetups. I still have trouble “hearing” the chords and I’m not quite fast enough on my picking but Paula is always encouraging. I have not only gained experience–when I leave my confidence is soaring.

Paula Bateman
Paula Bateman, Organizer

The meetup is open to all acoustic players at any level. There are very serious musicians that have played most of their lives and then there are newbies like me that just want to learn. We have a few things in common—we love music and love to have fun. We’ve had ukuleles, guitars, mandolins, dulcimers, fiddles, banjos and even a dobro. Everyone takes a turn choosing a song. We have some members that email the songs that they like, others print them and pass them out, but more commonly the song and the chords are just called out before we start playing.

We usually get together every other Monday but have some scheduling issues with the library for the next few months. So I thought I’d let everyone know the new agenda. The next meetup will be August 25 followed by September 22 –both of these dates are Mondays. In October we will be changing to Fridays and those dates are the October 3 and 24. Then we’ll get together on November 7 and December 1. Sounds confusing but the plan is to have a regular schedule in the new year.

I’m inviting anyone that loves music to come by the library during one of our meetups. Even if you don’t play an instrument, you are invited to come along and listen. You’ll see how much fun we are having, and you too, will want to join in.  (denim overalls are optional)

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