Why do I play? I just have to make musical sounds on something, anything.
I play traditional for several reasons. One being that it's just cool to connect with the mind of someone who lived so long before you. But the bigger reason would be because my family has a strong Scott-Irish descent.
Not long ago we were looking online for some free geneaology info and found that someone who shared a common ancestor had made a tree. Turns out that my great-great (more greats follow) grandfather was born in Scotland in the 1500's. His children moved to Ireland in the 1600's. And by 1790 they settled in the county I was raised and still live in. So it's a roots connection for me too. To think they might have liked one of those jigs, or even played them when they came here.
Preachin' and pickin'
To dance with my fingers and speak without opening my mouth.
There are those who fast and abstain to see visions of heaven; and there are those who eat and drink heartily of life to see the same ...... Earl Wickman, Glen Ellen, CA town drunk
1. Got hooked on folk music in the later 1950's, Kingston Trio and all that, and stayed with it ever since.
2. I can make money playing; not very much, compared to my former pre-retirement day job, but averaging a couple hundred buxx weekly. Nice supplement to the retirement check.
3. Music has taken me to some wonderful places, and made me some wonderful friends. I get to travel regionally, sometimes further, and play at a variety of venues, from elementary schools to rural libraries to small festivals to small-town coffeehouses.
4. Specifically addressing traditional Celtic music, I love the instrumental virtuosity, the social aspect of ceilidhs, and the appealing generational mix of musicians; this is one musical genre where younger players are well represented, as opposed to the nearly universal graying of the folk constituency.
5. Why not?
Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
Natl Triolian Dobro mando
Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
Stradolin Vega banjolin
Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
Flatiron 3K OM
I like it because for the most part, it's simple, happy music. I'm simple and want to be happy. Seems a perfect match...
Not necessarily in order:
1. (as opposed to sing) Cuz I'm the one in pew behind you that's "making a joyful noise unto the Lord" While it may be joyful, it's "noise" to them with pitch.
2. Why not til my 40's? cuz they didn't have strings in band at school. And after marriage & kids, something ELSE always required my resources. When I finally started making myself a priority, music became a priority as well.
3. Why Trad? connecting with my heritage. Mom's family goes back to County Tyrone. Altho he only owned a jaw-harp, Grandad it was said could play anything(string) he could pick up. Dad's family's from the Ozarks. Both branches included some generations in the hill country of southeast Ohio.
4. Learning I can do something I'd been brainwashed into thinking was too hard to do.
5. Sense of community. I was always among the last picked in gym. When I play, I may not be first chair, but I'm welcome (as long as I tune!) And esp when the tune comes up that's something I know, or I'm able to quickly pick up, I'm a part of the whole that's producing something lovely.
6. Conversation starter. I never did get the knack of starting off conversations. I'm not a big sports fan, and my non-music hobby choices are a bit... eccentric... for the general public. An instrument in your lap, played or not, there's an instant common ground, whether the other party is a musician or not.
Wahoo Creek Mountain Dulcimer
Mid-Mo M-0, Weber Sweet Pea, Strad-O-Lin A-style, Kay-style reverse cutaway
Oscar Schmidt OS-21C Autoharp
Savannah 5-string banjo
For me, playing music replenishes the creative well in other areas of my life.
Music doesn't come naturally to me, actually I find it really challenging. I enjoy the challenge and the fulfillment that comes with learning something difficult. Also, there is a reason these tunes have been around for so long. They get in your head and won't go away. I've even caught my wife, who doesn't play trad, humming tunes around the house. They are little ear worms.
In part, golf.
In my 40s ... oh, so long ago, or was it yesterday? ... I realized I needed a hobby, a way to detoxify from the world of remunerative work. In my analytical way, I brainstormed a list of hobbies I might pursue, among them playing guitar, camping, and golf.
I concluded that, although I was not the world's worst golfer, I was a contender. That settled that.
I'd flirted with guitar in my 20s, to no great accomplishment, but always meant to "get back to it." I'd taken a classical guitar course as an undergrad, so went to the nearest guitar shop and resumed classical lessons.
Meanwhile, our family wanted to try camping and bought the biggest tent Price Club offered. Soon after, I visited a CD store and saw my very first bluegrass festival flyer, offering free "camping in the rough." We spent most of that first camping trip at the Amelia Family BG Music Festival standing under a tarp with a dozen or so others, as the rain poured down, the water leaked into our tent, and the music poured forth. We were hooked.
Around this time, the early 90s, my lifelong friend Wayne suggested I attend Old Time Music Week at Augusta Heritage Center in Elkins, West Virginia. On the Halliehurst mansion's porch one night, the sound of old time echoing across the campus induced a musically spiritual epiphany. I'd come home. This was right. This was as it should be.
Last year, mandolins joined my guitar collection. Tony Rice and Sam Bush need not fear.
I'm a perpetual beginner, a porch picker. Music is a delightful tonic, with homemade the very best kind. Ah ... family, friends, and the primal connection of traditional music!
Music from the old time, bluegrass, and Celtic traditions has a hold on me, for reasons mentioned throughout this thread and many others. We can talk on and on, yet perhaps never pin it down completely. This is right. This is as it should be.
There's certainly no danger of confusing mandolin-playing with remunerative work!a way to detoxify from the world of remunerative work.
I always liked the sound of the mandolin and it's a great travel companion.
Everybody knows chicks dig guys with little instruments
Stanley V5, Old Wave Z Dola', Stanley Jazz A on order, A to Z...
for a seance of acomplishment. I have never picked up any instrument, and I was given a mandolin by a friend. When I do pick at the strings (yep just got it, so I'm still learning the fretboard) I get a seance of peace.
Mainly because I have always had a love for music, I think harmonies drew me into bluegrass and it just grew on me from there. I also find the musicianship to be very superior and from my classical background this is appealing. Some of the best musicians I have ever heard played bluegrass so it gives me something to aspire to.
Now a lot of people don't get why I like even listening to this music - and I have to admit some of the old old recordings I get a bit bored with myself but generally I just love this genre. I don't know why I get joy out of hearing it and playing. I just do.
Because I can't stop!
2012 Collings MT, Honey Amber Gloss
"In my case, it's a wind-up monkey with cymbals."
Ah, that would be the bodhran player at my local session. A perfect likeness....
Oops! Did I say that out loud?
Weber Yellowstone F vintage wood, adi top
Old $650 German fiddle
Ok, I'll fess up! Because I've been asked not to sing.
I've needed a musical outlet since I was about 13. Started with the guitar, then the bass, then piano ... but after I heard Bluegrass mandolin ... that was it!!! I get more fulfillment playing Bluegrass mandolin than any other instrument. It's like another voice for me. Hard to explain ...
When I play - the enemies are before me And the women weep too.
To overcome my deep insecuries and win my father's love.