I am in the process of moving my clawhammer banjo tablature and instruction page to a new home.
After 15 years, I realized that my entire teaching site was in dire need of an update.
All of my tablature files need to be updated to the current version of my notation software (Overture). This will take a LOT of time as I pretty much have to reenter every one of the tabs by hand as the old files don’t open properly in the current version. Example: I just spent six hours updating my version of Bach's "Sleepers Awake”, and that's just one song!
Once I started down THAT road, I quickly realized that there were other ways I could make my clawhammer instruction site much more effective (if not revolutionary). I also realized that I would need a new platform to host my instruction site as I will no longer just provide tablature; each lesson or song will be offered as a “course” with multiple support files (mp3 and video).
Imagine every tab having a performance video, an instruction video, a video discussing how to effectively backup either the voice or another instrument, and an accompaniment MP3 to practice with.
That is the daunting task I am undertaking, but it’s one I am VERY excited about.
I will probably incrementally stage in the new instruction site, so periodically drop back here and check in for progress reports.
Progress Report - April 4, 2019
I've been furiously reformatting (and cleaning up) my tab files, making them compatible with my latest notation software. I've added a sidebar to keep you updated on my progress. Look to the right side of the page for a list of the ones I've completed so far.
Progress Report - April 7, 2019
Finished reformatting "Yellow Rose of Texas", "Jesu Joy Of Mans Desiring" and "Coleraine".
Progress Report - April 21, 2019
Caught up on my bookkeeping and my taxes are done. I spent the subsequent time revisiting Duke Ellington's "Caravan". I've been playing around with this arrangement for forty years, but could never get the "feel right". Now, after working on it for the last week, it's finally come together and I am very pleased with the results.
So I've added "Caravan", along with "Santa Anna's Retreat" and "Cuckoo's Nest", to the "reformatted list".
Progress Report - June 14, 2019
Progress is slower than I’d like, especially the videos (I’m still awaiting the arrival of some equipment). I’ve also been wrestling with how to present my arrangements online. As each tab will now be incorporated into a “lesson” or “course”, I need to have the ability to stream video and offer downloads (pdfs, mp3s, etc.) from the same location. I’ve also struggled with the idea of switching over to a paid, rather than free, website.
My original intent was to encourage banjoists to push their technique level to the point where clawhammer banjo becomes common place in genres other than “old-time”; where the banjo is treated as a serious (and awesome) "musical instrument” rather than just a novelty. A free site does this more efficiently but is no longer practical as I will have to work on my new site “full time” for at least the next three or four months.
I’ve now rearranged (and reformatted) 15 tabs that I will use to launch the new site. I’ve made practice MP3s (Band In A Box) for all but one of these pieces. Video recording should start this weekend and, as I’ve mentioned, will be very time consuming as every tab will include a performance video, an instructional video, and a video explaining various backup techniques.
Here’s a list of the 15 pieces that I’ve chosen as a starting point:
- Amelia’s Waltz
- Angeline The Baker (multiple versions)
- Around The Horn
- Battle Cry Of Freedom
- Clinch Mtn Backstep (multiple versions)
- Cripple Creek (multiple versions)
- Jack Of Diamonds ("Rye Whiskey", "Drunken Hiccups" - multiple versions)
- Little Rabbit
- Morrison’s Jig
- New Rigged Ship
- Sally In The Garden
- Santa Anna’s Retreat
- Shady Grove (multiple versions)
- Sleepers Awake (Bach Cantata #140)
- The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald