Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

IBMA's & "I Don't Play The Banjo"

I’ve been tuning in a lot to the virtual IBMA’s this week.
edit -(REMINDER: Register for a free music pass to the IBMA virtual World of Bluegrass this weekend! “Headin’ Home Bluegrass” is playing Saturday, October 3 at 3:30pm CT.
There are tons of instrument workshops and band performances lined up, all for completely free! )

I’ve seen some great stuff, some good stuff and stuff that doesn’t really interest me. But it got me to thinking about “playing music.”
I love language, and really hate it when the language is misused. For example, a news headline the other day said “Warm Winds Fuel Wildfires.” No they don’t. Any firefighter will tell you three things are needed - fuel, oxygen and heat. Take away any one of those and there is no fire. Wind is not a fuel and cannot burn. Wind can fan a fire and feed oxygen to a fire, but it cannot fuel a fire.

So for all you aspiring professional musicians out there, never say you “play banjo.” If you want to get paid, always say you “work on banjo.” (or mando, guitar et al.)

Here’s how it goes:
BILL: “Hey, Bob, is that a banjo you have there? Do you play?”
BOB: “Yes, I do.”
BILL: “How about playing something for us?”
BOB: “I will for a dollar.”
BILL: “Aw, c’mon. Just a little tune. Show us what you can do.”
BOB: “Give me a dollar.”
BILL: “C’mon. Just play a little. It’ll be fun!”
The pestering & whining never stop until you provide free entertainment.

Now try this:
BILL: “Hey, Bob, is that a banjo you have there? Do you play?”
BOB: “No, I work on banjo.”
BILL: “Really? How about playing something for us.”
BOB: “My banjo is not a play toy. I work on it day after day. I’m happy to put it to work for you, but it will cost a dollar.”
BILL: “WhaT!?! Really? You’re going to charge me to play a song?”
BOB: “No, I’m charging a dollar for my work. After all, you pay the jukebox to work!”
BILL: “Well, I guess that’s fair. Here’s your dollar.”

Listen to other pros: I golf for a living. I don’t play golf.
I’'m at second base. I don’t “play” baseball. That’s for kids.
I’m an actor, not a “play actor.”
I’m a pilot, not someone who just flies an airplane.
Once after a show, a fan approached Roy Acuff and said, "I’ll bet you wish you had a nickle for every time you sang “Wabash Cannonball.”
Mr. Acuff looked back at the fan and said with a smile, “I do!”

Good luck to all you aspiring musicians who work in the music industry!
And that’s my two cents worth for today! :grin:


I would love to take your advise, but once I finish playing I’m sure they’ll ask for their money back😂

You mean you don’t have to pay your audience to listen? Lucky


No, any audience I get is either at gun point or we are holding their little dog hostage.


I have my portable chicken wire (Blues Brothers-Rawhide) drop!


I once saw a shirt that said, “Will play banjo for $5; will STOP for $10”! :grin: :joy:


So it is possible to make a buck with a banjo, eh?
Living on a fixed income, that’s music to my retired ears!