What was it that first got you interested in playing the guitar, mandolin or banjo?
The American folk music drew me in!! Older cousins started playing piano and guitar while I was growing up in Asia plus western music was introduced. These instruments have different sounds and vibrations that kept drawing me to it. I took guitar lesson at age 14 and only available lesson was classical guitar. Lesson only last about 2 years, learning to read notes and play. I often goofed off adventuring too much as a teenager (yes, that is my excuse). I realized how much I really missed the sound of playing and I picked it back up 15 years later. Took me 15 years because I pursued my dream to live and moved to USA as international student, money was very limited and I had no guitar. I made it back to Asia to obtain that guitar my mother bought for me 15 years before.
How long have you been playing and what’s your motivation to play?
I started to play mandolin about 3 years ago. Prior to that 3 years I realized “the music theory exists”!!! Guitar teacher in Asia didn’t tell me that. I also realized I can never play “classical” guitars with other people. That was motivation I took music theory study and implement into mandolin.
What’s your favorite lesson on Ben’s site and how has it helped you improve?
Build-a-break became more in senses. The licks just “blow me away” and I am going to get it. Also and again, the music theory and “patterns of numbers” helps to clue me in for the songs. I strongly believe these foundations helps to be better player and be creative that listener can hear.
What’s your goal when playing?
Keep up with the right cords in the fast tempo. Music is a true healer and to have enjoyable time with other instruments and…not mess up too much
Are there any other instruments or genres of music that you enjoy playing?
I did enjoy play banjo in short period of time and didn’t have much trouble picking because of that classic guitar background. However, lesson ended too soon because my teacher pursued personal life priority. Eventually, I will get that banjo out of the closet after getting better with mandolin. One thing at a time probably best choice for my busy life style.
If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
The problem is I have too many hobbies. I would pick down time at night watching the sky looking for shooting stars or milky way while listening to the wind, cricket chirping, watching night life in the woods and have mandolin in my arms (not to mention I should have a weapon by my side too).
How long have you been a Gold Pick member?
About 2.5 years
Do you have a favorite technique? What is it?
Perhaps, it is a goal of favorite technique, “cross picking” and play melodically. I had no problem with classical guitar picking with a thumb and 3 fingers. Then I am terrible of a single flat pick for all those strings. So far so good and ultimately will pick up faster speed.
What artist(s) most inspire you?
I have been listing to Peter Paul & Mary in early life in Asia (Yes, these are old “folk(s))”. They sounds genuine, authentic, easy to listen. My world is getting bigger after moved to USA listening to Bela Fleck, Mike O’Connor, Chris Thile. The latest ones, of course my teachers and my friends, Ben, Penny, Katy Clark. Yes, I closed my mon\uth when I first saw them play live together at Cabin camp!!
What do you do for a living?
I am actually an interior designer. But I have been in love of making things since young age and bossy by nature. Experience of picked up knowledge along the way for many years. I am now a construction manager for a private owned hotel company. Mostly, taking care of renovation projects.
What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?
Ultimate dream: I would drive a van around US seeing the “Beautiful America” in a good pacing, not a blink of an eye. Along with a mandolin, fly fishing rods, a companion (a dog or a cat). Hoping to meet more people, more friends, more music. Next Ultimate dream: explore Europe, Mediterranean.
How did you find out about Banjo Ben?
I remembered I was searching for a song but don’t remember what it was. Banjobanclark was among other people pops up in searching. I used trial for a few days and here I am. I found Ben’s lesson is easy to follow. There are many choices of songs, techniques, theory, everything I need and yet 3 instruments to choose from.
Anything else you’d like to add?
To those pickers out there. Most of us have full time job in different professions. It is hard to practice after a long day working. Schedule yourself daily or often enough to mange yourself for on line lesson or practice (pretend you are meeting Ben in person if that will help!) I know there will be no immediate respond if you keep talking to Ben’s VDO but he does respond to your email if there is question. Keep practicing, keep playing. You will see the result and be happy.