Close up Banjo Strings
Banjo Chords
The banjo is the greatest instrument of all time - a four, five, or six string instrument like a guitar, only better! It is popularly associated with bluegrass, country, and folk music styles. If you are new to the banjo, you should be ready for a fun experience with a very up-tempo and interesting instrument! Like any other musical instrument, it will take dedication and lots of practice. A good place to start is to learn the fundamental banjo chords and practice until you can do them perfectly. You can gradually learn more interesting and complex chords, but you have to start with the basics.

Begin by putting on your finger picks – one for your thumb, one for your first finger, and one for your second finger. The picks make it easier to single out individual strings, and give the banjo chords and notes a twangier sound. The easiest of all chords is the G chord – it is played by simply strumming all the strings with your right hand, without holding any down.

Now we have to learn a bit about the common way that people speak and write about playing banjo chords. You might already know by now that the strings are numbered, with the thinnest string being 1 and counting up from there. In addition, the fret of the banjo neck closest to the tuning knobs is numbered 1, the next is 2, and so on. The fingers are referred to as first finger, second finger, third finger, and fourth finger (index to pinky). These conventions are important to learn and remember, because in many cases banjo chords are described using these numbers.

The next chord to learn is C, which is one of the most common banjo chords. Begin by placing your first finger on the first fret of the second string of the banjo; then place your second finger on the fourth string on the second fret; then place your third finger on the second fret of the first string. This may sound complicated, but it is one of the simpler banjo chords and you will master it in no time. Again, strum the chords with your right hand. Practice making and playing this chord, then try switching back and forth from C to G.

For people without formal training in music theory, tablature (tabs) are the most common way to read and write banjo chords. Tabs usually consist of small diagrams of the banjo strings, with numbers on the strings representing the frets that you must hold down. Most chords are written this way, but sometimes the strings are left out and you will just see a vertical line of numbers. Other times, the numbers are just written horizontally. People who can read sheet music can understand banjo chords in terms of musical notation.

Learning a musical instrument can be tough and sometimes seems like a slow process. The key is to not give up! Practice whatever you already know until it's perfect, and keep pushing yourself to learn more. This is how all musicians learn to play. Search the internet for databases and listings of more banjo chords, and learn them all. Learn and practice whatever songs you are able to play. As you begin to get the hang of it, you can even start writing your own music!

Photo Credit: TeeeJayy

Fiddle Violin played at a wedding Arin Olwell
Fiddle vs. Violin: Learning the Difference
Fiddle and violin playing used to hold a wide chasm separating the two worlds, with violinists looking down on their poor fiddler cousins. But the truth is now-a-days, that chasm is slowly closing and both violin and fiddle playing are drawing strength from each other’s characteristics. Fiddle vs violin? Let’s take a look at the difference.

So what is the big difference exactly between how to play violin and how to fiddle? Since this question gets asked often, here’s a simple explanation offered. Traditional violinists read musical notes and sheet music, while those who learn how to fiddle play by ear. Violin music is meant to evoke beauty and power, while fiddling is meant to stir up dancing. Violin music adheres strictly to the orchestra and sheet music notes, while fiddling improvises. Violins must be held with a person’s jaw, while the fiddler holds the violin down on his arm so he can call out dance moves. When thinking of fiddle vs violin, think of rock vs classical guitar and you will be close.

The violin and fiddle are both violins, and the chief difference is only in how the instrument is played and the techniques involved. Today, the musical gap concerning fiddle vs violin has rapidly narrowed, and no longer is there one side (the violinists) looking down upon the other (fiddlers). Today both violin and fiddle mix and match each other’s virtues to create classical new techniques for both styles. When a student wants to learn how to fiddle today, their classes will usually start with and include a musical education that teaches reading music, understanding music theory and holding the violin in the classical way.

When a student decides to pursue classical music education for the violin, not only will they learn the classical and traditional methods, but they will eventually be encouraged to improvise and try new techniques similar to fiddling. Old stereotypes of fiddle vs violin and the differences between violin and fiddle are wearing away to create a comfortable co-existence between these two amazing musical brothers.

Photo Credit: Waldo Jaquith

The Piano Teacher Monochrome black and white image
Find Piano Teachers and Learn to Tickle the Ivories
You must lightly touch something in order to tickle it. In this way you should run your fingers along the ivories, or white piano keys (which used to be made from ivory) when playing the piano.

Many aspiring musicians have some basic knowledge but want to learn more. Others have perhaps never touched a piano, but it is never too late to learn. However, the earlier in life you begin, the more time you give yourself to be awed each and every day by the beauty and artistic expression of live music! So, why wait? Take the step today and begin taking piano lessons from one of the many brilliant piano teachers near you.

So many gifted piano teachers have dedicated themselves to sharing this divine skill with others. Search in your local printed classifieds or through job posting sites such as Craigslist and others, to find a slew of piano lessons to choose from.

There are piano teachers that cater to beginners, and can start teaching you one note at a time.

If you have taken piano lessons previously, look for piano teachers for the intermediate level, who can build on your acquired skills and help you reach your potential.

For those who know their way around a keyboard, look for advanced piano teachers, of whom there are many. These professionals will teach you all that there is to learn to help you reach your 100% and in turn achieve whatever musical goal you set out to.

In most areas you will have many types of piano teachers to choose from: those who teach private lessons, group lessons and college level lessons. A wide variety of gifted piano teachers are available for you to choose from and begin making progress in your music today!

Photo Credit: Christopher Michel

Happy Retirement!
Retired Teachers Jokes
Do you know a teacher who is retired or will be retiring soon? You can send them off with some laughs with a few great retired teacher jokes. These can lighten the situation and let them know that you care about them. They are especially useful, perhaps even crucial, for any speeches or presentations that might be made at a retirement party. You probably won't be able to come up with these on the spot, so you will definitely want to be ready with several prepared jokes.

Starting off a speech with retired teacher jokes can't go wrong. Here is a good one to try out -

Three elderly math teachers, Mark, Alex, and Robert, go to a doctor's office for their yearly memory test. It's a miracle they remembered the appointment! The doctor begins with Mark. He asks him, “What is five times five?” Mark replies “191.” The doctor rolls his eyes and looks up at the ceiling. He then says to Alex, “What is five times five?” Alex replies “Wednesday.” The doctor shakes his sadly and turns toward the last man. He asks Robert, “What is five times five?” Robert answers, “twenty five.” “That's right!” says the doctor. “And how did you come up with your answer?” “Easy,” says Robert, “just subtract 191 from Wednesday.”

Some retired teacher jokes, such as the following one, will set a different tone to the party, to say the least. Here it is –

A teacher was retiring after 30 years of teaching. Her elementary school class decided to throw her a retirement party, and they all brought gifts for her. A little boy who's father owned a fine chocolate shop brought her a box of delicious chocolate delicacies. A little girl who was the daughter of a florist brought her a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Another little girl who's parents ran a top-shelf liquor shop then brought her a large box. It had some juices leaking out of the corner. The teacher told the girl, “I bet I know what this is!” She tasted some of the liquid leaking from the box and said “I bet this is some wine!” The girl said “Nope.” She tasted it again and said “Liquor?” The little girl said “Nope!” She tasted it one more time and said “It's beer, isn't it?” The little girl said “Wrong again!” The teacher was almost frustrated. She said, “Well, I give up, what is it?” The little girl said, “A puppy!”

If you need some more retired teacher jokes for a retirement party or just for conversation and the fun of it, the internet is a great place to find jokes for free without having to buy a book. has a large selection of thousands of jokes in hundreds of different categories. You will also find some great retired teacher jokes at These sites, along with, will let you search for the perfect jokes for your retirement speech. A retiring person deserves respect as well as humor – remember this as you pick your jokes, but don't forget that it's also a celebration!

Photo Credit: Anoka County Library

Vancouver Film School Filming Summer Intensive Acting Class for new actors
How to Get Started in an Acting Career
Getting an acting career is not as simple as many young prospective actors envision, but neither is it impossible. With a lot of determination, a thought through plan, and more determination, your acting career is within your reach.

Start, first of all, with some books on acting. A book is a “free tutor.” Read up on what an acting career and life actually require so that you can prepare yourself and see if you have the resolve to bring this dream to fruition.

Join an acting class. Proper training is important. Even if you have natural talent, you need professional help to hone the skills required for a successful acting career. Actors and actresses market themselves, you are presenting your own brand and your own business, and you must be prepared to do that at all times. Prepare a monologue that you can be ready to recite. Anyone aspiring to have an acting career should have both a comedic and a dramatic monologue well-rehearsed to showcase their talent.

If you are able, find someone in the business to mentor you. Every actor or actress you speak with acts as a free tutor, guiding and instructing you with their experience. Do everything you can to network yourself in the arts and entertainment industry. The more connections you have, the more noticed you will be.

You must find an agent and a manager to help land your auditions, and to work with you to promote your acting career. Start working on your acting resume, and keep your portfolio updated. Actively look for rolls in student films, indie films, or backstage work, as all of these greatly enhance your exposure, experience, and resume.

One of the key strategies to your acting career is your financial plan. It will take years before your career of choice will be able to fully support you. In the meantime you must have a plan that will keep you afloat. Many actors and actresses work with temp agencies to have consistent work that does not require a long term commitment. Ongoing study in your field of choice will also continue to cost you. You may be lucky enough to find a free tutor, but you should be ready for the cost of studying.

Photo Credit: Vancouver Film School

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