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Strumming On The Old Banjo

By: Thomas Goldberg, Instructional Paraprofessional/Substitute Teacher

Through their study of slavery in the United States, students learned that the modern-day banjo originated from an African instrument brought to the Americas during this horrific period in American history.  Students learned that many historians now believe that the Akonting, a folk lute from Western Africa, is the African instrument that the modern-day banjo is most closely related to.  

To take this lesson a little further, students got the chance to play the banjo in class.  Students learned that a “banjo roll” is a particular combination of strings that can be played in any chord position.  The class was then taught a traditional “blues roll”, and each student got the chance to play it in class.  It was definitely nice to take a break from the pens and pencils and play some music!