Skip to main content
Stewart Five-String Banjo, 1889-1899, National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center, Gift of Mrs. Richard S. Tilton

Greg Adams on the Banjo

Greg Adams, Assistant Archivist at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, is also a banjo scholar and enthusiast. Smithsonian Music connected with him to ask him about the history of the banjo, how the instrument is played, and other related topics. The playlist on the left has his answers to these questions.

Educator Resources

Smithsonian Folkways offers lesson plans on many topics. This plan features an examination of the relationship between the banjo and the music it's used to play.

 

Josh Thomas’ Roustabout: Exploring Composition Using Limited Tones
Designed by Maggie Corfield-Adams, Ph.D. and Greg C. Adams, Archivist (MLS), Ethnomusicologist (M.A.)

This lesson plan asks students to use Mike Seeger’s performance of “Josh Thomas’s Roustabout” as a gateway to exploring vocal expression within a limited-tone sequence. Students will (1) critically discuss the relationship between the voice and accompanying instruments, (2) compose their own limited-tone songs, accompanying themselves on Orff Instruments, and (3) improvise within a limited-tone sequence on recorders (optional).

Visit the Smithsonian Folkways website for the full lesson plan.