Willow Osborne Follows Her Heart

Willow Osborne joined Lessonface in 2021 and has quickly become a student favorite. She was taught by her friend & mentor, Gary "Biscuit" Davis, the only 4-time International Banjo Champion and has appeared on “Woodsongs” with Rhonda Vincent and The Rage, The United States Navy Bluegrass Band and Pat Flynn. Willow's stage presence, vocal, and instrumental skills have given her the opportunity to be the Youth Performer at the Country Tonite Theatre in Pigeon Forge for the past 7 years. Her students praise her because she is easy to talk to and for her deep knowledge of the banjo. For these reasons and so many more, Willow Osborne is our June Teacher Spotlight. We asked Willow a few questions in hopes of gaining some banjo knowledge and skill.

1. What was the first instrument you played?

I started out on the banjo at four!

2. Who are some of your musical influences?

JD Crowe, Béla Fleck, Noam Pikelny, Earl Scruggs (of course!)

3. Any advice for someone trying to learn Banjo online?  

Be patient with yourself! Know that any time spent practicing is valuable and you are making more progress than you realize.

4. What is your favorite medium for performance? Live, audio or video? Why?

I would have to say… nothing beats a live performance! Getting to really be present with your audience is such an amazing experience. Being able to look someone in the eye, share a smile and connect while playing music…there’s nothing quite like it! But, I’m thankful that through other mediums we’re still able to perform because live performance isn’t always accessible.

5. What makes a good Banjo player?

This is a tough question! While there are many answers to this question (technical ability, timing, clarity, etc.) personally, anyone who plays with their heart and soul and who is expressing themselves through the banjo… well that’s a good musician to me.

6. Describe your favorite and least favorite part about being a musician.

It’s hard to pick a favorite part but I would have to say being able to connect with people on a deep level through music (what I mentioned in the earlier question about performance medium). Music is so healing and I’ve always thought it’s just as healing for the person playing as the person listening. I think my least favorite part would be practicing (if you’re one of my amazing students that I tell to stay up on your practicing… don’t listen!!). It’s sometimes hard to sit down and practice because you might hear things you don’t like about your playing and that can definitely be discouraging but once I’ve put in the time and the song comes together… it’s all worth it. 

7. What’s next for you?

Lots of traveling, teaching and writing some new music for upcoming projects! I’m very excited to be apart of Lessonfest right here on Lessonface on June 15th and then continuing into my own weekly group class through the end of July. 

Check out Into the World of Banjo with Willow Osborne for FREE on June 15th at LESSONFEST or take one-on-one lessons with Willow!

Clawhammer Banjo
Tenor Banjo
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