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She knows how to pick'em

Kayla Lawrence and a member of the Flint Banjo Club. Photo by Patrick McAbee. (click for larger version)
February 08, 2012 - Kayla Lawrence has picked a rather unique hobby.

The banjo.

The 13-year-old seventh grader at Goodrich Middle School started playing the banjo a year and a half ago and joined fellow pickers in the Flint Banjo Club.

"My friend and I were just joking around," said Lawrence of how she was introduced to the banjo. "And I thought it would be fun to play."

Soon she started taking lessons and she joined the club through her teacher, who was also a member. Once Lawrence got to a certain level, she began to fill out the forms for her acceptance and earned a spot in the group.

The Flint Banjo Club, which was formed in 1967, performs across the state. Although the players are older than Lawrence, she said that the age difference doesn't bother her in the slightest

."We play a bunch of songs I haven't heard and then I can play them," she said of what she learns from the other players. "Most younger people, they judge you. And they (the club members) don't," she said.

Kayla's musical talents are not limited to the banjo. She also plays a little of the violin and would like to learn to play the piano, flute, bass guitar, drums, and the five string banjo.

Lawrence said she is most proud of accomplishing the tricky fingering and the fact that the banjo takes a "really long time to learn." Her favorite songs to play are "Ain't She Sweet," "Dueling Banjos," and "Little Brown Jug."

Performing doesn't make Lawrence nervous because "most of the songs we play, I know them really well." She performs with the club a few times a month and practices with them twice a month, but makes it a habit to practice the banjo on her own two hours every day.

Although she enjoys playing the banjo, Lawrence said she aspires to be a cellular scientist and a writer. She hopes to continue on with the banjo as a hobby.

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