I just began teaching myself to play the tenor banjo a few days ago. Although, I’d like to eventually pay a teacher for a few Skype lessons, before I do that, I’d like to get a better idea of the things that I’d like this teacher to help me out with.
For now, I’ve been using the Mel Bay book to help me out with standard notation. I’m doing okay, but it’s mentally exhausting I find. On the bright side, I’ve committed 6 chords to memory so far.
I also bought a tenor banjo chord book (it’s in the mail).
Basically, I’m wondering what you guys would recommend as the best approach to learning for a beginner. Am I doing things correctly?
I don’t really plan on trying to become the next Eddy Davis or anything. I’d like to learn to play some jazz standards to my satisfaction, for my own personal enjoyment (and probably my wifes annoyance). I’ve read a few threads where folks recommend to just a find a jazz lead sheet book and try and play the chords… I’m afraid that with all of those chords out there that require my fingers to do gymnastics that this could just frustrate me.
I was attracted to the tenor banjo through the music of AJ Weidt and a few other composers, so I’m wondering if it might be easier to just jump in by using Rob Mackillop’s tabs.
In terms of my musical background, I took piano as a kid 20 years ago, and I never really understood music theory. I currently play the 5 string banjo (old-time). 90% of what I learn is by ear
You may want to check out Steve Caddick for Skype lessons. There's plenty of Steve on YouTube so you can get a sense of who he is. I know that for tenor he has his students work in the Mel Bay book which you already have. To supplement that you might want to try and find a copy of that out of print classic "The McNeil Chord System for Tenor Banjo". The guidance for all things banjo related is to be found in the hard to find "Riley's Routines for Better Banjo" by Jim Riley. It lives by my easy chair for very frequent reading and is the book i take with me when i know i'll be sitting around waiting for something. Have Phun! Ryk