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Posted by Max Sand on Friday, July 20, 2012

Okay, so i am doing that. But maybe i am not practicing right. I start off with warm up exercises and try to build up speed with these while still hitting the correct strings and notes. Then i pick a traditional tune to work on for that practice session. Then the next practice i pick a different tune. So, i have three traditional tunes that i am working on and each one has a different technique like drop thumbing or playing Double C or G Modal. I am wondering though if i should just work on one tune till i get it right or keep on keepin' on.


joemac Says:
Saturday, July 21, 2012 @1:09:48 AM

Max, your work load is too high mate. Basically the practice side of your banjo theory is good and correct, getting the hands warmed up, exercises and accuracy, BUT your tune side is totally wrong mate in my oppinion. These tunes are not easy for a newcommer to get to grips with in a short space of time. The brain needs to learn them, in terms of melody, hand positions and muscle memory, and the brain likes to have things its own way and work at its own speed. If you find that your making mistakes at trhe same place in your tune every time you play it, then your brain hasnt grasped this part and you need to remove it from the tune and study it as a seperate piece, then re-insert it when you have it done. Building a tune like this is not uncommon and can take some time. That is why trying to have a go at more than one tune when you are at such an early stage in your playing is wrong, well to me it is, others might poo-hoo this. Trey mastring just one tune, nice and slow, with feeling and emotion, you will find it will come a lot quicker than if you share it with others. Also, spending time like this will prepare you for the methods you need to learn other tunes, some far more tricky than where you are now..........hope this helps, Joe Mac.

Guy Says:
Saturday, July 21, 2012 @4:45:56 AM

Good advice Joe. On the subject of that "tricky" bit. I always like to play at least a couple of bars either side of it, that way you maintain the flow and it will sound more natural when you pop it back into the tune.

goose Says:
Saturday, July 21, 2012 @7:16:18 AM

Yeah thats some good advice there joemac..and max the more you play a song i mean religiously till you get sick of it and then some, it starts to change and become your own and the song will start to come from within you, other than just your brain learning it. That one song will take on more meaning, emotion and just sound better and fluid, than 15 other songs that you can just play the notes too. So yeah lighten your workload and pick a few songs for now and make them into something bub..

n1wr Says:
Saturday, July 21, 2012 @7:37:25 AM

Good advice. I've only been playing for a couple years, but have years of guitar behind me. I do the warmup - that part's fun, playing some of what I know. I have a list of songs that I want to learn, and I am working my way down the list. I spend most of my practice on one song, as Joe says. I spend a very little time on the next song on the list - play through the TAB maybe a couple times. I find that by doing this I am 'pre-conditioning' my brain with what's coming next. It also helps me stay motivated on the current song - I'm anticipating going to the next song but I know I can't do that until I nail the one I'm working on. I find that by doing that it shortens my learning curve once I finish the current song and start on the next. But again, as Joe said - my main focus is getting that one song right.

Each of us needs to find our own method that works best - and as you said in your title, there is no substitute for practice.

By the way - about my list. I have what I call my 2012 goals. Its a list of a dozen or so songs that I have identified as what I want to learn this year. The list comes from as couple different angles - songs that I want to learn for jams. Songs that have a new twist (for me) - new and challenging licks, etc. For example I just finished Down The Road, now I'm working on John Henry in G, and I have Foggy Mountain Special on the list, which is going to be a challenge for me. Sometimes I substitute one song for another, but I try to stay focused on working down the list. I document my start and finish dates for each song - that way I can see my progress (or not). Just one more tool in the toolbox. The list also helps me collecting material for when I am going to work on the song. If I run across the TABS or a music file or anything that will help me when I get to that song I note it on the list. Lots of times I see articles in the Banjo Newsletter, or Anjie's ezine, or a youtiube, or hear an mp3 that will help when I get to work on those songs. Occasionally I'll focus on working a song by ear, to sharpen that skill, and that's where the mp3's references come in handy.

Anyway - my 2 cents. Good luck with your journey.


Max Sand Says:
Saturday, July 21, 2012 @4:05:21 PM

hey fellas, thanks for weighing in with all the good advice and good vibes.

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