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Banjo lessons

Posted by Gleason on Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I am a beginer on the Banjo and am watching many DVDs online but am getting more confused about method for Bluegrass playing !  Whom should I be learning from ??

5 comments on “Banjo lessons”

n1wr Says:
Tuesday, January 22, 2013 @6:49:30 AM

Gleason: i would say that your best bet is to find a teacher locally that can give you guidance. At your beginning stage jumping around between different methods is not good.

One simple solution, if you can't go the teacher route, would be to get the Murphy DVD's and stick with her program of learning. Here's some links for you:

Here's a good description of how Murphy works with beginning students:

I have no connection with Murphy, other than a satisfied customer.

Good luck and welcome to the hangout.

Oldpiper Says:
Tuesday, January 22, 2013 @8:32:29 AM

I've found that Skype is a valuable option.

n1wr Says:
Tuesday, January 22, 2013 @9:49:59 AM

Yes, it is, and there are quite a number of really good instructors here on BHO.

Gleason, what I have found for myself, and from a number of years here on BHO, is that for someone starting out a structured approach is best - work with and follow the direction of an instructor, at least for three to six months. As you progress you will start to fill in your work with all of the 'goodies' that are here on the internet - the videos on you tube, all of the great TABS here on BHO, and the good publications available. The material provided by the instructor needs to be your first priority.

What I do is make up an annual list of objectives - a wish list if you will. It is essentially a list of the songs that I want to learn, prioritized. As time goes on I will add or subtract to the list, but always keep it to the point of only including what I think I can learn in a year. Being that its January it is a good time to start such a list. At the end of the year I can see my progress and reflect on what I want to focus on for the next year.

If you are working with an instructor he/she will set a path of learning for you, progressively working in different aspects of playing the banjo. If you share your objectives he/she can give you advice (like when a song is going to be a real stretch for you at your point).

You probably have a good collection of songs. When you hear a song that you like look and see if there is a TAB for it, and check the rating. Most songs are intermediate - look for the ones that are rated beginner until you get further along.

I have found that learning the banjo means that you have to become comfortable with all of the methods of learning, and use them all, but as I said in my first post - go for the instructor and the discipline that comes along with it. It goes without saying that you need to put in the time - an hour a day at least. More important for us old guys!

One final note - playing with others should be one of your objectives. There is a lot of suggestions here on BHO on how to get to the point where you can do that. Your instructor should help you understand what you need to learn to be able to do that. If you have some musical background you will be ahead in that.

Good luck.

Texasbanjo Says:
Tuesday, January 22, 2013 @12:26:37 PM

If you can't find/afford a "live" teacher, there are people on here who teach via the internet.

If that doesn't work for you, there are numerous beginner books from which to choose if you decide to learn via tab. I recommend 2: Jack Hatfield's Beginning Bluegrass Banjo Method book #1 (followed by 2 and 3) with CD or DVD. Jack highlights the melody notes so you know where they are and then plays the song slowly so you can pick along and at tempo so you can hear how it should sound. -- and Janet Davis' You Can Teach Yourself Banjo with CD or DVD. Janet is a prolific author and has many other books after the beginner one.

Gleason Says:
Sunday, January 27, 2013 @6:45:21 AM

Thanks so much for your comments--Gleason

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