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Learning and memory, introverted banjo

Posted by Northl on Thursday, November 30, 2017

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Re: Thinking about learning and memory as I keep practicing the same songs, #clawhammerbanjofromscratch

At first I felt the need for lyrics to the songs I am learning but not any more. My fingers know where to go now without me thinking through each move in most places. Soemtimes I forget which song it seems and begin the wrong run. So I have learned but am still not off of the TAB... Will that come? How soon will that come?

Today I recorded myself for the first time. What a challenge that is! Some HO are hard to hear. There are still lots of spots that need rehearsing.In addition my playing has lots of speed ups and slow downs.

In order to record nicely I would need to quit struggling so hard, grimacing and relax allthewhile playing without errors, with steady timing, looking at the camera often in a pleasant manner, a goal that seems far off right now. As an introvert, I forget what I am doing when I in front of people or the camera. Can this be overcome? Who knows?  Being a closet player is better than no player at all, right?

Enjoyed practicing for several hours today before my concentration fled away.


8 comments on “Learning and memory, introverted banjo”

WayneConrad Says:
Thursday, November 30, 2017 @11:44:05 AM

There is much to think about when learning to perform (which is what recording is), and it's overwhelming at first. You will figure it out, so don't be afraid. Just do it. Don't try to get everything right at once--there's too much. When you practice performing, pick one thing to improve and work on that; don't sweat the rest too much.

I find it easier to learn a song that I know the lyrics to, so I identify with that. You mentioned your fingers starting to play a different run--that happens. For me, I need to have the lyric or melody in my head even when I'm not singing. The melody or words going in my head are what keeps the fingers playing the right tune.

But there are songs where the melody is very close together, and that's tough. "I Truly Understand" and "Old Joe Clark" have almost the same A part. I have a heck of a time playing "Old Joe Clark" without my fingers heading off into "You Truly Understand."

I know it's overwhelming, but that doesn't mean you're inferior or slow or anything. Performing has many different skills that feed into it, skills that every performer has to learn. You can do it!

Northl Says:
Thursday, November 30, 2017 @3:53:55 PM

Thanks @wayneconrad

Boadicea Says:
Thursday, November 30, 2017 @10:18:12 PM

Way to go Northl!

I have been thinking of recording myself but I haven't gotten the courage up so far. Well done you!

I am so impressed that you can practise for several hours before losing your concentration. I would be crippled up in pain, if I did that.

I did read WayneConrad's comments with great interest. I, too, get overwhelmed with how much needs to be attended to.


Northl Says:
Friday, December 1, 2017 @4:48:43 AM

I am sorry you have so much pain. Keep pushing on! @boadicea

pickn5 Says:
Friday, December 1, 2017 @5:54:52 AM

The dreaded red light fright. Don't feel alone as we all go through it. It will get easier the more you record yourself. The better you know a tune, the more the grimace will go away. Try to relax and think of the recording as a learning tool. Record yourself often and just forget the recorder is on. Save the recordings for comparison later on in your banjo learning journey, you will see improvement. Savor those moments when it clicks and your fingers just seem to go where they need to be. When you play a lick other than the one you wanted to, listen, if it fits the tune and sounds good, you just improvised. I really don't know about clawhammer, but, in Scruggs style many licks can be interchanged. Keep picking.

Northl Says:
Friday, December 1, 2017 @10:00:12 AM

pickn5 Thanks for encouraging thoughts. It helps to hear what others say. :)

WayneConrad Says:
Friday, December 1, 2017 @11:01:22 AM

Boadicea -- I'm sorry that your pain is limiting your practice. Is it an issue we could help with? If it's none of our business, that's fine.

AndyW Says:
Friday, December 1, 2017 @11:56:57 AM

Lynda, I would make an extra special effort to start getting 'off tab' as soon as possible. All the speed and smoothness you build whilst reading and playing simultaneously pretty much goes and needs to be rebuilt.(It does for me anyway). So just playing over and over again whilst reading ends up with a fair bit of wasted effort. Of course it still goes towards helping your technique.

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