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Inspiring Banjo Lessons and Practising on Wednesday

Posted by Boadicea on Wednesday, March 7, 2018

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Listening today:

Gillian Welch & Dave Rawlings "Look At Miss Ohio"

Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings - The way it will be (Live @ Jills veranda)

Gillian Welch - Hard Times

Gillian Welch - St Lukes (Full Concert, August 4, 2004, London)

Gillian Welch - 2015 - Hardly Strictly

I had another great lesson on Tuesday. I got back in the saddle. I am learning so much from my banjo teacher. He really is amazing. It is even hard to pin it down, so I will think about that and write that down later on. But I am learning so much on multiple levels.


So far today I have done some short drilling to start off my practising sessions for today. 

I have done 1 minute of


mixed roll

mixed roll with alternative

forward backward roll

Blackberry Blossom drill

whole of Part A of Blackberry Blossom (and it only takes 20 seconds)

| G | Em | C | D7 | (5 minutes)

Forward roll starting on the 2nd string


Yesterday I didn't practise, I thought about practising, and I thought about playing as well. I took up the banjo and I thought I could kind of be a bit stand offish and separate from other people, using my banjo as a protection, then I got this amazing banjo teacher who has challenged me to be present. That has been challenging. To play with others you have to be there! So I had a bad three weeks where I had this cyst and couldn't lift my arm much, and that was annoying, I am so lucky that is such a minor thing that can be removed by a minor surgery, but I was also kind of hanging back because to play and be yourself feels really vulnerable to me. And that wasn't what I had banked on when I started playing banjo. So I have had to adjust my whole mindset. There are a few places I can go to jam with other people but I feel really shy, awkward, and not quite good enough, and yes I haven't practised as much so my playing has stalled, but it is a me thing rather than a thing of any thing or any one else. So I guess now it is just a turning up type of thing. Hey yeah turn up and have a life Kate! So my whole life is changing and I am changing as a person and I have found that hard. It really feels like everyone else is so much further ahead than what I am.

I also suffer from a lot of physical pain, and I have been doing a lot of The Alexander Technique (for anyone interested you can youtube it or read website or listen to or download for free all the exercises I have done a huge amount of that as it will help my body, and in the long run it will help me not tighten up so much when I play. I concentrate so hard I often forget to breathe, so it will really help when I can breathe and play as well. When you are in pain it is hard to learn and improve, so that is a worthwhile thing to do. 

Second short drilling today

Good Night Ladies!

Simple Cripple Creek, Parts A & B


Third short drilling today

Mixed roll

Good Night Ladies

I did some jamming and noodling with my | G | Em | C | D7 | I really like this one, the chords really resonate with me. 


Fourth short drilling today

My unknown titled Parts A + B

I did my 12 chord progressions with different rolls - forward roll starting B, forward roll starting G, mixed roll plain, mixed roll alternative, forward backward roll 

Strum practising

Background chords for all my pieces.

Blackberry Blossom drill Part A

I did some jamming with my | G | Em | C | D7 | 

4 comments on “Inspiring Banjo Lessons and Practising on Wednesday”

WayneConrad Says:
Wednesday, March 7, 2018 @9:15:38 PM

It's good to have you back. I've missed your posts.

Playing for others is best done by being vulnerable, I think. At least, that is how i like it.

I hope you aren't comparing yourself to me or Andy or anyone else. Ain't nobody better at being you than you, and you are right where you need to be. Enjoy where you are right now. You only get to learn banjo once for the first time.

Boadicea Says:
Wednesday, March 7, 2018 @10:19:34 PM

That is true you only get to learn the banjo once for the first time WayneConrad! :)

n1wr Says:
Thursday, March 8, 2018 @5:29:58 AM

Boadicea Kate - Sorry to hear about your medical problem - hope you're over it. The other thing - being frightened to play in front of others - its stage fright. We all suffer it to one degree or another, even the professional players. Just something to deal with. you might google it - you will probably see a ton of responses. So hopefully you can feel comfortable at least that you are not alone.

There was just a post about doing rolls - actually the sense of it (and it referenced back to a very long string of posts) was that quite possibly we shouldn't be so hung up on rolls. What I took away was that the consensus was that by learning new tunes you are, in fact, learning rolls, but more importantly you are learning them in the context of a song. Once you learn a roll in one tune you can apply it elsewhere, when it fits another tune. My interpretation, hope that makes sense.

Here's the discussion: It is very long, but joined by some very astute players.

Have a nice evening over there in Oz!

Boadicea Says:
Thursday, March 8, 2018 @4:41:06 PM

Thanks n1wr! I will have a read of that!

You are right @n1wr I am certainly not alone with feeling stage fright! That is so true! Thanks for the reframing.

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