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For/to help beginners/improvers indulging in deliberate practice to improve their banjo playing. An open group.

89 Members, Created 11/6/2017 -

Administrators: AndyW (owner) , Boadicea , WayneConrad


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Getting Off The Picking Plateau

From pickn5 on 2/14/2020 5:55:56 AM

When I first started learning to play the banjo, Geoff Hohwald's Banjo Primer was the first lesson book that made sense to me. I learned the first three or four tunes from it, never working up to the medium jam speed track. I then started to jump around, learning tunes, from many different sources, only to hit a plateau on my speed and technique. I was concentrating on learning a new tune, another instrument, and not practicing tunes I already knew. This caused me to forget some licks in some of the tunes I had already learned. To get off my picking plateau, I started a new practice routine this week. Each practice session, I play through tunes I know, sometimes all 12, sometimes a few of them. I have revisited the Banjo Primer with the goal of working my way through all the lessons, completing each one before moving to the next, improving my technique and picking speed. I'm sticking with Geoff Hohwald's instructional material. Once I'm done with the Banjo Primer, I'll move on to his Banjo Songs book. Keep picking.

4 Comments

Judith511 says:
2/14/2020 6:10:11 AM

Sounds like a good plan. I started out with the beginner banjo course on Peghead nation and pretty much worked through that course, not all the tunes but most of them Then on to the Bluegrass Banjo course which was more difficult. I'm still there but finding that I am relearning tuned that I already know but in a more difficult format or up the neck.
So since I play guitar as well I have started learning the banjo tunes on the guitar as well. It makes it kind of fun and I enjoy the variety. Have fun and keep on picking!

WayneConrad says:
2/14/2020 6:12:19 AM

Jeff, That sounds like an excellent improvement to your practice routine. I never worked up to speed on any beginner material, either. I just started moving on from one thing to the next, like you, but got faster over time (I'm still not real fast, and probably never will be, but I'm faster). I wonder if that's just the normal progression for a lot of people--maybe they should put something in the primers to tell us that when we start: "You probably won't get up to speed on these tunes before you move on to another tune or technique, but don't worry about it, and plan to come back later and brush up on technique and relearn the material."

pickn5 says:
2/18/2020 6:11:21 AM

@judith511 and @WayneConrad going in to the second week of my new practice approach, I think it will get me off the plateau and help me climb the mountain. The first tune in the Banjo Primer is a simple version of Boil Them Cabbage Down, using a forward backward roll, then using a 2-4 slide on the 3rd string in the G chord. I am incorperating that in with a Murphy Method version of the tune I already know. I checked Geoff Hohwald's Banjo Songs book and it has five different breaks to the tune, including up the neck. Once I learn them all, I'll be able to mix it up, adding to my repitoire and lick vocabulary. I'm excited about my new practice sessions and the progress I expect to make. I don't think I'll ever get fast, but as long as I can get to a tempo that makes the tunes I play sound good, I'll be happy. Keep picking.

WayneConrad says:
2/18/2020 6:16:33 AM

@pickn5 Cool!


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