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Aug 5, 2021 - 6:47:32 AM
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Players Union Member

DC5

USA

20427 posts since 6/30/2015
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by stevebsq

So this thread got me thinking. I have taken lessons for a couple of years from a couple different instructors. The collective approach has been: here is a new song tab this week, here are the new techniques introduced in the tab and here is how to play it, come back in a week, receive critique and we start all over with a new tab.

While I have advanced and learned different techniques it seems like there should be more to learning...don’t know what.


That's how you can tell a good teacher from a bad teacher.  A teacher who is teaching a new song every week is not a good teacher, and usually does not have the lesson planned for each student.  I can't blame these teachers, as many people, especially young people, are impatient and want to learn songs right away.  A good teacher combines songs and technique, but there should be a clear progression.  I drop song teachers quickly, if that is all they do.  Many don't even review what you did last week, they just move onto another song. 

Aug 5, 2021 - 6:52:52 AM
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Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

26399 posts since 8/3/2003

quote:
Originally posted by Buck the Banjo Player

expensive banjos are a waste and it can seem important early on. Recording King banjos without a metal tone ring is a far better choice for a beginner due to weight alone. You can easily google "1-4-5 banjo songs". I had about 20 banjos at one time while learning and it was a mistake to seek out expensive resonator banjos. I am rich, so it didn't matter for me, but I don't want others to fall for the B.S. on this website.


To each his own.  I have owned cheap banjos, mediums priced and expensive.  I much prefer my Stelling over any of the others I've ever played.  It feels better, looks better, plays better and suits me better.  

No, it's not necessary to own an expensive banjo, but if you want one and can afford it, go for it!!!

I'm glad you're rich.   I'm not, but I don't usually go around telling everyone that.

And, if you don't like the B.S. on this website, you can always try to find another banjo website that is as good as this one. 

Aug 5, 2021 - 6:56:56 AM
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RB3

USA

1098 posts since 4/12/2004

I would echo the salient point made by Ken Hydinger.  The photo of the the finger picks on the original poster's BHO home page should offer confirmation to anyone that he's not a good source for advice on banjo playing.  A good banjo teacher could have offered him some assistance in his choice and proper use of finger picks.

Finger Picks

Edited by - RB3 on 08/05/2021 07:07:10

Aug 5, 2021 - 7:21:36 AM
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3910 posts since 3/28/2008

I've been teaching bluegrass banjo since the mid-1990s, and I have had MANY students who had the desire to play but would never have been able to make any progress without the individualized feedback that they got in lessons.

Over the years it has become clear to me that my biggest job is not to show students WHAT to do--they can get that from online free content--but to show them how to UNDERSTAND what they're doing. That means, for COMPLETE beginners, understanding the internal logic of music--rhythm, harmony, etc. For students who come to me with some prior musical experience, it can mean understanding the two-dimensional grid of a fingerboard. A good teacher can observe students' mistakes (right-hand fingering, bad timing, mistaken chord changes, etc.) and get inside their heads to figure out WHY they made those mistakes.

Then there's the process of improvisation, there's jamming, there are other things that many students can't see their way to on their own. I know I've provided valuable experiences to dozens (hundreds?) of students that they could not have had without in-person lessons.

Aug 5, 2021 - 7:22:49 AM
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12281 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Buck the Banjo Player

Banjo lessons are a complete joke, they are simply not worth money, from ANYONE.

1) Learn the rolls, the Youtubes is replete with free roll lessons.


Yeah. I love how those YouTube instructors stop to answer your questions and suggest ways to correct things you might be doing wrong. So interactive and personalized.

 

quote:
Originally posted by Buck the Banjo Player

If you see a TEASER video, where the lesson is good, but ends early, and they want you to pay, leave that B.S alone


This applies in so many other aspects of life. Like, suppose you need a software developer. You interview one and he sounds like he knows what he's talking about and the work he shows you -- "teasers"?  -- looks good. But then, out of nowhere, he starts talking about money like he expects you to pay him! What's with that B.S.? Show that guy the door. 

Aug 5, 2021 - 7:25:16 AM
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3910 posts since 3/28/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Texasbanjo
 

No, it's not necessary to own an expensive banjo, but if you want one and can afford it, go for it!!!

 

 

 


Yeah. If the good instruments only went to the good players, C.F. Martin would have been out of business before the Civil War. And if an expensive instrument makes you want to spend more time with it in your hands--well, that's a good thing!

Edited by - Ira Gitlin on 08/05/2021 07:25:32

Aug 5, 2021 - 8:04:50 AM

74 posts since 5/20/2020

quote:Originally posted by stevebsqSo this thread got me thinking. I have taken lessons for a couple of years from a couple different instructors. The collective approach has been: here is a new song tab this week, here are the new techniques introduced in the tab and here is how to play it, come back in a week, receive critique and we start all over with a new tab.

While I have advanced and learned different techniques it seems like there should be more to learning...don’t know what.

banjohangout.org/forum/attachm...ID=277144


Aug 5, 2021 - 8:17:45 AM

74 posts since 5/20/2020

quote:
Originally posted by Old Hickory
quote:
Originally posted by Buck the Banjo Player

Banjo lessons are a complete joke, they are simply not worth money, from ANYONE.

1) Learn the rolls, the Youtubes is replete with free roll lessons.


Yeah. I love how those YouTube instructors stop to answer your questions and suggest ways to correct things you might be doing wrong. So interactive and personalized.

 

quote:
Originally posted by Buck the Banjo Player

If you see a TEASER video, where the lesson is good, but ends early, and they want you to pay, leave that B.S alone


This applies in so many other aspects of life. Like, suppose you need a software developer. You interview one and he sounds like he knows what he's talking about and the work he shows you -- "teasers"?  -- looks good. But then, out of nowhere, he starts talking about money like he expects you to pay him! What's with that B.S.? Show that guy the door. 

Stackoverflow or other sites never suggest paying......never

 


Aug 5, 2021 - 8:24:11 AM
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111 posts since 7/22/2012

There's clearly no one-size-fits-all, and the proof is in the musician. But we all obviously know that many people enjoy and learn plenty from paid music lessons...not a waste of time for them.

It's also good that many people like to take regular paid lessons, for one because it helps the *music community* by supporting musicians and music stores (etc.), and really does bring more musicians together (some important friendships and collaborations can result). So even if a given person may have the ability to learn a whole lot independently, there can still be benefits from getting involved with a local music school (including jams). Much of this is true for online schools, too. Worth a try just for fun, let alone to pick some things up from others...

With regards to learning from other people in general, Snuffy Jenkins said something like, "You can learn something from the sorriest picker there ever was. He'll have something good for you." Snuffy's advice is mighty good...

Edited by - Banjfoot on 08/05/2021 08:26:59

Aug 5, 2021 - 8:33:58 AM
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chief3

Canada

1131 posts since 10/26/2003

If for no other reason, a "good teacher" (someone who has experience and knows what they're doing) is valuable to give you an honest assessment and tell you what you are doing wrong or what you can do better.  It can be really difficult to self-evaluate and identify your own weaknesses. This awareness can prove to be invaluable and key to improvement.  Youtube, videos, tab, even friends, etc. won't or can't do this but an honest teacher can and will.

Edited by - chief3 on 08/05/2021 08:35:13

Aug 5, 2021 - 9:19:51 AM
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3523 posts since 5/6/2004

I thought I could teach myself. I bought books and DVDs; used online resources. And I learned a lot. But no matter how hard I tried, it didn’t click. The lightbulb never went on.

After five years, I started one-on-one lessons with a great teacher. In a relatively short time (a timetable hastened, I’m sure, by many of the things I’d learned on my own), all the various pieces fell into place. He changed entirely how I approached the task, and gave me the tools with which to go on. After a number of lessons, I realized that I now had the proper foundation to resume work on my own.

So while I’m a big believer in self-discovery, and think that we learn best when we’re able to figure things out on our own, a good teacher usually is essential to making that process possible.

Aug 5, 2021 - 9:48:45 AM

Alex Z

USA

4525 posts since 12/7/2006

"try playing with your finger nails."

Wait a minute.  That's a lesson.  No lessons allowed.  Person should figure it out on their own.

But it's free advice.  

Is the issue (a) paying for lessons or (b) the principle of learning from another person?

Edited by - Alex Z on 08/05/2021 09:51:01

Aug 5, 2021 - 9:57:19 AM
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527 posts since 2/21/2005

Plastic finger picks, unbent? This guy needs lessons in more than just banjo playing.

Aug 5, 2021 - 10:26:17 AM
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Alex Z

USA

4525 posts since 12/7/2006

One of the distinctions of the BHO is that almost every picker recommends that they way they do things is the best advice to give to everyone else.

That's the initial posting, AND that's why there are so many replies to the initial posting -- "I think lessons are helpful and so should the initial poster."

So we end up in a debate over opinions that goes nowhere.  Yet it can be interesting to hear various perspectives -- and again that's the BHO.

The original poster -- from other postings -- is not against giving advice to someone having difficulty, so there is nothing inherently wrong with "lessons."   The only thing that's left is paying for advice, when some -- not all -- advice is free.  

What's left out of the poster's assertion is consideration of the speed of learning and the depth of learning that can come from paid lessons versus free advice.

Another thing left out is the satisfaction of getting music out of an instrument that costs more.  But satisfaction versus cost is a individual opinion -- no sense debating that.  Again, the perspective that "if it's good enough for (me) (Earl) (etc.) it should be good enough for everything."  "If I think I'm paying too much for what I'm getting, then everyone else is too."

There's a lot about money and unjustified costs in these postings.  

Aug 5, 2021 - 10:26:45 AM
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1572 posts since 1/28/2013

Unless you are a Genetic Musical Genius with the inherited natural ability to play a particular instrument, you will reach the point where you will have to reach out to somebody more accomplished than you to move to the next level of playing. 1 on 1 lessons are the best way to do that and the quickest way to reach your full potential.

Aug 5, 2021 - 10:40:25 AM
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2814 posts since 11/15/2003

You know...
It doesnt take a genius or even a real bad student banjo picker or an experienced old side man to smell what the o.p. is shoveling.
If this was a few years ago id accuse you of being a TROLL and ask if your hangout name used to be stringbender.

I won't even dignify the lameness of the post with my opinion...more qualified posters have give it a professional opnion and until you show us your qualifications in from of a video performance to validate you post...
I move that you did start this thread to TROLL.

WARP!

Aug 5, 2021 - 10:50:32 AM
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12281 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Buck the Banjo Player
Stackoverflow or other sites never suggest paying......never

I get it. I can totally appreciate that someone who makes their living developing software without compensation might need to get their banjo lessons for free rather than paying for them.

Aug 5, 2021 - 11:35:54 AM
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45 posts since 3/10/2009

I mostly agree Buck. I have learned so much from all the free stuff out there being able to slow it down and watch the hands, even in the full band videos. I did have someone show me the basic rolls many years ago before the internet was even thought of. Listening to the records before the internet and now the internet works for me.

Aug 5, 2021 - 12:10:33 PM
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58254 posts since 12/14/2005

quote:
Originally posted by FenderFred
quote:
Originally posted by mike gregory

Would it be considered Bad Manners to ask for a link to a video of you demonstrating how good you got without a live teacher?


Are you asking me Mike or the OP?


I'm asking the OP, since there's nothing like it on his home page, and he seems so adamant about how it is a waste for everyone, no exceptions.

But, i'll check anything YOU post, too.

Just 'cuz I like banjo music.

Aug 5, 2021 - 12:13:26 PM
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Enfield1858

England

128 posts since 8/1/2020

@nathane - "Practice only works if you are practicing the right things in the right way"
(my emphasis)

100% YES!!  And, speaking from personal experience, on both banjo and baritone horn, I can say that a good teacher can spot an apparently tiny error which is really holding you back, put you right in a few seconds, and you feel as though they'd taken off a handbrake which was dragging. Even more important is that, by correcting it in the very early stages, they can help you avoid getting into a bad habit which will badly limit how far you can go - and that 'tiny error' might take you years to spot for yourself.

@nathane - "In the UK I have not been able to find a coach and mentor to help me with this, banjo is a really minority instrument here. I am therefore self taught based on books and internet. I can therefore see that the OP has a point to an extent, but I for one really miss the fact that I don't have a great teacher and I know my ability to create music is less as a result."

Nathan, I've been fortunate enough to find a very gifted teacher close enough for me to travel to, and I've made very good progress with her help. She's based in Sheffield, so obviously out of reach for you, but I believe that she can do lessons via Skype or Zoom - so, if you have the equipment required (or could afford to buy it), that might be a way forwards.

Kate is away all this week, but I'll check with her about tele-lessons when I see her on Monday. If you're interested, send me a PM, and I'll let you know what I find out.

With best regards,
Jack

Edited by - Enfield1858 on 08/05/2021 12:14:21

Aug 5, 2021 - 12:22:28 PM
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Enfield1858

England

128 posts since 8/1/2020

quote:
Originally posted by eagleisland
quote:
Originally posted by DC5

It is easier to learn good technique, then to unlearn bad technique. Online videos are good, but nothing beats a good instructor with one on one attention. There are bad teachers, and good teachers. I've spent money on both, but I've gotten more than my money's worth from the good ones.


This, exactly. About half of my students have been rank beginners. The other half have been people who tried Buck's approach and realized that it didn't work.

PS: the rank beginners tend to advance more quickly than the latter group, because they're learning a new skill instead of trying to unlearn mistakes and replace them with good technique.


(my emphasis, Jack)

Yes, indeed! Breaking an ingrained bad habit is infinitely harder than developing a good one!

Jack

Aug 5, 2021 - 12:35:31 PM
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Enfield1858

England

128 posts since 8/1/2020

quote:
Originally posted by candkath

I mostly agree Buck. I have learned so much from all the free stuff out there being able to slow it down and watch the hands, even in the full band videos. I did have someone show me the basic rolls many years ago before the internet was even thought of. Listening to the records before the internet and now the internet works for me.


(my emphasis, Jack)

Yes, but who's watching your hands, to see if you're accurately copying those players? And who's listening to you, to give you feedback on the quality of your sound, your rhythym, and so on?  That's where a good teacher can really help you - whether that teacher be a pro teacher or another player capable of gving clear feedback and good advice.

If other people choose to learn by other means, I've got no beef with that - but having tried face to face, one on one lessons with several good teachers (on both brass and banjos), I need no convincing about how helpful a good teacher can be.

With best regards,
Jack

Aug 5, 2021 - 1:04:08 PM

4363 posts since 12/6/2009

quote:
Originally posted by SimonSlick

Did Earl take lessons?


Earl had family members and locals who played and taught things or at least Earl had the inviroment needed to do what he did. Like most of the original players access to those who played were all around....you couldnt help but being one of them eventually. But I will say, the love for the music played the biggest part.

Edited by - overhere on 08/05/2021 13:06:31

Aug 5, 2021 - 1:07:31 PM

193 posts since 5/21/2020

quote:
Originally posted by mike gregory
quote:
Originally posted by FenderFred
quote:
Originally posted by mike gregory

Would it be considered Bad Manners to ask for a link to a video of you demonstrating how good you got without a live teacher?


Are you asking me Mike or the OP?


I'm asking the OP, since there's nothing like it on his home page, and he seems so adamant about how it is a waste for everyone, no exceptions.

But, i'll check anything YOU post, too.

Just 'cuz I like banjo music.


Ok, I wasn't volunteering :) But it's nice to know you care. I just play for my own amusement and I share my progress vids with my teacher and my fellow students. The reviews I get are usually positive there may be some element of bias but I just bathe in the positive feedback. Although I know in my own mind I will never make it in the village hall let alone Carnagie Hall.  I'll leave that to the Pro's they need the cash more than I do. 

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