%>
Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

374
Banjo Lovers Online


Page: 1  2   3   4   Next Page   Last Page (4) 

Sep 30, 2022 - 2:45:50 PM
9 posts since 6/19/2021

Hey Guys, back for some great advice as always from here and the banjo fam ????.

So I’m learning a few songs now and can play them quite well from memory. My timing is good and practising more.

My question is, should I learn more songs to build my timing and speed before I start to learn more theory type things scales / progressions etc? I feel like when I’m learning songs, I’m more focused on learning the song and not really taking notice of the theory in terms of which notes I’m actually playing if that makes sense.

I guess I’m asking how to split my time and should I be trying to learn these things at the same time, as in watch a mixture of video lessons etc or stick with learning the songs, then when I can play more (say 10-15) then focus more on theory etc.

ps.. do you think it would benefit me greatly to find a teacher locally for a lesson once a week too? Or the online stuff is ok?

Thanks for your help as always!

Edited by - powell on 09/30/2022 14:55:52

Sep 30, 2022 - 2:51:21 PM
like this

2932 posts since 5/2/2012
Online Now

I managed to play the banjo for a few years while avoiding learning anything about theory, with the exception of learning very little about chord progressions. I would say I've picked up knowlege of theory as I went along, as I needed to learn it.

But once I decided to break out of that beginner mindset, I knew theory was something I needed to learn. When you get to the point where you want to pick out tunes, write your own arrangements, start thinking about improvising, then knowing some theory will make things easier.

Sep 30, 2022 - 2:56:40 PM
Players Union Member

powell

UK

9 posts since 6/19/2021

That makes sense thanks. Think I’m just wanting to make sure I’m doing it right and not slowing my progress down.

Sep 30, 2022 - 3:02:56 PM
like this

banjoy

USA

10600 posts since 7/1/2006

When you learned to speak, did you learn to speak first, or did you learn the rules of the language first?

Sep 30, 2022 - 4:11:46 PM
like this
Players Union Member

Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

27986 posts since 8/3/2003

You could either or both, whatever keeps your interest.

Just think of it this way: you're learning theory as you learn songs. You learn to count, keep the beat and tempo. Every lick you learn has a little theory in it. Each song you learn has theory in it (think chord progressions).

I had piano as a child, so I understood scales, beat, tempo, keys and such, but I was never introduced to chord sequence progression in songs and I learned that as I learned to play by ear.

Sep 30, 2022 - 5:31:25 PM
likes this

76890 posts since 5/9/2007

I'm for learning songs in conjunction with playing with others.It all goes together in my opinion.

Sep 30, 2022 - 8:03:52 PM

460 posts since 11/9/2021
Online Now

For me, its usually learn the tune (melody) first then learn the theory around it. Learning the melody tells you what to play, the theory tells you Why you play a certain note. And some melodies are great for understanding basic concepts that transfer great to other songs and understanding the theory of why.the melody works. Blackberry Blossom is a good one. it teaches triplets in descending order (its structure is basically a G major scale with triplets on each root note) , and that then is usefull in tons of other songs. I'll learn a hot lick and then figure it out in all the commonly used chords in BG and Old T and only then see if I can dope out the theory behind it. IMHO one can plow thru a melody without knowing anything about theory, but its harder to just know a bit of theory and use it to work out a melody.

All this is IMHO AFAIK a PIA and if U don't agree TFB.

Sep 30, 2022 - 11:27:37 PM
likes this

547 posts since 5/21/2020

quote:
Originally posted by powell

Hey Guys, back for some great advice as always from here and the banjo fam ????.

So I’m learning a few songs now and can play them quite well from memory. My timing is good and practising more.

My question is, should I learn more songs to build my timing and speed before I start to learn more theory type things scales / progressions etc? I feel like when I’m learning songs, I’m more focused on learning the song and not really taking notice of the theory in terms of which notes I’m actually playing if that makes sense.

I guess I’m asking how to split my time and should I be trying to learn these things at the same time, as in watch a mixture of video lessons etc or stick with learning the songs, then when I can play more (say 10-15) then focus more on theory etc.

ps.. do you think it would benefit me greatly to find a teacher locally for a lesson once a week too? Or the online stuff is ok?

Thanks for your help as always!


Whilst it's not essential to learn theory whilst learning to play banjo a basic understanding can advance your knowledge and skill so much quicker. So I suggest you might care to check out these lessons at https://banjobenclark.com

 

Edited by - FenderFred on 09/30/2022 23:39:45

Sep 30, 2022 - 11:46:08 PM

547 posts since 5/21/2020

Oct 1, 2022 - 3:51:30 AM
like this

beegee

USA

23120 posts since 7/6/2005

When you learned to drive, it was necessary to learn to rules of the road, as well as operating skills. Banjo is no different. If one understands the basics of chord theory and timing, it adds context to the learning experience.

Oct 1, 2022 - 4:13:44 AM
like this

516 posts since 4/14/2014

quote:
Originally posted by banjoy

When you learned to speak, did you learn to speak first, or did you learn the rules of the language first?


As a linguist, you did both. That's why you hear young English speakers say things like "goed". They're using the "rules" of the past participle morpheme (-ed) but against an irregular verb as it comes from oldest forms of English (gan & goon).

All that's a bit over explanation that nobody deserved. Sorry. As a musician, I'll say that you do the same thing and you learn both simultaneously, even when you're not trying to.

Edited by - Nic Pennsylvania on 10/01/2022 04:14:51

Oct 1, 2022 - 4:32:13 AM

516 posts since 4/14/2014

It isn't an either/or. You can do both.

Oct 1, 2022 - 4:34:51 AM

phb

Germany

3572 posts since 11/8/2010

I would not neglect theory but theory is something you can do when you can't play the banjo like when you commute or late at night. Actual playing time is the most precious time you have (unless you have a lot of time).

Since you mentioned scales and that seems to indicate you are more interested in theory put into practice (i.e. exercises): you could play scale exercises just like many play rolls (e.g. over basic chord progressions) during the first quarter of an hour or so in a practice session. Personally I have never practised scales on the banjo except those bits I needed for a tune in the melodic style. I know enough theory to know what finger/fret changes in a C scale, G scale or D scale (I have never had any use for any other scales playing uncapoed so far).

Oct 1, 2022 - 5:20:54 AM
like this

59681 posts since 12/14/2005

Good advice already given above, by many and several.

There are only 2 RULES for Banjo:

1. Have fun
2. Share the joy.

Oct 1, 2022 - 5:34:45 AM

Greg Denton

Canada

90 posts since 10/5/2014

Don't think of theory as "theory" - just think of it as "common practice" - It's what musicians commonly do. If you're interested in music, if you're listening to it, if you're playing music, if you're curious about the music you're playing, then you're practising it. If you're listening to songs/tunes and learning them by ear - knowing what "common practice" is will help you to know what to expect, to recognize patterns and sound relationships, and to know when things take an interesting turn from the usual. Knowing how to find those sounds and patterns on your instrument is important too - understanding how your fretboard is organized is an important part of theory too.
I think a teacher can only help. A teacher can help you problem solve, can answer questions, can show you pertinent things that can increase your understanding of the tunes you're learning, and can be a friend who is interested in your progress.

Oct 1, 2022 - 6:11:37 AM
like this

banjoy

USA

10600 posts since 7/1/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Nic Pennsylvania

It isn't an either/or. You can do both.


I understand what you're saying, but the explanation you gave requires that you speak the language first LOL! I never implied it was either / or (and I don't see others here drawing that hard line). The question was: Which Comes First? Speaking (and playing music) is doing so my experience is that is what comes first. Theory of each is describing what you just did, not what you're about to do...

When you converse with another person, I don't think anyone formulates in their head, the sentences and paragraphs of what they're about to say before they open their mouth. Most folks just naturally riff with language, even those with no understanding at all of how language is assembled and structured, and usually can communicate just fine.

Having said all that, knowing and understand even basic theory -- as basic as how a chord is made and how time is divided up -- can go a long way towards higher levels of musicianship, and communicating better with other musicians across genres. But it is not a requirement. So my basic advise is to learn the instrument and as you have rightly suggested, some basic concepts will filter in no matter what if you keep at it. At some point, in my opinion, musical curiosity will lead to theoretical concepts...

Edited by - banjoy on 10/01/2022 06:13:42

Oct 1, 2022 - 9:43:35 AM

516 posts since 4/14/2014

quote:
Originally posted by banjoy
quote:
Originally posted by Nic Pennsylvania

It isn't an either/or. You can do both.


I understand what you're saying, but the explanation you gave requires that you speak the language first LOL! I never implied it was either / or (and I don't see others here drawing that hard line). The question was: Which Comes First? Speaking (and playing music) is doing so my experience is that is what comes first. Theory of each is describing what you just did, not what you're about to do...

When you converse with another person, I don't think anyone formulates in their head, the sentences and paragraphs of what they're about to say before they open their mouth. Most folks just naturally riff with language, even those with no understanding at all of how language is assembled and structured, and usually can communicate just fine.

Having said all that, knowing and understand even basic theory -- as basic as how a chord is made and how time is divided up -- can go a long way towards higher levels of musicianship, and communicating better with other musicians across genres. But it is not a requirement. So my basic advise is to learn the instrument and as you have rightly suggested, some basic concepts will filter in no matter what if you keep at it. At some point, in my opinion, musical curiosity will lead to theoretical concepts...


Sorry, that wasn't an implication on you, it was more to the original poster. 

Oct 1, 2022 - 10:02:33 AM

8222 posts since 8/30/2004

Yes Mike,
And get a dog too 'cause it keeps your brain healthy....Jack   p.s. I couldn't imagine being without my Pups....Whippet and a Greyhound....J

Originally posted by mike gregory

Good advice already given above, by many and several.

There are only 2 RULES for Banjo:

1. Have fun
2. Share the joy.


Edited by - Jack Baker on 10/01/2022 10:04:01

Oct 1, 2022 - 8:23:23 PM
like this

13690 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by powell

My question is, should I learn more songs to build my timing and speed before I start to learn more theory type things scales / progressions etc? I feel like when I’m learning songs, I’m more focused on learning the song and not really taking notice of the theory in terms of which notes I’m actually playing if that makes sense.


I believe the answer to your specific question as I bolded it is yes learn more songs before more theory, but be ready to learn theory when you sense that will increase your understanding of what you're doing and help you learn more musical concepts to apply to the songs you've learned and will continue to learn.

The quoted words I didn't highlight hint that you might be expecting theory to be something it's not. Theory is about explaining, understanding and communicating about the music we play and making better -- more musical and more interesting -- choices when we improvise. 

There's never a choice between  timing and speed vs theory. Every time you practice and play you should be focused on your timing. Speed will eventually come. The focus of learning more songs isn't to build timing and speed, it's to learn more songs and to gain new musical vocabulary you can apply to future songs and to your toolbox for improvisation. Even when you're working on theory, including playing scales or moving chord shapes up and down the neck you should be working on timing.  

As to the comment  "I feel like when I’m learning songs, I’m ... not really taking notice of the theory in terms of which notes I’m actually playing" I'd say that even players most grounded in theory aren't consciously aware of every single note they're playing. In a recent online master class hosted by Deering, Jens Kruger said the human brain can handle three decisions a second. Fast banjo can be more notes than that that. And when you add concepts such as chords, positions, and what's coming up, it's clear that we can't consciously know every part of everything we play. You're not going to be able to name every note as you play it. Nor would you ever need to.

What you eventually want to learn is larger pieces of musical vocabulary. Maybe one-to-four measure licks, phrases or patterns that you can drop into places where you know they'll work. Or fretting and picking patterns that are movable to different locations of the neck. It will help to learn these in the context of some type of theory, so you might know for example that a particular phrase takes you from a one chord to a four chord or a five chord to a one chord. Maybe know the chord names that certain phrases work with or the beginning and ending notes so you have targets. You should definitely eventually know the notes on the banjo neck because that will make chords make so much sense.

A certain amount of theory is useful to have as you learn songs. Chord names and the numbering system for chords, for example, since that helps you transpose from one key to another or use a capo. It helps to know that the numbers refer to degrees of a scale. But you don't have to play scales to use that info. There's plenty of time down the road for that.

Learn songs and add theory as it answers questions, brings meaning, and helps you talk to and play with other musicians.

Good luck.

Oct 2, 2022 - 2:18:47 AM
likes this

4764 posts since 12/6/2009

quote:
Originally posted by beegee

When you learned to drive, it was necessary to learn to rules of the road, as well as operating skills. Banjo is no different. If one understands the basics of chord theory and timing, it adds context to the learning experience.


A lot of us learned how to drive in the fields woods and open farm land/ great way to learn full control. Only had to learn rules when it came time to get a license for driving in traffic on the road. Side note: we destroyed more model  A's by removing parts of the cars and selling em for gas money.....eeessshhhh I think back............

PS Earl never knew or heard of a roll or what it was until Bill Keith whispered in his ear.

Edited by - overhere on 10/02/2022 02:20:59

Oct 2, 2022 - 3:51:35 AM

RB-1

Netherlands

3856 posts since 6/17/2003

quote:
Originally posted by powell

My question is, should I learn more songs to build my timing and speed before I start to learn more theory type things scales / progressions etc? I feel like when I’m learning songs, I’m more focused on learning the song and not really taking notice of the theory in terms of which notes I’m actually playing if that makes sense.


I'd propose working on three levels, indeed, tunes and theory.

But highly underrated (and often picked up way over due in the process) is -IMO- the mastering of backup.

Or else, when you have the chance of playing with others, you won't have clue of what to do.

Even worse, you'll be ruining the music while repeating the solo part you've learned so far and playing on top the other's parts when it's their turn.

And, believe me, back up is something else than just rolling through the chords that, in itself, can be useful at times.

Edited by - RB-1 on 10/02/2022 03:52:29

Oct 2, 2022 - 7:05:29 AM
likes this

beegee

USA

23120 posts since 7/6/2005

quote:
Originally posted by overhere
quote:
Originally posted by beegee

When you learned to drive, it was necessary to learn to rules of the road, as well as operating skills. Banjo is no different. If one understands the basics of chord theory and timing, it adds context to the learning experience.


A lot of us learned how to drive in the fields woods and open farm land/ great way to learn full control. Only had to learn rules when it came time to get a license for driving in traffic on the road. Side note: we destroyed more model  A's by removing parts of the cars and selling em for gas money.....eeessshhhh I think back............

PS Earl never knew or heard of a roll or what it was until Bill Keith whispered in his ear.


If  you only play at home by yourself, it doesn't matter how you play. Music is best when playing with others. This requires a uniform set of standards, from tuning to timing to composition. Of course, Earl KNEW what rolls were. It took Bill Keith to put it in a universal context to share the concept. I sold my Model A truck intact.

Oct 2, 2022 - 8:36:32 AM
like this

4412 posts since 6/15/2005

If you hope to play music with other people, you'll need to know how chords are formed and to be familiar with commonly encountered chord progressions. That, in turn, sort of forces you to learn at least a little something about scales. Throw in the Nashville Number System (so when somebody says 1-4-5 you'll know what they mean), learn to recognize chord formations that guitar players use (so you're not left in the dark when an unfamiliar tune comes up), and you're ready to go. From there you can explore whatever theory your curiosity leads you to.

Edited by - arnie fleischer on 10/02/2022 08:37:04

Oct 3, 2022 - 2:33:46 AM

4764 posts since 12/6/2009

quote:
Originally posted by beegee
quote:
Originally posted by overhere
quote:
Originally posted by beegee

When you learned to drive, it was necessary to learn to rules of the road, as well as operating skills. Banjo is no different. If one understands the basics of chord theory and timing, it adds context to the learning experience.


A lot of us learned how to drive in the fields woods and open farm land/ great way to learn full control. Only had to learn rules when it came time to get a license for driving in traffic on the road. Side note: we destroyed more model  A's by removing parts of the cars and selling em for gas money.....eeessshhhh I think back............

PS Earl never knew or heard of a roll or what it was until Bill Keith whispered in his ear.


If  you only play at home by yourself, it doesn't matter how you play. Music is best when playing with others. This requires a uniform set of standards, from tuning to timing to composition. Of course, Earl KNEW what rolls were. It took Bill Keith to put it in a universal context to share the concept. I sold my Model A truck intact.


Playing with others does not require any particular specific roll pattern it only requires to play the notes and fill ins with the theme of the song and its tempo. And Earls quote was; "he didn’t know they called what he was doing rolls". there is no set rules to what rolls are played in a song....probably why not too many pros ever play the song the same way twice....tempo, rhythm, speed and beat ( and style)   determine what someone plays. Not too many use tabs.  ( or any for that matter)

Edited by - overhere on 10/03/2022 02:42:16

Oct 3, 2022 - 10:28:54 AM
like this

11 posts since 7/23/2022

I'll share my experience. I've only been playing since May. New to any instrument at all, actually. I started learning songs. I can play (an arrangement of) Cripple Creek, Cumberland Gap, Boil That Cabbage Down, along with some few arrangements of Blackberry Blossom, and learning several others.

I tried to go to a beginner bluegrass jam the other day. I couldn't keep up, because I don't know the chords (much). I definitely can't hear chords yet. So I'm starting to learn some of the theory which is making a lot more sense now. What is really helping it a musical approach to the banjo neck, by mmuussiiccaall (here on the site). It was shared in a forum in 2016. It is really good and has a lot of information I really didn't know.

Basically, I memorized, rote memorization, but no actual understanding. Now I am understanding more how it all goes together, how to get minor chords, getting a chord out of a key, learning scales, all kinds of things.

It is really helping my playing. I still have a lot to learn, but it is helping me expand from just memorizing, but not understanding.

Everyone is different, but it is what I am doing.

Oct 3, 2022 - 5:03:14 PM
likes this

beegee

USA

23120 posts since 7/6/2005

quote:
Originally posted by overhere
quote:
Originally posted by beegee
quote:
Originally posted by overhere
quote:
Originally posted by beegee

When you learned to drive, it was necessary to learn to rules of the road, as well as operating skills. Banjo is no different. If one understands the basics of chord theory and timing, it adds context to the learning experience.


A lot of us learned how to drive in the fields woods and open farm land/ great way to learn full control. Only had to learn rules when it came time to get a license for driving in traffic on the road. Side note: we destroyed more model  A's by removing parts of the cars and selling em for gas money.....eeessshhhh I think back............

PS Earl never knew or heard of a roll or what it was until Bill Keith whispered in his ear.


If  you only play at home by yourself, it doesn't matter how you play. Music is best when playing with others. This requires a uniform set of standards, from tuning to timing to composition. Of course, Earl KNEW what rolls were. It took Bill Keith to put it in a universal context to share the concept. I sold my Model A truck intact.


"Playing with others does not require any particular specific roll pattern it only requires to play the notes and fill ins with the theme of the song and its tempo. "

Ergo: ROLLS, no matter what you choose to call them.
 


Page: 1  2   3   4   Next Page   Last Page (4) 

Hide these ads: join the Players Union!

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.3125