So, you say you’ve always wanted to learn banjo? Perhaps it’s a dream you’ve harbored ever since you were young but it’s never happened? Perhaps it seems too daunting. We want to help realize your dream and teach you the best way to learn banjo. It starts, with starting, today!
MAKE THE DECISION TO LEARN BANJO, NOW!
There are a million and one excuses we can always find for not fulfilling our dreams. Life just has this habit of getting in the way. So, here’s the news flash: Life will always get in the way. There will ALWAYS be a reason to put it off. There is so much joy and fun waiting for you so MAKE THE DECISION TO LEARN, NOW!
BUY A BANJO
If you don’t own a banjo and buying one is a major consideration, you’ll be happy to learn there are a ton of ways to get your hands on a banjo without breaking the bank. You can buy used banjos and then have a music store set them up for you (new strings, etc). There are also plenty of affordable new banjos. We’ve made a video to help you out.
Now that you’ve decided you won’t postpone your dream and you’ll start learning to play banjo NOW let’s look at the details of the best way to learn banjo.
YOU NEED A TEACHER OR SCHOOL
With the advent of YouTube and the proliferation of computer programs that allow us to slow down music, many people assume the music teacher/student paradigm is outdated. Granted, technology does exist that makes certain aspects of learning an instrument easier than ever before (we actually take advantage of this technology on our site). But this will never take the place of a teacher or banjo school. A good teacher can give us something a YouTube video never will – direction. That is to say “a path.” One step follows another step into progress. Without direction and progress, a student’s motivation will dry up (usually very quickly).
Students learn faster and with a greater success rate when working with a teacher and a structured step-by-step method rather than by teaching themselves (some might call this “direction”). This is not rocket science. Could you teach yourself to tango if you don’t know how to tango? Yes you can comb Youtube but how do you know in which order to learn what? A teacher or school is how. We have helped many people learn the banjo and we want to help you. But whether it’s us or someone else, get some help.
It’s important to note here that while a good teacher is an essential piece of the “learning-the- banjo” puzzle, it is by no means the magic bullet. The crucial element in this scenario is practice. Deliberate practice. Some people call this mindful practice. Deliberate practice means practicing with a specific goal in mind every time we pick up our banjo. It means practicing with focused and exacting attention to our playing at ALL times. It means being willing to problem solve if the music we’re making doesn’t match the music we hear in our head (e.g. why does that D7 chord sound muted every time we play it? – Figure it out!) You can find more tips on deliberate practice in this post.
In addition to deliberate practice I can’t stress enough how one’s COMMITMENT to consistent, daily practice is critical to any effective practice regimen.
Personally, I’ve found that the surest way to yield positive results from practicing is to set aside a minimum of fifteen minutes a day every day with your instrument. If you’re able to do more than this, all the better. But as a bare minimum, try to commit to at least fifteen minutes (let’s be honest, it’s not much to ask for!)
If you lead a busy life and your free time is constrained, rather than making promises you can’t keep try committing to picking up your banjo at least once a day regardless of how long you play it. You might take it out, strum a few chords or play a couple of rolls and that could be it. The idea is simply to pick it up every day. You could do this whenever you have a free moment – as many times throughout the day as you want.
Believe me, those stolen minutes will add up! Link the pleasure and excitement of finally making your dream come true to picking up your banjo. And link the pain of having always talked about it but never did it, to scrolling through the nonsense of the web.
While it will ultimately be up to you to decide how much time to invest in practicing, the simple fact remains: the more time you put into your practicing, the quicker you’ll improve. If you’re dead set on improving you’re picking within a year’s time, see if you’re able to commit to an hour of practice every day. So let’s recap the best way to learn to play the banjo:
Start today -> Get a Teacher or School -> Practice Deliberately -> Practice Daily -> Accomplish Your Dream of Playing Banjo
You can do it. Do it now!
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