While it’s true that you are keen to improve your skill as a beginner banjo player, when you play the banjo, there’s always something new to learn. In other words, whether you’ve been playing for a while and have almost perfected it or you’re still learning the ropes, it’s always an excellent opportunity to learn. Anyone can play the banjo, and every banjo player knows that once you’ve mastered a particular song or tune or have perfected playing a riff or chord, there’s no other feeling like it. But how else can you improve your skill at playing the banjo? Surprisingly enough, these tips don’t all involve practicing for hours on end. Here, then, are some tips to remember.
- Check your banjo and make sure it is tuned well
The first thing you have to do – and this is something that any seasoned banjo player will tell you – is check your banjo and make sure it is tuned well. Then, give it some tender loving care, whether it’s through installing new strings (especially if the last one is over three months old), tightening or replacing the banjo head, checking the banjo picks for nicks around the edges, or installing a new bridge (if your bridge saddle is bowed, time to replace it), and making sure that the electronic tuner has a new set of batteries if needed.
- Practice every day – but focus on something new
Yes, practice is critical, but here’s the thing – try out something you’ve never done before. For instance, you can try out a new song, take some banjo lessons (there’s always something new to learn!), or work on a chord or lick. The trick is to try practicing at least twenty minutes a day, even if you don’t feel like it. It’s happened before – you may not feel like practicing initially, but you tend to get lost in the session as you go along. If you’re with your family and don’t want them being bothered while they watch television, you can still stay in the same room by using a banjo mute! There’s no excuse, and soon enough, you’ll be practicing roll patterns and building up speed. Take note that it’s not just fast notes you want – your notes should sound clean, too.
- Do a jamming session
Many towns and cities now boast a bluegrass group or club, so look for one in your local area or nearby. They meet up at a local bar or restaurant in some places, so you and your family can still spend time with each other while you jam away.
- Attend a conference or workshop
Another thing you can do that combines fun with learning is to attend a conference or workshop in your local area. You may be surprised to know that lots of music shops provide lessons, and some festivals have free workshops as well. These camps, as they are also known, offer a superb way to improve your skill, and they are great fun, too.
You can do other things to get ahead without making too much of an effort – you can subscribe to a magazine, which always has new songs or tips, or you can take a class at your local community college. You might even find kindred spirits who are also eager to practice and play together.