If you have set a challenge for yourself when it comes to perfecting (or at the very least, improving) your skills as a banjo player, you’re not alone. It’s an instrument that has attracted many enthusiasts, especially in recent times when bluegrass has become even more popular, and more people are becoming interested in learning to play the banjo simply because it has one of the most pleasant, appealing sounds we can hear from any instrument. But if you are a beginner, you may be trying to remember a whole lot of things, and it can be very overwhelming. Also, at this stage, everything will feel unfamiliar and new. But fear not – you can enhance your skill, and the trick is also to have fun with it. The thing with banjo players is that many are perfectionists – but don’t let your perfectionism get in the way of simply having fun! But where – and how – do you begin? Here’s everything you need to know to improve your banjo-playing skills as a beginner.
- Focus on just playing. It may be easier said than done, but one of the most basic tricks is simply play Once you have learnt a few basic songs, play them every day to maintain your muscle memory and also keep mentally and emotionally in touch with the instrument.
- Keep it in tune. One of the most crucial aspects you should remember is how important it is to keep your banjo in tune. You should practice this every time you start playing. It’s also a critical skill once you play the instrument with a group. The act of tuning can be pretty annoying and frustrating at the start, but once you learn to listen and compare pitches, it will be easier before you know it.
- Know your best position for playing. Another thing you need to master is to know the best position to hold the banjo. As a beginner banjo player, you have more than a few options, but remember that you can always try moving the banjo around in your lap to get it more comfortable. Keep experimenting with slightly different positions until you find the one that puts your hands and wrists at the optimum angle to play with ease.
- Learn to coordinate your right and left-hand techniques. Another way you can create a solid foundation for your banjo-playing skills is by always practicing with your right and left-hand techniques together. Many instruction books focus on playing rolls exclusively with the right hand, it is a mistake to focus on one hand to the exclusion of the other. Always keep both hands in a ready playing position even if you are only playing open strings (for which the left hand is not needed).
- Have a jamming session. Ask any keen banjo player, especially someone who has been playing for years, and they will readily tell you how they love jamming with other players. It doesn’t even have to be other banjo players – you could jam with fiddlers, guitarists, dobro players, bassists, mandolin players, and more. When you do this, make sure you play in a way that is respectful to the group so you are enhancing the sound of the collective. And don’t forget to have fun, which is all that it’s about in the end.
Image attributed to Pixabay.com