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Banjo Lessons


I’ve recently been giving a friend some informal banjo lessons. Anyone who knows banjo playing and knows my banjo playing is probably wondering how that is working out as the truth is that I’ve been more of a banjo owner than a serious banjo player (banjoist? banjoer?) but, when you are starting someone from scratch, you don’t need to be too many steps ahead.

It is an interesting project to work on and my student is making good progress. At some point, he’ll outgrow what I can teach and he’ll either have to find a proper expert or we’ll just jam around and play together. It is fascinating how playing an instrument is a combination of taking great care about how you do things and launching in, following your ears. If you never knuckle down to working on technique, all but the most talented will quickly find their limits. On the other hand, my gut feeling is that most people struggle more with being too concerned about getting it right, limiting both their rate of progress and their enjoyment.

As other wise people have observed, we generally call it playing an instrument rather than working an instrument so a good student is entirely justified in spending a decent amount of time on play!

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