The banjo is a member of the guitar family of the string instrument group and while it has similarities to the guitar, it is unique in how it is played. The banjo can be found in a number of different genres of music including; country, western and bluegrass. The unique sound, tone, and tempo in which the music is produced lend itself to a specific type of music. Just like the guitar, there are a number of good ways to learn how to play the banjo at home. We have included the top five methods that we could find. Below is what we came up with along with some details about each of them.
Read: Website to Learn Banjo
4 Methods on How to Learn Banjo at Home by Yourself
1) One on One Tutoring Online
Since the early days, people have been wanting to play musical instruments. One of the more of all classes of instruments is the string family. While there are several different instruments in the string family, one of the most unique would be the banjo. The genre of music where it can be found in bluegrass and country.
One of the most preferred methods of learning is one on one with a tutor. Unfortunately, many people do not have time to find a tutor and go to their studio. Fortunately, today’s digital technology and the Internet makes it far easier to solve this time issue. Using technologies like Skype and Apple’s Face-time, you can work one on one with a tutor that might just be halfway around the world. One slight downside, this method is likely the most expensive.
ArtistWorks is an online membership website that gives paid members access to online lessons for musical instruments like the banjo. ArtistWorks is a collection of works created by more than 200 leading musicians in the musical industry. Each of the musicians shares hundreds if lessons on video for the musical instrument of their choice. By searching the massive database for the banjo, you will come across several of the industry’s best and brightest stars including Tony Trischka. Tony is one of the most well-known banjo players in the country.
3) Udemy Banjo Online Lessons
Training lessons are another very popular method that is used by many people who are looking to learn how to play a musical instrument like the banjo. Udemy is a great example of a website that is designed to function as a university in that it offers its students access to a training course online that is set up much as you would find in a brick and mortar college or university. Each of the banjo courses on Udemy is low cost and all of the course material is available in video format. Further, all students have full access to all of 24-7 and only require a reliable Internet connection.
4) How-To Videos on YouTube
How-To videos are by far the most preferred method for people to use when they are looking to find out how to do most anything. These videos are recorded and posted online where they can be found by anyone with an Internet connection. One of the best websites to find these How-To videos including those for learning how to play the banjo is YouTube. There are more than a billion of these video clips and are free to view.
9 Useful tips for playing the Banjo better
- Listen to banjo music regularly
While there are a number of methods that you can use to teach yourself have to play the banjo, but you still need to listen well in order to get really good at it yourself. The best way to do that is to listen to banjo being played by professional banjo players. The more you listen to music, the easier it will be for you to pick up on the nuances of the instrument.
- Set realistic goals
Goal setting is by far the best way to gauge your progress and your goals should be realistic. You don’t want to set yourself up for failure right out the gate, so setting smaller more reachable goals, in the beginning, is the best approach. You can set as many smaller goals that you want or you can choose to use fewer goals while still making it realistic. You can also adjust your goals as you go along if you are not getting the desired results.
- Set up a regular practice routine
The age-old adage that says practice makes perfect goes perfectly when learning to play a musical instrument like the banjo. Be sure to set aside enough time every single day to be able to practice your craft. The time that you are able to devote to practicing your right and left-hand playing techniques, the quicker that you will be able to master them. The quicker you are able to play both right-handed and left-handed together, the better you will be able to play the banjo.
- Start every session with a warm-up
When it comes to your practice sessions you should always begin each one with a good amount of warm-up. Just like with an athlete who would never think about playing any sport without getting warmed up beforehand. The amount of warm-up time will depend on you, but definitely, the more time you spend on your warm-up will translate to a much better practice session in the long run.
- Don’t concentrate on tablatures
Try to stay away from relying on written music (also known as tablature) when you are first learning to play the banjo. It is highly likely that it will get in the way of your learning how to play both left and righthanded at the same time. It is far better to learn by simply listening to the sound of the banjo being played as you get started. You will be able to pick up on the techniques much faster.
- Get the hang of right hand playing first
Before you can graduate to two-handed banjo playing you need to concentrate on playing single-handed. It is far easier to follow a right-handed technique and learn a left-handed technique and eventually combine the two hands together. Just remember, most of the great banjo players started playing right-handed before they became a master banjo player.
- Don’t rush it at first
You want to avoid the temptation to rush to learn to play a song. It is far better to go slow as you are learning how to play and once you have mastered a specific technique then you can move on to a new technique. Playing slower will also help you to be able to practice playing the banjo more effectively.
- Play only one measure at a time
When you are first learning how to play the banjo you want to be sure that you are breaking down the music that you are wanting to play into parts called measures. Starting off with the first measure and playing it over and over again until you have it mastered and then you proceed to the second measure and start the process all over again. By following the procedure you will master the banjo before you know it.
- Write down the songs as you learn to play
Keep a written log of the music as you learn to play it. Having a musical notebook is a great way to be able to keep track of your progress, this can include the songs that you have already learned to play and a list of the music that you are wanting to learn. Another good reason to maintain a music log is that you can also include daily notes for your practices.
Steps to Self-Taught Banjo
Learning to play the banjo can be very rewarding, especially if you are a person who enjoys listening to country and or bluegrass music. The banjo definitely is highlighted in so many of the top country and bluegrass songs of all time. Fortunately, if you don’t have a whole lot of time and a big budget to be taught how to play, there are several different options. We hope that after reading this article you were able to find a good amount of information that will allow you to decide which way might be the best for you how to learn Banjo at home by yourself.