5-String Banjo - The Easiest Instrument

by Barry Hunn

Where Do I Start ?

Just because you know how to drive and you own a car, does that mean you have to drive in the Indianapolis 500?  Does wanting to play the banjo mean you have to perform at Carnagie Hall? No… absolutely not.

Most of us work every day.  We listen to music.  We go to concerts.  We didn’t all grow up with parents who played musical instruments whose passion and enthusiasm reinforced or nurtured the musical nature in us.  We may not know where to begin with learning music….until now.

The banjo is tuned to a G chord.  All that means is, when you walk by a banjo, and brush your index finger nail across the strings, it makes a beautiful musical sound.  There is nothing to know, no strings to hold down, no music theory to memorize and apply, you just make music by brushing a string across the strings.

OK…. You’re right, that one chord isn’t necessarily making music….BUT….. for the working person with less time, less musical background and a faint or driving desire to learn to play music, the banjo offers one of the easiest beginnings and with great satisfaction.

A man at a festival told me that he couldn’t play anything musical.  I sat with him for fifteen minutes, showed him a simple approach using the index finger of each hand…and nothing else.  In that fifteen minutes, he and I were strumming and singing together. For me this was a regular everyday occurrence; for him…it was a life changing event.

This was the beginning of our “two finger method” of learning the banjo.  This fellow “believed” that he could never make music.  He would listen to great banjoists and talented amateurs, marvel at the effortless streams of notes that flowed from their fingers and thought, “That is so beautiful…but I could never do that”.

It just never occurred to him that he doesn’t have to play like that to make music.

If you or a family member or friend have always wanted to play the banjo, or just play music, Most people who watch this video come away with a feeling of, “hey… I believe I can do that.”

This DVD presents a simple approach that virtually any person can accomplish.  There are no finger picking patterns on it.  There are no chords that require more than one index finger.  There is no need to know music theory.  There is no need to know how to read music.  There is no pressure to move along and push yourself.  In fact, one of the precepts of the DVD is, “when you practice slow, you learn fast.”  But learning fast is not even the objective. Being able to play music, to release the magic inside you IS the objective.

This all may sound “too good to be true,” but we have taught young people, middle age adults and seniors how to play the banjo with this easy technique and virtually everyone who learned was surprised at “how easy” and “how much fun” and how deeply satisfying it is to be able to make your own music.   Watch these excerpts from the DVD and see for yourself.  This simple approach will “unlock” the scary mysteries of music and make them simple.  It will show you that you CAN play the banjo and make music.  You will see how incredibly easy the banjo is to play.  Perhaps, you will then believe, that you have music in you.

The banjo is the perfect instrument to tap into the musical fountain in you.

What is Music Making?

Music making is NOT perfecting technique.  Music making is NOT competitive.  Music making is NOT “only valid” if the music is “good” or “commercially viable” or “complex” or “simple” or any other type of consideration.  Music making is NOT too complex to understand.  Music making does NOT make anyone better than anyone else.  Music making is NOT exclusively for “beautiful people”.   Music making is NOT just for the rich or the poor, the powerful or the weak.

  • Music is a magic that stirs in the soul of mankind.
  • Music making is releasing the fountain of magic in every human being.
  • The banjo is the most perfect “key” to unlock this potential in every person.


Kristin Scott Benson chooses the Deering Golden Series banjos
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