5 Tips To Help Inspire You When Learning Banjo

by Carolina Bridges

Have you ever looked up the definition of “inspiration?” Here it is: stimulated to do the process of being mentally or feel something, especially to do something creative. And the source of inspiration may be a lot more basic than we think.

I have twin sons. One of my greatest memories of their milestones in life was when I saw one of them roll over in his crib. We all understand how basic that is…but coordinating your hands, feet, legs, and  a “roly-poly” middle to make going from your back to your tummy is quite a process for a baby. We  talk about learning to crawl before we can walk…but folks, we all had to learn to just roll over before we could begin to  learn how to crawl. We need to be able to see our own small successes, no matter how humble, so that we continue to  progress and inspire ourselves to move forward.  Little victories make for great successes. Be inspired by your own success when learning banjo. Here are a few examples of what I mean.

  1. Learn just one roll pattern. Or learn one clawhammer movement. Or learn one strum pattern.
  2. Learn to play that one movement with your eyes closed. This is what it will take for you to learn a new song. While you won’t have your eyes closed, they will be looking elsewhere. You want to “know” where the strings are with your picking hand without looking so you can look at your fretting hand and/or  the song book!
  3. Learn one new 2-finger chord. Practice it using your roll patterns/strum, etc.,  and see what lovely music you will make. Do it open and then put in your chord! You will be “improvising”!
  4. Learn one new 3-finger chord. Practice it using your 2-finger chord and play it open…music happens just this way.
  5. Learn one new 4-finger chord. Practice it along with your 2-finger chord, your 3-finger chord, as well as open.

If you still need help with your banjo chord shapes you can download a free  banjo chord chart here!


Kristin Scott Benson chooses the Deering Golden Series banjos
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