Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Beginner track test

As I approach finishing the beginner track, I am wondering if there is some sort of test I could take (video posting) of specific songs or exercises that would show I am ready to start the Intermediate track. Presently, I have gone through over 3/4 of the songs and can play them at slow speeds fairly well. Of course if you speed things up or take away my tefview, my timing will suffer. I want to have a good base/foundation in the beginner stuff before I move to Intermediate and was wondering if there were certain exercises or songs I should be able to play smoothly and at a certain speed before I would be considered ready to start on Intermediate stuff. My guess is that even though I can play the Beginner songs, I am not ready for Intermediate yet. Should I start over in the Beginner track and try to play every song/exercise faster and smoother. If so, at what point is good? I know it could take a LONG time before I can play these songs at 200 BPM. I doubt that would be necessary to be considered Intermediate. But what about 140 or 150? Is there a specific song or exercise that shows if someone can do that at 150 BPM they have what it takes to be considered Intermediate? Thoughts?

HI @JoeB Since your confident that you can play 3/4 of the tunes in beginners learning track. Why not post a video of yourself playing your favourite lesson at a speed that’s comfortable for you and let @BanjoBen offer you some feedback.

There is no test to say you’ve completed all the lessons to a satisfactory level and your ready to move up.

If you can honestly say to yourself that you have gone through the lessons and spent a fair amount of time practicing what has been taught I am pretty sure your ready to move on, reading between the lines I think your the one holding yourself back.

The main difference between the Beginner section and the Intermediate section is that the licks just get a little bit more busy. What your really doing in the Intermediate section is building on what you’ve already learned.

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Theres a right of passage that includes doing one hundred push ups with your banjo on your back followed by carrying your banjo on a 30 mile hike in the blueridge mountains to a bubbling brook which you must drink from while playing cripple creek at exactly 112 bpm. After that, your an intermediate. Don’t even ask how to become advanced :joy: :roll_eyes:

Please note the extreme sarcasm and don’t take this serious


The only real test is you.

Speed is irrelevant.

If you find something that looks interesting in the intermediate section, I say give it a try!

Also, I’d suggest not getting hung up on the labels of beginner, etc. They are simply used as an organisational tool to separate levels of difficulty in the material. They are not meant to label the students who are learning a particular piece.


Agreeing with the fiddler, I’d say go and learn a couple intermediate songs and see if you can play them. You probably will be able to play almost any of them

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@JoeB, congrats!!! I do encourage you to take “You are My Sunshine” and submit a video:

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@BanjoBen OK Ben, video submitted. This song sounds so simple, but took me a lot longer than I would have thought to get it down. I think my timing still needs some work. I played this take along with the Tef file at 120 BPM. I have played it at 140 without mistakes (at least not obvious ones) :slight_smile: Please let me know what I should continue to work on in the beginner section.

Thank you!!!