Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Creating a practice plan - redux

Please forgive this double post. I posted it on the guitar forum this morning, then thought this might be the more appropriate forum for it. Maybe I’ll get twice as many ideas this way!

Since I play rhythm and sing in a honky tonk band, that’s my first priority, so I’m working on Ben’s intermediate guitar rhythm series first (I already went through the beginner series), spending 5-10 minutes in each key. Actually, I start with 5-10 minutes of his “Pick Accuracy Exercise”, to try to forestall my sloppy flubs in those aforementioned rhythm exercises that I do next. All this is with a simple metronome. I’m starting at 56 bpm, and figure to add 5 bpm/week, depending on how well I’m playing them.

During the practice itself, when I hit a spot that I’m flubbing, I stop and “snipperize” that part over and over until it’s mo’ bettah (though I wouldn’t use words like “flawless” or “perfect” - hard for me to know where to draw the line there), then I continue. The metronome stays on the whole time. When I feel pretty good about that particular rhythm series, playing it faster (I don’t know how many bpm that would be - suggestions?) and smoother and “perfect”, then I plan to go through the waltz series, maybe the hammer-ons and pull-offs after that. I’ll see when I get there.

This sound like a decent plan and approach? Suggestions are SO welcome!

Next: all this practice plan up until now is so that I can be Hank/Lefty/Buck/Ray for the band, and do my job better. But in my heart of hearts, back home in my living room (and someday out in public), I wanna be Doc . . . so that means flatpicking.

How do I start there? When do I start there? I figure maybe that there’s some drill(s)/exercises(s) I ought to be baby steppin’ right now along the way, then taking on some simple songs to incorporate that picking. Does that make sense? Any drills/exercises, or series of drills/exercises that y’all would recommend? In any particular order? How soon to go from there to a song? Which song?

Thanks for any input! And feel free to answer any questions I didn’t ask but should have :grin:.


Have you tried this, particularly the circular scale?