Learning the banjo has been a fascinating experience so far. I have made a point to practice everyday since I’ve got it. After about 5 weeks, I really see an improvement from knowing absolutely nothing, to understanding tabs, and basic songs.
Everyday I’ve practiced the forward rolls. If I do nothing else, I’ve practiced those. About a week ago, I was just flummoxed as to how to build speed.
Well, speed comes without you knowing it. A couple days ago, I thought: “you know, I should try to play with the mp3’s at 80 bpm, let’s see if I can do it”. Yup, easy peasy. Whoa.
“Maybe try the slowest one - 110 bpm”
Yup. Not easy, but not hard.
Over the past couple days, I’ve been pushing my ability to see where I really breakdown. It seems to be around 130 - 140 bpm. Not that I can’t keep up at 130 bpm, but tiny distractions throw me off… A LOT. I’ve only made it 70% through 140 bpm before falling apart. Right now, I’m saying my best is about 125 bpm, accident free, most of the time.
Long story short: I’m not worried about speed any more. It will be there with practice. “If you play it, speed will come”