Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Grateful for banjo ben's lessons

Hey everyone,

I’ve had a rough go of it lately. I spent eight months of the past year in the hospital having five surgeries for Crohn’s disease. Last week I experienced kidney failure. I’ve recovered, but the last day I experienced kidney failure my dog died. It has been a difficult week and I’ve returned to the mandolin as it seems to be a way to pass the time as I wait for my next surgery and mourn the loss of my pup. Would enjoy hearing from people right now to lift my spirits up a bit. I’m 37 years old and this year has been incredibly difficult. Perhaps some of you have had it hard too. Banjo Ben’s lessons have helped me to focus on having some fun. I would enjoy hearing why some of you turned to playing music and if any of you do volunteer work or have other creative ways to pass the time.


Hey brother, I’m sure honored to have you on here and thank you for sharing your struggles. My year hasn’t been near as tough as yours, but it has had some challenges, and music and teaching are great medicines for me as well. You and I are about the same age. When’s your next surgery? I’ll put it on my calendar to be praying for you. Keep me posted, please.

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I am so sorry to hear you are having problems so young, I am 73 and have had heart trouble since I was 37 years old two open heart surgeries and the latest one was June 2nd this year . My latest is problems with remembering to take my meds which if I forget them will cause my defib to shock me . 700 volts is pretty rough I been hit three times this year and about 11 times last year . Enough about me . you seem to be the kind of fellow that fights every step and not one to give up . Knowing the Lord and savior is a way to make it easier on you , if you know Him great I embrace you as a brother . I may wind up doing the mandolin but so far I have stuck with guitar . I enjoy learning new things , now I have to learn them again but that has been fun also Very important to me is I have a help mate who I love dearly and she is right there when I need her (which is a bunch). A good woman is worth more than her weight in gold , you can have the gold I will keep her . but hey welcome to the best teaching site bar none. and I embrace you as a brother no matter what , Keep on making that great music . !!! And so sorry to hear about your pet ( family ) member

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Thanks! My wife is definitely always there for me too and I’ve reintroduced myself to my spiritual side too, though that is a work in progress for me. I’ve been fairly angry this past year, but I’ve had the realization that I’m no better than anyone else. Humility is a tough lesson, and the losses I’ve experienced have drawn me closer to others. I’m sorry to hear about your health troubles Sir. Dealing with the physical side of life can be daunting. I’m happy to at least to still be trying to get things right and be good. I’m a therapist by trade so I used to think I knew what empathy was, but I learn that with each loss I lencounter a deeper lesson about it. May you be well!

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Thanks Ben,

I really mean it when I say I am grateful for your lessons. I reread your bio tonight and appreciate your mission with this website, your instruction, and your ministry. I’m sorry to hear about your father. Life is tough and my father is definitely one of my heroes. I appreciate your willingness to pray for me when my surgery comes around. I don’t yet know when it is scheduled, but it will likely be in late November or early December. I’ll be having more of my intestines removed, my ostomy bag removed, and also a full abdominal wall reconstruction done. It’s kind of daunting because they will perform surgery right where I’ve spent the past several months healing. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared. I’ll let you know when it is. For several months I couldn’t figure out how to even hold my mandolin because of the incision site. It’s caused me to develop some poor playing habits, but I’m sure I’ll readjust when I can hold it correctly again. Thanks again for everything you do!

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Hi Kristopher,

Sorry to hear of your hardships and the loss of your pet.

When I was very young (like 6-7) I saw someone playing guitar and singing on tv, and knew I wanted to do that. The need to play has never left me.

Begged my parents for a couple years until they could finally afford ten lessons and a guitar for $60 at a local store. I was ecstatic and worked really hard at learning my lessons. My teacher tried to teach me left handed (I am) and at the end of the lessons told my parents that I was one of those people who were just not meant to play music.

At about 12 a friend whose family we camped with regularly talked me into get my guitar back out and his dad restrung it right handed with new strings he supplied, and they taught me to strum rhythm to 2 songs the next weekend of camping together.

I have an uncle who ran a band for 30 years who gave me a banjo when I was 15, taught me bass note runs between guitar chords chords, and brought me to my first bluegrass festival (Bean blossom '75). I got hooked and have played many types of music in different situations and bands over the years. I rarely get called to perform any more, but play daily here at home (mostly fiddle now-a-days) and still try to learn and improve on my music.

I’ve always been a really slow learner when it comes to music and am self taught but continue to struggle to play well.

Managed to acquire a huge blood clot in my leg a few years back and it ended my career swinging around in trees with a chainsaw…now I spend most of my time playing/recording music and reading.

I lost my best pal of 16 years , an English Shepherd named Rusty, two years ago…I always swore he would be my last dog…this old house just got too big for me here alone…I made it ten days before I rescued Otis, a one year old Staffordshire Bull Terrier who had been quite mistreated his first year. With much love and patience he’s turned into a great little buddy and has filled a huge empty spot in my life.

I wish you all the best in your upcoming surgery and your musical adventures.


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Thanks Dave,

I️ really appreciate getting to hear about some of your story. Sounds like you been through a lot too. Keep recording that music. Funny enough a staffordshire bull terrier has also just entered my life as a rescue. Doing lots of training with her to keep her busy and trying to Re home her soon. She was pretty badly abused too, but has a great personality.


Big agreement!

Im a new member just wanted to say hello all, i been trying to learn this banjo stuff bout 4 years now I’m a slow learner but recently retired so look out now i have the time and a gold pick membership an at 55yrs old I’m hoping young enough to learn this banjer .


Welcome Wayne, I started learning to play banjo at age 61 with no prior experience of playing a stringed instrument. I knew right from the outset I had a mountain to climb but it didn’t deter me in the least. I purchased a Life Membership with @BanjoBen about four years ago and Ben has taught me a heck of a lot in that time and my playing skills have greatly improved. I’m now 70 so let me just say there’s hope for you at the tender age of 55.


Honored to have you @caccwc86! You can do it!

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