Forum - Banjo Ben Clark


I have failed :frowning_face:
I dropped my membership for a couple of reasons.
Primarily because I wasn’t practicing, so why keep paying.
When my mom passed in April, and while she was sick, it reminded me too much of her. Or at least I thought it would, so I wasn’t playing. May have just been the funk I was in. And probably am still in some, but am doing much better. I am a nurse, I am so thankful for aging, er, maturing…I am such a better nurse going through lifes “adventures”.
But I also am in a rut when I play.
I am trying to perfect before moving on.
And I am not perfect.
I don’t know if I have ever played through perfectly, anything. Also, haven’t memorized anything.
Even when I slow down, thinking that if I play slower I’ll be better, I don’t get them down perfect.

Is it ok to move on if I’m not playing perfect?
Moving on to intermediate from beginner is where I am.

What is ya’alls thoughts.

Thank you for your time


The point is to have fun. really. Some people have fun being perfect but others find that frustrating.

You don’t have to play a tune perfectly to learn another. It would be good to play daily the imperfect piece because with practice and knowledge you will play it better and better.

I find it is fun to learn new tunes. So if you find that fun, do it. Do whatever it takes to keep practicing daily because doing that will really improve your playing.


I am sorry for your loss. That is a tough thing to adjust to.

Just my opinion… feel free to pursue whatever causes you to stay motivated and enjoy playing. With that said, don’t neglect the basics. They give you a needed foundation. So in a nutshell, you don’t have to be perfect before trying something else, but keep working on the basics as well.

BTW, I am not sure I have ever played anything perfect.


Miss Peggy,

You have not failed! What courage you have… To have shared your thoughts, your feelings, your STORY and your soul with us.

Thank you!

Regarding the time taken (no practice) - that is 100% completely understandable. How could one NOT take time in the light of your loss (so sorry).

I tend to think that playing is a strong way to express feelings and also honor your mother… but that is me… and you have your own take on the feelings you feel/express.

Regarding never having memorized or never having played a song perfectly - welcome to the biggest club in musicianship - I venture to suggest.

I play and play… and rarely ever get to a marginal, mistake-free performance. I just figure… every lack-luster attempt is one step closer to getting there… That magical moment when it will happen… and I have faith… It WILL HAPPEN!

As to memorization, I suggest that may be the easier part of just repeating and repeating your practice. Start with one VERY SIMPLE song. GET IT… and build on it… to include adding a 2nd.

One thing for sure, all of us have our challenges and overcoming them is such a great reward!

It is all about the journey… rather than just getting to the destination. It wouldn’t mean so much if you could snap your fingers and to it in 15 minutes… or even a day, week, or month. In fact, the longer it takes… the MORE it will mean… so let the pressure go… and focus on the progress.

Listen to the simplest sound of a chord… A roll… And hammer-on or pull-off… or a nice slide!

ENJOY your instrument - just for enjoyments sake.

As to the paying part, this is another question altogether. Coming off a long stint of unemployment, times get tough… so this must be your choice for cost versus your personal value.

I am sooo thankful I had paid for a Lifetime membership as the tharaputic nature of playing sustained my spirits when I was low… Or needed a distraction from job search… or… just to think on something else than life’s problems.

Oh… and at the risk of possibly offending, my Bible was used likewise! There… said it - done on not wanting to preach but offer another alternative.

You can find your way back… and this community is happy to be here to help and encourage.

Stick to it… because the failure is in the one who doesn’t have the courage to ever try!

You are well past that!


Might I also suggest… Your plea for help is proof positive that deep down - you desire and yearn to go on with your playing. :wink:

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Hi @Peg_E Peggy, Sorry for your loss. I will keep you in my prayers.


Eh, you only fail if you quit trying to succeed. But… yeah, I know what you mean. So sorry to hear of your loss. I’d love to reassure you by saying it’ll get better and stuff, and it will, but it’s still tough and it is going to take time to get past it. I lost both parents not long ago. Eventually, we do move on though.

There’s the old adage - practice makes perfect, but then there’s the other adage that says - no one is perfect, which leads my smart-aleck mind to the conclusion - why bother? Well, for the joy of it of course :slight_smile: I rarely play a tune all the way through perfectly, not many of us do, so there’s that. Just accept it. I get in ruts too, I feel like I’m not making progress, I wonder why am I doing this. Fortunately, for me, those feelings are short lived. I’ve talked to other musicians and they all report similar feelings that you and I experience, you’re in the club Peggy.

Of course it’s OK to move on if you’re not playing perfectly or up to your own standards or expectations. Move on, step out, give it a go. Doing/Playing the same tune until you master it is boring. I work on 10 or more tunes or skills at a time and every now and then I’ll try something I’ve never done before and in the process, I learn new things. Then I go back to work on things I was having troubles with and more often than not, they’re easier and I notice a significant improvement.

Sometimes, when I’m stepping out, I may squeak out a recognizable part of a tune that’s above my current skill level, and maybe only once and I can’t reproduce it, but I heard it. It came from me. It motivates me to keep trying. I also have trouble memorizing a tune. I have to play a tune probably a thousand times before I memorize it. Wow, now that I just wrote that out loud, that’s um well, it’s… nope, not gonna dwell on that.

Are you going through the beginner and intermediate tracks laid out by @BanjoBen? I would encourage you to move on to the next track or tune or skill if you want. Experiment. See what’s ahead of you. Have fun with it. I think the rut will soon be behind you. Give it another month. I sure hope you stick around.


I can’t really add anything that hasn’t already been said. Just wanted to thank you for sharing your story and express my sympathy for your loss. I’m glad to hear you’re doing better.


Hi @Peg_E, even from an “almost there” to get perfect, it would require double the amount of effort. Also comparing with others is not really going to help. As other folks might put in a lot of time and effort which you may not be able to . So I would do it only from fun point of view. Moving on always helps and I it do all the time. Trying out tough pieces makes learning simple ones easier when you come back to it. Playing music can also keep you busy to forget about other things. Just my thoughts.


What Mark said


HI Peggy

I can fully understand where your’re coming from as i to since starting my banjo journey have suffered loss and i’m so sorry for the loss you are experiencing. Playing any instrument to a high standard require dedication and practice but if the goal here is to enjoy playing and progress at your own pace… to give that up would be a true waste it will come and enrich your life.

Ive been playing keyboards now for close on 35 years and would still struggle to play a song all the way through… seriously i’m not joking.

Please don’t give it up just continue to enjoy it and ability will come



@Peg_E, sorry to hear about your loss :frowning:

No, do not hold yourself to a perfect standard before moving on. Have fun with it. We’re here for you!


Thank you all for your kind words, thoughts and prayers. I really appreciate it and all of you. It helps so much when we peak our heads out of our shells and see the world is full of friends not strangers!
Signing back up and playing on!


That’s the spirit!


Looking forward to seeing more of you around these parts!


Wanted to say thank you to all for your support. I have been back at picking and having fun. I have found that as I start new, more difficult songs and go then go back I am able to play the easier ones much better! That sure makes sense but not as youre struggling through it. Kinda like life!
I’ve even been able to memorize a couple of the easy ones!