Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

How long before you go on?

Hi everybody! Just would like to know how long do you stay on one tune before you go to the next? I’m at the basic level. I can play along with Ben at the medium speed. Do you stay with that tune until your up to speed or do you go on to the next tune. I’m thinking if I go on and come back speed will come. Heres how I practice. Scales first, tunes at slow speed than play along with Ben. Thanks Debbie

Hi Debbie, I usually wait until I have a tune memorized and at least halfway up to speed before I start learning a new one. My brain is a little slower than it was 20 years ago and thats about all it can handle. Once I get it memorized though, the speed follows pretty quick.

Hey Debbie,
It’s a great question and there’s not a “right” answer. I think Bulldog’s guidance is as good as any. Getting it committed to muscle memory and when things start to fall into place is a great point to start looking for the next thing. I have a problem in that I keep playing the same things trying to squeak a bit more style or speed into them. I need to start picking up more songs. Both aspects are important, working on what you already have memorized as well as learning new things. Working on either one indirectly helps the other one out.

I agree with Bulldog and Mike. I will add what I include in my practice.

When there is a lick or phrase in the tune that I am learning that slows me down or gives me trouble, I practice it by itself. I like to use the tef files Ben provides so I can slow it down and repeat it as many times as I need to enforce the tune and phrasing. Then I work it into the whole song until I can smoothly play the troublesome part. Then I play with Ben’s rythm. The next practice session I again play the troublesome parts by themselves over and over til it becomes normal. Same thing the next day. I have maybe learned 3-4 songs in the last 6 weeks and still sometimes practice only 4, 6, or maybe 8 notes of each of these songs just to build on and to remember the hard parts.

Then when I move on to the next song, I go back to these tough parts even as I’m learning the new song. I believe you always need to work on something new to keep things fresh, but also must go back to what you have learned. If you only practice the new song you are learning, you may lose some of what you worked so hard on last week.

Also the scales you are practicing are a great way to practice. I bet if most of us were honest not very many of us could play the two octave scales forward, backwards and circular at high speeds, but we move on to learn new songs any way to avoid boredom. These are just some of my thoughts. We all learn differently. Keep practicing!

Thanks for all the good info. I haven’t tried the tef files yet. Will do that this week. Started all this late in life. Better late than never. Just need to keep it fun and going forward.