Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Learning to Let Go & Relax While Playing

I couldn’t agree more. I think about that when I watch Aaron Weinstein, Tristan Scroggins, and Chris Thile (and the banjo Ben team of course) on Instagram. They will play a short 30 second clip of them playing an intricate and complex piece of music and almost look bored, haha! It’s inspiring but also seemingly superhuman at times. But once, I saw one where Thile was standing at a music stand, dialed in, playing a single lick to a classical piece over and over in a dingy basement looking room. And I felt like I was seeing behind the golden curtain haha. I thought, hey, I know that look, haha. We only get to see the end results of their endless labor on social media. So much more encouraging to see these virtuosos be just as human as the rest of us. It reminds me that time, practice, and patience is the formula for all of us. And that I’m not the only one that wants to throw my mandolin through a wall sometimes… :wink:


THis was great @banjoben
I did not expect to find so much emotional support within an online community - This goes beyond learning music and I must admit it has been helping me deal with my personal assessments and become a better person. Talk abt value for money, what a deal :wink: lol
thanks and God bless


Pete, thank you for posting this. You cut right to the crux of the matter and generated some outstanding insights.
Besides, I got the same troubles. I guess instead of secret handshakes, banjo player will use screwy faces to identify one another!


Such a great video of wise words Ben. I’ve been away from the forum a little bit as I’m suffering some health issues at the moment and I’m finding my banjo playing has deteriorated a little. Was great to find this video and listen to what you were saying. :+1:


Find a copy of The Inner Game of Music by Barry Green with W Timothy Gallwey and work your way through it. It’s a little skewed toward Classical music, but the exercises and concepts are applicable for musicians in any genre.


Keep it up, Pete! Don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s very easy to get anxious while playing music because we’re putting ourselves in a very vulnerable position just by performing. There are some great replies and practical advice in these responses, and they’re all correct. One thing I try to do is embrace the fear and anxiety. I know that’s easier said than done, but I try to channel the negativity or fear and anxiety, and try to think of it as spontaneous excitement. It’s normal to be nervous, everybody gets nerves now and again. As far as facial expressions are concerned, the best musicians I know make funny faces when they play. Chris Thile’s facial expressions (and body movements) are all over the place when he plays. Heck, even Elvis had that sneer! He’s not a musician, but Gilbert Gottfried used to be so afraid to perform, he would squint his eyes so he wouldn’t have to look at the audience. That became one of his trademarks. Keep pickin’ brother!



Thanks Pete, Ben and all who replied.
This is certainly something that holds me back. I was fortunate enough to attend Ben’s Banjo Camp this summer. I was also fortunate enough to be placed with “The Flying Squirrels” While we practiced I was more than a little nervous, but as we worked through our songs my playing didn’t get any better, but the guys in the group were so encouraging. comments about just getting out there have fun, act like you know it, own this song. I didn’t play any better that night but it was some fun. I gave up all my nervousness that night.
I still get nervous when I play with folks, although when that happens I’m usually thinking about me.
Someone told me the only pressure we have is the pressure we put on ourselves. Easy to say not so easy to put to practice.
Thanks to everyone
we are not alone.
Gene Fox.


@BanjoBen Best. Post. Ever.


Yes, I have this one marked and I go back and watch it from time to time. Really, one of the best, heartfelt responses I have ever read, heard, seen or whatever you call it on a forum. I think we all, (at least me and Pete), have felt and still, to some extent, feel this self induced pressure. I know in my case at least, @BanjoBen is right on point. I can be in a room by myself and have a complete blast. but if even my wife is around and I THINK she may hear me, I start making more mistakes. If I am with my buds and we are playing around, I can’t even get through Cripple Creek without flubbing it up. This video has really struck a chord, (pun intended) with me personally.