Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Too Good To Practice

Yes, I’ve been practicing. Working on “John Henry” right now.
But when I take a break from concentrating on that, and just let my fingers dance on the fretboard, sometimes sounds come out that are quite compelling,
My eyes glaze over and my jaw drops down. And the nonsense sounds that my fingers are making are magical…to me. So I stop after a while, rather than go back to concentrating on “John Henry.”
After you shoot a hole-in-one, do you really want to tee off on the next hole?

Besides, I’m hoping some of the magic stays with me. I don’t want it all to go away when I do terrible things to “John Henry.”


The best way I’ve found to get something to stay with me is to explore it for a day or 3…work on it, experiment with it…find out exactly what you did and what you can use it for…this is some of where “your style” comes from…

Finding something that sounds good while “diddling” is a great opportunity for further exploration what you just did…What chord(s) can it match with? Where could it fit in a piece i know? Are there other ways to pull it off? Can I use it as a fill? does it move from one chord to another? etc…


See, that all sounds like fun!
This "John Henry " lesson is a good case in point. It’s a familiar song, but this arraignment is different. When I’m noodling around, I can play (sorta) a kinda decent version…but it’s not the one I’m supposed to be learning. Reminds me of a John Hartford quote: “Style is determined by your limitations.”
I don’t want my “style” to trap me in my limitations, so I’ll keep working on Ben’s version.
With discipline comes the freedom to to play, “Practice makes perfect!”
Luckily, there’s time enough for both practice & play!:banjo::banjo::banjo: