Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Whitney Hutcheson from Leander, Texas

What was it that first got you interested in playing the guitar, mandolin or banjo?
It has always been a goal of mine to learn mandolin after hearing Chris Thile play with the group Nickel Creek. Then when he moved to Punch Brothers I realized the versatility of the instrument and fell in love. My brother started playing guitar and getting into bluegrass so then I had someone to pay with!

How long have you been playing and what’s your motivation to play?
I have only been playing Mandolin since August 2018. I have a background in classical music and studied Trumpet in college. Being an avid Country and Bluegrass fan I love finally being able to play some of my favorite songs.

What’s your favorite lesson on Ben’s site and how has it helped you improve?
I am currently working my way through the Beginner Checklist and I think that the Amazing Grace, Build-a-Break is my favorite lesson as it was the first song I played for my dad on the Mandolin he actually recognized. Ben’s site was the first place I went when I got my first Mandolin in August. I love the way he breaks down the song. I only have 3 lessons left on the Beginner checklist and that is all thanks to Ben’s awesome teaching.

What’s your goal when playing?
My main goal when playing is to make each note sound as clear as possible. Not having experience with string instruments I often find that my fingers get in the way of each other. When I can let the beauty of the instrument shines through it makes playing so much fun.

Are there any other instruments or genres of music that you enjoy playing?
I have played Trumpet professionally and can play a little bit of piano. Country and Bluegrass is by far my favorite, but I also enjoy playing classical and jazz. My brother and I are working on 1000 years by Christiana Perri and it is teaching me so much on what I can do on the instrument.

If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
If I didn’t have to sleep I would for sure spend more time playing music. I finished my Bachelor’s degree last week so I feel like I have so much extra time now to put into my playing.

How long have you been a Gold Pick member?
I have been a Gold Pick member since August 2018.

What do you do for a living?
I am a corporate trainer for Apple, Inc.

What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?
My top 2 items on my bucket list would be to visit Ireland and play my mandolin over there then go to Australia and see a symphony at the Sydney Opera House.


Welcome Whitney! Congratulations on being gpotw. You’ve definitely come to the right place to learn, and having a musical background will help a lot. I hope you’ll become active on this forum, there’s a lot of great people who hang out here to help with any issues you might run into, or just have a conversation. I’m starting to sound like an ad aren’t I? I too would love to visit the emerald isle.

Welcome and congrats…You’re in a good place. :+1:

Welcome, Whitney…congrats on the GPMOTW. AND another Texan in the group…Woohoo. .Mando, cool instrument to learn (other than banjo…lol). Did you have any experience with the trumpet before studies in college?. Well you are in good hands learning Mando here, even though i don’t play mando…yet, but you will learn a ton here.

Welcome & congrats on being selected! It’s fun to see another brass player here. Congrats also on finishing up a degree while taking up a new instrument at the same time. Wow, you’re a busy person!

Congrats on being GPotW, Whitney! Glad to see another Texan in here. Also good to see even more young talent. There are only so many dad jokes we old codgers can tell each other before it gets boring. Nice to have you here!

1 Like

Awesome responses. We have much in common. I played trumpet in my formative years. I got my Mando in August, 2018 too. What Mando did you buy? I got an Eastman 315. I think we are progressing similarly by your description of where you are.

I play Banjo too.

Newer to Bluegrass. Check out Greensky Bluegrass (from my home state of Michigan) as they “bend the rules” a bit also… Living Over and Merely Avoiding are two great songs.

Anyway, I enjoyed every thoughtful word.

Hey Whitney,
I used to work with a guy from Ireland and the pictures he used to show me were amazing, I would love to go there as well. There are some really cool castles there and the country has NO snakes :snake:!

What aboot tha loch ness monsta? Okay, I know, different country :roll_eyes: