Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Why I would want to subscribe

Hi Ben.

Just my 2 cents. I recently bought a Banjo with the idea that I can learn to play a musical instrument at 38. I love fiddling the Banjo and I love the instrument. Banjo Ben, I think that you are a great teacher and I love your work. You are basically the only online banjo teacher with a specifically “Gospel and Hymns” section, which I personally appreciate the most. But I need you to please consider something:

I am not an American, my 1st language is not English nor do I live in the USA. I live in South Africa and my home language is Afrikaans. We have, like Americans, a lot of folksongs, etc. I don’t know or value American folk songs as Americans would do and I think that it’s quite understandable, although the 1st song that I learned to play was Cripple Creek. So, in short, most of the songs that we as foreign subscribers will learn will be songs that we won’t naturally play with friends, etc.

One thing that we as South Africans, as well as other foreign nations, have in common with Americans is religion. South Africa is mostly a Christian nation as is the USA as I understand. The main difference in gospel music is mainly the newer hymns and gospel songs. We do not have an Afrikaans version of the melody for “Jesus loves me”, “Nothing but the Blood”, etc. We do have “Amazing Grace” (Genade Onbeskryflik Groot) that I purchased immediately when logged into your site.

We do share the same melodies in more traditional gospel songs such as “Love Lifted Me” (Liefde red my), “Nearer, my God, to Thee” (Nader my God tot U), “There is Power in the Blood” (Daar is Krag in Sy Bloed) and “Softly and Tenderly” (Saggies en Teer). I presume that other nations would also share the same, older gospel melodies.

If possible, please consider having lessons in older gospel songs, especially for the banjo, if possible.
I hope that my 2 cents might share some light on how foreign users might view your content.

Have a beautiful day
Best regards
Johan Bothma



A grande WELCOME to the very best Musical online Forum - although I admit to being both biased and proud.

I am fascinated and inspired by your post. As you probably can imagine, @BanjoBen’s community is world-wide and I have found him to not only be receptive to input but responsive to his students. As you say, the Christian element on the site is wonderfully present but never confrontational.

Once, I was in need of prayer. I specifically but politely posted - asking if a prayer request would be appropriate as some sites might shy away from the topic - but not @BanjoBen. Ben not only responded but outwardly supported the idea.

As a Life Member over 2 years ago, I was sold and pleased from day ONE, but ever since… the unfolding of teaching, new lessons, artist collaborations, fun, fellowship, an expansive library of lessons that continues to grow, a great General Store with a staff of talented, friendly TRUSTWORTHY FOLKS for musical supplies and instruments, creative contests with the support of a great forum with helpful, ever-supportive community has been a real joy with years of experience - all shared to encourage student involvement. I, for one, am excited to the possibility to have you join us.

Also, @BanjoBen just started a series on hymns lessons I think you will specifically enjoy based on your post. The goal/objective is to delve deeper into the tradition, musical background, history, theory and playing approaches to play in a variety of styles. @BanjoBen is a teacher who enjoys how his students use and grow creatively - rather than stifling or limiting expression.

I know you are addressing @BanjoBen but I did want to reach out and make you feel welcome here… hoping that hearing some feedback might provide encouragement and make you feel like you can find a virtual musical home on the site. :+1:

I hope to see you around!


Welcome Johan! I am also a foreign subscriber. I have to translate a lot of things, but now I’m learning better and better English. I come from Switzerland. As a Christian I like to play and listen to gospel songs. But it is also clear to me that the USA has different songs than we do. but I also know some of them. I’m not so much concerned about which songs Ben teaches. I just learn what I like. it’s nice that the gospel is spread, in which songs. anyway … so i think … and i am very grateful for the very good work of @BanjoBen ! i love the format and the store too.

Cheers and stay healty! :blush:


I appreciate your insights as a long-distance student @Severin! Thanks for adding your comments from that perspective. :wink:


Welcome Johan! Glad you’re here!


Welcome @johan!! Where in south Africa do you live? I live in Mozambique, but we spend a lot of time in south Africa too.