Banjo Workshop Reviews

Banjo Workshop Reviews

Banjo Workshop Reviews

Reviews from Banjo Pickers 

Playing Banjo By Ear and Jamming Workshops 
Play by ear, chord instruction, practice habits, 
playing backup and improvising.


Reviews 

.....Wow! What a great time I had and hearing you play was truly an unforgettable experience. I taught Banjo for 15 years in Charlotte, NC (from 1975 to 1990) You are both a fantastic player and a wonderful teacher. I look forward to your next seesion in our area and will look for you in April at the Smokey Mountain Banjo Workshop if I can get there. Take care.........Don Bruton

I took one of his workshops some months ago in Phoenix. First time I ever met him. Wow. I would consider myself an intermediate player, and he gave more than my moneysworth.

With all the tips, that was fantastic, but what impressed me most is his absolute dedication to everyone at the workshop getting what they want from it. He'll ask everybody what they want, make a list, and then keep re-checking the list to make sure EVERYBODY is satisfied and happy.

My experience is, he'll make dead-on recommendations about how to keep getting better. I wanted to buy the CD, Blazing the West, with the tab book. He recommended I get the Banjo Encyclopedia instead. I was pretty stubborn, said I was on a budget and that I'd prefer the CD instead. He said, "OK, then here, take the Banjo Encyclopedia, and just pay me when you can." A few weeks later, after really looking over the Encyclopedia, I quickly realized he was right in his recommendation for me. I felt he really had my best--banjo playing--interests at heart.
And, man, he's a superpicker, to boot.
Mike Blackstone
Phoenix, Arizona

.....10 of us were there, and Ross was terrific. He played some good tunes for us, and even though the workshop was scheduled for 6:30 - 8:30, he went until 10:00pm, and then played more songs for us and spent some one on one time evaluating technique, etc.

Ross spent the time to find out what we, as a group would benefit most from, and spent a good part of the evening discussing techniques, chord exercises and practice techniques to improve playing backup.

Ross talked about how some of the things he had taught us were used by players like Earl, and demonstrated their use while playing some of those songs Earul used them in.

Many more things were presented to us, and I just want to tell you folks that if you get a chance, you should try and get in on one of these. Ross was a nice down to earth fellow that made us all comfortable. Novice to more experienced, he made sure we all were getting something good to take home and use in our playing for years to come.

I left that workshop with more direction for my practice scheduling, goal setting, and a renewed confidence that I can get to where I want to be with my banjo playing.

I really enjoyed the things Ross showed us that to me, amount to playing around or noodling, but with a few goals, the noodling became a fun, rewarding learning experience that will allow me to learn techniques to apply to all songs I am playing or plan to play.

.....Hey Ross
I was one of the lucky 6 folks that attended your workshop at Rt 60 Music in Barboursville WV on the 12th of Oct. I want to thank you for your ability to put into simple words what it takes to make even a cheap banjo sound pretty good. I took your instruction and immediately applied it to my practicing and those little roadblocks that I was experiencing disappeared. The tone and clarity of the notes came to life just from knowing the basics from a professional. When the banjo sounds right while practicing it makes practicing more enjoyable and easier. I've been able to progress much faster now since the workshop and would recommend it to anybody wanting to improve their ABILITY to LEARN. I've found that my desire to improve has increased tremendously. Every time I've picked up my banjo I KNOW I've learned something new.
Once again thanks and I hope to attend another one of your workshops again sometime in the future.

......I learned more from you at your clinic than I did at the two other clinics I’ve attended combined! That you are the best instructor around was reinforced after meeting you in person

......First of all let me take this opportunity to express my thanks to Ross for the Workshop he put on at Elderly Instruments, Lansing, MI on the 18th of Sept '04. It was excellent. And, that is not just me talking as I heard many favorable comments expressed by others in the session. Basically, it was a lot of information put forth in a short period which left many of us feeling overwhelmed; however, after I returned home and picked up my Banjo, I was totally amazed at how much I had really learned. Ross is to be commended on his presentation, his knowledge and his enthusiasm: it shows. He takes a real interest in his students and that shows also. I am certain that I speak for all in saying that we hope he comes back again and again and again. But, 4 hours is too short a period. We need a weekend or, at least, a full day. Camps would be great also. I know there is the cruise but that is well beyond my financial capabilities and the capabilities of most of those at the workshop. 

I think it is a real tribute to Ross that so many of his students travelled in excess of 100 miles (each way) to attend the workshop and no one left complaining. In fact, one person travelled 400 miles to be a part of that workshop. I live in the greater Detroit area and there are a number of pickers in this area. Perhaps that would be a possible workshop area to explore. Whatever, I would be the first to sign up for another workshop be it Lansing, Detroit, or.....

Thank you and Ross for the opportunity to attend the workshop. It was a memorable experience and one which I will not soon forget.
John H. Allison, Jr.

......I recently attended one of Ross's workshops. I drove 5 hours to get there and it was well worth the drive. The atmosphere was very good for learning. It was very informal and yet very well organized and effective. There was a variety of skill levels in the class, but I think eveyone's needs were addressed. There was a combination of individualized and group instruction. Ross covered the common problems we all faced, assessed each players specific needs, and even gave them feedback on the condition and setup of their banjos. I look forward to enrolling in future workshops where Ross is an instructor. Great workshop!

Hello Ross,
I just wanted to say thanks for the workshop you held in Atlanta. It was exactly what I needed and I think everyone else there felt the same way. The way you were able to tailor the workshop to fit everyone's needs was very impressive.
Thanks,
Steffen Gleason

Hey Ross
......I was one of the lucky 6 folks that attended your workshop at Rt 60 Music in Barboursville WV on the 12th of Oct. I want to thank you for your ability to put into simple words what it takes to make even a cheap banjo sound pretty good. I took your instruction and immediately applied it to my practicing and those little roadblocks that I was experiencing disappeared. The tone and clarity of the notes came to life just from knowing the basics from a professional. When the banjo sounds right while practicing it makes practicing more enjoyable and easier. I've been able to progress much faster now since the workshop and would recommend it to anybody wanting to improve their ABILITY to LEARN. I've found that my desire to improve has increased tremendously. Every time I've picked up my banjo I KNOW I've learned something new.

Once again thanks and I hope to attend another one of your workshops again sometime in the future.

......He's coming to Charlotte, NC at the end of January. I'm planning on going. Good to hear that it's worth it. I appreciate the input ahead of time. Thanks

.....Wow, I was impressed!

......This man is not only a fantastic banjoist, but a class act teacher!! I had second thoughts about going, as I have only been at banjo a little over 4 months. I got my moneys worth..In spades! I will surely make another one!

......Its amazing how with so many people in a room, that he can give personal attention to everyone, no matter what level you are at. He gives encouragement along with a master dose of how to improve your playing.

.....He's a very talented musician and can figure out how different folks learn. That's one thing I've learned in the past year of taking banjo lessons (from another, and wonderful, teacher) -- folks all pick up on this stuff in different ways. What works for one doesn't necessarily work for another. That's why Murphy Henry works for some folks which strict tab learning for others. Ross figures that out about people very quickly.

....The class I was in was "advanced beginner/intermediate" in my opinion. That was perfect for me. I think he'd probably do an assessment to see where folks are -- that's what I'd do in that situation. I know you'll enjoy it.

....The workshop was great and was certainly worth the money! I have immediately seen an improvement in my playing.
I also bought the Banjo Encyclopedia while I was there, and it is full of great information. Buy it! I don't mean to sound to pluggy, but it was really the most well-spent money I have ever put into my banjo playing. Warren

.....if you are on the fence as to whether or not to go to Ross' workshop-go!
Ross is tuned into his students really well. He'll analyze your playing and make some immediate up front improvements for you-unless of course you are doing everything right! Ross will treat you right, and I believe he will help you with your banjo playing. Go for it.
Bill m.

.......Last Saterday afternoon, some good people showed up for Ross's Workshop near Houston, TX. and everyone learned something new. I was the weak link but Ross handled the student diversity very well.

.....Definitely worth going, I went just 2 months after I picked up my first banjo....and not knowing anything about a banjo...excellent teacher, apparent good character, and the best thing for me was, I found my teacher at this workshop. I am still with this teacher and doing well
One never knows what can be learned
Best wishes, Japus....Indiana Pa.

.....Another attendee up in Ithaca NY. Recommend it highly. Probably better if you can play at least one tune. Tougher with Ross watching you. :)
Jon Larch

......I recently attended Ross's workshop at Elderly Instruments in Lansing, MI. This was my first workshop and I had a blast. Ross made all of us fell welcome and comfortable, regardless of our level of play (I've only been playing for about 5 months ). He made it easy to understand and follow.

.....Ross, thanks so much for the great workshop, it far exceeded what I had expected in a workshop. I enjoyed the hand exercises/positions and chord progression stuff especially. Thanks for making it easy to understand for us beginners. By using the metronome ( still getting used to that ) I'm trying to motor right on thru when I mess up-"keep the tempo". And the
rolls are coming along-I'm counting everything out before starting too. Once again, thanks for everything and It was a pleasure meeting you. Maybe I'll see you at the cruise ( still seeing if I can swing it ).

.....I agree on the benefit of the workshop to even an inexperienced picker like myself. For less than the cost of two music lessons, we were each treated to four hours of the insight of two professionals in their field. Experience that would otherwise be all but impossible to obtain on our own. The free concert afterwards on a most beautiful night in a very picturesque Pennsylvania setting was under attended (probably due to most everything else being washed out this weekend), but a real treat to those in attendance. My compliments as well go to fellow picker Debbie Ealer for her efforts in setting up the event, as well as to local player Jim Powers for his accompanying guitar playing. And of course, to the new friends I made within the pickin' community, as well as to Eddie and Ross. Thanks all!
Keith

......I would like to take this opportunity to recommend the Ross Nickerson workshop to all banjo pickers who desire to learn or improve their playing in the Scruggs Style. I just completed one of his workshops held at Elderly Instruments 18 Sept 04. What an experience. There was a lot of information presented in a short period of time leaving most of the students' heads spinning. However, when I picked up my banjo the following day I was surprised at how much I had both learned and retained. Ross is an excellent teacher who has a real desire to teach and seems to take a special interest in each student. He is a skillful, personable and conscientious instructor. To me, as well as to most of those attending the workshop, it was a memorable learning experience and one that I will not soon forget. I recommend his workshops for all those who are interested in learning and improving.

......I went to one of his workshops here in Vancouver Washington held at Wilmar's place and it was absolutely terrific. He is very personable, and approachable. It is a relaxed atomospere where maximum learning can take place, and yet you can have fun along the way.

If you get a chance to attend one of Ross's workshops, I recommend that you do it, you won't regret it.

.....I just got back from his workshop here in Ithaca. He was only scheduled to go from 6:30 until 9:30, but he stayed an extra hour just to try to squeeze more in for everyone...and then he was planning to drive down to Baltimore tonight after he left!!! Pretty cool of him to stay even though he knew he had a long drive. It was a great workshop and a great setting...very relaxed. There was a range of skill levels present and Ross did his best to make sure everyone went home with something to work on. Much of what he was teaching the others was really pretty basic for me(but it was just a beginner/intermediate clinic)...but he had some suggestions for me and my technique which was helpful...gave me some ideas on some things I can practice and I got some other ideas on how to approach picking out the melody to a tune. So overall, I feel it was worth my time and Ross was all around just a great guy. Very approachable and just an all around great teacher I think. He did his best to keep everyones interest/attention, while taking the time to teach something to everyone. We had 10 people show up for the clinic, so it was decent size to work with. The icing on the cake....we had a little "intermission" and of course everyone starts picking away...I was playing Whitewater...and after the intermission Ross starts in with a few examples of Bela tunes..like Bigfoot and a couple of others. After everyone left after the clinic, he even took the time to play Slipstream for me and Scrugg's Dear Old Dixie. Really cool guy and I hope he can come back up this way again next year for a follow up clinic. I highly suggest going to his clinics if one is in your area....I think no matter where you are at, you'll take home something from it.

.......Stkelrey, Yes...DEFINITELY go to his clinic!! He had something to offer to everyone. Our group consisted of me, playing. He had suggestions and tips for everyone. I highly suggest you sign up for it and take advantage of it. Plus you'll meet some other banjo players from your area. Ross is really great at making it a relaxed environment...so even though you might be "nervous" playing...its not like he stands you up and forces you to play in front of everyone....and everyone makes mistakes..so its very laid back. Good learning environment.

.....As I've said elsewhere - Ross has an uncanny ability to listen to you play and know precisely what you are doing wrong. He makes it all look, sound, and seem simple.

.......Thank you so much for creating such a positive learning experience and atmosphere. I can't say enough good things about what I learned at the workshop.

.....Thanks again for your thoughtful and pleasant teaching style, it's very refreshing! If you have any tips or words of encouragement for an old duffer like me, I'm all ears. 

Mr Ross Nickerson, Thank you for having your banjo workshop here in the valley. I enjoyed playing, learning, and watching and listening to you play. Your demonstrations were excellent and I got a lot of valuable information from your instructions. Thank you again so much for all your work and efforts and for the e-mail of notes. Respectively Nina Watson 

Ross:
Just wanted to say thank you for a great workshop last night - I've been very right hand-oriented since beginning to play again, and only focusing on learning songs, and now I see that I can work on the left hand, learn chord formations, map out new songs, and really learn how to play. I really have a direction now, and it's just what I needed. Thanks again

.....I met Ross at one of his work shops in Nova Scotia last year, What was it like , well let me tell you after 4 years trying to learn bluegrass banjo i all most gave up , then a buddy told me about the work shop, so I went and meet Ross {he Is a super nice guy} we talked and I told him what i thought was wrong with my banjo playing, After a few minutes he said lets get together for an hour or so ,Hmmm thats the first time a teacher ever said that to me , most times its 20 minutes for $20 bucks ,I never did learn much with these $20 buck lesson, But With Ross {face to face} I got my money's worth ,after spending the weekend with him I learnd more from him then I did All year, How is my banjo playing now you ask , well I now play in a band as lead banjo player I can do intros breaks fill in liks etc etc ,, Do I recomend this work shop , you bet with bill keith Ian Perry Ross nickerson Wow , and you get to spend some time in Nova scotia ,, bluegrass and nova scotia , is like Kentucky and Bill monroe, come have some fun, oh ya i got to Jam with him all weekend , BanjoBill ,,,,,,,,,,,


...... Despite knowing of your reputation, and having attended last year’s clinic here in Somerset, I was very gratefully impressed with how much I was able to take away from this year’s lessons.  You have a tremendous ability to pinpoint weak areas, but, more importantly, you were able to offer multiple suggestions to address problem areas.  You were able to seamlessly integrate basics like picking technique, rolls, and chords with more advanced techniques in backup, playing leads from chords, and ways to relieve my malignant stage fright.

It must be difficult to critique adults who have made the banjo such an important part of their lives.  However, I never felt you were patronizing with your comments and corrections, and your admonishment to “push myself” mechanically and musically was exactly what I needed.  After our session I had a renewed zeal for practice, with multiple tools and techniques to advance.  I haven’t been this excited about practicing and playing in a very long time.  

I have been to other online instructional sites and various clinics and I am 100% convinced that your site and your personal instruction are the best out there.  I would most strongly encourage anyone interested in playing (or in advancing their skill on) the banjo to take advantage of the multiple tools available through your web site and/or to attend one of your clinics.  Nothing comes close to the “return on the dollar” they will get from your various teaching methods. 

On a more personal note, I can play Salt Creek down the neck from rolls and chord changes alone.  Doing the same up the neck is a little harder.  I have been practicing your suggestions to overcome stage fright, and I will test them at tomorrow night’s performance.  I am signing up for the instructional cruise as soon as I finish this and look forward to seeing you then. 

Many thanks again for all that you have done to help get more enjoyment from the banjo. 

Bob Cameron

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