Advice for weak spots in the right and left hand: Banjo Finger Exercises
I started learning the banjo several weeks ago and so far progress is pretty much stalled at the beginning. I realize that the right hand movements, and especially the ability to move the middle finger independently of the ring finger, should come with repetition rolls. But I am also having great difficulty with the dexterity required of the left hand. The last knuckles do not wish to bend to the required right angle to fret the strings cleanly. In looking through the table of contents of The Banjo Encyclopedia, I see that there are quite a few exercises offered for the fingers of both hands. Are any of these aimed at restoring dexterity to retired middle aged fingers?
It's frustrating sometimes isn't it. I would work with chapter 2 in the Banjo Encyclopedia, there are some specific exercises and advice for working on weak fingers there. The chapter 3 "The Left Hand" would be of great help to the gaining dexterity and eventual comfort in the fretting hand too.
Sometimes the best exercises are ones you make up yourself. Find your weak spots and be sure you get more repetitions in on the weak fingers.
Tip: Exercises don't have to sound good, they should be played in time if possible though, metronome while exercising fingers is a great way to do it. But simply put. They are exercises to build ability to play a song, not a song or tune in themselves in most cases. Use the exercises to improve skill to eventually play music.
Your goal in exercise is to become more flexible so you have the physical ability to play music better, whether it be later in a practice session, week, month, year or years.
I hope that helps some.