Note from Ross Nickerson
I had a very nice email with compliments on the Banjo Encyclopedia. I'll include some of it. The student also had an interesting comment, well, it may be interesting to a lot of you that are learning so I included an impromptu email I sent back with some suggestions and insights that might help some of you too. Ross N
I have been reading through several pages of your "Banjo Encyclopedia," and, I've got to say this is a pinnacle text. Over the years, I've collected dozens of instructional books, almost all of which I set aside after realizing they were not comprehensive...just tabs. You've done it! I feel you passion in your text, and in your playing. You have done the "banjo world of players" a great service...cudos!
Wow thanks for the compliments. I'm always on to the next project and spend a lot more time thinking about how to improve things then enjoying any successes.
Ross Nickerson reply
One of the thing that comes up a lot at my private lessons is that students can think too hard, which many of us do. Adults especially, are used to solving our problems with our mind. With the banjo many of the difficulties can be solved by overcoming physical barriers. That of course is not new, but maybe not thought through enough.
Being a good banjo player really boils down to good rhythm, good skills and the ability to relax and play effortlessly. All of those problems are solved more easily with repetition, learning to count and play in time, and you could say, shutting off the mind enough and to have enough discipline to keep it simple, steady, in time, and continuous without pausing or stopping to fix mistakes.
I'm not sure how what I just said makes sense to you, but here are some simple suggestions.
Simplify what you play and work on tone and rhythm.
Work on your playing ability by just playing sample chord progressions, solid rolls, while changing chords and using your sliding, hammering-on and pulling off techniques. Make up your own tunes as you do it, simply changing chords produces a melody of some kind.
Perfect or improve your sliding, hammering-on and pulling off techniques.
I may have opened a can of worms for you but that's all I have time for, I hope my insight or suggestions help some.