Tenor banjo lessons in the East Midlands

Tenor banjo lessons in the East Midlands

A friend of mine living in Nottingham, UK, has just got himself a tenor banjo. Having never played a musical intrument before he’s looking for someone who can give him some beginner’s lessons. Anything from a regular weekly lesson with a proper teacher, to meeting up with someone who plays from time to time to get a few pointers, correct bad habits etc… Even someone who plays Bouzouki could maybe help as the fingering and (to a degree) picking technique are the same.

Can anyone help, or maybe suggest someone who can?

Re: Tenor banjo lessons in the East Midlands

Having never played a musical instrument before, I’m wondering what possesses them to get a tenor banjo?

What do they want to play on it?
Do they like diddley music? Is that what they want to play on it?

What possesses them? It’s an important question. Ask them.

If they can’t really answer that question honestly, and with considered elaboration, then they aren’t possessed enough to make anything of it. And they should be told.

Posted .

Re: Tenor banjo lessons in the East Midlands

"I like the sound it makes" would be sufficient, wouldn’t it? Considered elaboration? GIve me a break!

Re: Tenor banjo lessons in the East Midlands

"I like the sound it makes" is not sufficient. If that’s the best they can come up with then it’s guaranteed that the banjo will be gathering dust within six months.

(Come to think of it, maybe that’s not such a bad thing)

Posted .

Re: Tenor banjo lessons in the East Midlands

wheresrhys … just to let you know, I’ve posted a link to your appeal here, over on the Irish Tenor Banjo site.

http://theirishtenorbanjo.ning.com/forum/topics/tenor-banjo-lessons-in-the

You might also like to suggest that your friend joins the ITB site themselves & keeps an eye on the thread there too. At least, over there, they will receive every encouragement & won’t be put off before they even get started, by some of the instrument snobbery that sadly spoils some of the threads here.

Cheers
Dick

Re: Tenor banjo lessons in the East Midlands

Was that snobbery? Just seemed incoherent to me.

Cheers for the repost, and I’ll direct him over to that site

Re: Tenor banjo lessons in the East Midlands

Well wheresrhys, reading some of these threads, you could be forgiven for thinking that some of the musicians here sounded a bit like evangelists, preaching that their way & their way alone, was the only true path to the Holy Grail of Irish Music! 😉

Praise the Lord! 😀

I think the very least we can do, when we write on this forum, is to encourage beginners. Simples!

Cheers
Dick

Re: Tenor banjo lessons in the East Midlands

While I agree we should always encourage beginners, there is no equivalent in the tenor banjo world to, for instance, the practice chanter for the Great Pipes. Consequently, plus the fact a beginner has no discretion over how loud they will be playing, my first tip would be to suggest they take the back off the banjo and put a sock in it, wrapped up tight and wedged between the bar and the skin under the bridge ! Then they can do their learning without too much disturbing of the neighbours.
Perhaps you could steer them towards a mandolin, an OM, or a bouzouki instead ? That would be nice too.
The thread nearby re slow sessions includes the remark about the accordionist who doesn’t take the hints about using less reeds, less boom-chuck bass, etc. I rate accordions and tenor banjos together, as instruments that can take over the dynamic of a session simply by volume, without regard for the accomplishment of the player or the agreement of the rest of the session. I don’t think that’s instrument snobbery, just the facts. Or, at least, my own strongly-held opinion.

Re: Tenor banjo lessons in the East Midlands

Well Pete, this guy has just got himself a Banjo, so I reckon it’ll probably be a while before he takes his Banjo out towards the local sessions.

Resonator off & the sock trick are both handy tips if you have neighbours close by. Luckily for me, when I was first getting into the Banjo, I was living in a quiet country cottage, with no neighbours nearby, so I was able to quite happily practice by playing along to the likes of early De Dannan LPs ….. at full blast! 😀

To your list of instruments which can "take over the dynamic of a session simply by volume" you could also add Guitars, Bodhrans & the Djembe. Of course, most other instruments, when played badly can ruin a session, like Flutes, Whistles & Uilleann Pipes when played badly out of tune, funked up heavy Guitar rhythms which speed up every set, the list is endless & boils down, not to the instrument ……… but to the player! 😉

If the Banjo is the instrument that really speaks to this newcomer, I see no reason why we shouldn’t encourage them.

Many fine Fiddle players actually started out on the Banjo, before …. moving UP 😉 to the Fiddle. I certainly don’t class myself as a fine Fiddle player, but I know that when I first came to Irish Music, the one instrument I didn’t like the sound of in sessions was ……. the Fiddle. To my ears, it always sounded far too thin & scretchy. So the Fiddle had been my only option, I would probably never have taken up the music.

Cheers
Dick