Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Banjo Practice Tip:
Each hand must learn to work with the other. Typically, the right hand will go faster than the left because it is repeating patterns. The key is to play at a slow pace and let the left hand catch up in a manner which allows you to play smoothly. Practice one line at a time-over and over- until you can play without looking at your music. Begin slowly or your hands will become tired and 'crampy'.
The beauty of banjo picking is the clarity of individual notes-not the speed you can rattle them off. Believe me, speed will come in time, and in the long run you will appreciate all the hard work you put in before playing at top speed. Keep pickin' and grinnin' Terrie

Sunday, July 14, 2019

I saw an interesting article about the 47th Annual RockyGrass Festival in Lyons Colorado that sounded like is the link Rocky Grass Festival.... check out the lineup with lots of recognized names....oh my...what fun...if any of you out there go to the festival...send me your comments and I will list them here...there is camping available and daily jams around the festival. I remember doing that at different festivals. One in particular was the 4th of July festival at Smithville, Tennessee. They have a blast and lot's of good banjo picking there. The parking lots would be full of bands jamming and at night you could walk around town and play with different groups.

This is a fun way to learn. You pick up techniques, new songs, meet new players, see different styles of picking and develop timing when playing with others. If you get a chance to go to any jam session, I highly recommend it. Don't be shy...if you need to, just go to listen and leave your banjo in the car until you get your confidence up...then get it out and start playing. You can play quietly in the background. The more you play in these groups, the better you will feel and the better you will play. I said leave your banjo in the car...well, maybe not in the car, with the heat and the threat of it being stolen, but you can leave it in the case until you feel you want to get it out and play.

Ok, so let's talk about playing with someone. If you have someone close to you, ask them if you can play with them. You pick a song you know, if possible, and you play rhythm until you get the hang of playing together. Tap your foot to the rhythm you are hearing. When playing backup on the banjo, move your right hand closer to the fingerboard to get a softer sound. If possible, lift the left hand fingers off the fingerboard after playing the chord and the sound will stop, making the chord short. This gives the sound like the mandolin chop chords you hear in mandolin backups. Pick the bottom three strings and play the chords around the 8-10th will stand out like a banjo, but not overpower the lead notes. Now go find someone to play some music with and start enjoying the idea of learning new songs and styles.

To get some more song ideas and to learn to play faster, try my new books...
Terrie Fleming's Banjo 101...not in tabs, but written out making it easier to learn the songs and I provide practice tips and chord charts to help you. I will be providing YouTube videos of the songs so you can hear them played. Go to this link to purchase your books:Terrie Fleming's Banjo 101

Keep pickin'

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Yeah...the banjo books are here and ready for your music stands. To pick one up, you can come to Arbor Music in Magnolia Tx ands get yours today or you can order them by clicking  here:
Terrie Fleming's Banjo 101 

There are three volumes and each one is designed to be simple to read and easy for you to start playing immediately. Let me get you started on your dream of playing the banjo today. What are you waiting for?

all metal vs all plastic picks

Most 3-finger banjo pickers use two metal finger picks and a plastic thumb pick. Have you ever wondered why?

Your thumb is stronger than your index and middle finger. If your picks are all the same, all plastic for instance, the notes played with your thumb will be louder than the ones played with your fingers. Many times, the thumb is on an upbeat. This means when you tap your foot, the thumb is playing when you have your foot raised up, the upbeat, not when it taps the floor, the downbeat. In most music, we want the stronger beat to be the downbeat.

Many people wonder why Earl Scruggs' rolls were so smooth and flowed together so well. He developed his rolls to start with his index finger on the stronger beat and was able to define the beat better. During his time, rolls would start with a finger and then alternate with the thumb. Banjo pickers would use all plastics picks or all metal picks.... so, any note  played with the thumb on the upbeat was louder. The music was hard to follow or didn't flow correctly. The beats sounded choppy and the rolls were not as smooth. Many pickers changed to metal finger picks and a plastic thumb pick.

There are many types of finger and thumb picks out there. Check back for information on the different picks and why I recommend the ones I use.

To pick up one of my books locally, go to Arbor Music in Magnolia Tx, or  click here  to order them.  There are 3 volumes that are simple and easy to read. Check them out

Sunday, January 6, 2019

How To Achieve results from your practice sessions....

I get asked this question all the time...."I practiced all week, but when I play I still make mistakes..what am I doing wrong?"

My response is a simple question...are you practicing or are you playing? There is a difference!
Practice is working on certain sections until they are ready....Playing is going over the song several times....So, what are you doing? Are you breaking down the sections and playing them over and over until you can do them without mistakes? Do you practice the section until you can play it without looking at the music? Are you listening to the section with a critical ear to see that all the notes are clean and clear? Are you practicing at a slow, but consistent speed and then adding each section to the one before it? Correct practice makes for correct playing. Developing good practice habits is one of the best ways to develop clean, clear banjo picking and believe me, you can tell the difference!
Try these practice tips for a week and see if you can tell the difference...

1.Begin your practice with a 10 minute warm can be old songs or finger exercises. This gets your fingers warmed up and ready to begin their workout. Skipping this step, will usually result in tired "crampy" fingers.

2. Once you are ready for the new song...take a section at a time...practice it 10-15 times at a slow rate of speed...(I know, you want to play many slow banjo songs do you know, right?) Practicing at a slow speed helps you get the timing right, the fingerings correct and helps you learn the song so you do not have to think about what you are playing. Playing is muscle memory. When your fingers know what to play and when to play it, the song will begin to sound like the song.

2. Get a metronome and set it to 50-60 bpm. Keep the song at that rate of speed until you can do the whole verse that speed....then begin speeding up at a few beats per minute faster. Pretty soon you will have the verse at a nice speed that you will be proud to show off.

3. Add each section to the previous sections. When playing, go from one section to the next with ease. Iron out any stops or pauses. Listen for clean notes.

4. End your practice by going from the beginning of the song to where you finished today's practice. Now you should see some results on how you sound. I like to record myself playing the song every so often so I can hear the results.

Results come from good practice develop them from the beginning.

Getting things ready....

The books are almost ready and I am getting things ready on my part for you to purchase
my books.....I am so excited and ready for these to be in your hands...Give me just a couple of days
and I will get back to you on the details...…

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

New book and videos coming soon...

Hey guys....exciting news...

My books are at the publisher and I am so excited to get them out and into your hands. So,
you have wanted to play the banjo but, thought it was complicated. Now, with the help of these books, you will be playing songs at a faster rate than you thought possible. I have included tips to practicing and chord charts for each song. And coming soon, I will be uploading each song on YOUTUBE so you hear it played slowly. Many of my students have told me they have a hard time learning the song listening to it at it's normal I will play it at a slow speed so you can hear all the notes and all the special things that make it sound fun...slides, hammers, get my drift. There are three volumes and each one has a good selection of songs to learn.

I have been teaching for 40+ years and I know what it takes to learn a song and be successful playing it. There are lots of good tips on practicing so you will achieve your goals and be the banjo player you thought you could be.

Stay tuned to info on getting your won't be long now....

Terrie Fleming's Beginner Banjo 101..A Simple Guide to 5 string Pickin'