Naturally, given the times, many music teachers are moving their lessons online.
Banjo lessons are not new, and most people already have everything needed to get started and as the teacher, the main thing that students need is your eyes, ears and support. Accept that there will be glitches and technological hiccoughs but I’m sure these will be easily rectified.
Here’s what you need to know to get started with online banjo lessons:
There are a number of different video platforms that you can use. Here are the most common online chat platforms:
There are pros and cons to each of these options. They can all have a super clear connection, but they can all also have glitches like dropped calls and bad connections. There are a lot of factors that play into the quality of your connection, so it’s best to be familiar with a few different options in case one isn’t working well for you.
Initially, when it comes to the actual learning, of all the websites offering free lessons, it’s a good idea to choose your favourite well-known song. We all have our favourites and classic banjo songs can be easy to learn if you know the right technique.
With just four simple left-hand fingerings you can play the melody of many well-known songs. You will be amazed by how many different melodies you can get from just a few musical notes.
From the beginning, you will learn tuning, how to put the picks on, changing strings, adding a strap, tightening a banjo head and how to position your hands when playing the banjo. Next, its best to learn banjo picking patterns or “rolls”, how to count and how to learn banjo timing, how to mix up your banjo rolls and play in good rhythm.
The next thing is how to how to develop skill and flexibility with the fretting hand. The left hand or “fretting hand” (if you are left-handed) is a very important part of playing banjo that often gets overlooked.
For the tutor, online lessons can be a bit more draining than regular banjo lessons. You have to speak louder and will probably have to repeat yourself but one of the advantages to online lessons is that you will get to see exactly where and how your students are practicing.
The banjo lessons goal is to provide practical advice to help you establish practice priorities and to maintain a steady progress.
Despite all the above, the basis of learning any instrument is practice, practice, practice. And, of course, keep listening to not just your favourites but to those musicians who push the boundaries too.