I have been teaching banjo for over 20 years.
Over this time I have taught in Ireland, Europe and around the world.
I have taught at the Masters of the Tradition Festival, O’Flaherty’s Irish Music Retreat in Dallas, The Willie Clancy Summer School in Miltown Malbay, The World Fleadh, The Johnny Keenan Banjo Festival, Tocane St Apres in France and various festivals all over North America and throughout Europe
I have also taught one-to-one tuition and masterclasses in the World Music Centre in the University of Limerick
Development of Teaching Technique
During these banjo classes I began to develop a very defined set of rules for banjo playing. These came about through questions from students, self examination, study of other banjo players and through trouble shooting and problem solving during one-to-one tuition.
I began to notice that students that implemented these rules began to improve rapidly or their banjo problems eased. Some students made enormous leaps, some that used this technique from the very start developed very few bad habits and any that did appear were easier to resolve.
A Need to Standardise Banjo Teaching Methods
I realised at this time that unlike other Irish instruments such as the fiddle, flute and accordion, there is no“correct” way to play the banjo. Almost everyone knows that there is a universal “correct” way to hold a fiddle; the same is true for flute and to a certain extent also the other instruments.
The banjo however, possibly due to it`s very recent addition to the tradition never had a set structure defined for playing it.
Therefore there are many questions:
“How do I hold the pick?”
“Do I pluck this note Up or Down?”
“How do I hold the neck of the banjo?”
“Why do I miss so many triplets?”
I have developed a method of teaching the banjo that provides simple solutions to all of these questions and more.
The beauty of it is that this method works for everyone regardless of shape or size or level of ability.
It Really Works! The evidence that I see is that it`s very simple and really works!! I have taught a number of All-Ireland Champions to prove it!!