You're going to need a 5 string banjo, electronic tuner, capo, and music stand. No experience is necessary. We will use tablature at the beginning, but you do not need to read music to play clawhammer banjo.
Clawhammer Banjo~Clawhammer refers to a rhythm which originates from a right-hand technique (aka Bum Ditty) and is the hardest part about playing this style of banjo. Once you get it (let’s say Day 1), the rest is much easier! Hopefully, your ultimate goal is to go to a jam and play clawhammer. We will be focusing on the skills you need to play with other musicians in a jam setting.
Playing clawhammer isn’t just about doing the Bum Ditty, it’s also about listening, backing other musicians up, teaching other musicians what they need to know about your music, and being a positive influence on everyone in the jam.
We will undoubtedly have different levels of players in the class, so we will choose from the following skills and use the ones appropriate for the players in our class:
Scales (just the easy ones)
Tunes, some with lyrics
Songs, and how to play a melody
Jamming (so you don’t get the “stink eye”)
And finally, how to learn a fiddle tune on the fly!
Teaching clawhammer starts with listening. I like to “meet my students where they are” by listening to their tuning, timing, rhythm, and overall musicianship so that I can teach the skills that will help them advance. We will certainly cover basic right and left-hand techniques like drop thumbing, slides, hammer-ons and pull-offs.
Learning a new tune is always fun, so I like to include popular tunes in every class I teach. Tunings and chords are always a big help in figuring out a melody on your own. Learning the basic scales and chords in G and Double C tunings is something that many students never took the time to learn, but is central to picking up tunes quickly and easily.
Some other topics of interest that we can explore, if students are interested, are as follows:
Cheap tricks that make you sound better than you really are
Alternate String Pull-Offs
Banjo Roadmap-how to figure out a melody on the fly
“Martha Stone's knowledge of clawhammer banjo is vast, and her cheerful style of teaching makes it easy and fun to learn from her. She is patient, and generous with her time. Whether you are attending one of her workshops or getting a lesson, you walk away feeling good and excited to learn more.”