Banjo Beginner Class - November 5th

November 5th 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. - $100

Please bring: banjo, picks, pencil, and notepad. Suggested: electronic tuner

Billy Cockman

Billy Cockman won the 2013-2014, National Banjo Championship in Winfield, KS. In addition, he won the 2009 North Carolina State banjo championship and the 2010 South Carolina State banjo championship. Billy sings lead and tenor and plays the banjo and guitar for the Cockman Family Band, and also writes for the family. Billy also teaches guitar and banjo out of his home. He and his wife Jamie have two children, Jeremiah and Emma.

Selected Topics:

  1. The 5-string banjo: 
    Brief history and short bio/personal experience and enjoyment
    Getting acclimated/shop talk

  2. Learning to play the 5-string with no prior experience:
    Posture/ hand positioning
    Easy rolls and melodies

  3. Playing melody lines:
    Finding the melody
    Harmonizing with the melody
    Rolling around the melody

  4. Timing:
    Playing with a Metronome
    Cadence
    Roll types and where to place them

  5. Getting the correct tone:
    Warm tones/sharp tones
    Vibrato vs damping

  6. Intro to banjo chords:
    Simple chord structures
    Easy to reach chords

  7. Chord progressions:
    Chord shapes
    Chord placement
    Short Jam Session

  8. Fitting into a jam and learning to listen for chord changes:
    Chord progression
    Playing backup
    How to vamp

  9. Emphasis and drive:
    Make it talk
    Make it sing
    Pic in “G” and pic in “C”

  10. Tactfulness, etiquette, “working the mike”:
    Learning when to play and when not to play
    Learning how to bark and how to muffle

  11. Banjo styles:
    Earl Scruggs
    Old time
    Melodic

  12. Wrapping up:
    Picking banjo is such enjoyment no matter your expertise.
    Final Jam Session

How to define your student level?

Unlike a novice, who has never touched an instrument before, a beginner has just begun and has very basic knowledge of an instrument. 

Here is the definition of a beginner level: (Age does not matter)

  1. Ability to strum a few chords but may not really know what to do with them. 

  2. No music theory or music reading skills required whatsoever!  

  3. Should know basic open chords, 3-6 chords at least: G, C, D, A, E and maybe F.  

  4. Should be able to strum and change chords slowly and steadily. 

  5. Should know 2 to 12 simple songs, playing them by using single notes. 

  6. A knowledge of reading tablature is great, but not necessary. 

  7. Should be able to tune their instrument with a tuner, put on the picks if used, know which string is which (first, second, etc) and the names of the strings.