The goal for this exercise is for you to develop your right hand control using accenting, or deliberate volume choices. There are a number of ways you can approach practicing but the first thing you need to do is memorize these four bars. Once you’ve done that, move on to one of these different practice variations:
- Accent only the thumb notes - You may find that this is fairly easy since the thumb is the strongest finger you’re using to play the banjo. Make the difference in volume of the index and middle finger notes super apparent by playing them quiet while accenting the thumb.
- Accent only the index finger notes - same as the thumb but you may find it more difficult. Be a critic and make sure that you’re maintaining good timing when you’re accenting.
- Accent only the middle finger notes
- Accent the first note of each measure - this four bar passage is twisty and syncopated for a reason - it’s to challenge your awareness of the bar lines. Accenting the first note of the bar line will help keep you in the correct spot in the exercise.
Things to pay attention to:
- Timing - are you maintaining a fluid roll pattern or are you slowing down and speeding up?
- Volume - how in control of the accenting do you feel? Can you exaggerate the volume of the unaccented notes even more?
- Speed - if you’ve never done this before it will be difficult. Start reaaaaallly slow and then gradually bring the tempo up. Slow as in where the tab’s tempo is set to ;). If you must, practice this measure by measure and then piece it together.
Practice this for 5-10 minutes and then play a song or tune. Do you feel more in control? Is the melody of the song easier to accent than before? Let us know in the comments!