Welcome to Clawhammer Banjo 1! Let’s get plunky! We’ll spend the next eight weeks focusing on the techniques, rhythm and feel of the clawhammer style. By the end of this course you should be able to freely frail along to some old time tunes and other styles of folk music, play in three standard banjo tunings, begin hearing chord changes in the music, play a solid bum-bitty rhythm with your “claw” and be able to drop your thumb when necessary. If you don’t know what all this means don’t worry, you will! 
Materials:
 You’ll need a banjo, of course! Also, have a pencil to take notes, a folder or binder to keep your notes and handouts and a tuner. A banjo strap is extremely helpful in dispersing the weight and setting the banjo in place so that you don’t have to hold it up with your hand while making chords or playing notes at the same time! You'll want to pick up a capo right away. This will come in very useful in this class and for all of your future banjo playing. FYI, a guitar capo totally works on a banjo. I also recommend a metronome and a recording device. If you have a smart phone you can get apps for the tuner, metronome AND recording device.
 
Curriculum:
This schedule is subject to change. It’s a general outline, but I will assess the needs of the class and keep us going at a pace where everyone is comfortable.

Week 1:
Introductions
Receive orientation sheet and hand outs
Learn the parts of the banjo
Learn how to hold and fret the banjo
Learn how to tune the banjo
Learn how to read tab and chord charts
Learn the three magic banjo chords: G, C and D7
MEMORIZE THESE CHORDS
Learn how to make the claw
Learn to hear and feel the bum-bitty rhythm:
  1. Hammer down on 1st string quarter notes (1,2,3,4)
  2. Pop 5th string with thumb
  3. Feel the rhythm
Songs: This Land Is Your Land
            Worried Man Blues
            Cripple Creek I
MEMORIZE THESE SONGS
New Song: Buffalo Gals
MEMORIZE THIS SONG
Play through lines one through three on double and drop thumbing worksheet
MAKE SURE TO GET A CAPO BY WEEK 2!!!
 
Click here for Karl Eggers' instructions on playing Buffalo Gals

Week 2:
Review week one and check tuning
Play bum-bitty rhythm all together and feel the groove
Play through This Land Is Your Land, Worried Man Blues, Cripple Creek I and Buffalo Gals
Play through lines one through three on double and drop thumbing worksheet
Learn how to capo and bring your open G tuning up to open A
Explore Fingering with your fretting hand
Learn about slides, hammer-ons and pull-offs
Songs: Cripple Creek II
Click here for notation and tab to Cripple Creek II
MEMORIZE THESE SONGS
 
Week 3:
Review and check tuning (tune up to A~Capo II before class)
Play bum-bitty rhythm all together and reestablish the groove
Play through Cripple Creek II
Remove capo and tune to G tuning
Play through Buffalo Gals
Play through lines one through three on double and drop thumbing worksheet
Song: Eight Days A Week
MEMORIZE THIS SONG
 
Week 4:
Review and check tuning
Play bum-ditty rhythm all together and reestablish the groove
Play through all of our songs
Play through lines one through three on double and drop thumbing worksheet
Song: Lazy John
Click here for notation and tab to Lazy John
Explore different slide and hammer-on options and find what works best for you
MEMORIZE THIS SONG
  
Week 5:
Review and check tuning
Play bum-bitty rhythm all together and reestablish the groove
Play through all of our songs in G tuning
Play through lines one through three on double and drop thumbing worksheet
Learn how to tune to Double C tuning (GCGCD)
Receive and go through the I, IV, V chords in Double C tuning
Song: Angelina Baker
Click here for notation and tab to Angelina Baker
Song: Spotted Pony
Click here for notation and tab to Spotted Pony
MEMORIZE THESE SONGS
 Choose songs for end of session showcase!

ALTERNATE LESSON:Work on playing reverse drop thumb
Review fingerings and reverse drop thumb and PRACTICE IT SLOWLY!!!
ALTERNATE SONG: BLUE GOOSE


Week 6:
Review and check tuning
Tune up to Double C, capo 2nd fret, and tune 5th string to A for D tuning
Play through lines one through three on double and drop thumbing worksheet
Review Angeline the Baker and Spotted Pony
Song: Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss
Click here for notation and tab to Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss
MEMORIZE THIS SONG
Tune to Open G
Play through all of our songs in G tuning
Practice end of showcase songs (and make sure you are memorizing them!)
 
Week 7:
Practice end of showcase songs (and make sure you are memorizing them!)
Practice tuning in the different tunings that we’ve learned
Learn about the Nashville Number System and how that applies to the tunings and using the capo
Review double thumbing and go through double and drop thumbing worksheet
Challenge Tune: Old Joe Clark

Week 8:
Jam!
Play through all of our songs and tunes we’ve learned over the past seven weeks
Practice showcase songs/tunes in a dress rehearsal fashion
Q&A Time

 
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