The Breakthrough Banjo Course: Molding Your Musical Mind
Breakthrough Banjo is a complete course for clawhammer banjo, based on the Brainjo Method of instruction, which incorporates the science of learning and neuroplasticity into the course design and is aimed specifically at the adult brain.
The primary course materials are the learning modules, which consist of a primary video lesson, supplemented with picking and tune exercises that reinforce the lesson content, along with step-by-step tune tutorial videos.
The sequence of lessons has been carefully chosen, so that each month’s lesson builds on skills already learned, and so that the songs and tunes you’re learning are appropriate for your current ability level.
The content moves from a mid-late beginner all the way to and advanced/expert level, and is designed so that you can move through it entirely at your own pace.
There’s over 100 hours of video instruction, and more being added all the time.
In addition to the primary learning modules, there is also an area of Supplemental Materials, a place where you can go to further reinforce skills you’re working, and just to have fun playing! This includes the Breakthrough Banjo Jam Player, an expanding collection of guitar and guitar/fiddle backup tracks for you to practice your jamming skills (with the chord of the moment displayed on screen as the tune progresses).
Also in this area you’ll find The Vault, the ultimate library of clawhammer tunes and songs (including the vocal backup). The Vault contains an ever expanding collection of arrangements (over 400 currently) and video demonstrations of tunes and songs (including all the tune from the Tune of the Week Series, with both the main arrangement and a Brainjo level 1-2 version).
(RELATED: Click here to see the songs and tunes currently in The Vault)
So no matter where you are in your learning progression, inside The Vault you’ll find tunes to work on that inspire you, and that are tailored to your current level, as always having great music to play is essential to continued progress.
All of this is available to you as soon as you join (first month just $7).
NEW! Take A Look Inside The Breakthrough Banjo Course In This Video
Again, here’s a breakdown of all you’ll have access to as a Breakthrough Banjo member:
1. Video Lessons
Each module typically consists of one or more video lessons, centered around a particular topic. The primary lessons can also be downloaded for offline viewing.
The topics covered in the lessons include:
- The No Tears Method for Drop Thumb
- Double C/D and other Alternate Tunings
- Playing Chords In Standard G/A, and Double C/D
- Fearless Jamming: How To Thrive In Any Jam Situation, Even the First Time
- Playing and Singing: How to Sing While You Play, and Sound Great Doing It (plus
- Essentials of Music Theory for the Banjoist: Everything You Need to Know, And Nothin’ You Don’t!
- How to Play By Ear, Even if You Think It’s Impossible. This includes lessons on:
- Hearing Chord Changes (with a library of practice exercises)
- Hearing The Melody (with a library of practice exercises)
- Building A Basic Clawhammer Arrangement
- Building A Full Clawhammer Arrangement In Any Style, from Rhythmic To Melodic (with a library of practice exercises)
- Playing With A Fiddler: Tricks And Techniques To Make Your Banjo-Fiddle Duets Sound As Amazing As They Should
- Master Player Study (detailed analysis of a master clawhammer player’s style, along with tunes from their repertoire)
- Using the Capo: How To Play In Any Key
- From “Plunky” to “Plingy”: How To Get the Tone You Want From Your Banjo
- Syncopation Essentials: Tricks and Techniques For Making Your Playing Bounce And Swing
- Clawhammer Backup Made Easy
- How to Learn Tunes “On the Fly”
- From the “Cluck”, “Chuck”, and Beyond: Percussive Techniques for the Right Hand
- The secrets of “Drive”: What It Is, And How To Get It
- Developing Your Personal Style: How To Arrange Your Tunes To Suit Yourself
- …..and much more!
As you progress through the course, feel free to suggest a topic you’d like to learn about. You might just see an entire course about it!
Breakthrough Banjo has helped me improve my playing and just as importantly, keeps me inspired. The course format is brilliant and technically savvy, sequentially building one’s skill level, musical understanding, and clawhammer repertoire in a surprisingly short amount of time. It’s obvious Josh puts his heart and soul into the well thought out ‘Brainjo Method’ course he’s developed. And it works. The brain on banjo is a beautiful thing!”
–Ellen L., Breakthrough Banjo student
I’ve learned more in the past 2 months in this course than I have in the past 3 years working with dozens of books and videos. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!”
–Phil S., Breakthrough Banjo student
2. Tunes and Picking Exercises
Each learning module typically includes tunes and picking exercises that specifically reinforce the skills being learned. These will usually be presented initially in video format, but you’ll also receive a downloadable PDF book of these materials, so that you can take them with you anywhere.
3. The Vault: The Ultimate Clawhammer Tune And Song Library
Inside The Vault is an ever expanding library of arrangements for tunes and songs (i.e. tunes with words, arrangements include the vocal backup).
The arrangements span Brainjo level2 1-5, to ensure you’ll always have music to work on, no matter where you’re currently at in your learning progression. The Vault is the perfect place to find music that both inspires and challenges you, a key element in the learning process.
All of the arrangements are provided as a downloadable PDF.
Categories of tunes and songs inside The Vault include:
- Solo Clawhammer Classics (including all the tunes in the Tune of the Week series, including Brainjo level 1-2 arrangements)
- Jam Classics
- Crowd Pleasers
- Traditional Folk
- Popular Folk
- Blues and Rags
- Campfire Tunes
- Civil War Era
Click here to see a list of all the songs and tunes currently in The Vault.
Thank you, thank you. I love this course. I am making lots of progress. I am addicted!!!”
–Terry T., Breakthrough Banjo student
4. The Brainjo Virtual Classroom (live workshops)
Added in Nov. 2018 as a new feature for members, the Virtual Classroom hosts live workshops on all manner of topics related to clawhammer banjo, as well as regular step by step tune tutorials. And, the entire archive of videos and materials from prior workshops is available, all of which is included with membership. To see the schedule of past and future workshops, just click the button below:
5. Brainjo Method Articles
Along the way, you’ll receive written content that supplements the material in the videos and reinforces the core principles of the Brainjo Method to ensure that you get the most out of your practice time.
This course has been a HUGE stepping stone for me to get back on track and to become confident in my playing. I can now join in and play along with other musicians…I could never have done this without your program…I have made so much progress that I can’t begin to thank you enough for all of your help!”
–Jay W., Breakthrough Banjo student
In addition to all the month 1 content, for signing up for the course (just $7 for the first month, $21 per month thereafter), you’ll also get all the following materials (available as soon as you join):
- The complete “Learn To Play Clawhammer By Ear” course. Previously a separate $97 course, now a free bonus that can be accessed as soon as you join. Read more about the course here.
- “Your Brain on Banjo” ebook – A 50 page compilation of my articles from the popular series in the Banjo Newsletter, which covers the principles behind the Brainjo Method (a $15 value).
- The banjo tabs for all the tunes on oldtimejam.com – a 5 volume set with 100 tunes and tabs (a $37 value)
- The “12 Days of Banjo” book of holiday tabs (a $17 value)
Want to Join? Just click the sign up button below:
Got more questions about the course?
Check out the Frequently Asked Questions section.
Last but not least, here are Doug and Paul discussing the merits of the Breakthrough Banjo course: