I have been trying to learn the banjo for a couple years. An irregular practice schedule hinders progress, obviously. Unfortunately for me this is unavoidable as I travel frequently...I’m a pilot. I was wondering if anyone knows of a good way to practice banjo while travelling, such as a different type of banjo? Maybe similar to the neck with the amp plug in for the guitar?

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  • you better don't practice the guitar or banjo while piloting an aircraft machine. But you can always train the chord progression everywhere you are by imaging the picture of the chord pattern (mental training) and also the rhythm and fingerpicking without an instrument. Also a piece of wood or carton such as a ruler or yardstick would fit for it. – Albrecht Hügli Feb 26 at 9:47
  • Listen to music. But really critically listen. Try to notate what you hear. You can do this relative to the root note if you don't have perfect pitch and transpose it to the correct key later. Get some banjo sheet music and sing the parts. Singing is a great practice tool for any musician. Banjos aren't very big, you can't. Ring one with you? – b3ko Feb 26 at 12:18
  • Hi, asking for specific equipment recommendations is off-topic here. Try googling for "travel banjo" or "backpack banjo." amazon.com/Dean-Backwoods-Mini-Travel-Banjo/dp/B06XMZ2G7X – Carl Witthoft Feb 26 at 12:42

The famous pianist, Glenn Gould, would 'practice' mentally imagining the performance in his head.

Of course examples from geniuses aren't very helpful for mere mortals, but that anecdote at least suggests there is a purely mental aspect that could be exercises.

Aside from looking for some kind of travel instrument, you could try mentally rehearsing.

For a large scale composition like a sonata a lot of memory and concentration is required to mentally recall every event for the entire work.

The banjo music you play may not involve the same intensive memory function as a classical sonata so this kind of exercise many not offer much value. But you could try it.

Also, short of banjo specific options, you could try using the travel time for general ear training. There are lots of apps you could try.

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