10 Best Online Banjo Lessons – Apps, Courses & Software

Photo of author
Written By Will Fenton

Founder of MidderMusic. From numerous bands to stints working in music shops, read more about me on the 'Here's My Story' page!

The banjo is a really unique and versatile instrument to learn.

It can produce both a calm and a very energetic sound, and it’s becoming more and more popular among online learning platforms. It’s also a good instrument to learn for beginners.

If you’re searching for a proper way to learn banjo online, we have a few suggestions.

Whether you’re inspired by Earl Scruggs or Mumford and Sons, you’ll be sure to find something you like on our list of the 10 best online banjo lessons.

We’ll show you websites with free banjo lessons, private tutors, and structured curriculums.

So, keep reading and discover the best online banjo lessons waiting for you to start with them!

Disclosure: We are a professional review website that may receive compensation for the products we reviewAll recommendations are genuine and/or verified by myself!

Best Online Banjo Lessons

1. ArtistWorks – banjo lessons with Tony Trischka

We’re all grateful for ArtistWorks, an e-learning website offering an abundance of online music lessons.

When it comes to banjo lessons, ArtistWorks offers an in-depth online course with the amazing Tony Trischka.

Features and Benefits

As one of the world’s top banjo players, Tony Trischka recorded numerous albums, collaborated with artists like Peter Rowan and Stacy Phillips, and worked as a music director for the documentary “Give Me the Banjo.”

As your online tutor, he will help you go through the basics or develop intricate banjo skills.

When you purchase his course, you’ll get access to hundreds of lessons as well as an extensive video exchange library full of interesting talks between Tony and his students.

You can make your own submission – send up to 5 videos and receive direct feedback.

Another benefit of this course is that lessons are linear and well-structured, but you’ll still have the freedom to learn at your own pace. You can even adjust video lessons to your speed with slow motion and loop features.

Lessons are divided into different categories including Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced, as well as Old Time Fingerpicking, Celtic Tunes, and Classic Style Banjo series.

ArtistWorks definitely offers some of the best online banjo lessons. When you complete the course with Tony Trischka, you’ll have a well-rounded musical knowledge and a strong foundation to build on.

What Sets ArtistWorks Apart From Other Platforms?

The ArtistWorks platform will give you a chance to take lessons from well-known musicians. When it comes to learning banjo, you will learn from Tony Trischka, and that will certainly be a memorable experience. He is known as the father of modern bluegrass, after all.

Who is ArtistWorks with Tony Trischka For?

ArtistWorks banjo classes with Tony Trischka are for people of all levels searching for thorough pre-recorded lessons with comprehensive and professional guidance.

Pros

  • Fantastic teacher
  • Linear lessons
  • Personalized feedback
  • Access to video exchange library

Cons

  • No instant feedback

Learn more about ArtistWorks here!

2. ArtistWorks – banjo lessons with Noam Pikelny

ArtistWorks also offers a fresh online banjo course with Grammy winner Noam Pikelny.

The course includes lessons for beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels.

Features and Benefits

Apart from getting awards in the banjo and bluegrass field, Noam is a founding member of Punch Brothers, an acclaimed string ensemble. He is undoubtedly one of the best, and in this course, he helps students around the world improve their single-string banjo playing.

Noam’s lessons cover both theory and playing songs. The Beginner section is great (and essential) for first-time beginners, and it will help you to progress towards more complex techniques and melodies.

The Intermediate course will introduce you to diatonic chords, a melodic style, and a single string. When you complete it, you’ll be ready for advanced lessons featuring single-string triplets, closed melodic playing, and much more.

As with any ArtistWorks course, you’ll have a chance to submit a video to your teacher and receive personalized feedback. All responses are stored in the Video Exchange Library.

Although this course doesn’t offer extra series of lessons, the existing courses are versatile and detailed enough to ensure you a strong banjo foundation. And the opportunity to learn from someone like Noam is golden for all aspiring banjoists.

What Sets ArtistWorks with Noam Pikelny Apart From Other Platforms?

Well, the biggest difference between this course is obviously the teacher. Noam Pikelny is a great musician, and if you like his style, you’ll definitely enjoy this course.  

Who is ArtistWorks with Noam Pikelny For?

The online banjo course with Noam Pikelny is for anyone searching for a structured online program that will take them from a beginner to a more advanced skill level.

Pros

  • Great teacher
  • Well-rounded
  • Video exchange library

Cons

  • No instant feedback
  • Doesn’t have extra lessons  

Learn more about ArtistWorks here!

3. Udemy

Udemy works similar to ArtistWorks – it’s an online education platform offering music courses with pre-recorded video lessons.

However, Udemy courses are usually less extensive and, therefore, less pricey.

Udemy online banjo lessons

Features and Benefits

Udemy banjo courses contain video lessons and downloadable resources like PDFs and articles.

Different instructors provide different teaching methods, styles, and content, but the description in their profiles will help you get a nice idea of what to expect.

Although some courses’ descriptions claim that they are for all levels, Udemy mostly offers online banjo lessons for beginners.

One of the popular courses is Beginner 5 String Banjo – Learn Banjo From Scratch with comprehensive lessons on fundamentals and banjo rolls, chords, and pinches. Through step-by-step lessons, you’ll gain core banjo skills.

You can also enroll in targeted Udemy lessons such as the tenor banjo course featuring a guide to playing traditional Irish tunes or an old-style banjo course focused on an up-picking technique.

What Sets Udemy Banjo Lessons Apart From Other Platforms?

 Udemy offers less extensive and more specialized courses. It will allow you to take lessons designed for a specific level or style.

Who is Udemy For?

Udemy banjo classes are great for people willing to do a little research before choosing the course and an appropriate teacher.

Although there are classes for different levels, a large number of courses are tailored for beginners.

Pros

  • Variety of courses
  • Different teachers
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Udemy certificate is not accredited
  • Lack of versatility (in learning)

4. Banjo Compass

Banjo Compass is a great way to learn to play banjo online.

The website offers free banjo lessons for beginners and premium lessons with more detailed banjo instruction.

Banjo Compass a way to learn how to play banjo online

Features and Benefits

If you’re still starting with the banjo, you should go through free courses first. They will also introduce you to the platform’s teaching methods.

The Switching Chords course is taught by an experienced banjo instructor Geoff Hohwald. He will teach you how to play two basic chord shapes and how to switch between them smoothly.

Other free banjo lessons cover basic rhythms, neck licks, and basic clawhammer licks.

When you’re ready to move forward, you can purchase different lesson packages. Each package contains a book and video and audio lessons.

You can purchase other beginner courses, as well as lessons on more advanced banjo techniques. Through a step-by-step curriculum, Geoff will give you a lot of practical tips and teach you how to play classic bluegrass songs.

If you want to expand your repertoire, packages with song tutorials are also available – they are mostly focused on classic banjo songs. You’ll also have a chance to practice along with jam tracks to work on your timing.

What Sets Banjo Compass Apart From Other Platforms?

Unlike many other platforms, the Banjo Compass platform offers useful free courses. They can be a great start or an additional learning source.

Who is Banjo Compass For?

Banjo Compass is best for beginners and intermediate banjo players.

The website offers free beginner banjo lessons so you can try them out before making a purchase.

Pros

  • Free content
  • Suitable for all levels
  • Jam tracks

Cons

  • Could be more structured
  • The website isn’t very eye-catching

5. Banjo Teacher

Banjo Teacher is an online learning platform focused on teaching the fundamentals of playing the bluegrass banjo.

The creator of the website is Ross Nickerson, a professional banjoist and author of the book “The Banjo Encyclopedia.”

Banjo Teacher learn to play banjo online

Features and Benefits

The Banjo Teacher website is full of information, but once you get a hang of it, you’ll come across some free content as well as subscription options.

There are great bluegrass banjo lessons for beginners available for purchase. With the combination of a book, DVDs, and audio files, the course covers all important basic areas. It will teach you how to read tablature, how to play banjo rolls, and proper right and left-hand techniques.

Songs can be performed at slow, medium, and fast tempos on DVD and CD. You’ll also get play-along practice tracks and additional special features.

Advanced banjo players will also find this program useful as there are lessons on challenging banjo songs, licks, and arrangements.

Regardless of your skill level, Banjo Teacher will teach you all the fundamentals and help you establish a proper practice routine.

What Sets Banjo Teacher Apart From Other Platforms?

Banjo Teacher is a very versatile website. You’ll find everything you need there – from banjos for sale to useful reviews and online banjo lessons.

Who is Banjo Teacher For?

Banjo Teacher is a great learning source for all levels of experience.

Pros

  • Useful resources
  • Free content
  • Covers different levels of difficulty

Cons

  • The website could be easier to navigate
  • Lacks some modern online tools

6. Bradley Laird’s Banjo Lessons

Bradley Laird’s Banjo Lessons will teach you how to play the banjo with an interactive and practical approach.

The website provides free banjo lessons, resources, and a podcast for students.

Play the banjo with Bradly Laird online learning website

Features and Benefits

Bradley Laird is an experienced banjo player and teacher who decided to share his knowledge online for free.

His Beginning Bluegrass Banjo course includes 20 lessons covering basics like reading tablature and playing the thumb-pinch. Most of them contain texts and visual aids.

However, if you’ve never played the banjo before, you should take a look at Bradley’s video lessons. It’s necessary to watch someone demonstrate for you to master your first notes.

Although these videos don’t have the highest production quality, they offer plenty of useful and clear instructions that will help you improve your banjo skills.

You can also purchase Bradley’s eBooks on the website. They are affordable and a nice extra tool for anyone starting their banjo musical journey.

What Sets Bradley Laird’s Banjo Lessons Apart From Other Platforms?

Bradley Laird created this website because of his passion for music. And you can feel that. Although his platform doesn’t have modern tools and features, it provides effective lessons with a personal touch.

Who are Bradley Laird’s Banjo Lessons For?

This website is great for anyone searching for free online banjo lessons. It’s a reliable source featuring video lessons and downloadable resources.

Pros

  • Free materials
  • Useful resources
  • Very simple

Cons

  • The website could look more fresh and updated
  • The production quality is poor

7. Ross Nickerson Bluegrass Banjo

A banjoist behind the Banjo Teacher platform Ross Nickerson offers another great option to learn banjo online.

The aim of the program is to teach the correct 5-string banjo technique.

Ross Nickerson Bluegrass Banjo with free online banjo lessons

Features and Benefits

You’ll be learning from an experienced banjoist Ross Nickerson who is enthusiastic about teaching banjo students around the world.

Before you purchase any course on the website, you can take a look at the sample video. You can choose between different options of beginner courses, each with a different price and number of lessons included.

All beginner lessons cover fundamentals like learning to pick the right way, left-hand techniques, and learning how to slide.

Intermediate and advanced lessons will teach secrets to building speed in your right hand, more complex arrangements, and so on.

On the website, you can also purchase song tutorials and CDs.

What Sets Ross Nickerson Bluegrass Banjo Apart From Other Platforms?

Many platforms offer courses that simply promise to teach you how to play the banjo. But Ross Nickerson’s website has detailed course descriptions – you can see what you’re going to learn in each lesson. That way, you’ll know exactly if this course is for you.

Who is Ross Nickerson Bluegrass Banjo For?

This e-learning platform is suitable for beginners and intermediate banjo players.

Pros

  • Versatile resources
  • Well-rounded courses
  • For all skill levels

Cons

  • Video quality could be better
  • No instant feedback

8. Peghead Nation

Peghead Nation is a great learning platform created by banjo professionals.

You can get access to a particular course with a monthly subscription.

Peghead Nation online music education platform with online banjo lessons for beginners and intermediate players

Features and Benefits

Peghead Nation is a quality website offering lessons for many instruments. It also provides news, reviews, and instrument and gear demonstration videos.

The website is easy to navigate and it provides sample lessons, play-along tracks, notation guides, and a section for beginners.

When you click on any banjo course, you’ll see clear information on what to expect if you buy it. For example, Bluegrass Banjo with Bill Evans includes 87 lessons, 71 tunes, and content focused on the styles of bluegrass greats like Earl Scruggs and JD Crowe.

Other courses cover clawhammer technique exercises, improvisation, and playing in the style of contemporary three-finger banjo.

All videos are filmed with high-quality and multiple camera angles so you can see closeups of both hands. That’s very important, especially for beginners.

What Sets Peghead Nation Apart From Other Platforms?

Peghead Nation offers lessons focused on different styles and types of banjo. You can take single-string banjo lessons, clawhammer technique exercises, bluegrass banjo classes, and so on. There’s a variety of lessons to choose from.

Who is Peghead Nation For?

Peghead Nation provides online banjo classes for beginners, but the platform is also great for intermediate players interested in learning a specific style or technique.

Pros

  • Includes different styles
  • Good production quality
  • Well-designed

Cons

  • No direct feedback
  • Could have more features

9. Lone Hand Western Banjo Lessons

These online banjo lessons are produced by The Itasca School of Folk Music.

Content is delivered through videos and texts and it’s suitable for all levels and age groups.

Lone Hand online banjo music school

Features and Benefits

This website with a true historic spirit provides free banjo lessons for beginners. These lessons will get you started and teach you basics like primary banjo-picking rolls, chord structure, playing up and down the neck, and how to read tablature.

Lessons cover traditional bluegrass (Scruggs Style) and melodic playing styles.

However, the platform’s greatest benefit is the possibility to book private online banjo lessons via Skype. With a personalized approach and direct feedback, you’ll be able to progress more quickly.

Although it’s possible to gain banjo skills by watching video tutorials, having individual lessons with a private online tutor allows you to be aware of your weak spots and learn the best ways to improve them.

What Sets Lone Hand Western Banjo Apart From Other Platforms?

This website is dedicated to Old West history and tradition. And you can see that everywhere in the platform’s design and in the banjo lessons which are created with traditional bluegrass in mind.  

Who are Lone Hand Western Banjo Lessons For?

This music education platform is best for people searching for private banjo lessons online.

The site is also beneficial to anyone who needs an extra learning resource.

Pros

  • Suitable for all levels
  • Genre-specific lessons  
  • Private lessons option

Cons

  • Could be easier to navigate
  • Lack of useful online tools

10. Deering Banjo Lessons

Deering is a fresh-looking website offering online banjo lessons and tutorials.

It’s an online community of banjo players providing a variety of features.

Deering online music banjo community with online banjo lessons

Features and Benefits

Many acclaimed banjo players are contributing to the Deering platform, including the famous Tony Trischka.

You’ll also come across free banjo courses such as the Clawhammer Method course. In the video lesson available on the website, a banjoist Barry Hunn will give you a firm foundation on basic clawhammer techniques.

You can also learn how to play the tenor banjo in the traditional jazz style with banjoist David Bandrowski. In his video series, he will take you from your first chords to strumming patterns, chord voicings, and arpeggios. He will also teach you a few melodies.

What makes this platform really cool is Deering Live, a place of live video streams featuring interviews with banjo masters. You can catch up on all the previous episodes there, and see what’s scheduled for the next live session.

On top of that, there’s a blog on the website, as well as an option to contact the Deering team to help you out with whatever you might need.

What Sets Deering Banjo Lessons Apart From Other Platforms?

Deering Live is one of the best and most unique features of the Deering Banjo platform. You can easily catch up on all the episodes on their website and get inspired by successful banjoists.

Who are Deering Banjo Lessons For?

Deering is a great source of information for all banjo lovers.

Apart from several free tutorials, it offers ways to join the community of fellow banjo players.

Pros

  • Well-designed
  • Active online community
  • Live streams

Cons

  • No instant feedback
  • Might be a bit confusing for beginners

How to Choose the Best Banjo Lessons Online?

Luckily, there are many professional banjo players who are eager to help people around the world to start playing the banjo.

Before choosing your online learning source, check who exactly stands behind the platform. Sample videos or free lessons will give you a good idea of the tutor’s teaching style and approach. It’s important to find someone who motivates you to learn.

Another thing you should check is the content. Be sure that the program offers a style suitable for your level. For example, it’s better for beginners to start with 5-string banjos.

If you’re looking for advanced content, read other learners’ reviews because sometimes you’ll get intermediate lessons for what you’ve expected to be more advanced.

A very important thing about online classes is that they teach you how to practice, especially if you’re a beginner. If you learn how to exercise properly, you’ll be able to do it by yourself and keep improving your playing even after finishing the course.

Banjo player

What Are the Benefits of Online Banjo Lessons?

Banjo is perhaps not as popular as guitar or a piano, so traditional banjo lessons and private tutors can in some areas be a bit scarce. But with online banjo lessons, it doesn’t matter where you learn from.

You’ll also have the freedom of when – and as you’ll be in charge of your own practice schedule, you’ll be sure to develop self-discipline and good time management abilities.

With online lessons, you also need to be very focused in order to repeat what the teacher demonstrated and make progress. This learning process will definitely improve your concentration, but also put you in the so-called flow mode that brings many benefits.

After you establish a practice routine and learn how to get in the flow mode, you’ll start to feel better in general. Online music lessons also bring a sense of achievement. So, be patient, persistent, and don’t give up at the first sign of trouble.

But with online banjo courses, there probably won’t be any trouble. Instructors and creators behind the best online banjo lessons are enthusiastic and experienced professionals who know how to help you get on the right track. You just need to trust them and listen to their suggestions.

Playing the banjo also brings several physical benefits – it improves coordination and it’s good for your brain. It’s no news that playing music, in general, has numerous health and mental benefits as well.

Banjo player on a concert

How We Test Online Banjo Lessons

MidderMusic produces honest and accurate reviews based on personal experience and research. Therefore, the MidderMusic online banjo lessons review process is fully editorially independent. We are either supplied with a free subscription by the platform or we purchase our own subscriptions.

When evaluating a banjo platform, we take into account the following factors:

  • Simplicity in setup and use – How easy is it to sign up and install the program? Is the platform user-friendly? Is it easy to find the content you need?
  • Quality of content/tutors – Are the lessons easy to follow? What is the quality of the video? Are teachers easy to understand? Do they give clear instructions? Do they communicate information in a friendly manner?
  • Range of content – What areas or skills is the platform focused on? Does it contain lessons for advanced players? If it’s only suitable for beginners, does it have enough material and songs/tutorials?
  • Useful features – Can you use the program on multiple devices? Is there a possibility to get feedback on your playing? Is the service flexible or customizable? Are there features such as the ability to slow down or loop video?

We approach every platform with these same four categories in mind.

Our testing team includes:

  • Reviewers experienced in testing and owning musical instruments, equipment, and services
  • Professionals who work in the music industry
  • Writers experienced in creating content for music magazines and websites

Final Thoughts

With the right online course, learning the banjo will be a fun and rewarding process. You’ll easily gain a strong foundation to build on.

You can choose between private online lessons and pre-recorded video lessons, so you’ll be able to learn quickly as you’ll pick whatever suits you best.

And along with renowned banjoists as your teachers, you’ll soon realize that learning the banjo online has become so popular for a reason.

We hope our list helped you in making a good choice and starting with this fun new experience!

FAQs

Can you teach yourself banjo?

Yes, you can teach yourself banjo with an appropriate online course. Banjo is a good instrument for beginners, but you’ll need to put a lot of time into practice nevertheless.

How difficult is it to learn the banjo?

Compared to other stringed instruments, it’s not difficult to learn the banjo. However, that also depends on the style you want to play, and gaining intricate banjo skills takes a lot of time and practice.

Is Banjo harder than guitar?

No, the banjo is generally not much harder to learn than the guitar. Because it has one string per finger, and for other tuning reasons, you’ll be able to grasp the basics pretty quickly.

Is it possible to learn banjo online?

It’s possible to learn banjo online. You just need to find an online banjo course that fits your level, learning style, and goals. Online lessons are effective and affordable, and they allow you to learn at your own pace.
With the right learning tools, clear guidance, and regular practice, you can learn how to play banjo by yourself without hassle.

What is the easiest way to learn to play the banjo?

The easiest way to learn to play the banjo is to hire a teacher or take online banjo lessons. Online courses are usually more affordable, and they are definitely more convenient. They allow you to learn at your own pace and focus on your goals.

What are the best online banjo lessons for beginners?

The best online banjo lessons for beginners are provided by ArtistWorks. ArtistWorks is a popular learning platform known for quality content and famous teachers. With the ArtistWorks banjo course, you can learn at your own pace and master the basics by watching interactive video lessons guided by talented banjo players.

What are the best free online banjo lessons?

The best free online banjo lessons are offered by Banjo Compass. The website offers free banjo lessons focused on basic techniques as well as jam tracks and useful resources. It’s suitable for all levels.
You can also search for YouTube tutorials provided by reliable websites and teachers.

Are there any banjo lessons near me?

Visit the TakeLessons website to find banjo lessons near you. This popular platform allows you to connect with a tutor online or in person. You can browse a wide selection of banjo teachers and see if anyone is in your area.