Gus Macmillan is decicated to teaching 5-string banjo one-on-one to students of any playing ability, in any style, any standard, from absolute beginners to experienced pickers who are looking to refresh their playing with some new spice.
Gus has 25 years of experiences playing banjo professionally, including 15 years of touring Australia and 11 years touring America, Europe, and Asia with his band Blue Grassy Knoll. In 2003 he was fortunate to have banjo tuition with several great banjo teachers in the USA , and has been teaching banjo ever since. He was the 2005 Guildford Banjo Jambouree two tune pick off champion!
Gus loves teaching banjo and has upward of 30 banjo students at the moment, they range in age from 11 to 73, men and women, talented and triers. He understands that people learn banjo at their own pace – some come weekly, others fortnightly, some come in fits and starts… each according to their requirements. Gus works out the needs of each banjo student and tailors their banjo lesson syllabus accordingly.
He’s used to teaching banjo to players of all standards – he can start people from scratch, getting their picking fixed up right from the beginnning, and give them things that they can play without too much hassle, so that it’s not all hard work and no reward. Books and the internet are a great resource for learning banjo but there’s nothing that beats having someone showing you how to do it.
He is also able to help more experienced banjo players that might be stuck in a rut with their banjo practice… or just need some inspiration to pick it up again, through:
- Developing new rolls – take the rolls you know and turn them on their head. Play familiar songs in an unfamiliar way.
- Explore Up The Neck – work out why those high tab frets go where they do.
- Scales and Improvisation – learn about scales, blue notes and simple riffs to keep things interesting.
- Basic music theory. Look at the big picture of how music fits together. Harmony, melody and rhythm.
- Working out songs – if you’ve got a song that you’ve always wanted to play Gus can write it out and teach it to you.
- Developing picking speed – start to sound like those speed demons on the web.
He has a large selection of music that he gives to banjo students as they progress, writing out his own tunes and exercises as well as from all different sources - he tends to pick his favourite banjo tunes from different books, and also give students a CD of the things they’ll be playing in their banjo lesson, but nice and slow, so they can hear what’s what. He’ll also give you a compilation CD of some of his favourite banjo tunes. He also has a large lending library of bluegrass CDs and DVDs available for banjo students to borrow.
Gus is happy to teach more banjo students, if you’re willing to give it a try. He charges $60 an hour, and he teaches from a dedicated banjo teaching space at his home in Brunswick.
He also has gift vouchers if you are looking for a present for a friend or loved-one who would like banjo lessons.