In 1969, I got this toy for Christmas called “Frustration Ball”. The toy consisted of a clear globe with eight cups and one ball. The object was to toss the ball from one cup to another in order, without missing a cup. For instance, you started with the ball in Cup 1 and turn the ball enough for the ball to be captured in Cup 2. You continued this routine until you achieved getting the ball in all eight cups without missing one cup. If you missed a cup, you started all over again. Thus, the term “Frustration Ball”.
How does this relate to banjo, mandolin and guitar?
The idea is best exemplified when practicing a scale, riff, or song. When you practice, pay careful attention to the details. Pick one note at a time and listen to what you are playing. Practice slowly and don’t double hit your notes. Most importantly, if you make a mistake, start over and try again. Do not play over your mistakes without correcting them first. With persistence and dedication, the results might surprise you.
We have all experienced the frustration of practicing and struggling to get a certain song perfected. Imagine, as a 9-year old, how I felt when I finally reached all eight cups in a row without making a mistake. Its the same feeling I get now when playing a song accurately.