Banjo Lessons

My name is Theo Parmakis. I am a banjo player and teacher based in Sheffield, UK.

My style of banjo playing is broadly based upon clawhammer, however I have adapted the style in order to accomodate a wider variety of rhythms and time signatures than it is commonly used for.

Am I the right teacher for you?

It is worth bearing in mind that my that my style of playing is significantly geared towards a particular approach. If you are happy to learn to play the style that I specialise in then I'm happy to take you from the ground up with it.

I am fascinated by the history of the banjo and am always keen to share and spread knowledge about this sometimes misunderstood and pigeonholed instrument. However, that being said, I don't teach a great deal of "banjo music". My preference for a long time has been taking traditional and modern dance tunes and playing them in such a way that the music is more relevant than the instrument that its played on.

When teaching my core repertoire I provide tablature, sheet music and audio recordings of the tunes. I believe strongly in the advantages of learning dance tunes "by ear" (is is also fairy useful to learn them "by feet" if you can), however a little music theory can also go a long way when it comes to being able to make sense of more complex material, and I tend to incorporate at leat a bit of that into my lessons.

As a computer programmer, I have also built a few tools to aid with learning chords and scales on the banjo (and other instruments), such as my Chord Generator.

Pricing is £35/hour, £20/half hour. I prefer to teach in person at my workshop in Sheffield. Longer lessons may be a possibility if there is more material to cover.

Online lessons follow the same pricing structure.

To get started, drop me a message at, call 07906 654571 or email

I am also a qualified instrument maker and technician, and can set your banjo (or other types of instrument) up at my Parmakis Instruments workshop to make sure you can get the best out of it.


Some of these videos are a bit out of date. Also see my YouTube Channel.


For those wanting to improve their clawhammer style banjo playing Theo is a fantastic resource and not only because music teachers in clawhammer are rare gems - they are few and far between, but because of his ability, knowledge and enthusiasm for this genre of music.

I have been a student of Theo's for many months and have been impressed by the huge repertoire of tunes he is able to draw from, which includes anything from traditional English/Irish folk tunes to well known American tunes. There is guaranteed to be something to suit all tastes and all levels of playing.

Practical teaching is complemented and supported by MP3 recordings of different speeds to practice to. It is also worth pointing out that Theo has a good understanding of banjo set-up and can advise on how to get the best sound out of your instrument.


Theo is a great teacher. Always warm, friendly and inspiring. Each lesson he breaks down concepts and techniques into easy to understand chunks.

He is happy to tailor lessons to my personal interests, needs and learning style. He creates a supportive and friendly learning environment with great support between lessons via email. Happy to take things at my pace.


I have been having lessons from Theo for around eight months and was a total beginner when I started. Theo's friendly and relaxed teaching style has ensured that i have navigated the clawhammer stlye of banjo at my own pace and using the style of tunes that i personally like.

He is a very patient teacher and supports the lessons with both tab and audio recordings, which are invaluable when practising at home.

He is very knowledgeable about the workings of the actual instrument as well as just the playing styles and has helped with the set up of the banjo as well as my playing.


Theo is a fantastic teacher with a contagious enthusiasm backed up by an extensive understanding of the instrument both physically and melodically. His ability to break down this knowledge and convey it in a manageable way has meant I’ve walked out of each lesson feeling quantifiably better with a banjo! With an extensive and impressive repertoire, Theo tailors each lesson on what style/ direction I want to take and then stages his teaching in a logical and easy-to-follow manner.

All in all, Theo is a talented and friendly teacher whom I would highly recommend to anyone looking to learn or develop their clawhammer banjo. For each piece I’ve learned, Theo has provided tablature and recordings of the tune (played at various speeds so I can play along at home as I practice). He even has his own website I use for finding and playing around with chords. Where else would you get this kind of service? 10/10!