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Stuff and Things

Posted by Rissa on Thursday, July 11, 2013

So next week is the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, and I signed up for both beginner and intermediate mandolin sessions. They're back-to-back Monday through Friday. Three hours of mandolin all week long. Should be a blast, and will definitely catapult me in the right direction for my mando picking.

Learning tunes has been a challenge. I know a tune on fiddle (Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine), but I don't know the chords on it for mandolin. I know a tune in chords for mando (Congress Reel), but I can't play it on the fiddle. I know a tune I can't play along with either instrument (Josie's Waltz), but I can hum it and it's stuck in my head. I know I shouldn't expect much as a total beginner...but it's still frustrating.

And yet I keep looking at banjos. I guess it's a problem, I don't really know. I get a few people who don't play any instruments saying not to think about it. Then I get on the hangout chat and everyone is all for it. I understand both sides. I have two instruments I am not in any capacity adept at playing, and now I want to add a third. But on the other hand, all three instruments have something valuable to add to developing as a musician and understanding and appreciating the music that is OT and bluegrass. One of my friends threw out the "jack of all trades, master of none" line. I know it. But then there's the whole, "divide and conquer" thing. It's not an inability to choose what I like better, it's that I like them all.

II get that bug to do something, well, I'm going to find a way to do it. I guess a good bout with cancer will change a person like that. Maybe the chemo changed my brain a little, took away some of that "let's just hold on and think about things for a good long while" sensibility. Now it's jump in, head first, don't care how deep the water is. Maybe that water is filled with fiddles, and mandos, and banjos.   

2 comments on “Stuff and Things”

OregonGal Says:
Saturday, July 13, 2013 @10:16:11 AM

I get it. But I think - 4 months on mando, really concentrated (like one hour a day). Then four months on fiddle, same thing but also playing 1/2 hour of mandolin a day to keep it up. Then later you could add four months on banjo, really concentrated, but still play 1/2 hour of mandolin a day also, and 1/2 hour of fiddle, too. That's a lot of playing time, but it seems the only say to pull it off and continue to get better. Or, just do the fiddle and mandolin for a year, and add the banjo in another year - you might make the best progress that way. But, it is up to you. When I was learning a new instrument, I did just that - play the others I knew at LEAST 4 times a week as well as daily practice on the new instrument. Don't know how much time you have, but if you have the time, it should work. Best of luck.

TeachinMandolin444 Says:
Monday, August 26, 2013 @12:32:40 PM

I play fiddle,mando,5 & 6 string banjo,and some autoharp. Like you,I love em all. Key thing is to enjoy the learning. while it's important to play well,I honestly believe the "master" thing is over rated. I'm sure Mike Seeger didn't wonder about how good he would get at any instrument he picked up,or if he should venture there. He simply did it.

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