Wednesday, December 07, 2005

mandolin breakthrough

I just had the best mandolin practice session I've had in a long time, perhaps in years. That I had a practice session on a week night is a miracle itself, especially since I had to locate myself in the dark and sometimes cold porch, in front of the computer which is on top of a low dresser because that's what we have space for.

Maybe it was because I was relaxed. I wasn't thinking "I NEED to practice, I have x number of songs to work through and I need to learn them note for note." Instead, I had a couple of ideas of songs that I'd been listening to in the last few days, songs I somehow knew I could do. And I'm still riding high on the Mike Compton/David Long workshop and concert I attended two weeks ago; I keep listening to their style, keep grooving on it, keep thinking "oh so this is how it's done!" And their way of doing it comes a lot more naturally than memorizing a bunch of notes on sheet music and trying to expand from there.

And maybe it was because I found a very happy song. It's an old time fiddle tune called "Johnny Don't Get Drunk", potentially a very unhappy topic, but it's a very uplifting, upbeat melody. Anyway, I really got into the melody, and variations thereof, in a free manner that I hadn't experienced while playing in quite a long time. I decided to end the practice session while I was still on top of things.

There's so much music I want to do these days, and so little time. But if I could have a time like this every day, which is every bit as good as meditation for me, I would look forward to these long winter evenings!


lené said...

Yea! That sounds great. So when are we going to hear another uploaded file? :)

Hope you're staying warm. I posted the other day about your temps there, but blogger sent the comment back to me at my email address. Weird. Anyway, it's always fun to hear you're having fun over there.

PS There's not much jelly left. :)

madcapmum said...

Warmer here, thank goodness! Back up to zero.

As above - when do we get our audio Christmas present?

madcapmum said...

Hmmm... I just got a message back regarding my comment here, too, on my blogger e-mail. Funny little glitch, that is. But then, Blogger is in a strange mood these days.

Deb said...

Interesting. I'm not getting email notification about any of these comments.

I'll have to see what I can do about more audio; it would be fun to have a serious recording session and put together a semi-professional quality CD to send out to my hard-core blogging fans!

Rexroth's Daughter said...

I love that you describe your practice as a meditation. That says so much about the moment and your connection to what you were doing. I hope you will be able to upload a music file sometime so we, your hard-core blogging fans, can listen.

Cindy M. said...

I love the sound of a mandolin.. what an incredible talent! Can you recommend any good tapes? I also love Spanish guitar.. well any music really. I play the piano, flute, clarinet and handdrum.. but have never become familiar with a string-instrument.
And what's this about jelly? I didn't eat dinner yet, a pnut butter and jelly sandwich sounds pretty good right now ;)

Deb said...

RD- Yes, it was very meditation-like. And unfortunately, in practice today with Fred, I don't think I achieved that musical level. We had fun though. :)

Cindy M- We have something in common, besides our love of nature, I play flute too!

For mandolin recordings, I like anything by Sam Bush, David Grisman, Chris Thile, or Mike Compton, for starters. They all have roots in bluegrass but have gone beyond that to Newgrass (Sam's contribution), jazz, and classical (except for Compton maybe-he's pretty true to bluegrass).

As for the jelly...I happened to overextend myself and made almost thirty jars of crabapple jelly last summer, from trees on the old farmstead across the creek. Lene and I did a jelly exchange, she providing some wonderful blueberry preserves from Vermont. I may have a limited amount available yet. ;)

Eleutheros said...

Mandoln Breakthrough!?

I didn't have time to read the whole post, just the title. But if you're had a mandolin breakthrough, you need to calm down. No more Sam Bush imitations! Sure, even Monroe had some scratches on his mandolin here and there and the finish worn off where the pick hit it, but a breakthrough! What next? Smashing the mandolin after an rif like the rock bands do?

"Late in the evening about sundown
High on the hill up above the town
Deb'd play the mandolin, how it'd ring
You could hear it talk, you could hear it scream"