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Thread: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

  1. #1
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    What specific mandolin challenges are you putting at the top of the list this year?

    I don't mean goals or aspirations, I mean specific verifiable objective challenges.

    So for example, my top challenge is to really get into third position. At the end of 2018 I want to be able to sight reading in third and recognize on the fly when shifting to third makes sense.

    And my second priority challenge is to get more into traditional French fiddle tunes, with a 2018 bench mark to have learned at least ten traditional fiddle tunes from France, and have them worked into my regular fiddle tune rotation.

    What are all of you working on this year?
    Last edited by JeffD; Jan-10-2018 at 5:12pm.
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  3. #2

    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    I'm doing a tune a day type challenge. I've made a list of everything I've worked on over the last several years and I pick one daily (or most days as life gets in the way at times) and just work on it for 30 minutes or so.

    Sometimes I have to reacquaint myself with the tune BC I may not have looked at it for a year or more, then I work on improvising over it, playing in different octave/position, play it in different key, etc.

    I'm also working on picking up melodies of unfamiliar tunes/songs I hear at jams. I've mostly focused on fiddle tunes so songs are difficult for me to pick up on the fly...my goal is to be able to play a solo - right now a super simple one works - in a jam situation.

    Both are challenging but fun and I'm planning on incorporating some new things into my go to jam tune list.
    Northfield NF5M #268

  4. #3
    Mandolin Friendly Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    The first one for me I started near the end of 2017, economy of movement in left hand fingerings. Right now, this means analyzing tunes I've learned and looking for every opportunity to hold notes as long as possible on a string while playing other strings - then training myself to play them that way. It's a blast, and makes a difference in the musicality of my playing. A second one is learning more chords by learning to play Jazz and Swing progressions.
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    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    Keep learning Finnish and Finnish-American tunes. And working on getting better at learning by ear. I'm good at doing it from sheet music. Haven't concentrated as much on learning by ear. These are priorities as I am in a working band that is passing along Finnish and Finnish-American folk music. Considering that a year ago I wasn't even playing mandolin, it's a daunting task.
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    Registered User Louise NM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    Developing my right hand. My progress on developing a decent tremolo seems to be in retrograde right now, and I would like to get it moving forward again.
    1988 Reno mandolin, Trinity College mandola, Kentucky KM 272 oval hole mandolin, a few bowed string instruments and some stray woodwinds

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  9. #6
    Mangler of Tunes OneChordTrick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    To learn to read standard notation.

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    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    Working on economy of motion and also better tone.
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    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    Simply becoming better at what i can already do = practice,practice ..... !,
    Ivan
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  14. #9
    Registered User Ky Slim's Avatar
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    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    I need to start recording and presenting/sharing my playing. I joined the SAW social group years ago and still haven't posted anything on there. Playing live or in front of people doesn't bother me at all. I do it often and get pretty good feedback from people about my playing. Perhaps people are just being nice and thanks to them if that's the case. For some reason recording and specifically video recording is intimidating to me. The permanence of it gets me I suppose. Anyway, recording is a hurdle I must overcome. I need to be more accountable for all the sounds I make and recording is a sure fire way to gain confidence and accountability. Good Luck to all with your challenges this year!

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    Gilchrist (pick) Owner! jasona's Avatar
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    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    Be able to pick simple tunes out of the air on the fly.

    Develop improvisational skills.

    Learn 100 new tunes.

    Start studying jazz
    Jason Anderson

    "...while a great mandolin is a wonderful treat, I would venture to say that there is always more each of us can do with the tools we have available at hand. The biggest limiting factors belong to us not the instruments." Paul Glasse

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  16. #11
    Registered User smokinop's Avatar
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    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    Tops on my list is listening to and hopefully understanding how to play jazz/swing on the mandolin and also the guitar.
    Kevin
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    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    Better right hand
    Increasing fiddle tune speed by 10%
    Recording a few tracks
    Getting out of my comfort zone some

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    Registered User T.D.Nydn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    Get some stuff out on youtube..

  20. #14

    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    Better right hand control of the pick especially when crossing strings at high tempos. Improving my ability to memorize written pieces so that I can look at my hands rather than the sheet music. Writing some tunes and lyrics. Learning and arranging more pop tunes as solo mandolin arrangements.

  21. #15
    Chu Dat Frawg Eric C.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    My main goal at this time is learning to play with a pick guard. Sounds trivial I know, but the right hand position is different now, especially playing on the E strings.
    Kentucky KM950 and loving it.

  22. #16

    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    My challenge is to actually learn music notation (sight reading) as I learn to play my new Kentucky KM-505. I just got the mandolin this week, so I have a really long road ahead of me.

  23. #17
    Mandolin Friendly Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    What specific mandolin challenges are you putting at the top of the list this year?
    I don't mean goals or aspirations, I mean specific verifiable objective challenges.
    I already gave my answer in post #3 above, but will expand to be even more specific, verifiable, and objective.

    Economy of motion in left hand fingering: I started last year with Father's Hall and Hollow Poplar. I retrained the way I play Father's Hall and recorded it to see if it sounded different in recording. An example of what the goal is would be playing a note on a string followed by a note or notes on other strings then returning to the same note in the melody. Rather than releasing that first note needlessly, train myself to hold it as long as possible until that finger is needed elsewhere or the note on that string changes. I've trained myself well on Father's Hall and pretty well on Hollow Poplar. I've started this year with Whiskey Before Breakfast and Big Sciota.

    Specific, verifiable, objective - Here is Father's Hall played after learning the tune about a year or 18 months into the mandolin journey. The jumping fingers and poor right hand positioning result in a awful staccato sound and numerous flubs:

    Oct. 2016


    And here's the same tune after working on left hand dynamics.

    Nov. 2017


    So, along with other stuff, I'm doing this training with Hollow Poplar, Whiskey Before Breakfast, Big Sciota - and this year I'll be doing that with other tunes I know and new tunes I learn until (hopefully) some day if I live long enough it will be second nature in all my playing.
    Technique, theory and fun, fun, fun. I love playing, studying and sharing MUSIC.
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  25. #18
    Registered User Pete Martin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    My goals are recording. I'm currently working on a recording of 10 Wes Montgomery original tunes. Have 6 done and am working on the last 4.

    After that, a banjo playing friend and I are going to do a traditional Bluegrass recording. We've been talking about it for years and we will finally start on it.

    Also want to finish a long time project of original Bluegrass, Jazz and fiddle tunes.

    If I get 2 of those 3 done, I'll be happy. And of course practice what I need to make this happen.
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  27. #19

    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    My goal is to add 25 tunes to my memory banks and improve my backup playing. I'm not sure how to quantify the second goal but I know my backup playing will improve only by working on it.

  28. #20
    Registered User JH Murray's Avatar
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    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    My goal is to start playing again. Back in July I was cutting down a tree when it snapped and fell on me. Lucky for me, it only broke the ulna in my right forearm. Six weeks in a cast and I was set free in September. I found I could only play a few minutes before my wrist grew tired. Then it got worse. In early October I realized the ulna had let go and was no longer together. I put my mandolin away because I didn't want to have to look at it and not play it. In mid November they put a plate and a bone graft from my hip to heal the ulna. I got the cast off on Wednesday, six months to the day after this whole mess started. I tried playing today for just a few short minutes. It felt good to play, but the wrist is so weak after being isolated for 4 of the last six months. At least I am alive (the tree landing on me could have ended much worse), and I am gaining strength. I will play again. I have enjoyed hearing you all play during my long banishment from the activity I love. Cheers!

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  30. #21
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    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    Working on knowing where my left hand fingers are without looking. I can do it sometimes but not consistently.
    Be able to maintain consistent tempo - I (unfortunately) slow down in more difficult sections.
    Always working on getting better - I read standard notation (from playing piano for many years) but rely on TAB too much for fingerings - want to get better at just knowing where to put my fingers (ties in nicely with the other two goals.)

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  32. #22
    Registered User Dan Adams's Avatar
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    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    Re-energize my interest in playing and learning new tunes. We stopped playing gigs over three years ago, so I stopped practicing and playing on a regular basis. Listened to some old practice tapes today and a recording of us at a gig. My first thought was that the leads were pretty good but I couldn’t play any of them today. I also probably have no idea of the chord progressions. Looking for how to jump start my interest. Tune a week? Jamming? Busking?
    Play em like you know em!

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  34. #23
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    Not at all to say I've reached any point of satisfaction with my mandolin playing, but we've just had a new arrival. I want to get to know this baby better:
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  35. #24

    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    I'd like to get my reading skills and chord vocabulary up to where I can handle any swing chart thrown at me with good voice leading for the chord changes, ie, no jumping around. That'll take learning the 3 note chords on the top 3 strings as well as the bottom 3 strings. And being able to improvise over that in a coherent manner.
    Play it like you mean it.

  36. #25
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan Kelsall View Post
    Simply becoming better at what i can already do = practice,practice ..... !,
    Ivan
    I know what you are saying. But I found that this doesn't work for me. I do much better if I identify specific things with which I am presently not satisfied or which I long to master. Whatever they are. And then I try and imagine what being good at those things would look like, feel like, sound like. How could I objectively measure that I have come closer to what I imagine.

    We all want to get better and indeed we can't help it, we are all getting better, just by playing more. But... are we getting better in the directions we want, and even more, are we neglecting specific skills that would help us if we were to master them.

    I guess one way to hook onto this is to ask, "what do I want to be able to do in December 2018 that I presently cannot do?"

    Ivan I have long appreciated your insights and contributions to the threads, so I feel a little awkward and embarrassed to even be focusing this on you. If your take is more effective for you that is all that matters. Its just that it would not work for me. And if it helps anyone else, there are many ways of approaching deliberate progress.
    Indulge responsibly!

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