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Thread: Musical reawakenings - how to reattain former ability?

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    Registered User Musselburgh_mandolin's Avatar
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    Default Musical reawakenings - how to reattain former ability?

    After several years of not playing, something clicked back on last weekend and on a whim I decided to unzip the mandolin case and start playing. In some regards, the mandolin felt familiar and without opening any music a couple of ingrained tunes came under the fingers readily. Saying that, speed, fluency and 'clean-ness' are old friends who've moved on (y'know, the kind you see on Facebook leading exciting lives).

    Does 'ability' come back reasonably quickly just by playing every day or am I looking at a long rehab with focussed (re)learning - perhaps starting a 'Learn To Play' type book?

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    Registered User Rob Beck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Musical reawakenings - how to reattain former ability?

    I think its a bit of both. I had a similar return to music after stopping for several years when my children were young (three boys under one and a half years old will do that to you ). Like you, I found that some things were instantly familiar, others took some work, however, I feel that I am a much better player now than I was before I stopped. You definitely have a huge head start on someone who has never played before. I also found that I enjoyed the whole process much more after returning to it. As a youngster I was a bit too uptight about "being good at playing", now I don't let that bother me and just enjoy it.
    Rob

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    Registered User Mando Mort's Avatar
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    Default Re: Musical reawakenings - how to reattain former ability?

    I TOTALLY agree with Rob above and had basically the same experience. I found my enthusiasm greater and pushed myself farther in learning about music, not just how to play a particular song.
    "All of us contain Music & Truth, but most of us can't get it out." - Mark Twain

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    Registered User Frankdolin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Musical reawakenings - how to reattain former ability?

    Just keep playing and have fun. I think you'll be surprised how fast your skills will return, and you very well could be better than you were or remember you were.

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    Mediocre but OK with that Paul Busman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Musical reawakenings - how to reattain former ability?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frankdolin View Post
    Just keep playing and have fun. I think you'll be surprised how fast your skills will return, and you very well could be better than you were or remember you were.
    I agree. Have fun with it. You went through the journey of learning the mandolin once, now you get to relive that experience to some degree. It'll be back sooner than you think.
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    Registered User Randi Gormley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Musical reawakenings - how to reattain former ability?

    I had the same experience -- I put the mandolin down for about 20 years and found that recovery lasted way less time than I expected -- I was able to move ahead with some stuff I'd never gotten to and found my technique -- since I had to relearn anything anyway -- improved because I wasn't learning in the dark, if you will.
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    Some Ability - No Talent MikeZito's Avatar
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    Default Re: Musical reawakenings - how to reattain former ability?

    I was away from ALL music for about 8 years, and away from the mandolin for about 11 years before I returned.

    The first few weeks were BRUTAL - but then, one Saturday night, it all seemed to come back in an instant . . . so now instead of being brutal, I have graduated to my former skill level of 'Not Good'.
    I recently finished a new homemade 4-song EP of original solo acoustic songs; (sorry, no mandolin content this time). If you are interested in a FREE copy, feel free to send me your address via Private Message, and I will be glad to send you one. Trust me, it will be worth the price!


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    Default Re: Musical reawakenings - how to reattain former ability?

    I can't see leaving music completely for years. There have been times I have gotten caught up in something important or not so important and music for a while took a back seat, but for 50+ years I have never been music free for any longer than a couple weeks.

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    Registered User Musselburgh_mandolin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Musical reawakenings - how to reattain former ability?

    Thanks everyone for your encouragement.

    My previous life as a mandolin player was pretty structured around group playing - I did mixed instrument classes, did a few small performances with friends and even played in an orchestra. At that time, my focus was on trying to improve as a player. Now I think it's going to be simply for fun and playing for myself, although I'd like to get back to where I was (good enough not to sound bad).

  10. #10

    Default Re: Musical reawakenings - how to reattain former ability?

    Dunno. I still haven't attained ability!

  11. #11

    Default Re: Musical reawakenings - how to reattain former ability?

    I find it's about the same for several motor memory activities. Landing a plane, winding a motorcycle through a canyon, or back on the ice with the hockey team after a vacation. Three days to bully through the pain and another 10 or 12 days to get back to the competency stage.
    I've dabbled in quite a few instruments over the decades. There's one comfort I feel when I return to one of these old friends...I won't have to endure beginner stage and I know what heights I can reach sooner or later.

  12. #12
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Musical reawakenings - how to reattain former ability?

    After playing banjo for ove 50 years,but being very much more focussed on mandolin these days,when i do play banjo,my right & left hand fingering come together pretty quickly after an hour or so,but i've found that i've forgotten how to play many of the tunes that i used to play. That said,i haven't played many of them for over 20 years so it's hardly surprising. ''Muscle memory'' doesn't last indefinitely - at least in my case,
    Ivan
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    Mediocre but OK with that Paul Busman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Musical reawakenings - how to reattain former ability?

    Quote Originally Posted by Musselburgh_mandolin View Post
    Thanks everyone for your encouragement.

    My previous life as a mandolin player was pretty structured around group playing - I did mixed instrument classes, did a few small performances with friends and even played in an orchestra. At that time, my focus was on trying to improve as a player. Now I think it's going to be simply for fun and playing for myself, although I'd like to get back to where I was (good enough not to sound bad).
    I see you're in Scotland. Are you into playing Scottish and/or Irish music? There must be plenty of good sessions to take part in. Playing along with some good players will up your game pretty quickly.
    For wooden musical fun that doesn't involve strumming, check out:
    www.busmanwhistles.com
    Handcrafted pennywhistles in exotic hardwoods.

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