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Thread: Finished Notation for the Tab Addicted Mandolinsit Now What?

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    Default Finished Notation for the Tab Addicted Mandolinsit Now What?

    Title says it all. I just finished working my way though Standard Notation for the Tab Addicted Mandolinist, and am wondering where I should go from here. I'd like to start learning a bit about theory, keep improving technique, and venture beyond first position. It seems that a lot of what I find in notation is way above my current abilities,and I'd like to steer clear of tab long enough to become a faster sight reader. What do ya'll recommend?

  2. #2
    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finished Notation for the Tab Addicted Mandolinsit Now What?

    Lots of work on instant note identification.
    Make a set of flash cards, each containing only one note, on staff, with cleft. Shuffle, flip one card at a time...id note, string, finger.
    Then do three at a time, then five. Carry cards in pocket and repeat often. Spread them all on a table and see how fast you can sort them in order. Make a matrix that looks like fretboard layout.
    You have to apply a lot of effort as a adult to get this visual language to become fluid.
    Good luck!
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    Registered User wildpikr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finished Notation for the Tab Addicted Mandolinsit Now What?

    Quote Originally Posted by awkwhit View Post
    Title says it all. I just finished working my way though Standard Notation for the Tab Addicted Mandolinist, and am wondering where I should go from here. I'd like to start learning a bit about theory, keep improving technique, and venture beyond first position. It seems that a lot of what I find in notation is way above my current abilities,and I'd like to steer clear of tab long enough to become a faster sight reader. What do ya'll recommend?
    FWIW...don't worry about judging your abilities. No one's in your practice area but you, huh? You are the only one you need to please at that time.

    Just grab a piece of music that interests you, regardless of how difficult it may look, and go for it...proceed measure by measure. There are volumes of violin music to choose from. When you feel good about playing in any given key signature try another and keep learning.

    Even while playing really slowly, you will still recognize the melody. Using a metronome, even at the slowest setting, will also help. Pay attention to finding the notes, play them as noted within the time signature on the sheet and don't stress about playing up to speed. Do pay attention to correct timing especially at slow speeds. Familiarity with the music will enable you to relax while playing; playing up to speed will come later with lots of repetitive practice.

    Just my two cents...hope it helps!
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    Default Re: Finished Notation for the Tab Addicted Mandolinsit Now What?

    What kind of music are you playing? I have been using a lot of celtic music to practice my reading. My go to is thesession.org, once I find the setting of the tune I want, I display the notation, then print to PDF and store on my computer.

    Steering clear of tab is harder, especially when there is notation and tab on the page. It took a while, but I have taught myself to ignore the staff with the numbers, and focus on the notation. If I need a quick intro to a tune, I will occasionally play off tab, as I can follow that and play at a moderate tempo. I feel it helps to have both tools in the toolbox, though I practice mainly notation.
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    Registered User Randi Gormley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finished Notation for the Tab Addicted Mandolinsit Now What?

    You can look for recorder music -- that's single-line melody and you have a choice of modern or baroque/medieval tunes. Any of the ITM books (including the foin session books) will give you lots of practice on simple (looking) tunes in different time signatures and keys and since they're for multiple instruments, they don't include mandolin tab. even if this isn't the music you normally play, it shouldn't matter for sight-reading.
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    Default Re: Finished Notation for the Tab Addicted Mandolinsit Now What?

    Thanks MontanaMatt! I've downloaded an app now to quiz me on note identification. I'm slowly getting faster at it. I have the good luck of being married to a piano teacher, and she gave me a bunch of note cards that she uses with the kids. It is a shame we pick it up so much slower as adults, but what can you do.

    Thanks for the encouragement Wildpikr. I've started branching into different key signatures. As soon as you think you got it, they mix it up. But hey that's what makes it a good hobby. I'll have something to do for a long while.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Finished Notation for the Tab Addicted Mandolinsit Now What?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Leonard View Post
    What kind of music are you playing? I have been using a lot of celtic music to practice my reading. My go to is thesession.org, once I find the setting of the tune I want, I display the notation, then print to PDF and store on my computer.

    Steering clear of tab is harder, especially when there is notation and tab on the page. It took a while, but I have taught myself to ignore the staff with the numbers, and focus on the notation. If I need a quick intro to a tune, I will occasionally play off tab, as I can follow that and play at a moderate tempo. I feel it helps to have both tools in the toolbox, though I practice mainly notation.
    Steering clear of tabs is difficult. I've been working through a few beginner books that show notation and tab, and it is a real test of self restraint to puzzle through the notation and not "cheat" with the tab. Thanks for that website I'll check it out. I've been into a lot of Old Time lately, but I really like most stuff. It's the playing that's fun the music is just what gets me there.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Finished Notation for the Tab Addicted Mandolinsit Now What?

    Quote Originally Posted by Randi Gormley View Post
    You can look for recorder music -- that's single-line melody and you have a choice of modern or baroque/medieval tunes. Any of the ITM books (including the foin session books) will give you lots of practice on simple (looking) tunes in different time signatures and keys and since they're for multiple instruments, they don't include mandolin tab. even if this isn't the music you normally play, it shouldn't matter for sight-reading.
    Wow, I would have never thought of that. Thanks for the tip, I'll check those books out.

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    Default Re: Finished Notation for the Tab Addicted Mandolinsit Now What?

    Change things up and learn something by ear
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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finished Notation for the Tab Addicted Mandolinsit Now What?

    Quote Originally Posted by awkwhit View Post
    Title says it all. I just finished working my way though Standard Notation for the Tab Addicted Mandolinist, and am wondering where I should go from here. I'd like to start learning a bit about theory, keep improving technique, and venture beyond first position. It seems that a lot of what I find in notation is way above my current abilities,and I'd like to steer clear of tab long enough to become a faster sight reader. What do ya'll recommend?
    Make sight reading a regular part of your routine practice. Sight read piano scores, broadway musical fake books, country music fake books what ever. Sight read music you know and like and music you don't. Just smash yourself against it.

    For me the hardest part of sight reading is getting the rhythm. So I like fiddle tune books organized by type of tune. Once I get a couple of hornpipes down, I am ready to sight read them all, as I have a heads up on the rhythms. Then I may do the same for the section of double jigs. Get the rhythm on one or two and then sight read down the page.

    Two follow on steps I might recommend. One is to get into FFcP. It gets you up the neck in a certain way.

    The other is to learn positions. I might not have recommended this several years ago but it is really powerful. It gets you up the neck in a different way.

    I would pursue both, at some point you will get an ahaa moment when you discover where the two approaches intersect.

    At some point, then, in addition to sight reading, add exercises in third position, and exercises in closed position play of the FFcP variety.

    I am partial to two exercise books

    Fretboard Studies by Todd Collins. Collins includes tab, but for a different reason. His exercises use specific fingerings and the tab clarifies exactly what he wants. Then go back to reading the notation.

    Wohlfahrt 60 Studies. Book II of that is great for banging your brains against third position.

    Last recommendation - hire a coach. Some call them an instructor, and lessons, but if you have your plan and a good direction on your own, then it makes sense to call in a coach. Just to work with you, keep you from obsessing on the small stuff or missing the big stuff, recommend other exercises, etc. Skype makes this very easy. My coach is many states away, but we meet once a week and it keeps me on track.
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    Default Re: Finished Notation for the Tab Addicted Mandolinsit Now What?

    I would separate playing from theory. Both are important, but theory you learn, like anything else, by studying it. Even take a course at the community college. Playing you can only do with practice. Its mental AND physical.

    The two are related, but they don't depend on each other. I am not sure how much learning music theory directly helps playing skills. It sure does help later, with composing, or deciding what to play, or why something is beautiful. And music theory is easier to learn with some knowledge of an instrument. Something to visualize. But music theory itself is more like learning mathematics, it applies everywhere, and nowhere.

    I hope this helps.
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    Default Re: Finished Notation for the Tab Addicted Mandolinsit Now What?

    I’d build your reading practice into your overall routine so it ceases to be an isolated activity and becomes a tool you use to access other objectives. That way the motivation to learn to read fluently is not something that will fade. As with your ability to read words, it becomes a tool for exploration, self improvement, expression, communication etc.

    As as you have your own ‘tame accompanist’ on hand you could set yourself a goal of working up a few party pieces together.
    There are loads of score possibilities available in the classical, baroque genres, but also in many traditional styles and from exam pieces for violin etc. which are fun tunes to have in the bag.

    One mistake I made early on when working up a few pieces with my piano teacher wife, was not realising how much grace I was allowing myself with the timing. I was allowing myself more space on the bits which were more difficult to read (even though I could have sworn I was being rock solid in my timing). So of course when I initially made an attempt to get a few pieces worked up from the scores, it was like getting flattened by a steamroller on the piano. So get used to doing some of your reading with that wicked old auntie Metronome. Yes she’ll cane your hide, but at least it’s not personal.

    Here are a few suggestions; metronome app., daily technique & warmups book, which will get you using your reading to improve all areas of your playing, and a freebie book of accessible tunes to try solo with & without the metronome to get your speed and fluidity of reading up, while still committing tunes to memory for future off the cuff playing. Reading notes is as useful in daily life for a musician as reading words is to everyone. Yes you won’t do everything from reading, but it opens up a whole world of possibilities for you.

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    Default Re: Finished Notation for the Tab Addicted Mandolinsit Now What?

    Metronome and play by ear... will benifit you. A good ear trainer would be working out Garcia / Grisman Teddy Bears Picnic, great melody.

    FWIW I can't play a lick of mandolin, just bought one for my wife though, she wants to do some guitar / mandolin jamming, I'm sure I'll sneak in some hours on it. I'm going to help her as much as a husband can expect to be tolerated. Seeing as how she wont have it til next week, I started with Gmaj / A min scales, using a guitar to explain the intervals. I spent 25 years playing and not knowing much theory, biggest mistake I've made musically.

    How far do you want to take your theory knowledge? Forgive me if this info you already know. You can find amazing players who know little and non players who know a lot. I would at least learn your major / minor scales (Circle of 5ths) while you're also learning to play. Doesn't hurt to understand the formulas that make up chords.

    I would guess your wife probably have a solid grasp on this already, if not both of you. There is a guitar forum with an amazing theory lesson write up by someone who dumbed it down to my level. I don't know if I can share that here so I'll refrain from doing so.

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    Default Re: Finished Notation for the Tab Addicted Mandolinsit Now What?

    Not to be obtuse, but it seems like you would benefit from finding a teacher. Someone who will give you immediate feedback as you play with them and layout lessons in a way that's age and speed of learning appropriate. Search your area, ask lot's questions. Ask to learn theory as well as reading and technique. Bring in a list of tunes you'd like to conquer. I bet you'll find someone in your area. Can you learn all that stuff on your own? Sure - but it may take longer than you'd reasonably have the patience for.

    Good Luck!

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    Default Re: Finished Notation for the Tab Addicted Mandolinsit Now What?

    The Fiddlers Fakebook . It is full of old fiddle tunes and it will add to your mandolin vocabulary.
    https://www.amazon.com/Fiddlers-Fake...a-329569616107

    Pick out one or two tunes that are beyond your skill level and slowly work them out. Old swing or jazz tunes would likely fit that bill.
    THis Joe Venuti book will have several interesting melodies.

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    Registered User Louise NM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finished Notation for the Tab Addicted Mandolinsit Now What?

    Go to the Mel Bay website and pick up a copy of Marilynn Mair's book The Complete Mandolinist. Major and minor scales and arpeggios, etudes, tunes from all genres, exercises for both the right and the left hand. She has taken etudes from both mandolin and violin sources. I find the book to be well-organized. Everything is written in standard notation. It sounds like just what you are looking for.

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    Default Re: Finished Notation for the Tab Addicted Mandolinsit Now What?

    I second Louise's recommendation to acquire a copy of 'The Complete Mandolinist' by Marilynn Mair.

    The whole 224-page book is written in standard notation (beginning from teaching people to hold the mandolin and read standard notation) so it will strengthen and build upon the reading abilities you were working on in 'Notation for the Tab-Addicted Mandolinist'. It's well organized, seems comprehensive, contains student and teacher parts for some pieces so you can play the easier student part now and come back to work on the more complex teacher part later (or play an actual duet with someone, I guess. I'm stuck in the mindset of a bedroom picker), and progresses with a very smooth learning curve.

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