Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 74

Thread: Can we have a real beginner's project?

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Madison WI
    Posts
    88

    Default

    Hi, this might offend some who are involved in the beginner's project so far...but I am just way above my depth in this project.

    I found the project when you all were halfway through Sally Goodin...and I was just stunned that such a tune was picked as a "beginner's tune". Yes, it's great to challenge people, but some of us simply cannot play such tunes, no matter what the bpm, without making major mistakes.

    I got Cherokee Shuffle to sound OK, but again I never posted a version, since I simply cannot make it through this version and not make major mistakes. And my mandolin teacher was amazed that the version I was playing was supposed to be a beginner's version. It was the easier version posted on co-mando, btw.

    To me, a beginner's tune would have a lot of quarter notes, rather than long passages of eighth notes. Or it would be a slow waltz or air, something like Ashokan Farewell. Or maybe a fairly simple tune like Cripple Creek, or Old Joe Clark, one of the classic beginner's tunes.

    Cuz we're *beginners*! I think in 6 months or so, practicing at the rate I've been practicing (at least an hour every day, several hours/day on the weekend) I might move beyond beginner stage. But I'm 42, and these fingers are clumsy and I simply don't learn tunes quickly.

    So can we split the current project up into a beginner's and intermediate group? I'm willing to help out by working out simple versions of some of the tunes and posting them in TablEdit format.

    Kelly

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    st. louis, Missouri
    Posts
    124

    Default

    I know what you mean, it's intimidating. I don't even want to post my recording when there are other recordings that sound like a professional band. I think I even heard backup singers on one. There should be a section for beginners and one for the people that just want to show their skills. (YES, I'm just jealous)

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH (OTR)
    Posts
    1,892

    Default

    Kelly,
    I hear you loud and clear, but I repectfully disagree with the suggestion to split us up, as I think we're a good group as a whole. Splitting us up would create a situation where some of us are deemed "better than others" by virtue of playing on the "Varsity Team", and to my thinking that's not the spirit of the Project.

    But, if the versions being chosen are leaving you behind, then we certainly need to address that ... more so, because while you're the first one to speak out and post on the issue, it's likely that you are not alone in feeling the pressure, and being left behind.

    I am a long distance runner, and to find joy as an amature runner one really has to embrace the concept of 'running your own race'. I'll be running the Bay-to-Breakers race next Sunday, and I assure you all the Kenyans are not worried about me. More to my point, neither am I concerned about the Kenyans ... or the naked people, or the floating Tiki Bar, etc. What's important is that I understand my own capabilities, and exercise them to the best of my ability. Where I finish in terms of the Bell Curve is immatterial to my personal success or failure. In fact, the only failure that's possible would be to give up, or succomb to the disappointment of judging oneself against someone else's standard.

    Co-mando, as a source of fiddle tunes, has not been very satisfying to me. The versions up there all seem to be transcriptions of someone's 'break' or some 'cool' variation. I wonder where we might find some more 'bare bones' style TAB or TEF, etc.

    Like you, I was surprsied by the version of Sally Goodin that was up as the example TEF file. I had learned the tune long before the Mandolin Project from a Butch Baldassari video I have, and his version is so much simpler than the TEF file posted. My first thought on looking at the TEF file for Sally was "My pinky's just not gonna do that, so I'd better distract everybody with some vocals." LOL! (Note: Here I am saying we should relax and not judge ourselves, but I was nervous as all heck when I posted my version. I truly expected to get chewed up by the critics. This is after all, The Mandolin Cafe! I think everyone gets a little stage fright in front of their peers, but in the end we shouldn't hold back our efforts just because we're nervous - IMO)

    Even though I do think my version sounds pretty 'polished', were I to show you my final phrases and fingerings in contrast to the originally posted TEF file, then you could see how I really simplified the fingerings in order to reach my target tempo ... and I have no guilt about doing just that, but for the record that's what I was nervous about ... I thought I'd get 'busted' for having simplfied the phrases so much.

    What I think we need are some true brackets of difficulty so that everone who wants to participate in the project can find a good fit to their personal level of ability, rather than just one 'official' version. Of course, it is much easier for me - someone with a long musical history - to go find or invent a simplier variation than it would be for someone new to the language of music. It is important to post these more approachable versions when we find them, rather than just saying, "It's cool. Play whatever version you want." While that's a great outlook, it's not actually very helpful to the true beginners.

    More thoughts?

    - Benignus




  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    3

    Default

    Yup, I agree with Benignus.

    I like hearing the different ways folks approach the tunes.

    I wasn't able to whip Cherokee Shuffle into shape in a month--time and all that--but it was fun to learn and I'll still continue to work on it. It's one of those tunes like 8th of January that I can't find a groove in that I really like.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Terra Ceia, NC
    Posts
    939

    Default

    Well spoken benignus, it would be nice if we could really address this/these issues so all feel welcome, or more importantly, all feel like they cna participate.

    There is a range of skill level and experience amonst us, and a whole lot of variety in approach and playing style. It is so neat to see (hear).

    Alan
    Alan

  6. #6
    Registered User Harrmob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Mobile, AL
    Posts
    304

    Default

    I agree, we were all once (and still are) beginners. Just watch me at a jam, sometimes I forget everything I have ever learned in the past 5 years and it sounds terrible! I shake it off and learn (mentally) from it. I wish some of the big wigs would post their versions to get a even more diverse mix. Listen to the MP3 section, there are some incredible pickers on this site. If you think you nailed a song, at whatever speed/level, post it. Don't be shy, learn from it. We are all learning from it and I'm going to listen to whatever is posted.

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Madison WI
    Posts
    88

    Default

    Benignus, I know what you're saying, but I would still be strongly in favor of a real beginner's group. I don't care that there's another "Varsity" group at all.

    My local bluegrass association is just in the process of starting a beginner's jam circle at our Monday night jams. The head of the association said that when you've moved beyond the beginner's stage, you will have to move up to another group and make room for "real beginners". That's just the way it works.

    And although the current project isn't a circle of players trading licks, it still has that feel. And I am intimidated as hell by the level of playing in this "beginner's project".

    Yes, the choice of arrangements is the biggest part of the problem. I'm not so sure that voting on half a dozen choices is the best way to solve this, either. I think we should find, or make ourselves, simple arrangements of some of the "essential bluegrass tunes" and just have Craig, or someone else, pick one of those simple arrangements.

    Again, Cherokee Shuffle is a great example. Part of the problem is that the tune is rather difficult. The other problem is...it doesn't sound like Cherokee Shuffle! It sounds almost nothing like the versions of CS that I've heard played. There's no shuffle in the first part.

    I really am not trying to be a wet blanket here. I want to contribute to the Cafe community--I'm plenty willing to sit and work out slow arrangements of a bunch of the "essential bluegrass tunes" and post them for the group.

    Thanks to all for listening!

    Kelly

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    North Texas
    Posts
    123

    Default

    I, myself, am a total beginner when it comes to the mando. When I first started to follow this project (and playing in general), I was really intimidated by better players. But now (after a long time), I'm starting to get over this intimidation factor and I see an ecounter with a better player as a learning experience.

    Just my two cents, but maybe it will help some people..


  9. #9

    Default

    I can see both points of view here. What are folks thoughts on having one group like it is now, but having the song selections of the month be different between beginners and more experienced players? For example, there would be 2 separate votes going on at the beginning of the month. One for beginners and one for experienced. The choices for beginners would be more in the beginner level, and for experienced, more on that level. But the overall group as a whole could remain as one group, just playing different song selections a month. That way the group doesn't get split. People aren't feeling (as) intimidated by different folks abilities, and people can offer support to each other across the board regardless of skill level.

    Don't know if it'd work, but its an idea...
    Mandofiddle

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Madison WI
    Posts
    88

    Default

    Mandofiddle, I like that idea. Especially if it's clear what the arrangement is that we're voting on.

  11. #11

    Default

    You all have very good points. I pointed out very early (but more like little hints, I think) that the picked version of Sally Goodin was way beyond my ability and definitely not a beginner's version. I had played Sally Goodin from Bert Casey's book and played that. I didn't try the posted version of Cherokee shuffle, but played something I had invented out of listening to Aubrey Haynie's recording. For Cattle in the cane, I have no choice, since I haven't played it before and haven't heard it much at all, but I've found one managable version of it at Co-mando. Just wish I could make it sound like Cattle in the cane...

    The good thing with having this one group is that the beginners can get advice from the more experienced pickers. But if some feel intimidated and don't want to post their tunes, something has to be done.
    I like the idea of having different tunes of the month for beginners and intermediates. There could be two different versions available of the same tune, or maybe totally different tunes. If we did the later, also the experienced pickers could get a great challenge by picking a very complicated tune for them.

    Co-mando has some simple versions at least of the tunes I've looked at. Another page where there are loads of tabs and sheet music, is www.jaybuckey.com. There is a link named Free stuff and there you'll find lots of different tunes on different levels. I think they're in gif format.

  12. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Newark, Delaware
    Posts
    1,592

    Default

    rmcintos: Just some thoughts.. - a REAL "pro" will NEVER try to "intimidate" your playing - or "blow you away" - He(she) may offer some suggestions - and possibly even do a "simpler/easier" version/tune to accomodate you - The pros only have ONE person to impress...: THEMSELVES(and sometimes that's difficult to accomplish - trust me).

  13. #13
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    st. louis, Missouri
    Posts
    124

    Default

    Wasn't the point of this project to help us LEARN different songs? If the songs are too advanced, nobody is going to learn them. I definitely wouldn't want those who are more advanced to stop posting their songs, because they are awesome! The intimidation comes from having to post your recording (most likely of just the melody, for beginners) up there with people who have complete songs with guitar, bass and harmony tracks. I think what Kelly_guy was getting at is that it would be helpful if all of the true beginners were grouped together, that way we could learn a simpler arrangement and see who's LEARNING the tune and not just PERFORMING the tune. I saw someone suggest the version of Cattle in the Cane that Sam Bush Plays on Mandolin Extravaganza! If that's for beginners then I'll have to quit!

  14. #14
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Madison WI
    Posts
    88

    Default

    Thanks, joshro, that is one of my main points. The level of difficult of the songs even isn't such a huge issue--I can always play something at 40 or 60 bpm, after all!

    It is all about learning the tune. I voted against Fisher's Hornpipe for this very reason. It's a tune I already know, one of the few that my fingers still remember from when I first tried playing mandolin 14 years ago. I want to try to learn a new tune, well enough to maybe play it at a bluegrass jam.

  15. #15
    Registered User Brian Ray's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Madison, WI
    Posts
    703

    Default

    Perhaps it's time to make kind of a charter for this group... looks like there's a fine start in this thread.

    I think it makes the most sence to post a beginners version of the selected tune and let the not-so beginners either create their own version or search out another version. Why break up the group? The point is to learn the songs together. It shouldn't matter what level you're at. There is ALWAYS someone better than yourself. Ask any pro there is (except perhaps Frank Wakefield) and they will tell you they envy someone elses playing...

    I'm not sure where the list of songs to vote for came from but perhaps it should be re-thought to reflect some of the changes/opinions that are being expressed here.

  16. #16
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH (OTR)
    Posts
    1,892

    Default

    " ... The pros only have ONE person to impress...: THEMSELVES(and sometimes that's difficult to accomplish - trust me). "
    - Moose

    Yup Moose, you just hit the nail on the head ... the path of music has an ever expanding horizon. The best players I know are both approachable and humble ... it's the guys who'll tell you how 'advanced' they are that ... well, that aren't.

    # #
    " ... and let the not-so beginners either create their own version or search out another version."
    - Dasspunk

    Great points, 'punk. That puts the burden where it should be ... on those who would go looking for things more difficult.

    OK ... who's got a line on an easy version of CITC?




  17. #17

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by (Moose @ May 10 2004, 16:10)
    rmcintos: Just some thoughts.. - a REAL "pro" will NEVER try to "intimidate" your playing - or "blow you away" - He(she) may offer some suggestions - and possibly even do a "simpler/easier" version/tune to accomodate you - The pros only have ONE person to impress...: THEMSELVES(and sometimes that's difficult to accomplish - trust me). #
    I don't think people feel intimidated because of attitudes of the pros because you all are very helpful and nice. The thing is that it doesn't feel good to post an extremely beginner-like recording along with a full-blown professional thing with harmonies, singing and guitar back-up.

  18. #18
    Registered User Dan Adams's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    621

    Default

    One of the reasons I joined into this group was to record a 'beginners' version of Sally so the 'beginners' would know what the tune actually sounded like in its simplest form. After hearing the very first post, I knew it was moving into a direction I don't believe this thread was intended to serve. I remember learning Sally with two fingers only one position on the fretboard. All of the sudden, it got way too complicated, way too fast on this thread. The Bennigus version was by far above and beyond anything I would have expected in a 'beginners' forum. There were versions of tunes posted that were so far advanced, I can see how the 'beginner' was being intimidated. I warned of this in a very early post of the project. Back to the basics! I'm also at fault for posting a moderately speedy "Cherokee Shuffle." Not an easy tune to learn for a beginner. 'Cattle in the Cane' is going to be even more difficult for a beginner to learn, and once again, I'm at fault with a version ready to post. So.... I agree somewhat with Kelly somewhat that this thread is beyond the beginner level, but I also agree it has become a great forum to share tunes. I think different levels is a good idea, but isn't that what Misc. Musings accomplishes? I love the forum, it has given all of us an opportunity to learn software that enables us to share music. It has also given me an opportunity to re-visit old stand-bys, that are sometimes forgotten. So I await the final concensus. The work so far from the beginners and accomplished players alike is fun to listen to, and there is something to learn in every track. It's a great ride, and it gets me signed on every day to watch the progress! Keep up the good work!

    Time to learn Jeruselum Ridge! Just kidding. Dan
    Play em like you know em!

  19. #19

    Default

    Ok I just changed my whole post!

    I am a beginner.. I managed to learn both songs, record them and post them. Yes, my versions are a lot slower, and maybe I left out some notes! But hey, I learned so much it was amazing.

    Like has been said above, there are easy versions of the tunes out there. Feel free to use whatever you want! The point is for you to learn!

    Also, like said above, feel free to record something at your level and post it under Misc. Musings.

    I think the project is perfect the way it is... Maybe Craig should post a couple versions of each song. Or if someone has an easier version of the tune, they can email it...

    This is not a competition. Nobody is judging your performance. They might offer some advice, but nobody is here to give you a hard time!

    I haven't seen anyone bragging about ther version either! And yes, I sometimes feel discouraged after listening to some of those versions, but also I feel inspired! I get so fired up that I can't wait to pickup my mandolin and learn the tune!

    I do think we should stay to simple tunes. Especially tunes that you would encounter in a jam.

    If you have any doubts, just listen to my recordings! Pure beginner - no shame! Believe me, my wife will tell you how bad I am!

    My only thought is that maybe a month is too short a time period.... But it does force you to practice more!

    It's all good!

    Eric

  20. #20
    Registered User Coy Wylie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    683

    Default

    First, whatever you all want to do is fine with me.

    I've been playing for several months now (playing a lot mind you). My version of Sally was not the official version for that was beyond me at the time. Yet the more advanced recordings of CS motivated me to work hard, play faster and be more creative. It's not difficult to put down a second track with a mando chop and/or a third with a guitar background if you happen to play that instrument or another.

    I think that for many the official versions of the tune of the month may be too intimidating. I agree with those who suggest starting with a very basic version of the tune that anyone could learn and then encourage those who can to embelish or do more difficult versions.

    I listen to and appreciate all the versions that have been posted. Again it is not a competition but a mutual encouragement society.

  21. #21
    Registered User Coy Wylie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    683

    Default

    Oh one other thing. Someone else noted that the co-mando versions are usually transcripted breaks from great players. These are often too advanced for beginners. It would be great if some kind person who is able to create tabledit files would make some true beginner versions.

  22. #22
    Registered User Mike Buesseler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Whitefish,MT
    Posts
    1,312

    Default

    I'm just so delighted to even have this forum, I'm not about to start complaining about anything. #My offerings are mediocre. Not terrible, not great, just OK. #That's how good I am today--mediocre. #And that's what I am trying to overcome.

    I was blown away by a few of the first tunes we saw around here, but then a couple of brave souls put their "beginner" versions up, and I figured, hey, what #the heck? #I mean we can't see each other. #Very few of us know each other. #So, what's to be intimidated about?

    Btw, I just posted my (our) version of CITC. It can't be too hard, or we couldn't play it. #We botched the ending so bad, I just faded the recording out. #Oh, and it's not on the project page, it's on the page where you upload to. #I couldn't even find a folder to put it in.
    --Mike Buesseler

  23. #23
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Staples, MN
    Posts
    375

    Default

    Kelly,

    Thank you for raising this issue! I suspected this was a problem. First, as I have said before, this is OUR project so I want to make it as productive for everyone as possible. My intentions were and are to provide the resources for this group to LEARN, SHARE and have FUN. Thus far, I think this has been accomplished. However, improvements certainly can be made. Yes, this project was started as an effort for beginners, but this is a very difficult label to define. Some of us have been playing for years and still consider ourselves beginners. Even labelling music as "for beginners", "for intermediates" etcetera is not easy.

    For those struggling to keep up, I'd like to encourage you. The fact that we choose a new song every month does not mean YOU have to learn a song in a month. If you are still working on Sally Goodin, that's OK. Keep it up! Set your mind to it and pick it apart note by note. Choose a simpler version if you like. Take a year if you want. Memorize the song. I still consider myself a beginner, and I remember looking at songs like these and thinking it was 10 years down the road. But, they are not. After learning simple tunes like Wildwood Flower and Ode to Joy, I was craving something more fun. For me, the best thing to do was pick a tune I liked regardless of level of difficulty. Then, I spent months working on it; memorizing it measure by measure. When I finally got it memorized, it did wonders for my confidence and abilities. I stopped looking at most songs as impossible. Some just take longer to learn. None are too difficult. To date, I still can't play any of these songs to professional speed (or half that) but I do have a couple dozen tunes memorized. It gets easier and easier, and more and more gratifying. So, no matter how long it takes you to learn Sally Goodin, or Cherokee Shuffle or Cattle In The Cane, we want to hear'em. No one cares how slow you play. As it has been pointed out this is NOT A COMPETITION! Just have fun with it and keep pushing yourself and share your accomplishment with us when you're done. It's just as pleasing to hear a polished mulitrack version of Sally Goodin at 200bpm as it is a mono-version of Cattle In The Cane at 60bpm. The point is we all know how hard it is to learn a song, record it and share it to all. This is not just a place to learn a new tune, but more a place to share your accomplishments with others that appreciate what a big deal it is!

    Regarding the choice of tunes, I've asked before that people offer suggestions for tunes to include on the monthly list. There was some response, but very little. I continue to be open to any suggestions. Currently, I have a list from which I select the songs you see in the poll each month. Mostly, I have aimed to choose what seem to be bluegrass "standards", although I realize this is not completely accurate. If anyone has a suggestion as to how to develop a list of songs, I'm open to suggestions.

    As to the version of tune, I have always said "use whatever version you like". The TEF link, MIDIs and MP3s I provide are merely meant to be resources and NOT definitive. In general, the songs we have learned so far are not too difficult, but I do agree there are easier versions than the links I have provided. My resources and time are limited, so I have just choosen version which were easy to find and that I liked. However, if anyone finds/has an easier version than those I provide, please send them my way and I will post them on the MP site (granted the material is not copyrighted).

    The idea of having this group split has been suggested, but I would like to avoid this. Although there is a big range of levels of experience and talent, I see this as our strength and not our weakness. Those that are struggling to keep up will be "pushed" to stretch themselves further than they might otherwise and those that are less challenged to learn a simple tune will be inspired to improvise and innovate.

    We have 167 members so far, but only ~20 recordings of sallyg and cshuffle. There are many possible explanations for this: the songs are too difficult, one month is not enough, the song choice sucks, still working on Sally Goodin, can't get Audacity to work, the mandolin is in the shop, lost interest, etecetera. It is impossible to speculate all the reasons. I'd like to hope that most are finding this project useful, but perhaps some changes need to be made. In a month I will be working 80 hours a week for the next 5 years, so my time will be very limited. I'd like to get this project a little more fine tuned before then. Please offer any suggestions you may have to make this a better place. Then, I'll create a poll or two to get everyone to vote on possible changes that need to be made.

    Thanks everyone!!

    craig

  24. #24
    Guest

    Default

    I'll caveat this with the fact that I'm not a participant in the group. #Having read the discussions, it is apparent that there are people who are putting up very polished non-beginner quality material. #My understanding was that the purpose was to allow people to work together with others at their level. #No matter how often you say it isn't a competition, the fact is that evaluating progress can only be done by comparing. #The fact that you have 167 members and only about 20 recordings would suggest to me strongly that you have a beginner's group that has been co-opted by intermediates.

    Just read this thread. #You have people telling you this isn't working for the true beginners and you have people with years of musical experience (mandolin or otherwise) telling those beginners they are wrong about how they feel.

    I'd suggest that if you've ever played on stage (and been asked back), especially if you got paid, you should not be in beginner's group like this.

  25. #25
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Madison WI
    Posts
    88

    Default

    Thank you, Tim, you nailed it.

    Kelly

Similar Threads

  1. Is this real?
    By Lee in forum General Mandolin Discussions
    Replies: 2
    Last: Mar-03-2005, 3:16pm
  2. Real BG vs Real Melodies
    By Mike Buesseler in forum General Mandolin Discussions
    Replies: 36
    Last: Nov-01-2004, 6:37pm
  3. Was this guy for real?
    By Dennis Gordon in forum General Mandolin Discussions
    Replies: 3
    Last: Sep-06-2004, 12:55pm
  4. Real or fake?
    By uncle ken in forum General Mandolin Discussions
    Replies: 5
    Last: May-30-2004, 9:53pm
  5. The Real McCoy or a Real Copy?
    By pickinNgrinnin in forum General Mandolin Discussions
    Replies: 3
    Last: Feb-11-2004, 12:11pm

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •