First let me say that I am so thankful that this year, 2020, is almost behind us. It has been a learning year unlike any of the many I have lived.
Now as we head into the New Year I am reaching out for help. I picked up the mandolin back in 2010 and started taking lessons for a local guy. The lessons went something like this – go buy a book – bring it in and I’ll tell you the best songs to learn and then you memorize them from the tablature. Then he would record the rhythm and melody while playing the guitar – this gave me something to practice. The instructor would gradually turn to metronome up faster and faster until he thought I was playing fast enough. The problem with this – it wasn’t clean. This went on for about two years and I learned a handful of songs.
In 2016 I became a Gold Pick member with Banjo Ben thinking and hoping this would replace my lessons and it did. However, it did something else – it through me into a state of “what do I do first!” I mean there was so much to learn from the site. I wanted (and still do) to play clean – fast – learn song quicker – be able to jam and not worry about what song someone called out because I could improvise it. This is what I wanted and still want. I am certain that this site will teach me everything I need to know to do all this and more but, I am a type of person that needs order to everything – my OCD will not allow anything else. So, with so many things to learn where do you start? I looked at and studied the theory lessons. I looked at the scales – all the scales, major, arpeggio, pentatonic – tried to learn all of them but, haven’ yet. I tried the build a break – the endings. Understand I am able to learn a portion of all of these but, I don’t know how and when they are used. I found for me learning by ear seems to be easier. When I say learn by ear I mean have a YouTube video and slow it down and repeat it over and over until I get it. I tried this with Ben’s lessons by using the TEF file – the problem I have with that is that the sound to me sounds like a harpsichord and not a mandolin.
All this babble to ask – can anyone recommend a good – productive – system for learning clean, fast, accurate, jam with anyone, playing? I know you all know what I am talking about and to answer a question – I practice twice a day for 1 to 1 ½ hours per day. Again I apologize for the babbling but, I am hoping I am not the only one to ever experience this and someone can offer some help.
Thanks and I pray that everyone will have a truly blessed New Year!