Practice Plan, Week of 27 November 2022

With Thanksgiving AND getting a new puppy (longish story – maybe I’ll post about it sometime), I didn’t post (or make) either a practice plan or update videos. I did make it to Taborgrass, so had several new things to work on last week. The thing is, sometimes it ends up this way and practice isn’t that great for a week. We just pick up again this week.

Practice Plan for 27 November 2022

Lesson:

No lesson this week (was rescheduled to next week).

Playing With Others:

I didn’t make it out to play with others last week (we went to Washington to spend Thanksgiving with my parents – my mom has terminal cancer). I want to try to make it out to the old-time jam on Thursday, but we will see. Might be the Vancouver jam on Tuesday.

1) New Material

  • Chinquapin Hunting
  • Angeline the Baker
  • Squirrel Hunters

2) Developing Material

  • Bluebirds Are Singing for Me (words – always the words)
  • You Won’t be Satisfied that Way
  • Bury Me Beneath the Willow (Michael Daves class)
  • Road to Columbus (learning Bill Monroe break on “Kenny Baker Plays…”)
  • Cold Frosty Morn
  • Bill Cheathum
  • Cluck Red Hen
  • Goodbye Liza Jane
  • Old Joe Clark

3) Performance Material

  • Jenny Jenkins
  • Cindy
  • Make Me Down a Pallet

4) Techniques

  • Chord tone scales
  • Double stops (again, again, still)
  • Cross-picking Potatoes

5) Musicianship

  • Transposing (using the key signature spinner)
  • Standing while playing
  • Ear training
  • Transcribe (my own recording): Ricky Ricardo
  • Writing: Dollar Store Frankfurter

Practice Plan, Week of 13 November 2022

I know I got super excited about practicing the guitar when I made my practice plan last week, but ultimately that both muddied the entire plan AND was pointless because I am not and do not plan on being a guitarist. I would like to be a little better, but not nearly enough to do the work to become so.

As such, this week is a return to just a mandolin practice plan.

Practice Plan for 06 November 2022

Lesson:

No lesson this week. I moved to every-other-week lessons at the end of October.

Playing With Others:

Last week I went to the Wake Up Rounder jam at Tomorrow’s Verse. It was ok, but not quite my thing. This week is Taborgrass, so if I do go to a jam during the week it will just be supplemental.

1) New Material

  • Take a Sniff on Me (The Cocaine Song)
  • Amazing Grace (I just need to learn all tue words)
  • Cindy
  • Fare Thee Well, O Honey (Dink’s Song)
  • Cripple Creek
  • Bill Cheatham

2) Developing Material

  • Bluebirds Are Singing for Me
  • Bury Me Beneath the Willow
  • Road to Columbus

3) Performance Material

  • Jenny Jenkins
  • Clinch Mountain Backstep
  • Whiskey Before Breakfast

4) Techniques

  • LH position (Sill struggling with this, but could be cleared up once I have my forever mandolin)
  • Double stops (again)
  • Bluegrass box (exploring other solo shapes)

5) Musicianship

  • Transposing (using the key signature spinner)
  • Standing while playing
  • Ear training
  • Writing: Dollar Store Frankfurter

Practice Plan, Week of 06 November 2022

I know that I already posted that I won’t be posting a practice plan for this week, but I can’t sit around and not practice just because I’m sad. (I mean, I totally could, and I fully support a person’s right to just be sad and do nothing. But not practicing is actually doing the opposite of help).

One difference this week, I am also indicating practice for the guitar, which I really should be keeping as sharp as I can, even though I am not principally a guitarist and have no intention of becoming one. And this has little to nothing to do with a crush on Molly Tuttle.

You may notice that a lot of my practice list is very similar to two weeks ago. One of my big goals this week is to move this material off of my practice plan (by learning it). It’s just been a hard couple weeks. 🤷🏻‍♂️

Practice Plan for 06 November 2022

Lesson:

Mandolin: 09 November 2022

Guitar: I don’t currently take guitar lessons. But if I could find someone to teach me bluegrass styles – especially claw hammer guitar – I would totally jump at that.

Playing With Others:

Other than lessons, I haven’t made it out to play with others in a couple of weeks. I intend yo go to the Wake Up Rounder jam at Tomorrow’s Verse Taproom (4605 NE Fremont St in Portland)

1) New Material

  • Mandolin Tune: Road to Columbus
  • Mandolin Tune: Cripple Creek
  • Guitar Tune: Cripple Creek
  • Guitar Song: Amazing Grace

2) Developing Material

  • Mandolin: Bluebirds Are Singing for Me
  • Mandolin/Guitar: Bury Me Beneath the Willow

3) Performance Material

  • Jenny Jenkins
  • Clinch Mountain Backstep

4) Techniques

  • Mandolin: LH position
  • Mandolin: Double stops
  • Mandolin: Bluegrass box
  • Guitar: Intro to Bluegrass Rhythm Guitar (Banjo Ben)

5) Musicianship

  • Transposing (using the key signature dice)
  • Standing while playing
  • Ear training

Mandolin Progress, Week of 24 Oct 2022

I record myself fairly regularly to give myself an opportunity to step back and listen. It is a great way to look for places that I need to make improvements, but is also a good opportunity to compare how I’m doing and the progress I’ve made.

To facilitate this, in addition to whatever I am working on in my practice plan for the week, I often record the same songs over again. Bonnie Tammie is a good example. I have a recording of myself playing it from right after I first started lessons, the first time, in 2016. I was even worse than I am today, if that can be imagined.

A few other of my regular check-in recordings are Clinch Mountain Backstep and Whiskey Before Breakfast, because I know them pretty well AND they are fun to play.

So this is my first week posting some of my progress videos here. They are confounded here because I am also trying out the tone on my Epiphone mm50e. I bought it to use for a punk folk project (it has a neat pickup system), but right now it is also standing in while I am between primary instruments.

Clinch Mountain Backstep

I still have some notes that fall out of time because of things like incorrect pick direction, but this was a good one to hear the tone of the Epiphone. Still deciding on that.

YouTube player
Make Me Down a Pallet, Mandolin

I worked this out first on guitar. Gillian Welch sings this in E flat (in C but capoed up 3), I believe, and that fits my voice best, but was a devil on the mandolin (where we don’t use capoes) at first. Figuring this out was not only a topic at my last lesson, using a key signature dice and transposing to whatever key comes up was one of my assignments.

YouTube player
Make Me Down a Pallet, Guitar

And then the same on guitar.

YouTube player
The Wind that Shakes the Barley/JohnStinson’s

I learned this a few weeks ago and have been working on them. Getting close(ish).

YouTube player
Whiskey Before Breakfast

The double stop potatoes at the beginning are new. In my lessons right now I am working on the transition from rhythm to lead, and you can see that it is still an early work in progress – especially with how disorganized my fingers are for the first A part.

And that, is where I am at the end of this week of practice. I probably won’t get this week’s practice plan up until tomorrow, because I haven’t made it yet.

Practice Plan, Week of 23 October 2022

I am excited to start sharing this new post type. I plan out my mandolin practice for the week every Sunday. I will make a longer post talking about how I do my planning and what I include and am looking for, but here is a quick summary.

I follow a format that I learned from David Benedict (not directly, of course – although I think he’s super rad, I have never met him) that has five sections: 1) New Material, 2) Developing Material, 3) Performance Material, 4) Techniques, and 5) Musicianship. I also indicate in my plan whether I have a lesson and what my plans for playing with others are for the week (I have a goal to play with others at least once every week).

Starting today, I am going to be posting my weekly practice plans here on Turtlshel. Obviously I am a bunch of days late posting this week, but a person has to start somewhere.

Practice Plan for 23 October 2022

Lesson:

26 October 2022

Playing With Others:

Old Time Music Jam at North Portland Hostel Cafe

1) New Material

  • Tune: Cripple Creek
  • Song: Bury Me Beneath the Willow

2) Developing Material

  • Bluebirds Are Singing for Me
  • Clinch Mountain Backstep

3) Performance Material

  • Jenny Jenkins
  • Fiddle Tune Medleys using Bonnie Tammie, The Wind the Shakes the Barley, Bag of Spuds, John Stinson’s, and Old Favorite.

4) Techniques

  • LH ergonomics
  • Double stops
  • Bluegrass box

5) Musicianship

  • Transposing (using the key signature dice)
  • Standing while playing
  • Ear training