End-of-Year Tune and Song Sprint

I recently took inventory of the bluegrass and oldtime tunes and songs that I know. While it is a huge increase from the 4 fiddle tunes I “knew” in July of this year, it just isn’t a very big list. Nothing compared to the pile of jazz standards I know, and not anywhere near enough to have the same kind of literacy in bluegrass/oldtime as I enjoyed on the piano with the body of jazz music. I want to know more, have a better vocabulary, and be all-around more fluent in speaking bluegrass (musically, that is) on my mandolin.

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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

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