Monday, July 25, 2011

Two reasons you don't want to carpool with me...

Two reasons not to carpool with me:

The first is easy; I'm a terrible driver. I know this because I just finished a road trip with my 34-year old son who is also my insurance agent. His critiques aside, even I noticed it. I drive like an old man. (Well, I'm 62!) I run over curbs at the drive-through, miss exits, take my attention off the road while I fiddle with x (x can equal radio, CD, GPS, etc), get befuddled about which way I was going before I exited for gas, start the car even though it's already running, etc. In my defense, I did avert an accident when someone who drives worse than I do turned into our side of the four-lane divided highway, but instead of turning into the near lane swung all the way over into my lane (I was doing sixty). I've been meaning to take the new Jeep off roading but the dirt shoulder of a highway wasn't what I had in mind.

But that's not the only reason you don't want to carpool with me.

I just got a new instructional book and CD for Dobro. This one is by Mike Witcher. Now instructional CDs are a lot like girlfriends. At first you go through a lot of them, looking for "the one." Each time, I would think, now I will be able to play like x (x = yadda yadda yadda). But somehow it just doesn't work out. But this time I'm very optimistic for two reasons. One, like with girlfriends, there has to be a bit of "this one is right for where I am now in my personal development." Instructional CDs, like girlfriends, aren't bad, but they might not be the right one for where you are right now. I had Mike Witcher as an instructor this year at the Steve Kaufman Acoustic Kamp, and as I listen to the songs on his CD I can tell that I will be able to learn them. But I've also learned a lot about learning in the last year. For one, I've learned about the incredible amount of repetition it takes for the finger muscles to learn something new. So I'm not so easily discouraged. "This is too hard" has been replaced with "This is new." I know it will be easy--by the 100th repetition.

And there is another trick I picked up at Kamp. This one I got from one of the other kampers at lunch who got it from one of his flat pick instructors. "You can't learn to play a song until you learn to sing it first." That's been one of my problems, I've been trying to learn a song by picking it out from the tab or sheet music. Sure, I would listen to it first, but not learn it. But now I'm trying just to learn the song first by singing along with the CD. And that's the other reason you don't want to carpool with me. I've been playing the 1 min:15 sec version (medium speed) of Angelina Baker back to back to back during my commute to work. I sing along with it, "Lah dee dah, lah diddy dah..." Again and again and again. Not playing (hey, I'm a bad driver but not THAT bad), just singing the melody to nonsense syllables. Now the tablature tells me how to play a song I know, so it's not so frustrating to grind through it trying to figure out how it's supposed to sound in three weeks when I get some kind of reasonable speed.

It's a 20-song set and I've set an aggressive pace of one song every two weeks. So in forty weeks I'll have it. Man, that's gonna be a lot of lah dee dah.

1 comment:

Debra said...

I asked a teacher who is know for her success what her secret was,
"Repetition,repetition." It's not fun but it gets the job done. I sing the singing songs I'm learning by singing,"ah, ah" and doing mouth rolls.