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I’m in love!

January 18, 2014

I don’t know if it is just a sign of aging, or maybe I have just become less ambitious and energetic, but lately I have just wanted to learn fairly easy things. I used to struggle like hell to learn Arabic, Russian or Chinese. Now, dude, my head hurts already just from a long day’s work. I want to relax with a little Italian, not try for the thousandth time to wrap my head around genitive participle conjugations in Russian. I want to enjoy my hobby, not sit around cursing in frustration. Italian is just the ticket.

By the same token, the mandolin is very appealing. The cello is a demanding mistress. It takes full concentration to bang out an hour on the cello, because of the necessity of having to use the bow and the fact it is a very sensitive fretless instruments. Both of these factors make it tough. Don’t get me wrong: It is beautiful in the hands of a master. But it took Yo Yo Ma forty plus years of playing the cello to get to where he is. I don’t have the time.

The mandolin is a pretty simple instrument. It is played with a pick like a folk guitar, but only has four strings. And the type of music that is typically played on it is right up my alley: bluegrass and old time music. Both from a personal perspective and a cultural perspective, it feels right. I can sit there on the couch while my kids watch cartoons and practice my scales. Try that on the saxophone.

How much do I enjoy the mandolin? I don’t feel the need to time myself when playing it. With the other instruments, I had to time myself to make sure I got my hours in. And it felt like work, honestly. Sometimes I would look at the clock and sigh. Five minutes down, fifty five to go. Great. But the mandolin is fun to play. It is more like a toy to me. Three hours fly by. The only other hobby I don’t time: playing video games. You know you are having fun if you can play with something all night and not notice the time slipping away.

I even think I will be able to memorize pieces on the mandolin. Unlike the accordion or the piano, it is an instrument in which I find it easier to remember the melodies. I have always wanted to just walk in to Starbucks, whip out the musical instrument, and start playing beautiful music. Perhaps someday I will….

  1. Italian is my relaxing language, too! 🙂

  2. donaldlgreene44 permalink

    Sounds promising! Dad

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