I started to play the mandolin in 1996, using tutor books and CDs. Later I found some MSN groups where I could get some help and encouragement. I played mainly on my own, but later when I went to Italy as an au-pair, I found a mandolin teacher there. Other than that I’ve been teaching myself, with the help from said CDs, books, websites, and watching others. I went to some jams but without playing, and tried to get the hang of how the pros did it. I don’t know how much it helped, but probably to some degree at least.
In 2004 I found a Yahoo group where they jammed online. It was a chatroom that they used to play music. For the time delay it wasn’t possible to actually play together (even though once we tried to at least take turns to play solos of a specific tune), but we took turns to play a tune or sing a song with an instrument, and the others gave feedback. Before that I had also found a tune project on the Mandolin Cafe that had me going with learning new tunes and recording myself.
The Yahoo group gave me a real boost in self confidence, and there I also realised that maybe I could sing after all. Without those people, I probably wouldn’t be playing music today. In the summer that year, I met the man who is now my husband, he showed up at one of those groups, a fiddler who wanted to learn to play bluegrass. His name sounded very Swedish, and when I asked him, it turned out he lived 1,5 hours from me.
Daniel played mainly the fiddle but also the guitar, and had played melodeon and the chromatic accordion in the past. It was through him I got the interest, and courage, to try other instruments than the mandolin. The instruments I have played are mandolin, guitar, tin whistle, melodeon, concertina, bouzouki, and the fiddle. I guess that I’ll continue with mandolins (meaning the usual mandolin as well as the octave mandolin), guitar, melodeon and concertina. I’d love to get back to the fiddle as well but I’ll have to see what happens with my wrists first. Also, my fiddle needs some fixing.
I’m by no means a brilliant player of any of those instruments, but I’m a music lover and a happy amateur. I love to learn new tunes and songs, to play with other people. I’m learning all of them and I love them all, but IRL you don’t have time with all of them all the time, I usually have periods when I play one or the other. Since I bought my guitar I have almost only played the guitar, but now over Christmas I got my mandolin inspiration back, and now I really feel like playing the concertina… so all my instruments will be played sooner or later. I do have a nice octave mandolin but it has a problem with intonation, and needs some TLC and fixing. I’ll see how it goes.