Today it was time (or, long overdue) to set the work schedule for the next 5 week period that starts in the beginning of April, and I discovered that I’ve counted the weeks incorrectly, which means that I will be off work for the concertina event.
Many times I have a hard time keeping up my inspiration for music, because most of our friends are beyond my level of playing, or because they play other music styles. Last year at the concertina event I felt like “coming home”. Meeting new folks who play concertinas, and who play Irish or English music, and play tunes of all levels, not only fast advanced tunes. Being able to play with other people. I loved it and I had a blast down there. So I was really looking forward to going, until I realised that I would be working that weekend. Now I’ve sent an e-mail to book the event.
Maybe I should clarify that my husband actually plays music as well, and we play similar tunes and many times together on guitars or guitar/mandolin or the likes. But lately he’s mainly been playing the melodeon, and when he plays the melodeon it’s only fast advanced fiddle tunes that he’s learned from a friend of ours who is more or less a professional musician. So well, we don’t have much in common there. I hope that we’ll manage to start playing more together again, if he ever gets back any inspiration to play Irish music, or bluegrass/oldtime.
Now for the next month I’ll totally be practicing the concertina. I’ve printed out tunes that we play in our session, I know many of them, but I’ve never really taken the time to learn the other tunes. Also, I really need to start learning to play in the key of D, to be comfortable with the scale, and be able to “find” tunes in D (find them on the concertina, that is) as easily as I do with tunes in G.
It’s good to have a goal with my playing, since lately I’ve been rather unfocused.
My guitar inspiration is back. The trick? New strings. I picked it up and thought it sounded dead. It’s interesting how DEAD a good quality instrument sounds when the strings are old. It’s the same with my mandolin. Well, I bought a set of strings and some other stuff from Strings & Beyond some time ago, so I had some Elixirs lying around. I put them on, which was a pain in the *** until I found a string winder we bought years ago.
Now after some tuning up and playing… ooh, it sounds good. I’m playing and singing some Irish ballads. The bad thing is that most of them make me cry… I guess I’m a little emotional after a very tough week at work, I’m rather worn out and those ballads make me think of Clonakilty and the people there. Maybe I should sing songs about whiskey instead of the sad songs about leaving Ireland, the precious beauty of it, and missing it forever.
I hope you peeps are doing well out there.
I was in church this morning, haven’t been there for ages and I’ve really missed it. There definitely is a point with what people say about having fellowship with other Christians. It’s not that going to church makes you a Christian, but being a Christian is so much easier when you have other Christians around you. The right Christians, that is. I’ve been very hurt by Christians in the past but this church is lovely and there are some lovely people there. The first time I was there it was like coming home, after many years of looking for a good church to go to.
My town is a very musical one, because of some kind of jazz club and a very active music school. It’s mainly jazz and classical music, but at least it’s music. And, for some reason, churches are always crowded by people with musical talent. I used to play and sing in church sometimes, but after my wrist injury some year ago I got out of the habit of playing and singing regularly as I used to do. Now, every time I go to church I get really inspired and usually pick up the guitar when I come home :). I was on my way to get a good routine with it before Christmas but then I got that really bad cold, and now I’m totally out of the good habit of playing the guitar every day.
How do you get back to good habits? I’ve sort of lost inspiration, although I have plenty of stuff I want to learn. I remember the first weeks with the guitar, I couldn’t stay away from it! Why am I not like that now? I’ll have to go back to the guitar and discover new things with it. I really love playing the guitar, it is the most “complete” instrument I’ve ever played. You can be a one man orchestra. Sing, play back-up, play melodies, all at the same time.. almost.
I’m a big fan of Lynn Morris and her band, and have a few of their CDs, I found an old one where there is a song named “Help me climb that mountain”, it’s a gospel song and I can totally relate to every single word in it. I sang it in church once. I came to think of it the other day, and sang the lines I could remember. Now I actually found it online… I couldn’t find the lyrics online back then. So maybe I’ll start working on it again, and add some little nice stuff on it that I wasn’t able to do before.
Well, maybe I still have some inspiration after all :).
Today I browsed some music forums, but all of a sudden I feel so misplaced there. The thing is that almost all discussion go into music theory and advanced stuff, and, we simply don’t speak the same language. I remember when I started out on the mandolin and I was wondering why there were only pro musicians at jams, and why it was so hard to find other people to jam with who are almost at the same level, I mean like intermediate level of some sort. And I was thinking “is everyone hiding at home until they are great at playing? Then how do they learn?” Very interesting. Now I sort of feel the same, on music forums online.
I read simple sheet music and know some very basic music theory but I can’t use it when I play (other than reading music, obviously). I play by ear, what sounds right. So when people rip off those music theory discussions, it’s like Greek to me, and then I start thinking “isn’t there anyone at all who is like me?” and that maybe I’m weird that I just play by ear and don’t THINK so much when I play. I sometimes get a feeling that other people apply the theory while playing, I could never do that. The only thinking I do while playing is around chords, what chords I could test throwing in, and such. It usually comes with experience, that when I’ve played a lot of tunes in A minor, eventually I learn what chords I can use (but I have a long way to go yet, I still mainly use the basic ones).
So I wonder am I the only one who don’t use music theory, who, eh, just plays? Or can it be that I do use music theory without thinking/knowing that I do it? It’s possible, and Daniel says that I probably know a lot of music theory, I just don’t know the fancy words. Because I suppose it would be hard to learn an instrument without involving some music theory.
But I still believe in hours with the instrument and a good ear rather than knowing lots of theory.
I may miss people to play the melodeon with, but I at least have a nice group of people to jam Irish music with. I think that’s the main reason why I’m mostly more inspired to play the concertina, and now the octave mandolin. I sort of need to have a goal. Of course I play for fun, but music is more fun when you play it with other people. And it’s more fun and interesting to learn a tune if I know that “well, these people play it in the session and it would be cool to be able to join in”.
Since some time in the autumn we actually meet regularly, in a nice pub/restaurant in town. It’s good to know that there will be a next time (before we didn’t know really since we met so sporadically). This pub is very nice too and they have edible food (=most of it is gluten free). I usually come straight from work, so it’s good to be able to eat something there before playing.
We had a good music session tonight, a good bunch of musicians. I took the concertina and the octave mandolin. It was nice to play the octave mandolin again, but I noticed it was a bit upset and needs to be in the basement with some humidification for a while.
Now I’ll try to work on some new Irish tunes that we play in the session but that I’ve never learned. Some of them are saved in a file on our Facebook page, just to convert to dots and print out. I also have several good tunes lying around, it’s time to start working on them to actually learn to play them decently. I’ll also try to learn the chords, I used to know what chords to play but I’ve forgotten a lot of it. Many tunes are too fancy to be realistic to learn on the concertina (so far) and then I can back the others on the octave mandolin.
Of course this period of not playing Irish music hasn’t been bad, I’ve been playing the guitar instead.