This is what I have been up to lately. =)

Hello, one and all! I thought it was about time I wrote another post to let you all know what I have been up to since my last post which was oh so long ago.

First, though, I would like to thank all my followers for hanging in there with me and all the new followers that have decided to read what I write here. I appreciate you all more than you know.

Okay, where to start with my news. I have no particular order in mind so I will write as things occur to me since this is not meant to be a timeline but more of a list of things I am or have been doing.

I am still doing soundboard duties at my church but now I have been learning how to run the presentation software that puts images and words up on the screen at the front of the church via the laptop and projector.

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So, this means that pretty much every weekend I switch between either of these jobs. Last weekend I was on sound and it looks like this weekend I will be too unless something happens and they need me on the laptop.

I had a woman from the congregation come up to the Soundbooth last Sunday and express her pleasure in the music and quality of sound she was hearing.

Some exciting news on the soundboard front! Our church will be getting a brand new mixer (soundboard) with 24 (edited)32 channels. Our current board has 14 so this one will be much bigger and newer.

I am excited because it means I get to learn how to control this new one and we won’t have to push the system as hard since there will be more than enough space and power which will make my job easier in the end.

Along with the new board, we are getting professional powered speakers and a new flatscreen monitor for the booth. When all this new equipment arrives I am going to feel like a kid at Christmas. LOL 😀

Our New 32 channel Board enhanced pic

This is the mixer we are getting it is a Yamaha MGP32X 32 channel board.

Now, on to other news, I finally got our taxes completed and filed with the government. It is April and tax time in Canada. We have until April 31st technically but since it falls on a Sunday this year the government will still consider taxes filed on time if they receive it by May 1st.

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I don’t like to leave it that late but it is a pain getting all the paperwork and receipts etc. together and filling out the forms and I dread it every year. I am so happy it is over for another year.  🙂

I have also taken on the job of getting all the music sheets together and organized for our church. Oh, what did I get myself into there!?

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I had to put them in order and fill binder after binder worth so that the songs would be easy to locate for each musician or singer that went looking for a particular song.

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That has been a huge undertaking that I have invested hours upon hours doing and I am thankful to report that the job is just about completed. I have to retype the indexes for each binder and take the whole huge box of binders back to the church.

Not to worry, I am taking time out from all these jobs to not only work on my YouTube channel and relax a bit too.

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My channel now sits at 830 subscribers at last count and I am gaining roughly three to four more each day. It seems ever since I hit that magic number, of 500 subscribers, my channel growth has been snowballing.

If you would like to come over and check it out for yourself I will put a link here (it will open in a new window to leave your reading of this post uninterrupted.)

Susan Millard’s YouTube Channel

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Of course, I am relaxing sometimes as well as I mentioned. I have been doing a lot of reading and doing some adult coloring. This is keeping me relatively stress-free for the most part while I tackle all these large jobs with paperwork.

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I have also been continuing to practice playing my mandolin. I am happy to say that my left-hand fingers are all nicely calloused which makes it easier to play for longer.

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I am currently working on different strumming and picking patterns to use with the mandolin. These instruments are not usually played like a guitar as they are meant for a different type of music; namely bluegrass and fiddle tunes and the like.

I have learned a total of 10 or 11 chords so far and am getting pretty proficient at switching between them. This has proven to be a difficult task, to teach me how to play using books and the internet.

A metronome has been a recent purchase to aid in my strumming and picking so that I can keep time properly, so that is helping I think. It was on sale for $10 at our favorite music store marked down from $28.95! That kind of deal I could not pass up.

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As for the book, I am writing for my grandson, Ethan, I am still plodding along working at getting that done as time permits. I have the basic storyline down and have some names picked out for the dragon although I have not decided on THE name yet, not for certain.

Getting the wording just right is proving to be tougher to do than I thought. The words need to be simple and I need to capture the story in maybe 15 pages maximum. A majority of those pages are going to be big beautiful pictures with great detail.

I do have the materials collected to put this book together but figuring out just what it is going to say and look like is frustratingly difficult. But, I will persist and work that out and get it done. It is for Ethan after all! 😉

Oh, my husband and I have just started seeing a new dentist right here in town so we no longer have to travel half an hour each way to and from North Bay for appointments.

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Yay! Our new dentist is kind and easy to talk to about our teeth and takes our point of view into account when it comes to planning treatment.

We have also had several good references from the people we know here in town who go to him. We both had a cleaning done today as well as a new patient exam by Dr. Wong.

Well, I think that does it, for now, you are pretty much up to speed with what I have been doing with my time while away from my blog. Again, thank you for being there and for stopping by to read my posts. I do appreciate all of you, so much.

Have a wonderful day/night wherever you are – until next time. 🙂

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Decisions About A Book For My Grandson, Ethan.

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I got some excellent advice on my questions on my last post. I want to thank both of those people for their wise counsel. I have done a lot of thinking since that post and those answers and have decided to write a storybook for my grandson. Period. Full stop.

It will be a one of a kind book created and produced exclusively for Ethan. I have decided against writing any other children’s books for the public. My heart is not in it when it comes to getting something like that published.

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However, my heart is entirely in it when it comes to making one for Ethan. As a result of this decision, I have decided to work on a story outline personalized to Ethan. He will be the hero of the story.

His Dad, my son James, is a fan of all things dragon so a dragon must be involved in this story. I will have to learn how to draw a friendly looking dragon as well.

I think I want to make him a friendly dragon that guides and protects Prince Ethan just as James does for the real Ethan.

 

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Something like this might work (image from Pixabay)

 

Yes, I believe that will work and would be an excellent jumping off point.

I will be writing the story first so that I have an idea of what to draw at crucial points in the story. I will also begin taking photographs of Ethan I took this past Christmas and teaching myself to draw his likeness in various poses.

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So far I have not been able to sit down and draw or do any sort of artwork since the New Year. I am pleased to report that my other two goals are right on track. I talked to my best friend out west for two hours the other night. 🙂

I have been able to almost finish my first book of my reading goal of 40 books this year. This should all be in a separate post, really, but I wanted to explain that the drawing part of this project is a bit delayed.

Not to worry I will get there!

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In my next post, I should have a rough outline of the story written to share with you. Thanks for stopping by my blog to read my thoughts once again. I hope you have a wonderful day/night wherever you are. 🙂

 

 

 

Hey, I Want To Share An Idea With You!

For a while now I have been doing some serious thinking. Mostly it has been on the subject of New Years Goals and Intentions; read my last post to see what goals I settled on there.

The other thing I have been thinking about lately has been whether or not to attempt writing a book. Yes, I do want to write a novel one day or a memoir.

Those two choices would take a substantial amount of time and are more complex than I am thinking about committing to right now.

I need something to, in a sense, dip my toes in as an introduction to the world of writing. In the interim, I would like to try my hand at writing a children’s book.

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I am wondering how hard a market that would be to break into but it has all the hallmarks of a wonderful project.

Writing a children’s book would combine two of my passions in one project; writing and drawing. I would have to come up with an outline of something that would be of interest to children.

I would want to make it different enough to stand out against all the children’s books out there.

The beauty of a large picture book like this is that it would be fairly short but that being said I would want it to spark a child’s imagination even though it would be short.

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The thing that really started to turn up the desire to do this was when my grandson came to visit us on Christmas Day.

This idea occurred to me a long while ago but Christmas Day intensified it and really brought home the immediacy of such a project.

This has to happen soon since my grandson will remain a little guy only for so long. Already at two and a half he is growing so fast and saying a few words now.

The window of opportunity to write for him is only so long. Even if my first book is written and illustrated just for him. I could write another to get published for the general public afterward.

How special would that be to have Grandma write a storybook just for you?

I wished with all my heart that I had a big beautiful book to share with him. I want him to enjoy reading as much as I do and the idea of writing a book for that purpose just inspires me.

I think of some of the great authors of children’s books like Dr. Seuss and Robert Munsch. That kind of great authorship is what I am shooting for!

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Perhaps tomorrow will find me sitting down to sketch out a few ideas as to subject matter and a vague outline to flesh out.

One of my New Year Goals is to spend one day a week doing artwork or creative projects for either my YouTube channel or here on my blog or both!

Could this be the subject of my first weekly creative artwork I set for one of my goals this year?

What do you think about me doing this? Would you be interested in seeing some sketches and ideas as I work this out on paper and not just spinning around and around in my mind?

Your input and opinions would be most welcome as I try to figure out just what this book for Ethan would look like.

In order to fit this into the short window of opportunity I have to get it into my grandson’s hands I would have to actually produce a single true original book that I could then ship to him via the mail.

After this is accomplished I could then take the time and follow the proper steps to find a way to get a children’s book published for the public.

It might even help sell my idea to a publisher if I could point to the one I made for Ethan and how he responds to it.

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The more I am sharing this idea with you all the more real it is becoming. It is no longer just a private thought in my mind. This desire, goal, intention is now out there and I find my pulse quickening a bit.

Yes, I am a little afraid as well as excited at the possibilities.

Will my drawings be good enough? What about the story or theme of the book, will it be something Ethan would want to have read to him? Or will he want to get down and play with his toys on the floor?

Would you let me know in the comments what your thoughts are? I know the decision is ultimately up to me but I guess what I am asking is would you be interested in seeing some ideas and sample drawings?

Do any of you out there have young children or grandchildren? If so what kinds of books are they interested in? Do they like stories or simple learning books on colors or the alphabet?

Thank you in advance for your responses. I appreciate everyone who stops by to read my blog and those that take the time to leave a comment to let me know they were here and what they think.

Have a wonderful day/night wherever you are! 🙂

 

 

 

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2017!

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Hello everyone, welcome back to my blog. It is officially January 1st, 2017 and I am writing this at the tail end of the day.

Our current time is 11:34 P.M. and I am writing now because I think it is important to get this particular post up as soon after the new year as possible.

Edit: It is now January 2nd, 2017 and I am finishing the final edit on this post and publishing it today.

Today was busy but good. I have already started my New Year’s Goals/Intentions and it feels good.

I recently read some great information on the differences between resolutions and goals/intentions which I covered in my last post. I must say I prefer the idea of goals/intentions.

Please see my last post that I have linked here (it will open in a new window) for details on what I read and where you can find it too. –> Update & Saying Goodbye To 2016

If you fail at resolutions it is all done…there is no coming back from that failure. Resolutions seem to be set in stone with a do or die kind of feel to them.

If you fail to reach and attain a goal you can simply figure out what held you back from achieving it and then reassess and readjust the goal to try again.

I don’t know about you but I for one am tired of feeling like a New Year failure. That is what made me stop writing resolutions in the first place.

I guess before I go too much further I should let you all in on what I have defined as my goals and intentions for 2017.

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My Goals /Intentions For 2017

(Whoa…that looks official, doesn’t it?)

Goal # 1 – Call and talk to friends and family once a week or more often this year.

The intention behind goal #1 – I want to and need to keep in touch with the people that matter to me and this year I intend to do just that. These people matter to me and for far too long I have allowed life to distract me and let it get me too busy doing things instead of connecting with the people I love.

Goal #2 – Read 40 books in 2017 keeping track using Goodreads.

The intention behind goal #2 – I will spend more time doing what I enjoy, which is reading, I want to invest more ME time. I have spent a lot of time doing the do things and lost track of my joy. I want to reclaim that happiness that I had before life got too busy.

Goal #3 – One day per week do artwork for either my YouTube channel or my blog (or both).

The intention behind goal #3 – I will not only get artistic content for both my channel and my blog but I will also spend more time creating art, drawing, painting and so on.

It has been too long since I took out my sketchbook and just focussed on my art. Again, I will spend more time doing what I enjoy with the bonus of creating content which I need anyway.

It is important to focus on a limited number of goals in order to ensure a better chance at success.

I stopped at three goals/intentions since I have not written a New Year Resolutions List for years. If I keep my number of goals down to a modest three I stand a better chance of being able to achieve them.

Too many goals and it will be all too easy to lose track and lose focus. I need to be able to keep my goals in sight front and center all year in order to work toward them every day.

Let’s face it if the list was a long one of 10 goals I would eventually, and in fairly short order I would think, look at the long list and give up.

That huge list would look more and more like a burden instead of something I want to strive for.

If I manage to conquer these goals this year I figure it will build my confidence to try for bigger goals next year. Correction; I have to rephrase that so I am not defeating myself before I start.

What I should have said was WHEN I conquer these goals this year… the intention is everything. What was that saying? Oh yes, this one!

In particular, I am thinking of the second set of lines. Watch your words for they become actions.

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Today was only the first day of the year and I have actually worked on two of the three goals. I spent quite a bit of time this afternoon reading.

If you click on the Goodreads panel down there on the right side of the screen you will be taken to my Goodreads list of book(s) that I am currently reading.

I also made a phone call to connect with someone I love. That simple act of talking to them on the phone made me smile and I realize once again I need to do this more.

People are always more important than things.

How is your New Year starting out so far? Mine is working out pretty well, so far,…I feel invigorated and full of hope for this fresh start in a brand new year.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post once again my friends, I really appreciate your support. 🙂

 

 

Thank You, Everyone!

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Today’s post is dedicated to every single one of you out there in cyberspace that stops by and reads my blog from time to time. I want to say  Thank You as I approach this milestone.

Coming up very quickly now, on Wednesday, December 21st, I will be celebrating ONE FULL YEAR since my very first post on this blog.

The 21st is also my husband’s birthday. He turns 48 this year and I can’t tell you how different things are since he turned 47. Wait, maybe I can…let’s see. 😉

We live in a different apartment and a different locale. We moved from the city with a population of somewhere around 54,500 people to a town with a population of 3,500.

That alone was a huge difference and then adding to that our apartment itself has gone from something stuck in the 50’s/60’s to an apartment that is brand new & modern, where we are the very first tenants.

We went from not going to church at all in the city to being fully involved in our local church here.

Kevin plays guitar sometimes with the worship team. I operate the soundboard and record the sermon to be put on the church’s website.

Both of us help clean the church every other week as well. Life here has turned a full 180 degrees from the life we lived back in the city.

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This will be my 92nd post and I now have 88 followers on WordPress plus 3 followers via email. I am ecstatically happy with my blog’s growth.

It means the world to me that all those people, and more, want to read what I write. Thank you, doesn’t begin to express my gratitude but it is the best I can do right now.

In that same year, my YouTube channel has finally begun to take off as well. Back in the city, I was lucky to have just over 200 subscribers and just yesterday I attained 600 subs!

On the 21st I will be enjoying a steak dinner with all the fixings with my husband to celebrate not only his birthday but a tremendous first anniversary of my blog.

The fact that I have stuck to writing this blog that long is amazing to me. I have attempted to blog before but soon lost interest and let the blogs fade into obscurity.

I actually feel like I am in a really good place in my life now. Gone are the depressing surroundings, gone too are the wishy-washy commitments to blogging and to my YouTube channel.

Now that I am seeing significant changes and improvements in all areas in my life and what I am doing I feel like I have the momentum to keep rolling full steam ahead in this direction.

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Well, my friends, I will cut this post short and get it uploaded. There is still much to do and so very little day left in which to do it.

Please know that I appreciate each and every one of you reading this. You are all contributing to my happiness in this present moment and I am so very grateful.

Have yourselves a wonderful day/night and I will see you again for post #93.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Google is my friend!

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Today’s post is inspired courtesy of another selection from 365 Days Of Writing Prompts

Google and rescue operation What was the last thing you searched for online? Why were you looking for it?

The last thing I searched for online was a Peavey RQ 2314 14 Input Reference Quality Compact Console. It is the make and model of the soundboard at our church.

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Why was I looking that up, you ask? Well, because our worship leader asked if I would be interested in learning how to use it.

Every Sunday we have a group of musicians up on the stage leading worship. Usually, there are two electric acoustic guitars, a harmonica, two singers and a piano player.

This Sunday there will be a piano player, a harmonica, two singers, two electric acoustic guitars, an electric bass guitar and a set of acoustic drums.

There are two people in the sound booth, one to run the laptop that puts the words to songs and other messages on the drop down screen via a projector suspended from the ceiling.

The other runs the soundboard that takes what the musicians do on the stage and amplifies, modulates and tweaks the signals from all instruments and microphones.

These signals are then broadcast through speakers also hung from the ceiling so that the congregation can hear a strong, clean sound with which to sing along.

Also on this soundboard is a channel used for a hearing system we have in the church. Assistive listening devices are available for anyone who need them to help hear the spoken word.

Into these devices; only the lapel microphone the Pastor wears and the handheld microphone, that gets passed around the congregation  when it comes time for prayer requests and praise reports, are used.

I was more than a little nervous taking on this challenge and thought that a little research was in order before actually trying to use this piece of equipment.

I wanted to make a good impression since it is an honor not bestowed on just anybody. Only those with a good ear for music and sound are asked; hence the honor I spoke of.

The laptop duties are passed to anyone who is interested in helping but the program pretty much runs itself.

Timing is the only key to successfully running the laptop. Are the words on the screen at the proper time? Do the announcements appear on the screen when the Pastor is saying them?

Using the soundboard, though, that person is in control of what everyone hears; the congregation in the house and the musicians listening to their monitors on stage.

My biggest fear as I take this duty on this Sunday is not messing up with the handheld microphone or with the signal going to the hearing assistance system.

The handheld microphone is the most tricky to stay on top of. Too much on a dial can mean feedback screeching through the entire church,  too little on the dial means a muffled voice that no one can understand or hear.

Adding to the complexity with the handheld microphone is how some people use it. When handed to them everyone holds it differently which means a lot of constant adjusting.

Some hold it farther away from their mouth and the gain has to be turned up. Some almost eat it which means the gain must be turned way down or there will be a great deal of feedback.

The pastor is the main one we want to hear and his lapel mic should pick up his voice and broadcast it properly with the right tones so he doesn’t sound too high pitched or too low pitched.

We had a practice last night with the musicians on stage and I was in the sound booth for the first time ever. I was given a basic rundown of the board and shown how to adjust sounds for each person or instrument.

I don’t think I did too badly…the worship leader playing up on stage told me it sounded all right to him but he could not hear what was coming through to the house.

We would need an independent person sitting in the pews to listen and give their opinion but on practice night, of course, there was no one to fill that role.

Of course last night I was also not able to practice with the handheld mic, the lapel mic or the hearing assistance devices. This is really making me nervous.

So Sunday is going to be nerve-wracking for me until I get either compliments or complaints from the congregation.

What is going to make Sunday even more nerve-wracking is that there is both a baptism taking place and communion afterward. These two occasions do not usually happen at a normal Sunday service.

All I know is that I have been and will continue to do a lot of praying that I do everything correctly and the service goes off flawlessly.

I know, there is the perfectionist in me rearing it’s ugly head again. I can’t help it, though; this is too important to me.

My husband will be one of the musicians on the stage with his acoustic guitar and I really don’t want to mess up the sound and make him sound bad either.

I really am happy to be chosen for this job. I want to be able to help out at the church. My husband and I clean the upstairs part of the church each week and now we each have a part in the service as well.

This will not be an every week duty either; only when this worship leader is on stage. We are part of his crew; his hand-picked set of people to work with.

Some weeks we have guest musicians up there and some weeks there is another worship leader with their own crew.

Wish me luck guys; those of you in the faith, please pray for me. 🙂 Thank you all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Progress Update: How I Am Doing With My Mandolin Now

 

LOL, I love that Keep Calm And Play Mandolin Meme…that is what is on my desktop on my computer right now; not that I need it to remind me to play. I love this mandolin!

I have picked it up every day; two or three times a day since bringing it home. Oh, and the picture to the right of it is my left hand fingertips after six days of playing. I am not sure you can see it in the photo but the calluses are building nicely.

Below is a picture of me holding my mandolin. I am thinking of making this my profile picture on Facebook and a few other places on the net. 🙂

 

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All of the research I have been doing on the net has been paying off. Not only have I gotten a fine musical instrument and a heck of a deal on everything that it comes with but I have various chord charts for beginners.

There are a few in the instruction booklet that came with the package but the ones from the internet allow me to print them out full size on printer paper.

This way too I won’t have to flip through the book to find a certain chord.

I have a binder that I have plastic sheet protectors in and I put all my photocopies in there. There is even a pocket on the inside cover of the binder where I have tucked my instruction booklet.

As I collect songs that I can practice and play I will be building myself a journal of sorts that will show my progress from beginning to my current level.

This will help keep things organized and let me find whatever I want to practice on, easily.

The booklet that came with my mandolin takes you through the very beginning of everything and you do not need to have any musical experience to play the mandolin.

So, it begins by showing you the various parts of the mandolin, how to hold it, how to hold the pick, and so on. It then talks about keeping time by tapping your foot and how to read sheet music.

I took music theory in high school and a lot of it is coming back to me althought I do prefer to use songs with the appropriate chords above the words.

I find it easier to follow and if I wonder about the beat or tempo I need only listen to a recording of the song to get the idea.

There are a multitude of videos on YouTube showing how to play certain chords or songs and also some on care and maintenance of your mandolin.

It is from one such video that I recently saw that I learned how to lower the strings closer to my fretboard. I lowered the action, as it is referred to, in order to be able to play easier and not hurt my fingers as much.

Don’t misunderstand…they still hurt, just not as badly. 😉  My fingernails are now kept closely trimmed so as to not interfere with the strings as I form the chords with my left hand. I keep my right hand trimmed the same way too.

This is not a huge deal for me anyway as my nails never seem to grow to any appreciable length without splitting or peeling. They never have been long and beautiful until I got artificial nails put on a long time ago.

Then there were the endless appointments to go and have them filled as my real nails grew out underneath them. I must admit that when I had artificial nails I felt more feminine.

I am glad I got rid of them years ago as they would just complicate playing the mandolin now.

As I explain in my update video I just posted on my YouTube channel (Embedded Below) I am now practicing quick licks that Scotty Grove showed me on his YouTube channel. What is great about that is it involves all the chords I have just learned.

This gives me something fun to try and get better at and while I am doing that I am practicing the chords at the same time. It makes practice a lot more fun and interesting.

Please take a moment and have a look at it. It is just five minutes long and you can see and hear what I have learned thus far.

I will be doing further update videos as I am able and when there is a sufficient amount of new stuff to show you.

 

 

I think the next thing I will have to work on, besides the quick licks, is my strumming patterns. Until you play a stringed instrument you really can’t appreciate how much coordination one must have to keep the beat with one hand and the notes with the other hand, at least I didn’t.

It is quite the workout for the brain and I have a new respect for musicians everywhere. When I think of the many instruments this is true of it leaves me in awe of the people that can not only play but with such skill too.

I want to be that good one day with my mandolin. Thank you for once again stopping by my blog to see what I wanted to talk about today. I do appreciate the support.

If you have any comments or questions please feel free to leave them in the comment section; either here on my blog or on my videos on my YouTube channel. I try to get to every one I receive.

Have yourselves a wonderful day/night wherever you are. Now I must go practice some more and master that F Major chord. 🙂