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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Extra, extra read all about it. =)

 

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This is what comes in the box and it IS the same color – Sunburst!

This is an extra post to my usual every-third-day schedule…I just couldn’t wait to tell you guys the big news. I am so excited because today I went and picked up my mandolin at the music store where it was on layaway.

We had the money to finish paying it off and bring it home. I told you I was paying for this myself, and I will be, but my husband is a wonderful man that is fronting the money for me so I can get it sooner.

I will then pay him back. So in the end, I will have paid for it myself because I think that is an important part of my motivation to keep practicing. If I fail to practice and learn I will be failing myself.

First of all, in my other post where I told you all about finding this and hoping to put it on layaway I was mistaken. I thought it was brown not sunburst but it IS sunburst.

I guess looking at so many mandolins on the internet, on our local buy/sell/trade website Kijiji and in the store I lost track of which one it was. LOL, I am pleased to tell you it is the sunburst pattern after all.

Just a couple of hours ago I did an unboxing video for my YouTube channel and it is compiling now so I can upload it later tonight.

I just recently learned how to embed videos in my posts so I have decided to embed the video from my channel below instead of posting a link. Enjoy! Please leave me a comment to let me know what you think. 🙂

This mandolin is just beautiful in person. Since Kevin, my husband, can’t teach me how to play (he has never played mandolin) which has a different string arrangement than guitar I am on my own to learn to play.

I will be learning by myself with the book that is included in the pack plus the various instruction videos on the internet plus printable chord charts, scales, and songs.

The strings on the mandolin are arranged in pairs…from top to bottom the strings are G, D, A and E. and that means notations and chords will be formed differently as well. I am totally psyched to teach myself how to play this instrument.

I can hear you now…sure, sure…they all say that in the beginning. Just wait, though, you will see. As I have told you already, I have an intense drive inside of me to learn this instrument.

The profile is much thinner than an acoustic guitar and the neck is both shorter and thinner than a guitar as well. Those two factors alone make this better for me to play as I found these the biggest factors in not being able to play guitar.

I have already found out how to use the digital tuner that comes in the kit and have tuned all eight strings to perfect pitch. In doing so, I have learned that the picks they include in the kit are too thick for me.

The strings will have to be tuned every time I play, especially since they are new strings and there will be stretching that happens. There will be lots of tuning before they settle down and stay in tune for the most part.

Back to the picks included, they are bulky and awkward. Luckily my husband has a ton of picks he has collected over the years. I am now using one that is .48mm thick which is much, much thinner and more responsive to strum with.

We will be getting more of that size so I can fill up the pick holder that Kevin gave me to stick on my mandolin. These things are good for keeping your picks from getting lost and keeping them handy to grab as well.

I have decided to begin learning by using the instruction book that came with my mandolin. It covers everything from the parts of the mandolin to the basic chords, how to hold the instrument and even has some songs to start practicing.

Tonight will find me once again picking up my mandolin to do some more learning and practicing. Since coming home with it I have played with and set it up with strap and pick holder and tuner.

I have, prior to all that, shot an unboxing video for my YouTube channel and edited it plus editing another video for my channel on how to make homemade beef stew in a crockpot.

On top of all that I have made lunch and now must do some dishes and make dinner. Then I will upload my videos to my channel and  while they are tying up the internet bandwidth I’ll have time to go back to my mandolin.

My fingers don’t hurt yet but I aim to make sure they do before I go to bed tonight. The calluses must be started if I ever want to be able to press down the strings and form chords without pain. 🙂

Wish me luck folks! Have a wonderful day/night wherever you are and thank you for once again stopping by my blog to see what I am writing about this time. 🙂 You are all AWESOME! 😀

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I want this so bad it hurts.

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Today’s post comes from the inspiration provided by one of the 365 days of prompts from The Editors here at WordPress.com  You can find them here: 365 Days Of Writing Prompts

Practice makes perfect Tell us about a talent you’d love to have…but don’t.

Okay, from my post on August 28th I think you can guess what talent I would love to have…but don’t (yet). That’s right, I want to be able to play the mandolin.

First, great news to report since my last post about this Fender Mandolin Pack I looked at in Music City. I have since put 20% down on it and it is officially on layaway. I have 90 days to pay it off and bring it home. That could be putting so much a month on it or wait until the 90th day and just pay it off to bring it home, or any way I like as long as it is paid for by or on the 90th day. 🙂

Once I get that mandolin home out of the layaway at Music City I will begin. I know sore fingers are in my future. I will endure and persevere.

The title of this post is no exaggeration either folks. I can feel the need to learn this instrument deep inside. I dream about playing and even have a picture of it on my computer desktop.

I have played instruments in my past. When I was in high school I played the clarinet. I love music and need it in my life.

My music teacher, Mrs. Sullivan, was so impressed by my music theory marks that she gave me the option to pick another instrument after the clarinet and I chose the flute.

Those are both wind instruments though and after years of smoking my asthma is much worse now than it was then. I have tried to learn guitar since high school but failed miserably.

I don’t think I was motivated enough…I didn’t want it bad enough. So I started off fine but soon stopped practicing as often, then stopped altogether.

This frustrated my husband who was the one who bought the guitar for me and was teaching me chords and techniques. He plays both acoustic and electric guitar and just could not understand my lack of devotion.

I would have thought he, of all people, would understand because he had to push through long enough to make it a habit and master how to play. Then again maybe for him, the guitar was to him what the mandolin is for me.

It was his musical instrument of choice; something he felt compelled to play. Perhaps it is just his personality that makes it easy for him to set his sights on a goal and never let up until he achieves it.

I want that so badly…to be that kind of person.

I have already set out the reasons why I think I will stay focussed this time in my other post (the one from August 28th –> Something exciting I am planning… opens in a new window).

Most of all I want to achieve this goal so that I have something to play along with when my husband plays guitar. I also need to redeem myself in his eyes from the whole guitar fiasco so he can be proud of me.

Never have I had this level of determination, this drive, to learn an instrument. Even in high school, it was mandatory for the course to play something. Besides, I had a teacher on my case every school day in the fourth period.

Here at home, it is up to me to keep picking that mandolin up; even though my fingers are killing me, even though I am tired and can’t be bothered, even though I need to cook dinner.

You are all going to be witness to my determination this time. I will probably bore you to tears whining about my fingers or complaining that I can’t  quite get the rhythm down. LOL

Please be patient with me while I develop the discipline to persevere day after day to master the mandolin. I do appreciate all your support when it comes to my blog.

I am almost at the four-year mark since quitting smoking. As of December 17, 2016, it will be four years! If I can do that…I CAN LEARN MANDOLIN. lol 🙂

In this Fender FM100 Mandolin Pack, even a book is included to begin learning with, the chords and even a few songs to learn to play. Plus there are lots of lessons for free on the net.

There is absolutely NO excuse for me not to succeed this time. Once I post that the mandolin is out of layaway and here with me, I give you guys permission to ask me about playing in the comments of any of my posts thereafter.

I want you to keep me accountable. That will help, really! 🙂

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This is what comes in the box but this is not the same color.

I will be making a YouTube video for my channel when I bring it home so you will be able to see it in real life and not just in pictures like these.

Can you tell I am excited? LOL, I am one of those people (the ones when they start going on and on about a topic you just wish they would shut up). I am sorry but I can’t help it. 😦

It was a wise decision to put some money down on the one at Music City. I had my eye on a couple of used mandolins on our local Kijiji website and contacted the sellers. The first one failed to get back to me and then the ad disappeared.

The second seller took a day to respond and long story short after a lot of back and forth texting they said they are out of town until next week. They were also really shifty about the price they were asking too.

Hubby and I agreed…there are reasons why I was not meant to get either of those. That is how we look at these things now; if it is meant to be it will happen. If there are problems then we are not meant to have that particular item.

It may be damaged or about to break, it may be overpriced or just a bad deal altogether. There is always a reason it doesn’t work out.

All right, I will sign off for now and go surf the net for websites to bookmark that has anything to do with the mandolin; lessons, pictures, videos of people playing…you get the idea. 😉

Thank you for reading this far and letting me go on and on about this subject – you guys are awesome. 🙂 Have a wonderful day/night and I will talk to you on my next post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something exciting I am planning…

 

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This is the color of the mandolin I am looking at.

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This is what comes in the box but this is not the same color.

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See how small it is and how comfortable she looks playing the mandolin?

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This is how big and bulky guitars can be.

Hi, everybody! I am excited and looking forward to buying this sometime soon. I have been looking into learning to play the mandolin and doing a heck of a lot of research. Today I went to our local music store to actually look at one and try it out for myself.

Prior to today, I have done a large amount of research on the internet which includes, but is not limited to; shopping around different websites to see what the average price is for these instruments, watching YouTube videos of both people playing music on mandolins and teaching people how to play also discovering the differences between an A Type mandolin and an F-Type mandolin.

At the music store, I found the package pictured above for $249.99 plus tax (Canadian dollars). I actually held one of these in my hands and plucked at the strings trying to judge how comfortable I would be holding and learning to play one.

Verdict isI am stoked. I want to buy one of these for certain now. From my research, I know that I prefer an A Type mandolin. That is the one in the picture (pear shaped). The F-Type mandolin is like the one on the cover of the book you see in the picture with the weird curl up near the neck and the point on the other side of the neck.

The price point at Music City (the store I went to today) is absolutely great for what you get in the package. There is virtually everything I will need to begin playing and taking care of the mandolin. I need to buy nothing more.

Included in the package is the mandolin itself (which is just gorgeous in person by the way), the padded gig bag to store and carry it in, a tuner (to keep the strings in tune), a strap (to keep it secure while I play standing or sitting), a set of strings (spare set should one break), picks (the proper word is plectrum) and an instruction book with the basics to start playing and some beginner songs to try.

I know that Fender is an excellent company with quality products since my husband has had his Fender guitar for years now and not one problem with it in all that time.

The average price on the net for just a mandolin alone (no extras) is between $100 Canadian  for a cheap knock off to $1,000. or more for well-known brands.

There is some consensus that one should not go too cheap on a musical instrument in order to be sure there is enough quality there to ensure you won’t get frustrated and give up on learning due to breakage.

Over the years I have taken a stab or two at trying to learn how to play guitar. I have the advantage of my husband teaching me as well and I just couldn’t commit to it. I found even the smallest guitar too thick and bulky to get my arm over to strum the strings.

Another issue with learning guitar was the pain in the fingertips when it came to pressing down on the strings in order to form calluses. Yes, I am aware there will be some pain with the mandolin too since it has the same sort of strings but the difference is the mandolin is physically smaller.

The neck is narrower and flatter so it will not be so hard for my hand to stretch around it to reach the strings. The size and thickness of the body of the mandolin are smaller as well, shorter and thinner front to back. My arm easily reaches across to the front for strumming.

The strings are paired on the mandolin as well…not eight separate strings but four pairs of two strings. Each pair is treated like one so it will be much simpler to memorize where the note and fingerings are on the neck than the guitar was.

So what makes me think I can commit to the mandolin you say? Well, I have done a lot of thinking about that and have come to realize the profile of this instrument is thinner, shorter and easier to hold and use as I have just outlined.

There is also the fact that I will be on my own learning to play the mandolin as it is different from anything my husband has or has played.

I think these factors will help keep me inspired to train myself between the book included with the mandolin and the online lessons I can get for free. I am looking for an instrument that I can master that is different.

Kevin, my husband, plays both acoustic and electric guitar. He has played some piano keyboard over the years as well. Our landlord, upstairs, plays the acoustic guitar and the banjo.

I am excited to start learning something new. Plus, I will be sinking my own money into the purchase of this mandolin package. I think putting your money down helps with the commitment end of things – you are saying to yourself that you are serious because you are willing to part with cold hard cash.

Hopefully, I will be able to afford one soon or at least put one on layaway to chip away at the total until one day I can take it home. Cross your fingers for me, guys, please? Until then I will just stare at them on the internet and dream. =)

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