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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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. 🙂

 

 

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! 😀