Monday, August 4, 2014

Mandolins and Dulcimers on a Rainy Sunday

Yesterday did not go as planned:  we had planned to have some church folks over for a back yard cook out and pool party.  But the afternoon was stormy; we decided to try again next Sunday.

So, I had cheese and crackers and wine, while I read The World Without You.  I had checked the book out before and hadn't had time to read it.  I returned it and wished that I had read it.  So, when I found it on the shelf again, I grabbed it.  It's the kind of book I like:  a family saga, something dreadful has happened, how will the very different members respond?

Later in the day, my spouse pulled out our mandolins and we played:  well he played, and I tried to remember what I had learned before. 

For our 13th anniversary, in 2001, we bought a pair of mandolins.  We had every intention of teaching ourselves.  We worked hard for a month.  And then, the crush of fall schedules set in.  We've gone back to them here and there throughout the years.

In 2012, my spouse put dots on the mandolins so we could more easily find the notes (see this post for pictures).  It was Labor Day week-end, and again, the crush of fall schedules undid our plans.  I haven't really touched the mandolin since then, so last night, I had to teach myself again.

I also got out the dulcimer (more about the dulcimer in this post).  It should be an easy instrument to play, and in a sense, it is. 

One thing I noticed last night is that my eyes have changed since I last picked up these instruments.  I didn't need reading glasses in the same way the last time I tried to remember how to play.  Now I need a variety of glasses.  Sigh.

I'd like to do more with both the dulcimer and the mandolin.  I'd like to learn a Christmas song in time for Christmas.  Last night I "mastered" "Jingle Bells."  Could I learn a hymn as well?

It's fascinating to think about music as a kind of language, the notes on the page transformed into notes on an instrument.  I am so grateful that I learned to read music as a child.  I do wish I had continued to learn the piano and music theory--one of many regrets about what I wish I had made time for through the years.

But let me not waste time in regrets.  There is time right now.  And learning music may help stave off some of the mental ravages of old age that will be here before I know it.  And in the meantime, it will be fun!

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