Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My Delight, My Mandolin

I want to tell you about my summer project. I'm learning to play the mandolin! It has been my joy and delight this summer. I usually am done with vacation after a week, because I don't do well without structure. But learning this lovely instrument has made things different this year. Here's how I got into it.

I had been thinking about taking up the guitar, because I love the idea of a portable instrument that you can sing along to and take everywhere. (I play the piano a little, but you can't lug that around)
ANYWAY, I was in my parent's room and my eye was caught by the mandolin my mother has had for many years. I was struck by its cuteness and portability. Love at first sight. It was decided. I would learn to play the mandolin.

My mother made it. She doesn't actually play it though. Nine years ago she ordered and selected the materials from a company that sells kits and assembled it in a workshop. It's a beautiful and simple instrument.

My first week of playing the mandolin was painful on my fingers. You have to press HARD on the double strings. But once I got some good callouses things got easier. I can now play songs with simple chord progressions. Old hymns and folk songs sound the best. I am working up to finger picking. My favorite song I've mastered is Greensleeves. It's a medieval tune which must have been made for this instrument. I wish I could play it for yall.

I have to admit that I was mainly drawn to the mandolin, because it's just so darn pretty. And I think it goes well with my style of dress. That probably sounds odd, but it just looks nifty. Also I love how it's not a very commonly played instrument. Sighhh...I'm in love.

Today my mom and I played a song together for the first time. We played 'We Shall Meet on That Heavenly Shore'. She on the mountain dulcimer and me on the mando.(that's mandolin enthusiast lingo for mandolin) We were both out of tune and it was time for dinner, but tomorrow we shall jam again!

One last thing: I have found that there are two types of people. a) Those who pronounce the word mandolin with the emphasis on the last syllable: mando-LIN and b) those who emphasise the first syllable: MANDO-lin. Which are you?


  1. I'm so proud and am really excited to play with you.

  2. That´s nice Lucy! Keep it up!