I spent 7 very painful years learning to play the piano. I enjoy playing the piano, but I never was considered good at it. My brothers seemed to have a natural musical ability I never inherited, but I do enjoy playing. I just found out other people do not enjoy hearing me play any musical instrument.
. My older brother not only plays the guitar, but collects vintage guitars and even vintage amps. My younger brother is the most talented, playing drums at a professional level. He even has the look of a handsome heavy metal rocker. His hobby is restoring vintage US made drum sets.
My skills on the piano were always pathetic, but I do not play piano for others to hear. I enjoy playing piano for the gentle relaxation of reading the music, figuring it out, and playing for my own enjoyment. The idea of playing for anyone else is stressful, but the fun puzzle of figuring out a piece of music (usually quite easy music) and playing for myself has always been a joy.
My husband and I though felt the pathetic piano I had, an old school surplus version, was not only an eye sore but took up too much space in our small home. I know the reason I play isn’t because I love the piano, it is the joy of the challenge and playing for myself. I decided to try a small musical instrument and so switched to the mandolin. My reason for picking the mandolin was two fold. I think they are beautiful and I can hang a mandolin on the wall when not playing it.
I play the mandolin even less well than I played the piano. But the joy of figuring out a simple song and strumming along for a short break, without any fear of public performance, brings me as much joy as the old out of tune piano did.
I was happy to find a photograph of some of my relatives, my great grandmother Laura McPherson, and her sister Jesse, playing mandolins. The mandolin was very popular between from about 1880 through the 1920’s. I have a feeling though my great grandmother and her sister are just pretending to play these mandolins which are probably studio props. My great aunt Jesse is even rolling her eyes, and Laura has a smile that seems to confirm they are faking it. The mandolins in the photograph are bow backed, my mandolin is flat like a guitar. The older bow mandolins I am told are not as comfortable to play as my more modern design.
Still, it would be lovely to have a bow backed one to look beautiful hanging on the wall next to my modern and plain mandolin. Someone asked why I never play for others, and I replied with “When you do your Sudoku, do you want an audience?” Maybe if I could get better at Sudoku, or cross word puzzles, I would not have to make my poor animals suffer through my private concerts. I freely admit the dog leaves the room when he sees me take my mandolin off the wall.
- Listening to the Internet: Bach and Mandolin (midorisnyder.com)
- The traditional sound (surveycb.wordpress.com)
- How long does it take for a beginner to get comfortable playing the mandolin? (the-guitar.information-about-music.com)