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"Good improvisation communicates harmonic progression melodically. Effective melodies manipulate harmonic content through the use of guide tones and preparatory gravity notes, masterfully woven in systematic tension, release, and transparent harmonic definition."

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September 25, 2008 | Mandolin Print Music Acquisition Syndrome

Is this a familiar story? You go out and buy this great new method book or literature, take it home and play a few pages, then it gets tucked back into your dusty library full of books that you never used more than a couple times. Everytime you buy a book you stare at the shelf and ponder why you bought something new when you haven't yet dug deep into materials you already have.

If this describes you, welcome to club, victims of Mandolin Print Music Acquisition Syndrome. (MPMAS) There is nothing to feel guilty about or ashamed of, and we're here to comfort you with some rationalization to get over it.

First of all, there are far worse habits spending money on. Dropping a few Benjamins at the race track or slots never did you any good, and you have much more to show for it. The price of a private lesson with a great teacher or clinician can easily be from $50 to $100 or more. What's your average book cost, $8? $25? You still have something to go back to. Sometimes we get all wrapped up in the 70 pages we didn't use when we forget the 3 pages we did use changed our playing radically.

A Junior High teacher placed a small white mark in the corner of an otherwise clean chalkboard. She asked one of the class, "What do you see on the board?" The answer, "A tiny chalk mark."

She asked several other students, only to get the same answer repeatedly. Her remark? "What's wrong with you children, can't you see all this other clean space ready to be written on?!?!"

Yes, it's good to go back to collected print music and study things you missed the first time, but don't let inaction stop you from acquiring new books. Perhaps you're at a point where you're ready to take your playing in a new direction. New materials can be tremendously inspirational, priming you for all kinds of new musical directions.

Books are also great for sharing. Perhaps you can trade with other musicians, or just donate an unused book to someone who could benefit from them.

We really live in a wonderful era of information acquisition. New technologies have completely redefined what a book is. From 4-color printing, to PDF exchangeable formats online, to support audio and video materials on DVD and on the internet, there's never been a better time to learn.

Take advantage!

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Posted by Ted at September 25, 2008 1:27 PM

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