GMT had good words for my mandolin progress tonight. I am proud to report I can play a couple songs now. I usually inflict Thursday recitals on my team. They were very encouraging today and said, "Wow, you can go a lot faster than you did last week!"
One thing I really like about my lesson is that I will play a song and GMT will accompany me. I am struggling over every note, trying to remember all the things I'm supposed to be doing with each hand, and he looks completely placid. I asked GMT how he learned to play the mandolin, and he said he pretty much taught himself. That is the only discouraging thing he ever said to me, and he didn't mean it to be discouraging.
There is a great (yet creepy and somewhat misogynistic) John Cheever story called "The Music Teacher," in which men find that their repetitive, beginner piano practicing is a way to bring their calcitrant wives back in line. When I am stumbling through "Tennessee Waltz" for the 40th consecutive time, I think about that -- and how the residence next to mine has been vacant for so long. I try to play 20 minutes every day (even if it's not 20 consecutive minutes), and I find it calming and really enjoyable.
GMT said he can tell I am practicing a lot, and I guess I am, but this week has been tough to find the time. It seems like we are hurtling toward August. Ever wish you could just stop everything for just 48 hours or so, just enough time to get your stuff together?
Usually, when I am stressed, I do something I can control: I clean. My place is pretty spotless right now.