CMSA Convention Offer

September 4, 2012
I just realised that it's exactly a month till the big CMSA 2012 Minneapolis Convention. I wish I could be there in person to see my many American friends - and this time some very particular Australian friends too! - but it's a nice feeling that I'll at least be there in spirit, through my "Three Miniatures", which will be performed by the En Masse orchestra, conducted by Jim Bates.

I've been an admirer of Jim since we first met in Louisville (KY) a quarter of a century ago, so I know my music is in the best of hands. The "Miniatures" are proving very popular on this side of the Atlantic, and I really enjoyed hearing what guest conductor Mark Davis made of them at the international mandolin festival in Perth (Australia) a month ago. And now a third continent!

Of course it's in my interest that the musicians prepare very well, so I hope all you Convention players are practising  hard! I've already had feed-back from a number of people, who report that they are enjoying the pieces even now.

To help things along, I'd like to make a "Special Convention Offer" (and I've checked with Jim, who likes the idea very much).

The Offer:

If anybody would like a video session (completely free and no strings attached) on the music - even just to talk about it - they are welcome to contact me at <>.

This is not quite as unselfish as it may look: after all, I want the music to sound as good as possible, and I know how much more effective reheasals can be if a few people have solved a lot of the problems in advance, and can quickly show their colleagues.

This is yet another amazing use of the Internet technology. Just a few years ago, it would have been hardly practical to drop over from America to Germany for a relaxed hour or so. But with the Internet, it's not only possible, it's easy. It may not be quite "Beam me up, Scotty!", but it's awfully close.

So please take advantage of the offer, and please pass the word on to other Convention participants. And I wish you lots of pleasure with Jim and the "Three Miniatures"!


On the Left Hand

August 23, 2012
I recently read an article by the distinguished cellist Dimitry Markevitch (Internet Cello Society). He said in effect that nothing new has been done about fingering theory on the cello for three hundred years, and that the definitive treatise on the subject has yet to be written. If it's true for the cello, it's certainly true for the mandolin! (TMG page 117)

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About Techniques of Teaching

August 23, 2012
One of the fascinating challenges of online teaching is finding ways to convey ideas and information to somebody on the other side of the Internet connection - which may of course be anywhere between next door and the other side of the Earth.

An essential aspect of any form of teaching is effective communication, but the means may well be different depending on the situation. In a face-to-face teaching situation for example, it's easy just to reach over and gently nudge a finger into a better ...
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Mandolinata Mannheim

August 16, 2012

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Discovering new things about the mandolin, learning, and learning the mandolin.

August 1, 2012
I started experimenting with online teaching a couple of years ago. There has been a lot to learn:
  • the technical stuff about getting the sound and video to a suitable quality;
  • various issues inherent in the technology;
  • how to make use of this technology to teach the mandolin effectively...
My investigations confronted me as well with some surprising thoughts about teaching in general:
  • I remembered  for example that my very first mandolin teacher was pretty deaf. He was nonetheless well able to gi...

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Keeping count...

August 1, 2012
Dear Keith,

Thanks very much for the great session yesterday. This morning I played (the tune), and - don't be surprised - counted every note without stopping, I think for the first time. Maybe now I have no excuse for not doing it with any other piece I play! Thanks once again for what I think is a great result - let there be more!
Best regards


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About Me

Keith Harris
Keith Harris
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