Re: About Teaching and Learning #1


On Wed, Jun 24, 2020 at 07:47 PM, Sandra Dodd wrote:
List five things you learned after the age of twelve that you learned totally outside of school.

List five things you learned after the age of twelve that you learned totally outside of school.

1. Guitar.  My mom played, so I had heard her tuning, and when I got a guitar, at 14, could tune it well right away. :-) My mom used a pick and I wanted to fingerpick, and my friend Ymelda showed me the basics, which is top three strings for thumb; bottom three for fingers 2,3,4; little finger is not involved, but can be used to brace if necessary, or for resting the hand without touching strings.  She showed me how to alternate the bass note within a chord so it was thumb/bass - pluck, bass, pluck... throughout the song.  "The Banks of the Ohio" was the first song I learned.  It could be done with three chords at first and the addition of a 7th chord after a few days. :-)  I WAS SO EXCITED!  Within a week, I was doing three variations in the finger picking, and I was OFF after that, copying things from Donovan records, Joan Baez, anything I could find.

2. Recorder.  I didn't own one, but saw that a free class was being offered, either beginning or intermediate.  The beginners class was advertised for those who knew nothing and couldn't read music, and that was no good. So I borrowed my friend's recorder and fingering chart so I could get into intermediate.  Woohoo!  Several notes were just like clarinet, and when I started learning the cross-fingerings, I figured out what all those keys and distant little holes on saxophones and clarinets and modern flutes were for!  When I "half-holed" with my thumb, I fully understood the "octave key" on all those modern woodwinds.  It was a huge series of epiphanies.  I did almost nothing else for a week but explore that alto recorder.  When I got to the class, I was too good for the others, so just started playing in an ensemble with the teacher for a few years. :-)   

I still remember the joyous enthusiasm of learning those two instruments.  I was 14 and 17.

3. To drive a big van or big pickup.  It's not rocket science, but spatial reasoning isn't one of my good skills, so it took more conscious thought and mental trickery than some people need, and I'm also a weakling so just getting up into the vehicle and wrestling with a big stick shift was sometimes taxing.  Nowadays the only big vehicle we have is a Ram club-cab pickup, and it has an automatic transmission and air conditioning.  So wimpy, for a big truck. :-)  I'm still not good with trailers, and try to avoid that when I can. 

4. Sewing with or without patterns.  Fancy seams, so that the inside of the garment is as finished as the outside.  Faced facings.  Picked those tricks up one at a time.  I've created some designs myself, and have copied some other pieces.  I can do zippers (and invisible zippers, when those were in fashion), and button holes, but I much prefer things that are nothing but cloth, that pull over, or wrap, because I like the elegance and long life of garments without fasteners.  A friend let me borrow a skirt pattern she had, when I was 14, and told me what the markings on the seams meant, and how to pin the paper to the cloth.  That was one lesson.  My grandmother helped me make a skirt to her exacting specifications, and that was frustrating but ultimately helpful.  I still have it.  Holly wore it for a few years. :-)

5. Calligraphy.  I'm best at blackletter, but can do some other hands.  I used dip pens, not cartridge pens, though I've owned and used cartridge pens and just used my regular handwriting, with a calligraphy nib, which is pretty fun.  I taught a few calligraphy workshops, when I was in my 20s, one for a continuing ed program and that was fun.  

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