Monday, April 16, 2007

Busy, Rainy Saturday

Have you ever noticed how people come out of the woodwork when the weather is bad? I know it doesn't always happen like that, but many times it does. This Saturday was just such a day. It was cold, windy and rainy, but WARM inside the Shack. Between lessons and various other small item sales, we had Greg from St. Charles, MO trading up a mandolin, Suzanne and Janice from Belleville picking out a vintage fiddle and bow, and two repair drop-offs for the workshop. It's a good thing Mike was here to help, because I could not have done it by myself!

Even though I usually don't teach on Saturdays, I actually had three lessons this Saturday. Rachel is working on Sally Goodin, Billy in the Lowground and Golden Anniversary Waltz. She's a fast learner and one of my best students.

Next was 2-year old Audrey. Audrey is my youngest student. She takes a 5-minute lesson every other week. She is able to play one string at a time now, can put down one finger at a time on the E string now, and can count bow strokes. We are working up to Hot Cross Buns. Lastly, I had a new student that will not be a regular that I agreed to take on for the next couple of weeks.

Martin is 11 years old and is from Red Bud. He wanted to learn Orange Blossom Special. We worked on the hokum bow, train whistles, general "fluff" for the first part of OBS, and then we worked on how to get into the hokum bow and what comes after that. He, too, is a very fast learner and we were able to get through all of that in one hour. I sent him home with a CD to practice with, and four different versions of OBS to listen to for ideas. Martin came in again today during a cancellation and we put the guitar to all that he has been working on. He's doing marvellously!

Late Saturday afternoon, I worked on putting songbooks on our internet website. I managed to get 11 of them scanned in and posted with my sloooooower than molasses, 10-year old scanner. It's actually amazing that the scanner even works still. It is so old that it doesn't even have a USB connection. It literally takes 5 minutes from scan to preview, so it took me two hours to get those songbooks up on the website. Saturday evening, I took a trip to our local Office Depot and picked out a new scanner. I'm so excited! It is 3 seconds from scan to preview! Woo hoo! High speed scanning, here I come! Unfortunately, it's been high speed working today, so I haven't had a chance to plug the scanner in and get it up and running. I can hardly wait, though.

Today is Monday and things have been no less busy here. We had customers spot us when we were stopping by Gary's Restaurant for lunch around 11:30 a.m. They pulled into Gary's and had lunch with us, then we all drove the 1/2 mile to the Shack. It was about 12:30 by then, and there was another customer waiting in the parking lot, even though we don't actually open until 1:00 p.m.! When I get here early, I open the store anyway. There's no sense being here and locking everyone else out.

I placed new orders with Mel Bay and Hal Leonard today. We should be receiving new and replacement books and DVDs by the end of the week. I love looking at the new books that come in. I like to see who I think would benefit from them, whether or not I think they are any good, what difficultly level they are, etc. Both companies have some really great inventory for bluegrass and folk genres.

Al, my oldest student, had his banjo lesson today. Al is working on quite a few different songs right. He has a CD full of bluegrass gospel tunes that he is playing backup with. I am amazed at how well he is doing with the chord changes. His picking isn't real fast still, but his backup is great. I played guitar for Banjo in the Hollow, Cripple Creek, and Blackberry Blossom.

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