ArtistWorks Blog

Profiles in Online Learning: Mrs. Beach, Mandolin Student

online learning - mandolinAW: What's your name?

Mrs. Beach: Mrs. Anni Beach -- Everyone calls me Mrs. Beach.

AW: How old are you?

Mrs. Beach: Soon to be 70! I can't believe it, but I love it.

AW: Where are you from?

Mrs. Beach: Vancouver, Washington was my growing-up home. But I've lived in the Southwest since 1969-17 years on the Navajo Reservation.

AW: How many years have you been playing mandolin?

Mrs. Beach: I've been struggling with this great instrument [mandolin] for 20 years.

AW: Do you play any other instruments?

Mrs. Beach: Some piano, some harmonica, conga drums. But mandolin is my primary instrument.

AW: How did you find out about Mike's mandolin school?

Mrs. Beach: Francisco Briseno signed up for banjo lessons with Tony Trischka and told me about it. He has grown in my neighborhood bluegrass band.

AW: Why did you choose to learn mandolin?

Mrs. Beach: I was in Japan in 1964 and attended a mandolin concert at University of Tokyo. About 30 of them making the most beautiful music. And I was hooked. My parents brought me a little turtle back mando from Naples, Italy in 1966. But I never really got to play much.

AW: What drives you to keep playing mandolin? Why do you love it?

online learning blog - Jam Pak in DC

Mrs. Beach: In 1994 I founded and am the leader of the Jam Pak Blues 'N' Grass Neighborhood Band of Chandler, Arizona. I grew my own band and have to pedal hard to keep up with them. You can see what I mean if you look at the home page of our website www.jampak.com.

AW: Who inspired you to play? Who are your biggest musical influences?

Mrs. Beach: My mother who was a harpist and my late husband who was a jazz musician. I wanted to play but it was so hard. Both kept encouraging me. "You can do it!" They sat with me and kept me going.

AW: What drove you to seek out online mandolin lessons?

Mrs. Beach: I have to get better. I can jam well with chords, theory and all that, but my breaks are truly elementary in the execution. I made sure I could follow the lessons on-line via the free stuff. And then I took the plunge and I know I will improve. Because now I practice!

AW: What's your favorite memory and/or musical highpoint of your mandolin career?

Mrs. Beach: That has to be when Jam Pak was featured in our first bluegrass festival in 1998. Most of the kids were on canjos (single string homemade instruments) but I was on top of the world. And it was all uphill from there.

online learning blog - bluegrass festival 1998

Mrs. Beach with Jam Pak at their first Bluegrass Festival, 1998

AW: What's your favorite part of the school?

 

Watch Mike's Free Mandolin Lessons

Mrs. Beach: I like the small increments for lessons. The study materials are great as I easily read music. Mike is direct and friendly. I can follow this!

AW: What's the biggest improvement you've noticed in your playing?

Mrs. Beach: My playing is smoother and a little faster. I do know how to improvise but it's the speed that kills me. So most of my breaks come out with single notes.

AW: What has surprised you most about the Online Mandolin School once you became a member?

Mrs. Beach: That Kate [in Customer Service] responds to my questions quickly. Online learning is a first for me so I've needed help to make it all work.

AW: What would you tell another mandolin player who was considering joining ArtistWorks?

Mrs. Beach: I've already showed it to people who want to learn how to play better -- the other instruments, too. I hope more will sign up.

AW: What's next in your life as a mandolin player?

Mrs. Beach: To keep all our band members moving forward-to keep my band(s) going and progressing. I am also in a small band called Cabin John which is a foursome made of members of Jam Pak. We do other gigs and so I can't hide behind the kids. I have to know my stuff and that is also pushing me!

AW: Anything else you'd like to add, words to all the other mandolin players out there?

Mrs. Beach: Music is one of the most wonderful things to make. Age is never a factor. I hear so often, "Oh, I'm too old to learn."  What an awful statement! Wherever we go, we promote how learning an instrument is one of the most fun things. Our area in Arizona has several bluegrass jams where all levels of playing are encouraged and accepted. I think your lessons will be highly valuable. 

online learning blog - cabin john bluegrass

Mrs. Beach playing mandolin with Cabin John

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