Mary Lynn Michal (formerly van Deventer)
OK, Sandbridge Community. We have a situation. We have 23 new students coming to Sandbridge for the first time ever in "Newbie Week". Veterans, do you remember your first Sandbridge? Do you care to share some encouraging words to help calm nerves? Maybe something like "you don't have to know it all". Or mention how much fun we have. There is an epidemic growing through students. Let's calm the panic. GO!
My advice is to practice chords until you do not have to think about how to play nor what notes to play.
Relax and enjoy. Both Ken and Mary Lynn are unbelievably helpful, understanding, and supportive. Be open to a wild week full of new friendships, great food, games, and dolphins
Oh, yeah... and MUSIC!
Barb Garnett And cookies!!!!!
The “Power of Music “ and support is what makes Sandbridge special. It is challenging but that is how ya learn. Participants really help each other. I may answer a question wrong, but at least I’m trying to make my playing better. You will have a wonderful time.
MaryLynn, you were once a first-timer! Would you like to share YOUR experience?
Mary Lynn Michal
Ken Kolodner ok, fair enough. My memories of my first SB (for those of you were there and had to watch it first hand, my apologies, and don’t bother reading my post!): I remember standing outside on the beach at the end of the week and Ken walked up and said, “So, do you think you would come back to SB?” I said NO! He asked why and I confessed that I couldn’t play a single tune he taught that week! Unrealistic expectation #1! I also made a rookie mistake of, how shall I say this, not sleeping at all! I stayed up every night trying to learn all he had taught that day. Not a good idea! I have Mary Ann Blair to thank for getting me through the week! Lots of chats on the deck with a cup of coffee while she drew out strange shapes on a napkin! I guess you get the picture. Hint: you ALL belong at SB, no matter how much you know or don’t know. You are in for a wonderful week! Don’t feel like you need to master it all and get a good night’s sleep AFTER jamming, of course!
Thanks for the encouragement. I’m looking forward to it! Now even more so.
Mary Ann Blair
Remember that everyone learns at their own pace. MaryLynn Van Deventer and I were first timers at Sandbridge at the same time! I helped her with a few things. But I still go to week one and she helps Ken. Obviously, she practices A LOT MORE than me! But we had so much fun! By the way, I just pulled out Return From Fingal. Not sure when Ken taught it but I couldn’t play it. Today I just sat down and played the arrangement with little problem. I saw the chord progression, the descending and ascending baseline and how it all fit together!
Nervous? Who is spreading these rumors. A week on a lovely beach front property with a friendly group. Great food and lovely people. And pina Kolodners.
Holly Williams Czt
My first Sandbridge experience last year (one of many, I hope) was just FUN! Absolutely no pressure to “perform” or prove yourself. Just show up and be ready to be inspired and energized. (And the chocolate chip cookies are to die for!)
This community is super supportive. I have dear friends made that i I would never have otherwise met. It is just fun! Just listen, accept help if needed, and take it home with you. It will eventually sink in little by little. Food is fantastic, beach is beautiful and whole experience is wonderful.
I agree with what has been said. just show up with an open mind and an attitude open to learning something new. Don't set yourself up by trying to be 'ready'. It's a week of learning....the whole point is to go and learn. And then the most important...have fun! Look for the dolphins, meet new people and enjoy the awesome food!!!
Bob Flory And make swell friends
Cathy Stieff Gotschall
Just remember that it’s all about the joy of making music - not about how well you play or how quickly you learn. You don’t have to learn it all in one week - order the DVD of the tunes from Laurie McCarriar and enjoy the challenge of new tunes with the security that anything that you’re having trouble with will be on the DVD and you can take it to the woodshed later, in the privacy of your own home. Relax and enjoy a week at the beach with kindred spirits. And eat some chocolate chip cookies for me!
THERE'S A BEACH. YOU ARE LITERALLY AT A BEACH.
It's all about adjusting to expectations to reality. I learned more and had more fun when I could relax and not worry about: 1. I am the slowest person in the class; 2. Everyone else is playing better than me. 3. I don't want anyone watching me play(especially Ken or ML); 4. I don't know the answer to a question or I answered it wrong(even more frustrating is when you do know the correct answer but your brain doesn't catch up to your mouth.)
Roxann Smith - it is of course totally normal to think of all that. But it sure is much easier to focus when you turn off ALL of the doubts and self-criticism and focus on learning! EVERYONE has to learn to do this. I love this comment Roxann!
Ken Kolodner - I was editing this comment to add some more info and it all just disappeared when your comment popped up. I'll add more later. Off to take Linda Friedmann to the airport. But everyone: have a sense of humor.
I went to my first Sandbridge 5 weeks after breaking my hip, so add that to all the insecurities & impossible expectations I had of myself! And I had a wonderful time. I can’t ever go in the spring but Week 1 SBers in the fall are the BEST. Everyone, especially ML & Ken, is incredibly kind, generous & supportive. Lesson #1 (which I haven’t mastered yet, but I’m working on it) is to be equally kind & supportive of myself. Just open up and enjoy. You’ll have a blast.
As one of the original from the beginning old timers who wouldn't think of missing a year.... I thought I’d chime in. The Sandbridge experience has evolved considerably and wonderfully over all these years...my first time experience will have been quite different from those of you starting today. (Remember cassette tapes? Mini disc players? I have a pile from those early years that would make for an interesting ”archeological” Ken study).
My advice, as others have said, just come ready to learn and to enjoy in a zillion ways with a great group of folks who are all there to do the same thing! We share a love and desire to play this special instrument and want to learn and progress at whatever level we are at....and have fun in the process! The fun part is most important I believe, no matter how challenging it may be at times. The bar is always moving.... we will never be as good as we want to be, or as diligent as we planned in our practice (well ML excluded), or as capable as we wish in on-the-fly playing, as comfortable and in command as we wished performing... and on and on. Hard sometimes to see and good to remind ourselves of all the progress we HAVE made. The moving bar is a good thing...always more cool stuff, great tunes, people to play with etc to work towards.
Me personally... I have left every great Sandbridge week over the years with renewed enthusiasm and absolute resolve to tackle certain things on my long to-do list as well as learn all the tunes and all the backup! I return each next time falling WELL short of my goals. The reality of life, work, family, inertia, travel....(getting distracted learning guitar haha) all kick in. I have been playing and working on what I am able, recent years jamming as much as I can to keep working on that weakness etc.... but not backsliding too much over the years is often the best I can claim lately.
You all won’t do that I am sure....not on ML and Ken’s watch for sure... but I share just to reassure anyone new that there is no magic test or level of preparedness you must pass or anything to prove to yourself or others before you come or while there. (If so I’d have been voted off the island long ago.) Have a wonderful week taking in as much as you can, and give yourself permission to relax and enjoy the full experience and wonderful comrades knowing you’ve got video lessons to return to and work on as you are ready throughout the year! Enjoy a great week!
I was pretty overwhelmed at my first Sandbridge in Week 1 in 2018. But one of the old timers told me at the Sunday crab fest that she certainly felt overwhelmed at first, but just relax and don't expect to even come close to absorbing everything right away. That certainly made me feel better (thank you, Jan Young!).
It is also important to recognize what kind of learner you are. It takes me longer than many others, but that's okay. I also have made peace with the fact that I will never have the energy level of Ken or ML. After a lesson lasting 3 hours, I just accept the fact that my brain has basically shut down and I just keep my recorder running.
Finally, I really appreciate that you are encouraged but not pressured to perform on Wednesday night. I wanted to, but just couldn't work up the nerve
Ken told me I could play later in the week if I wanted to. So finally on Friday afternoon I played Crested Hens and everyone was very supportive.
For me, most of the learning seems to take place after I'm home and can practice the new tunes myself, and let what I've learned kind of settle into my brain and ears. I'm the kind of person who wants to learn it all right now, and perfectly....haha, I had to learn to leave that behind! The real fun is in the journey, watching yourself grow, and leaving expectations behind. In the process, you'll not only learn a lot, but make new friends that you just can't wait to get back and see again next year!
I would echo much of what is being said. This is an "experience"! Enjoy the learning new music and techniques from Ken, enjoy some new food choices from the Sandbridge chef, enjoy your fellow students. I will put in a plug for purchasing Laurie's CD compilation of the week's music and lessons. Your bucket (AKA your brain) will be overflowing at the end of the week and the CD's help to bring back Ken's lessons in the quiet of your own home. Lessons with MaryLynn also are positive reinforcement of Ken's lessons. You are not on your own. There is all kinds of help - just reach out and ask.