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OK, my typing skills aren't ruined, but practicing the mandolin has worsened them. At least temporarily. So everyone who voted for "worsened" in my previous poll gets a point for the correct answer. In addition to a point, yarbiedoll gets a bonus point for pretty much explaining why.

It seems that the callouses I'm developing on my left hand -- specifically the three middle fingers on my left hand -- are really playing havoc with my ability to know when I'm hitting a key when I type. I've been a touch-typer since before high school. It's only in the past couple of weeks that I've noticed how much my sense of touch is actually used while typing -- I hadn't thought about it much before, but I would have assumed that touch typing was more about finger position than sense of touch, which seems not to be the case for me. When I type now, I'm hitting the keys with my left had before I seem to register that I'm hitting the keys. I've noticed more instances of being "off by one" and hitting multiple keys at a time since I've been practicing my mandolin.

I fully expect this trend to reverse once I get more used to my newly-formed callouses. I expect that mandolin playing will improve my typing much like piano playing improved my typing when I used to play a lot of piano, for the same reason meep mentioned -- my fingers are becoming more limber and strong. Once I get used to the sensitivity issue, I fully expect my left hand to fly across the keyboard as I type.

Anyway, I've got my fourth mandolin lesson this afternoon. I'm still loving it. So far, I've been learning basic treatments of traditional tunes: The Girl I Left Behind, Liberty, and Soldier's Joy. Last week, Jeff even added a double-stop for a couple of the notes in Soldier's Joy to dress it up a little bit. He also mentioned that we'll be going back to some of the tunes that we're learning now and making them fancier as I get better. All in all, it's loads of fun. I'm finally at the point where I know a handful of chords and can transition between them well enough to provide reasonable accompaniment, which is nice. I'm looking forward to getting together with some friends and jamming a bit. Mrs. Mellow and I already do a bit of that -- mandolin and flute sound pretty cool together, as does mandolin and piano.

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
meep
Mar. 10th, 2004 06:15 am (UTC)
Guitar, even when I was getting calluses, did not make my typing worse. That might be a function of the size of my fingertips overall, and what keyboard I use. It's a nice big Apple keyboard -- no mini-keys for me! My finger tips sit in the little wells in the keys. I'm not reaching for the number keys too often, though, which always pulls my alignment off.

drmellow
Mar. 10th, 2004 06:25 am (UTC)
Yeah, I never had this problem with guitar. I think a contributing factor may be the fact that the mandolin is double-stringed, so I'm pressing down two strings (even though they're relatively thin strings) at a time each time I fret a note. So, maybe my calluses are wider? Or shaped differently? Or something. Whatever it is, my left hand isn't sure how to type anymore.
tldz
Mar. 10th, 2004 06:46 am (UTC)
If you hadn't been playing much guitar before you started playing mandolin, Then I would expect an initial decrease in typing accuracy due to the increased stress on your left hand. At some point, your hand would get used to the new load and then your accuracy should build back up again, hopefully past where it was before, or maybe you'd get the accuracy back to prior levels and additional speed. I wonder what right-hand effects you're having though? and how do left and right hand proficiencies interact?
drmellow
Mar. 10th, 2004 11:20 am (UTC)
Yeah, I had been slack in my guitar playing -- only pulling it out in spurts. I expect to be back to normal, if not improved, in a few weeks. I haven't really noticed anyting with my right hand yet. I have to concentrate more on my picking pattern with my left hand than I ever did on the guitar, so there's a lot more thought that goes into my right hand mechanics.

Regardless, I'm having loads of fun learning the mandolin.
ccohoon
Mar. 10th, 2004 06:23 am (UTC)
I fully expect my left hand to fly across the keyboard as I type.

That's interesting you said that. Every now and then I'll type with only one hand. I'm significantly better with my left hand than my right hand. I wonder if it has anything to do with guitar and banjo. But in the same vein I would think that my right hand would be stronger, because I heavily favor that on keyboard instruments.
estherchaya
Mar. 10th, 2004 09:17 am (UTC)
specifically the three middle fingers on my left hand

you have three middle fingers? No wonder you're so good at the finger game!
drmellow
Mar. 10th, 2004 11:15 am (UTC)
ppphhhhtttt!!!
ccohoon
Mar. 10th, 2004 09:45 am (UTC)
mandolin practice
Have you tried to play guitar recently (since practicing mandolin regularly)? I remember when I first picked up the banjo my guitar playing went downhill real fast. Eventually it came back, but there was a time I had to consciously think about what I was doing. I'm wondering if the same thing happened to you.
drmellow
Mar. 10th, 2004 11:17 am (UTC)
I haven't picked up a guitar since I started my mandolin lessons. Kind of intentionally -- I don't want to confuse myself until I get a better grasp on the mandolin. We'll see how it goes when I pick the guitar back up.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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