Doctoring and Mandolin Lessons

        Marfar and I did the church gig this morning.  Any time we do “Leaning” I’m good.  I am partial to the old ones.  Music with your wife is downright spiritual, I tell you.  Someone asked me if I could ever get divorced and I said, “Heck, no, I’d never find that good of a bass player again.”  Seriously though, after giving me two beautiful children she ain’t got nothing to prove to me. 

        I spent my day in study of osteoporosis, nutritional deficiency, fall risk assessment and heath care screening in the older adult.  I figure I’m closing in on that age fast myself so I’d better tuck away the information in my head before I’m over at the nursing home.  Time’s a moving on you know.

        It occurred to me if I never opened a book again most of my folks might not the difference, but I would, and that is enough to keep driving me along to improve.

        It is a lot that way on the mandolin too.  I’ll never play like Darrell, but even if never learned a new lick, I’d pick up most of the local gigs and folks would never know.  Somehow I’ve never been satisfied to do things that way.

        I’ve noticed the best musicians are like that too.  I’ve known Darrell since he was a kid, and he is about like a third young-un to me.  When he was coming along, he’d tape his shows and then sit up at night and dissect out every mistake.  He was on a constant quest to improve.  He was very good to start with but it was his motivation that took him to the next level.

        My other mandolin teacher, Ben Wayne, is like that too.  The guy has been a professional musician for two decades and yet sits down with a pot of coffee in the morning and explores some new avenue of improvement.  If he quit working at it tomorrow his job would be safe.  Most folks would never realize it, and ole Dr. B could never catch up with him.  Like a good doctor, the guy still wants to learn more, and enjoys what he does.  It shows.  Well, like they say, if you love what you do you never have to go to work for a living.

        I barter out a bit of doctoring for part of my lessons and pay for some of them too.  All told though, I spend less on improving my mandolin skills every month than I do on cable T.V.  I hardly ever watch it, and get little pleasure from it when I do.  Don’t tell my teachers, but they are a bargain.  I think we are better off for investment in our fellow human beings rather than some new gadget.

        I’d better put down my books and practice “Minor Swing” for an hour.  I don’t quite have the high harmony part down yet.  I’ve got a lesson this week and I don’t know if I’ll get another chance to play when the office cranks up.  My man might get on me if I am unprepared, so I’d better go get ready.  I’ll be back mid week. 

Dr. B

Explore posts in the same categories: Philosophy

6 Comments on “Doctoring and Mandolin Lessons”

  1. pandemonic Says:

    Gosh, Dr. B. Your lessons sound more civilized than mine.

  2. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Pande,

    I think my teachers know I’m just an old guy hoping for a few more days in the sun. I want to be the best I can be, but also I figure if I miss a note, no one is gonna die.

    Dr. B

  3. pandemonic Says:

    I tell myself that too. Lord knows I’m not taking lessons to join the local philharmonic. I just want to be able to do something creative in my impending old age. 🙂

  4. drtombibey Says:


    I call my writing a creative mid-life crisis- at least it doesn’t cause any trouble. And my music has been that way a long time.

    Dr. B

  5. mrschili Says:

    I agree with you, Doc. Good (insert profession/calling here) never stop learning. If I had the money, I’d still be in college, chasing down a Master’s degree in history and probably a Ph.D. in literary criticism. Alas, I have to satisfy my need for learning through workshops, professional collaboration and teaching (I’m amazed at how much my students can teach me if my mind’s open to it).

  6. drtombibey Says:


    I saw one of my high school teachers today. The cat changed my life, ’cause at the time all I was interested in was girls, golf, guitars, and pizzas. He was the first person to make me see it was cool to be smart, and I am forever indebted to him for it.

    Dr. B

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