Chapter one is way too hard in most music books! And sometimes for the smallest reasons.
Tomorrow my challenge will be creating a pre-chapter-one lesson for a new mandolin student. She's a total newbie, and she's excited to play some little Italian songs. Chapter one in the mandolin world always leans heavily on how to hold a pick: how to go down up down up with the pick; choose a thin one or a thick; hold it loose, hold it tight, stand up, sit down, fight fight . . .
And I don't want to fight the mandolin. I want to have fun, and so does my student. So I'm going to borrow a page from the uke world and start with just plain finger or thumb. And when her arm will strum down and up, we'll grab a pick and see if we can hold on. And when she goes home to practice, she'll have the option of playing barefoot or of climbing into her high-heel shoes.