Five years ago I learned DJS well enough to use it for "secret writing" but that's all. Now taking up Anni and have started using a mini-cassette transcription machine for word list drill. Wish I'd used it when I started with DJS.
Back then I made the mistake Gregg warns against - I got in the habit of drawing pretty outlines instead of writing acceptable outlines fast. Had no teacher to push and didn't do it myself. Now I'm having to break the habit.
I work about 100 words at a time - I take them from the 5,000 words booklet for Anni - record them somewhere in the range of 60 wpm. I start by running the machine slower, but even then, I get hopelessly behind right away. A tap of the foot pedal brings the tape back a few words and off it goes for another pass.
Eventually, after this steady back and forth, advancing a few words at a time, I can write the batch of 100 below speed. Then repeat with full runs, advancing the speed in steps until reaching normal.
It's handy to be able to adjust the speed, but the foot pedal is the key. It makes possible long bouts of continuous practice. It's similar to how we learn new, difficult pieces in music. Lots of repetition, always pushing the tempo, with repeated short backups to master the hard parts.
An odd turn-about. The machine that helped make shorthand obsolete may be one of the best ways to learn it. At least for me.
Now that I've found where everyone went after the msn shutdown, I'm looking forward to using the machine to work on many of the dictation material folks have kindly uploaded. Thank you for making that material available. What a resource!
(by Clark for group greggshorthand)