Why is Playing with a Group Important?

29 Mar
Why is Playing with a Group Important?

by Linda Ratcliff

You are not alone in the world.  You are part of an ensemble.
– Rich Mullins


Why is Playing with a Group Important?

Let me introduce to you my daughter-in-law, Mary Ratcliff. Mary has been teaching private piano lessons for over 25 years. She also is the Worship team coordinator for her church – she plans the music and makes sure all the musicians have what they need for worship on Sunday mornings.

We spent Christmas week with their family, and I asked Mary what advice she would offer our dulcimer students. She said she could not stress enough the importance of getting out there and playing with others.

Mary Ratcliff

Here are some of the reasons that she shared.

    • Playing with others will challenge you to achieve new skill levels. For example, you might think you’ve been keeping a good steady rhythm pattern. But when you play with a group, you may discover you’ve been speeding up for the easy parts and slowing down for the hard parts.
    • If you prefer to play backup chords rather than the melody, playing with others will help develop your ear for hearing the chord progressions.
    • Instead of being a one-man-show, playing in a group will help you develop musicianship as you learn to blend in by adjusting dynamics and tone balance, and develop a spirit of cooperation and camaraderie with the others.
    • While we may spend many hours practicing and mastering our own instrument, the best memories of making music are always of making music with others.
    • You may find yourself extremely bored and stop practicing – if you choose to play your dulcimer music alone, behind closed doors, without any involvement other than with your teacher or the Dulcimer Crossing videos.
  • Finally, Mary sees a spiritual value to playing music with others – as it is a practical picture of how the body of Christ should look. 1 Corinthians 12:20-21 says we are many members but one body, and no one is more important than another. Each person has something specific to contribute, and there is no room for self-pride or promoting yourself.
Berkeley Dulcimer Orchestra
Berkeley Dulcimer Orchestra

How long has it been since you attended a jam session or played with a group? It’s time to pack up your instrument and get going! 

As always, if you have any questions, always feel free to ask Steve or myself.


Posted by on March 29, 2018 in subscriber news


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5 responses to “Why is Playing with a Group Important?

  1. Jk J

    March 29, 2018 at 11:11 pm

    So true! I am out in California for a while and playing with the Santa Barbara Ukulele Club – about 50 members strong! Fun! –Kendra

    On Thu, Mar 29, 2018 at 2:48 PM, dulcimercrossing wrote:

    > Steve Eulberg posted: “by Linda Ratcliff You are not alone in the world. > You are part of an ensemble. – Rich Mullins Why is Playing with a Group > Important? Let me introduce to you my daughter-in-law, Mary Ratcliff. Mary > has been teaching private piano lessons for over” >

  2. Steve Eulberg

    March 29, 2018 at 11:18 pm

    How cool for you, Kendra! Send photos of the joy!! Steve

  3. Ken and Sandra

    April 1, 2018 at 8:51 am

    Hello, my name is Sandie Hudson. I am a relatively new hammered dulcimer player and have recently taken over as editor of the Nonsuch Dulcimer Club newsletter . I have just latched on to dulcimer crossing and find the articles very interesting. I was wondering if you would give your consent to allow me to use part of your recent article (about playing with a group) in the newsletter? It is just the sort of information that our readers would find helpful. Yours hopefully Sandie Hudson

    • Steve Eulberg

      April 1, 2018 at 2:28 pm

      Hi Sandie, thanks for reaching out!

      That article was written by Linda Ratcliff and I believe she will give you her permission. I will check with her and get back to you! Steve Eulberg

    • Steve Eulberg

      April 6, 2018 at 3:40 am

      Hi Sandie,

      I checked with Linda who gave an enthusiastic, “Yes!” as a response! Please send us a copy when it is completed.

      (I look forward to seeing you in October at Malvern)


      Steve Eulberg


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