A performing, touring acoustic musician, Steve co-owns DulcimerCrossing.com and teaches on that site. He also teaches guitar and baritone ukelele at [my]talentforge.com and several styles and levels of guitar at JamPlay.com.
The key to success is so simple … just practice and then practice some more.
We have another new lesson ready for you this week – this time for our hammered dulcimer players. The tune is known by the name of the person who played it, Sarah Armstrong.
Sarah Gray Armstrong (3/18/1883 – 8/12/1957) was a well-known fiddle player in Pennsylvania. She began playing the fiddle when she was five, and learned most of her tunes from her uncle and father who were also accomplished musicians.
Here is the last video in this lesson series, with Steve Eulberg playing it up to speed with ornamentations.
If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.
How Many Dulcimers is TOO Many Dulcimers? I recently watched a video in which Vince Gill talked about his collection of antique Martin guitars. He has still quite an impressive array of guitars, although he lost 50 in the Nashville flood of 2010. But, of all the rare and valuable guitars in his collection, he said the guitar he treasures the most is his father’s guitar (shown in the photo). >
Watching the video reminded me of my own obsession with instruments. It’s an addiction … I’m always wanting one more. It’s difficult to look at the posts put up on the dulcimer groups’ FB pages that show photos of another dulcimer up for sale, or one that someone just finished building. They just fan that flame of desire and I find myself mentally checking my finances and the space left in my home.
But how many dulcimers is too many dulcimers? I already own a 1995 Master Works hammered dulcimer, a beautiful mountain dulcimer and picking stick – both built byJerry Wright, a Yamaha guitar, two harmonicas, and a ukulele. What more could a girl want?
Well, I think I really need a resonator dulcimer (dulci-bro) and a baritone mountain dulcimer. We offer lessons at DulcimerCrossing for both of these, so I could learn to play them! I would like to have a backpack hammered dulcimer that would be easier to carry around. And I’ve been without a keyboard for 10 years now, ever since we started living full-time in an RV. We’re back in a home finally, so there’s space for one now.
Here’s what I think.
If I’m content to just mess around with a variety of instruments for fun, the only limit I might have would be my finances. But I need to be careful that I don’t personify that old phrase “Jack of all trades, master of none.” Now you won’t ever hear me say, “I’ve mastered the hammered dulcimer.” I can always see where I need to work more on certain techniques. But the spirit behind the words holds true. If I have too many things on my plate, i.e. too many instruments hanging on my wall, then I might not actually get anywhere with any of them.
I’d love to hear from you! What do you think? How many dulcimers or instruments do you own? Do you actually play them, or are they just a good conversation starter when folks come over to visit?
Vi Wickam has provided us with a new lesson on DulcimerCrossing.com for the Fiddle Series. He and Steve play the tune at the Swingfingers studio above while recording for their duo, Fiddle Whamdiddle’s debut CD Old School Old-Time
Cold Frosty Morning is a wonderful old tune in a minor mode. Take a look at Vi’s Demonstration here.
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We see the trophies, not the sweat. We see the diplomas, not the years of study and homework. We see outstanding performances, not the hours and hours of practice.
by Linda Ratcliff
The Iceberg Illusion I came across this illustration and it really resonated in my heart. There is this glamour around success that seems to appear when you have “made it.” Although I work behind the scenes – writing newsletters, uploading lessons, and answering student inquiries, the rest of our Dulcimer Crossing teachers are “out there” in the public eye – teaching workshops, leading jams at festivals, or performing in concerts. We all look up to them, admire their skill, and dream of the day we can play as well as they do.
Our teachers performing at the Colorado Dulcimer Festival The iceberg illusion would have you believe our teachers never went through failure, never struggled, never felt discouraged. They seem to play with ease, flying through sections of tunes we STILL haven’t mastered at top speed. And they appear to be totally relaxed, not at all nervous, actually very comfortable when playing in front of a crowd.
How do they do that???
The truth is, their success has probably only come after challenges, days of discouragement, and even failures. They have learned the hard way that there are no short cuts, and there is no such thing as an overnight success. Our teachers have spent years developing their skills, practicing for hours, staying up nights developing material for workshops or private lessons. They have put in a lot of time and hard work, with dedication and self-discipline. This is the glue that holds it all together.
If you’re struggling, feeling discouraged, perhaps thinking you’re never going to succeed in playing through a tune without mistakes, don’t give up. Think of the iceberg! And keep building your repertoire – one tune at a time.
and comfort for the picking hand (demonstrated by the right) … while the fingering hand (demonstrated by the left) moves in a predictable pattern between chords.
We will be using Beethoven’s familiar Ode to Joy as our Theme.
It is said that it takes 21 days to ingrain a new habit, and there are 30 days in the month of April.
We’ll EMBED this habit for good in 30!
What do you get?
(32) different Fingerstyle Exercises Demonstrated in a Video, with a pdf handout, and an Audio demonstration tracks, each delivered every day.
At the end of the class you get an interactive PDF Workbook with all of the Class Materials, a zip file of all the audio files and access to the video archive.
You have all of the exercises, because of your daily practice, wired into your hands, ready to play any song that you decide to play.
How do you access these lessons?
There is a new lesson posted in the Patron Feed on Patreon for your special tier of sponsorship AND Daily delivery to your inbox.
Once a week Zoom Webinars (Sundays 4/7, 4/14, [SATURDAY 4/20 at 2-3 pm PDT] and 4/28 from 1 -2 pm PDT) You can record these on your computer for future reference.
Email consultation–ask the questions which arise. I’ll get back to you with responses as soon as I can.
Upload your video for comment and guidance
Continue your New Year’s Resolution and use this class to keep it!
Is this Class for me?
It IS for if you are frustrated with your stop-and-start, or 1-step-forward, 2-steps-back “progress.”
It IS for you if you are ready to dedicate 10-20 minutes a day, EACH day in April, to develop the skills that have been eluding you.
There is a Limit of 25 Students so that I can give each student the attention they need and deserve.
It is only offered in April, so the successful student will be able to dedicate the time and attention to invest in their fingering skill development for just ONE MONTH, with results that continue for years. There is a Limit of 25 Students so that I can give each student the attention they need and deserve.
We are excited to announce that we have a new Fiddle Lesson posted on DulcimerCrossing.com. The 8th of January is a tune that was written to celebrate and commemorate Andrew Jackson’s victory over the British in the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812.
This tune appears on Steve & Vi’s Fiddle Whamdiddle recording Not My Monkey. (The mountain dulcimer lesson is on the production list for recording.)
In the 1936 Jimmy Driftwood was teaching high school in the Ozark mountains of his home state of Arkansas and he wrote lyrics and set them to this tune in order to interest his students in learning history. The Battle of New Orleans won the 1960 Grammy Award for Song of the Year.
Jimmy Driftwood’s commercial success helped to bring resources to the northeast corner of the state of Arkansas and established the Ozark Folk Center with its Ozark Opry Stage in Mountain View, AR. (Steve has performed on that stage and taught for several festivals there.)
Watch Vi’s introduction above and subscribe to DulcimerCrossing.com to have access to all of the episodes in this lesson set.