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Category Archives: dulci-bro

Habits Announcement (Ends 9/30/18)

Habits Announcement (Ends 9/30/18)

“Hi, this is Steve Eulberg with another Habit for Your….

….well, it’s not exactly a Habit, it’s an announcement:

For people who are developing their Habits for a Healthy Music Habitat.

My patrons, on Patreon, have been able to support me so that I can finish this collection in a digitized fashion. Southern Harmony shape-note tunes arranged for Mountain Dulcimer Trios.

InstaSpecialOffer

And what I’m excited about is they were able to do that, and THAT let’s me get to work on the NEXT one, which is shape-note Fuguing tunes, from the Sacred Harp collection.

As a way of just thanking patrons and inviting YOU to be one of those patrons also, I want to give you a chance to get your name into the THANK-YOU PAGE of the digital book!
Of THIS one…AND…the NEXT ONE.

This is a special offer that only lasts until the end of September and I want YOU to have the chance to get in on it.

Patrons are also what help to support the creation of the Habits videos [for Your Healthy Music Habitat] and regular emails. [Habits from the Muse]

So, thank you for listening, for watching, for commenting, for suggesting ideas, and thank-you for your support.”

patreon.com/steveeulberg to sign up!

 

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How do I stay Logged In?

How do I stay Logged In?

by Steve Eulberg

At DulcimerCrossing.com we have several FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) to provide a self-service way to gain and retain access to all of the lessons we have filmed and edited for you.

One of the most often-asked questions is “How do I move from lesson to lesson without ending up outside of the site?”

The video below explains how to do this for all instruments for both Basic (yellow) and Premium (blue) memberships.

We encourage you to visit the FAQ Page to watch the other videos, too.  (They are all succinct…we value your time as you do.)

If you have other questions that you don’t see answered here, or you have suggestions to offer, or lessons that you would like to see, please contact me or Linda.

 

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Face Your Fears (at home!)

Face Your Fears (at home!)

by Linda Ratcliff

Do the thing you fear to do and keep on doing it.
That is the quickest and surest way ever yet discovered to CONQUER fear.
– Dale Carnegie

Face Your Fears (at home)!

 

It will surely happen eventually if you attend jam sessions.  The lead will go all the way around the circle and finally, to your dismay, it will be your turn.  You try to laugh it off and pass the lead on to the next person in the row, but the others won’t hear of it.  They are insisting.  It is your turn to take the lead and they want you to get started.

Even though you aren’t literally on a stage, you are immediately struck with stage fright. Your mind goes blank and you can’t even think of a tune you know. Your heart is racing, your mouth is dry, your voice is shaky, and you are blushing, trembling, and sweating all at the same time. As a matter of fact, you think you might just pass out.

To overcome your fear of leading a tune at a jam, I recommend that you practice for that moment. At home … alone. And you say, “How on earth is that going to help? There’s no pressure at home, and no consequences for mistakes. If I mess up, I can just start over again.”

Well, what if we created some consequences for errors at home too? Now, I’m not suggesting you be locked in the closet for an hour every time you play a wrong note. But there are things you can do to increase the level of tension at home, and that will get you more accustomed to playing under pressure. This process won’t eliminate mistakes you might make because you don’t know the piece well enough. But it will reduce errors you make simply because you are so nervous.

Here are suggestions that may sound silly, but I promise – they will work.

    • Play a game called “Almost Home.” Make a little game-board on a piece of paper with 4 to 8 boxes.  Name the first box “Start” and the last box “Home.” Then divide your tune into 4 to 8 phrases, matching your game-board.

      When you play through the 1st phrase perfectly, advance a coin one box. Now play phrases 1 and 2 together. If you make a mistake, you move the coin back to square ONE and start over. But if you play those two phrases perfectly, advance the coin one box, and try to play the first 3 phrases in a row … advancing the coin one box each time you succeed, but back to “Start” each time you fail. The closer you get to “Home,” the more the tension will build as you try to play the entire tune correctly and move the coin to the last box at “Home.” 

    • Set your iPad or cell phone up to make a video of yourself playing the tune you would play at a jam.  Pretend this is a video that is going to be on YouTube for 1,000’s to see.
    • Practice with and in front of another dulcimer player or family member.Play tic tac toe with that person, but you can only make a mark on the tic tac toe board if you play a section perfectly. Otherwise you miss your turn, and the opponent can fill in another box.
    • Fake it ’til you make it. Have you ever seen someone’s face when they’ve made a mistake? Even if your ear didn’t catch the wrong note, you know something happened by the horrified face. Practice playing all the way through, even if you make mistakes, but don’t flinch. Make a video of yourself to be sure you’ve succeeded.
  • Practice in the dark. One thing that often throws me off is, when the lighting is different from what I’m used to at home, I can’t see my strings. Get used to playing without having to visually monitor every move. Teach yourself muscle memory.

Well, that’s about all the ideas I can think of. Do you have any suggestions? 

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

“Try to Make ANYthing that happens…

“Try to Make ANYthing that happens…

by Steve Eulberg

…into something of Value.”

–Herbie Hancock

Jazz Pianist Herbie Hancock tells a story of something that happened when he played

a “wrong” chord during Miles Davis’ solo.

This video is from Herbie’s MasterClass.

This is some GOOD advice for more than just jazz music.  It is for ALL music.

And for life.

(Thanks to Lois Hornbostel for sharing this on Facebook!)

 

 

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Learn More from Mistakes

Learn More from Mistakes

by Linda Ratcliff

The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.
– John Powell


I Learn More from My Mistakes Than Successes.
Do You?

 
I love to play through a tune perfectly, time after time, but lets get real – in my world, that simply doesn’t happen.  I fail to play a tune perfectly more often than I succeed. But mistakes can be good. In every mistake, there is the potential for growth. They can help me, if I will just take time to do the work.  For example …

Mistakes help me to think laterally.  There may be a skip and a jump with my hammers that just isn’t working.  Repeating the same mistake over and over is just teaching my muscles to follow the wrong path.  So I usually try to think of another approach for playing the same run or chord.

Mistakes reveal my weak areas.  If we’re honest, we have to admit that we all have weak areas.  I still can’t do a smooth “multiple bounce roll” with my left hammer.  And I’ve tried.  I always have to plan my arrangements so that technique lands on the right hammer.  Wouldn’t it be better if I started developing that skill with my left hammer too?

Successfully correcting a recurring mistake builds confidence.  When I finally begin to play through a section correctly, and without slowing down through the part that was giving me a headache, I feel ready to give myself a new challenge.  I am encouraged by knowing my desired outcome is one measure or one section closer.

Mistakes build character. When we’ve “messed up” enough times, a musician can go one of two ways! We can choose to throw in the towel, pack up our instrument, and lean it in the corner. Or we can learn from the experience, gain confidence, build character, and become more of the musician that we ideally wish to be. 

I choose to keep on keepin’ on, until I can play through successfully.  How about you?

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

Happy dulcimering,
Linda

 

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Learn Something New

Learn Something New

by Linda Ratcliff

You will learn something new everyday if you pay attention.
– Ray LeBlond

Learn Something New

 

Sometimes the process of learning a new tune is sabotaged before you even begin. You allow a spirit of doom to hang over your head, because you think the piece is too difficult. You might say …

  • Part B seems complicated, and I’m looking for something easier to learn.
  • This piece is in an odd tuning (like D-G-d), and it’s a nightmare to retune.
  • This tune has hammer-ons and hammer-offs. I never did get those.
  • This song goes too fast. I’d rather learn one that’s nice and slow.
  • The rhythm is really tricky. I’ll just keep practicing songs I already know.

If you recognize any of these thinking patterns, we need to clean up your stinkin’ thinkin’.

Preconceptions can make you or break you when learning a new tune.
What if, instead of thinking the new tune is too hard, tricky, difficult, or a total nightmare … you saw the new tune as easy or a breeze to learn, and you said to yourself, “No problem!”
Learn Something New

Here are some new and TRUE preconceptions to get in your head whenever you begin a new piece.

    • All tunes are riddled with what I call “Easy Bits,” no matter how tough they might appear at first glance. Go find all the easy bits right away. Maybe even highlight them on your tablature, and see how much “yellow” paper there is.
    • Find melody or chord patterns you’ve played before, and say, “Oh, I’ve seen this before!” Call on your experience, and build on what you already know.
  • Play to your strengths. I love to learn slow tunes with long arpeggios, so I find myself choosing old-time hymns or love songs to learn. Identify your strengths and choose music that will highlight that.

Albert Einstein said, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.”

And to keep progressing musically, you must keep moving forward as well.
Be intentional in choosing music with a tricky section.
Don’t just stick with the easy tunes. 
Challenge yourself. 
One day you’ll look back and say, “I can’t believe how far I’ve come in such a short time.” 

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

Happy dulcimering,
Linda
 

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Dulcified & Amplified

Dulcified & Amplified

by Linda Ratcliff

Your success in learning to play the dulcimer is not something new.
It merely amplifies what was already inside you.
– Linda Ratcliff

Dulcified & Amplified
You’ve been playing your dulcimer for a while now, and you’ve learned how to play several tunes. Your friends have told you that you sound pretty good. So you decided to play at the local nursing home. Afterwards, you thought the mini concert went very well until the seniors gathered around. They thanked you for coming, but they also asked if you could play a little louder next time because they couldn’t hear a thing.

Oops. With a gentle-sounding instrument like the mountain dulcimer, being heard is sometimes a challenge. Unplugged mountain dulcimers don’t put out a lot of volume and seniors are often hard of hearing. That’s not a good combination for the first time you dipped your toe in the performance arena.

But there’s a solution. You just need some kind of input device to capture the sound, as well as an output device to amplify that sound … make it louder.

Input Devices

    • Microphones are by far the most common input device. They work by sensing the vibrations of the air around your instrument and turning that into an electrical signal that an amplifier can use.
    • Pickups work by directly sensing the vibrations in the instrument itself, and converting those vibrations into electricity. An “under-bridge pickup” is built directly into the bridge of your instrument. A “surface mounted pickup,” can be attached to the wood quite easily with a bit of removable adhesive, and can be moved from instrument to instrument.
  • The Direct Box is a device used to send the instrument’s signal through long lengths of cable. This device has many additional features, but can be confusing for a newbie.

Output Devices

    • The Electric Guitar Amp might be your easiest option if you know someone who already has one that you can borrow. You simply plug in and start playing. The biggest problem is that these amps are designed to also modify the sound of the instrument as well as make it louder. If you want a more natural sound, this won’t be your best choice.
    • The Acoustic Amplifier gives a very realistic sound, and there are even battery-powered models that are very handy for playing outdoors.
  • The Public Address System is recommended for a musician who plays in many different locations and needs to amplify a number of instruments. Most dulcimer players won’t need to go this route.

But that’s not all – you will also need cable, and plan to bring a little more cable than you think you’ll need. Cheap cables are a short path to disaster, so take the plunge and buy a better quality of cable right from the start. In addition, purchase a high quality extension cord to reach the power outlet.

One of the best things you can do to prepare for a public appearance is to practice at home with the sound system you have selected before going public with it. Don’t expect to be an expert right away. Ask someone to listen to you from different places in the room, to find out if you are getting static feedback or if you’ve turned up the system too high. Don’t be surprised if you have to move your mic around to get the best result. Many like the sound of their mic best somewhere in the middle of the instrument.

At DulcimerCrossing.com, Steve Eulberg offers a number of videos on the issue of sound reinforcement in a series called “So You Want to Be Heard.” He examines and demonstrates specific products and models of input devices that he has personally used. Sign up here to become a member and have access to this series and many others.  

 

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

Happy dulcimering,
Linda
 

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