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.
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.
As we’ve been watching all the dulcimer groups on Facebook, we have noticed the same question keeps popping up everywhere.
People who are new to playing the dulcimer, and those who have just moved to a new community, are looking for a dulcimer club to join. Since EverythingDulcimer.com is no longer active, our handy list for finding clubs has gone away.
And so we have made it our personal mission to create a complete and up-to-date list of all the dulcimer clubs in existence – not only in the United States, but also worldwide.
You will see that we have listed as many clubs as we know about so far, but hesitate to also post the contact details as the information we have may not be current.
To publish accurate contact information, we have included a form on the Dulcimer Clubs page so you can send us the correct information for your group.
It is best if you have a public “face” to which we can link. If you could provide the link to your webpage or Facebook page, that would most suitable. However, if you don’t currently have this set up for your club, we are requesting your permission to upload an updated name, phone number, and email address as the contact information for your club.
We have already made great progress with the page for Texas (since Linda lives there), so you could click on that state to see our vision for how the finished pages will look.
Any help you can give us with getting this worthwhile project off the ground surely will be appreciated.
Your Thanksgiving dinner will not be complete without sharing these jokes!
What kind of music did the Pilgrims like? Plymouth Rock! Why did the guys let the sweet potato join the band? So they could have a yam session! What is the most musical part of the turkey? The drumsticks!
Have a Blessed Thanksgiving
This Thanksgiving, I have almost too many blessings to count. Being able to work with all of you who love dulcimers, and having the opportunity to share my thoughts about dulcimering every week, are definitely two of them. We appreciate the friendship and confidence you have shown in us by connecting with Dulcimer Crossing. Steve and I send our heartfelt Thanksgiving wishes across the miles from our houses to yours. May your homes be filled with laughter, happiness, and (of course) lots of dulcimer music.
How to Care for Your Instrument in Cold Weather
With the weather turning colder, have you noticed a dramatic change in your dulcimer’s tuning? Well, a stringed instrument is a living thing. Since it is made out of organic materials, the woods, strings, and glues used when it was built interact with the atmosphere around them. And while these materials certainly work together to create beautiful music, they are also responsible for the reason that stringed instruments go out of tune, especially with sudden temperature changes. Try to keep the temperature constant in the room(s) where you store your instruments.
Likewise, humidity will affect your dulcimers. Wood gains and loses moisture until it’s in sync with the air around it. When the air is humid, a piece of wood will swell as it gains moisture. When the air is dry, the wood will shrink as it loses moisture. This process happens fairly quickly with thin pieces of wood, such as dulcimer soundboards and backs, and if they get too dry, they can crack.
If you have started running the furnace already, the climate in the house may have become very dry. The widely accepted safe range for wooden musical instruments is between about 40% and 60% relative humidity. The only way to know if you’re in that range is to measure it by keeping a hygrometer near your instrument. (I found inexpensive ones on Amazon.) Also, I suggest that you consider purchasing a room and/or case humidifier for the good health of your precious instruments.
As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask Steve or myself.