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Category Archives: hammered dulcimer

posts that are designed specifically for hammered dulcimer players

Blue Water Thinking

Blue Water Thinking

by Linda Ratcliff

Creativity is a wild mind and a disciplined eye.
– Dorothy Parker


My husband and I moved this week, and we now live in our RV on Watts Bar Lake in Tennessee. We have a beautiful view of the lake, right out our back window. Actually, we’re parked on a peninsula, so we can see water from every window in the RV.

I began to wonder if the change in scenery would have any impact on my creativity, so I did some research. I found an article about how our surroundings impact creative thinking by Professor Juliet Zhu. She says that environmental factors such as color, lighting, and noise can trigger our creative thinking processes and productivity.

 

With regard to color, after in-depth research, Prof. Zhue determined that if a task is detailed and accuracy-orientated, red is more helpful. But when the main task is more creative in nature, blue is better. Her suggestion for sparking creativity is, when there is a creative task to do in your computer, change the background image on your desktop to blue skies. She calls this “Blue Sky Thinking.”

And so … I’m wondering if I apply a “Blue WATER Thinking” approach to my practicing, would there be a similar effect? I’m going to stand in front of the dulcimer with my hammers at attention, look outside at our beautiful view of the blue water, and see what happens. Anyone want to make a prediction?

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

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Original Music on DulcimerCrossing

Original Music on DulcimerCrossing

by Linda Ratcliff

Ability is what you’re capable of doing.
Motivation determines what you do.
Attitude determines how well you do it.  


Original Tunes by Steve Eulberg

Sometimes we forget to count our blessings.  And one very BIG blessing we have at Dulcimer Crossing is Steve Eulberg.
He is our co-founder, teacher, performing artist, and song-writer.  Several of our lessons feature original tunes by Steve. 

Plus, ALL but 15 of the backing tracks for Premium Members are original tracks.

I think my favorite tune of Steve’s originals is Elk in the Meadow because we have lived with elk right outside our RV.

When we spent the summer in Estes Park, every day the elk would come spend time in the meadow where we were parked and lay down for a nap. Our little dog inside would go crazy with them laying right outside her window. Sometimes the baby elk would peek in the back window to see who was making all that noise.

And now, take a listen to a song Steve wrote called (6 String) Mail Order Bride! My husband and I like to sing every chorus along with him.

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

 

 

 

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Are You Hooked on Dulcimers?

Are You Hooked on Dulcimers?

by Linda Ratcliff

Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.
– Unknown


Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” So what do you think about the most? What’s close to your heart?  For many of you – it’s all about your dulcimer and dulcimer music, dulcimer events, dulcimer friends, dulcimer accessories. Here’s a little test to check your dulci-meter.

You might be hooked on dulcimers if …

  • When you get in the car, you pop in a dulcimer CD.
  • You have a 10” 3-ring binder full of tabs for your favorite tunes.
  • Before you step out the door, you have pick up your dulcimer and play a minute or two.
  • You get cranky if you can’t find time to play your dulcimer.
  • When friends come over, they have to listen to you play your dulcimer.
  • If your spouse says, “Let’s take a trip,” you google “Dulcimer Festivals.”
  • Every time you go to a dulcimer festival, you buy more dulcimer books, accessories, and CDs.
  • The majority of (all?) your FB friends are people who play the dulcimer and you follow all the dulcimer groups.
  • If you play hammered dulcimer, you have 25 sets of hammers.
  • You’ve watched every single YouTube video with a dulcimer in it.
  • You own a mountain dulcimer, a chromatic dulcimer, a dulci-bro, a bass dulcimer, a courting dulcimer … you get the idea.
 

Now this is just my personal opinion but, as far as addictions go, this isn’t a bad one to have. But that’s because I had to answer “yes” to … well … to be honest … just about every one of those questions. I think Steve would answer “yes” to quite a few as well. What about you?

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

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Rich Chords Part 1 & 2

Rich Chords Part 1 & 2

by Linda Ratcliff & Steve Eulberg

Your life will be richer when you use rich chords. – Steve Eulberg

Recently, we uploaded a new series of lessons about how to play Rich Chords on the hammered dulcimer.

Rich chords are chords that have other notes added to them, in addition to the 3 notes that go with either the major or the minor chords. To set the stage for building rich chords, in this video Steve begins the series by explaining the basis or construction of major and minor chords.

HD Video streaming too slowly? Try the standard definition.As you work your way through Rich Chords Part 1 and Rich Chords Part 2, you will learn to identify and play major 7th chords, dominant 7th chords, 6th chords, minor 7th chords and more.

Toward the end the series, Steve applies everything we’ve learned to the old familiar tune, “You Are My Sunshine.” The arrangement in his final video of the series was my favorite – where he used dominant 7th chords to create a “bluesified” rendition of this well-known song.

As always Members of DulcimerCrossing.com have access to all of the episode in this lesson series.  Join here

 
 

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Marie’s Story

Marie’s Story

by Linda Ratcliff

How the musical score of Marie’s life was forever changed …


One of our followers, Marie, shared her personal musical journey with us, and told how playing the dulcimer has impacted her life. I was touched by her story, and got her permission to share it with all of you.  From Marie …

“I just read your story about how you grew up learning music. You are so very fortunate. I always had it in me too, but I was not allowed to play music until I married my sweet husband, Bill. He bought a piano for me while I was in college in the 70’s, so I could learn and enjoy music with our children.
I will never forget how shocked my music professor was that I signed up for “beginners piano lessons” while in college. He simply could hardly tolerate me as I struggled to learn to read the music, and I “barely” made a C just in order to pass the class (I worked very hard). As if that was not enough for him, I “stupidly” told him I was going to come back and play for him someday. He said, “I will be an old man.” This hurt me so much, and I left feeling defeated. Then I went on to my next class, cried as I told a friend how hurt I was, only to find this very nice young gentlemen was listening. He turned to me and said, “Do you want to play seriously, or for fun?” I said, “For fun, because I want to play for our children as they grow.” He said, “I will teach you,” and I started taking lessons with him and he taught me very well.

My youngest son, Keith, learned saxophone in grade/high school and I enjoyed playing with him. He died at the age of 26, and it left me so devastated that I lost all memory of how to play my piano, plus my computer skills that I had studied. I soon realized if I did not find something to do, I was not going to be able to bear life anymore. I then learned to play the mountain dulcimer, which helped me start to go on with my grief (because I could still count to 10).

Then I went to a concert, and Rick Thum was playing his HAMMERED DULCIMER. I got BIT!!! Rick gave me a learning CD, and I went all the way to Bennington, OK, and bought a beautiful Master Works HD. I began taking lessons in Mountain View, AR, and worked hard to learn my beautiful instrument.

Many times I thought about quitting because the HD was so HARD for me. I had to learn to read the notes and chords all over again — but I did not quit. I felt like God was saying: “No, you are not going to quit — I gave you a gift to help you, so keep trying.”

I now enjoy the HD very much and I’m still learning (can’t get enough). So even though I was not so fortunate at a young age, I have at least had this wonderful opportunity. By the way, I had told myself I was too old to begin … and then I said to myself, “What if I don’t try and I live to be 100? Then I will regret that I did not try.” I’m so glad I tried and stayed with it!!”

Do you have a story to share?  Please send it, if you believe it will inspire and motivate other dulcimer players, And, as always, if you have any questions, always feel free to ask Steve or myself.

Happy dulcimering,

Linda
 
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Posted by on December 13, 2017 in hammered dulcimer, subscriber news

 

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Find Somewhere Quiet

Find Somewhere Quiet

by Linda Ratcliff

It is in that quiet place at our center that we hear the whispers of our soul.
– Sue Krebs


Find somewhere quiet. This almost seems too obvious to really need to say. But it’s important.  Many of you probably have a special room, or your own corner of the living room for practicing your dulcimer. When you have a designated quiet place to practice, you will be less likely to cave in to distractions.

In addition, going to your special practice area helps prepare you mentally for getting something accomplished on your dulcimer. When preparing to perform, mindful intention at practice time is paramount, and having the ritual of going to the same place every time can help set that intention.

This is my quiet place in the RV.  Right now I’m facing a forest owned by the Corps of Engineers, and it is refreshing to look out at the beauty.  But soon my view will change, when we move to Tennessee.  I’ve Photoshopped what my view will be out the same window at sunset.  Either view is peaceful and inspiring.

Notice, my dog is always with me when I practice.  But I would rather be “home alone” without any humans around when I practice. This probably goes back to my childhood, because my father always asked me to hold off on practicing until he got out of the house. He would find something to do in his workshop when I wanted to practice the piano. Understanding this, my husband is very good about finding something to do outside when I practice.

Do you have a quiet place to practice? Is it a space where you can keep your instruments and all your accessories within easy reach?  If not, look over your home and carve one out.  If I can make a space for music in an RV that has less than 400 square feet, you can find a place too.

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

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Trust Your Practice

Trust Your Practice

by Steve Eulberg

While at Camp Kiya at Tehachapi Mountain Park, Steve records the following tip for Habits for Your Healthy Music Habitat.

This is part of a weekly email video benefit that our Premium Members at DulcimerCrossing receive.  Subscribe and you can receive it, too!

 

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