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Category Archives: lessons

Posts about dulcimercrossing lessons, free stuff, learning mountain and hammered dulcimers

Chopin’s Raindrop Prelude for dulcimer!

Chopin’s Raindrop Prelude for dulcimer!

by Steve Eulberg

I’ve always been drawn to this lovely prelude by Frederic Chopin, and being able to arrange it and play it on mountain dulcimer feels awesome!

I have been been hard at work filming and editing this lesson for mountain dulcimer players on DulcimerCrossing and am delighted to report that it is finally ready!

Chopin wrote this piece in the key of Dflat, and I am playing it in that key, tuning everything 1/2 step lower to Db-Ab-db, but the musical score is written in the more familiar key of D (D-A-d tuning).

This piece requires the use of the 1+ or 1-1/2 fret for the C Part, and a couple of bent notes.

As always, you can access all of the lessons in this series by subscribing to DulcimerCrossing here.

 

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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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Papa-Daughter Concert Window Highlight

Papa-Daughter Concert Window Highlight

by Steve Eulberg

Back when I gave my daughter a Backyard Dulcimer kit for Christmas when she was five, I don’t even think I could have imagined the joy that playing a full concert set together would bring to this Papa’s heart!

Recently we gave an Advent concert on Concert Window and this is the highlight video of one of our family’s favorite tunes:  Mary & the Baby (Sweet Lamb)  [My $25 Patrons have access to the entire archive video of the concert on Patreon]

This traditional tune was collected in Texas where it was part of the Christmas Watch tradition of singing through the night until the dawn broke on Christmas morning.

twasmooncovMy recording of it on ‘Twas in the Moon of Wintertime is also featured in one of my Advent Daily Devotions for Day 17 of Advent.

I also teach a Mountain Dulcimer Lesson of this tune on DulcimerCrossing.com which you can see previewed here.

Kaitlin chose to paint that dulcimer a vivid hot pink color (a choice which she has alternately embraced and by which she’s been embarrassed at different ages).  But it is a profound joy to share something which is near and dear to my heart with someone who is near and dear to my heart, and who has employed this love of her own in her work as a hospital chaplain.

 

 

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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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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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