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The Perfect Wrong Note

The Perfect Wrong Note

by Linda Ratcliff

If you ever strum the wrong note, or strike the wrong string with your
hammers …  just tell them you were playing the jazz version.
– Linda Ratcliff


The Perfect Wrong Note

My 16-year-old grandson plays the saxophone in his band at school, and he was telling me about trying out last week for the school jazz band. All the kids waiting for their turn were troubled by one note in the arrangement – an Eb. They thought if they could just play that note 1/2 step higher, it would sound perfect. But it was the wrong note.  

I could relate. I’ve been working on a new arrangement for “God Bless the USA” on my hammered dulcimer, to share around the 4th of July. I usually work out my arrangements by ear, rather than reading printed material, and there have been times that I had to test several different chords in a measure before I found the right one.

But now and then, the wrong chord actually sounds pretty good. If possible, I’ll include it in the arrangement, and play that chord as an arpeggio (with a series of “wrong notes”) before progressing to the chord with the notes you expected to hear. It makes a beautiful variation, and the audience enjoys hearing a familiar tune with a new slant.

If you’re playing with a group, or with others at a jam session, you’ll need to stick with the correct notes. But when you’re playing by yourself, be adventuresome. Learn to trust your musical side, and test alternate notes, chords, and rhythms for the old familiar tunes. Sometimes the wrong note can be just perfect.


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

Happy dulcimering,
Linda

 

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July 4th Special!

July 4th Special!

As we get nostalgic for the old days, here at DulcimerCrossing.com we are hosting a 4-days Special for New Members!

July 4th New Members Special! from DulcimerCrossing on Vimeo.

Click on the image below to take advantage of this offer!

July 4th Special 2017

(For New Members Only.)

 

When I am frustrated with my progress, (or lack of it)….

When I am frustrated with my progress, (or lack of it)….

…This quote from Judy Klinkhammer comes to mind:

“What a curse it is,
that the only thing you ever do
is exactly what you choose to do.”

– Judy Klinkhammer

Judy was an amazing fixture in the community of Mountain View, Arkansas, bringing and treasuring the mountain dulcimer in this northeast corner of the Ozark mountains.  She loved equipping absolute beginners AND singing harmony.  She was an indefatigable encourager, but as her wisdom shows, she knew that the impetus for playing must always come from the student.

Hearts of the Dulcimer Podcast features a two-episode series about her musical life that is very enjoyable.

—Quoted by Jonathan Dowell to Amber Rogers   2.22.17

From Habits from the Muse, a weekly resource for Inspiration and Creativity.  Subscribe here.

Watch and listen to Judy Sing:

 

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Busted & Rusted

Busted & Rusted

by Linda Ratcliff

Practice will clean up the rust and put the shine back in your playing.
– Linda Ratcliff


Busted & Rusted

Call me old-fashioned, but I love old things with a bit of rust on them. Sometimes we wander into antique stores, and I always gravitate to the instrument section. I wonder about who owned the instruments, how they ended up in the store in such bad condition, and whether or not I could restore one of them.

Some of you may recognize the guitar below – its name is Trigger and it belongs to Willie Nelson. The frets are so worn it’s a wonder any tone emerges at all. The face is covered in scars, cuts, and autographs scraped into the wood. Next to the bridge is a giant hole that looks like someone took a hammer to it.

 

Is restoration possible? I don’t think Willie would want to. When asked about his guitar, Willie said, “Trigger’s like me, old and beat-up.” Willie knows every square centimeter of Trigger, and even though Willie has had carpal tunnel surgery on his left hand, a torn rotator cuff, and a ruptured bicep – he still plays like a pro. Trigger may be old and busted, but Willie’s musical skills have not rusted.

What about yours? Have you set your dulcimer aside, to grow old all by itself in the corner? Instead of giving it the cold shoulder, you should pick up your instrument and start practicing again. I think about 90% of playing an instrument is mental – you just need to get your fingers moving again. You will be able work the rust out and put the shine back in your playing – sooner than you imagine.


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

Subscribe to DulcimerCrossing.com to get access to all of the lessons, from the convenience of your own computer or tablet in the comfort of your own home at the time of your choosing!

 

Don’t Take It Personally

Don’t Take It Personally

by Linda Ratcliff

Don’t let compliments go to your head, and don’t let criticism go to your heart.


 

In today’s culture, people feel free to say whatever is on their mind, whether it will hurt someone’s feelings or not.  If you ever get negative feedback about your dulcimer playing, it can feel like a personal attack. Sometimes it’s very hard for musicians to separate themselves from their work. (And yes, you ARE a musician.  It hurts because we put our heart and soul into our music, no matter if we are beginners or quite advanced.

Get Some Distance.            

The last thing you need to do is keep rehashing the criticism over and over in your mind.  

If you find yourself feeling hurt by something said, just put it out of your mind. Don’t let words drag you down, or make you quit playing. Shake it off.
Learn From It.                  

Once the sting has worn off, ask yourself if there is anything you can learn from this critique. Maybe there is an area of your practicing that you have been neglecting, that you should be working on. Proverbs 28:23 (NLT) says “In the end, people appreciate honest criticism far more than flattery.”

Look To Your Idols.

Go ahead, pull up YouTube and find your favorite artist (can be ANY genre). Now scroll through the comments. Yikes, did you find any nasty remarks? Every musician faces criticism at some  point.

Brush It Off.

Don’t let cruel words have power over you and your state of mind.  You never know what people are going through personally.  Maybe they just had a rough day.

You Can’t Please Everyone.

Guess what!  Even JESUS couldn’t please everyone.  But He never let that slow Him down.  Don’t let anyone steal your joy in playing.  Just keep on keepin’ on … and you’ll do just fine.  

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

Happy dulcimering,
Linda

Subscribe to DulcimerCrossing.com to get access to all of the lessons, from the convenience of your own computer or tablet in the comfort of your own home at the time of your choosing!

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2017 in lessons, subscriber news

 

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Squire Parsons new Hammered Dulcimer Lesson by Linda Thomas

Squire Parsons new Hammered Dulcimer Lesson by Linda Thomas

Linda Thomas has provided us with a new lessons series for hammered dulcimer players featuring a tune by the blind Irish harper, Turlough O’CarolanSquire Parsons.

Linda’s introduction and demonstration video is above.

Subscribe to DulcimerCrossing in order to have access to all (15) fifteen videos in this lesson set.

 

Introducing New Fiddle Instructor

Introducing New Fiddle Instructor

by Steve Eulberg & Linda Ratcliff

DulcimerCrossing is pleased to introduce our newest instructor: Vi Wickam  (Learn more about Vi on the Teacher’s Page or click on the video below:

ViIntoCover

Vi Wickam is a 3rd generation fiddler from Colorado. He has finished in the finals at the Grand Master Fiddling Championship and has also taught there. Together with Steve Eulberg, he is the other half of the band, Fiddle Whamdiddle. He is also the host and owner of mytalentforge.com which features in-depth fiddle lessons, guitar (and some dulcimer lessons by Steve.) Click HERE to see Vi’s introductory video.

Vi is starting off by teaching several of the fiddle tunes that were recorded on the Old School Old-Times albumn by Fiddle Whamdiddle.
Fiddle Whamdiddle
Are you saying, “I know what a fiddle is but what is a whamdiddle?”  The whamdiddle is a slang name for the hammered dulcimer; “hog fiddle” is a slang name for the mountain dulcimer, both are traditional American folk instruments.  Together with the fiddle they make for a porch-picking, knee-slapping good time.

 

To purchase the CD only

To purchase the Book

To purchase the Downloadable Book & CD Combo
Here is the list of the fiddle lessons uploaded so far.

 

 

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