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.
A New Year is like a blank book, and your dulcimer is in your hands. It is your chance to write a beautiful story for yourself.
By Linda Ratcliff
New Year’s Resolutions for Dulcimerists The New Year is coming up in just a few days, and now is the perfect time to make some musical resolutions! As usual, I’ve made a list of resolutions that are fun, and they will support any practical music goals you’ve set for yourself.
Establish a regular practice time. It’s not as easy as it sounds to get into a regular routine. Too often, life gets in the way and practice falls on the back burner. But try to find a window of time you can dedicate to practice.
Expand your practice time by just a little. If you normally practice about 20 minutes, try playing for 30 minutes. If you play for 30 minutes, consider playing for 45 minutes. You will see very steady growth in your skills.
Start taking lessons, or start AGAIN. There are so many benefits to having a music teacher, If you feel like you’ve come to a dead end, gone about as far as you can go, find a teacher in your area or join Dulcimer Crossing for online lessons.
Explore new repertoire. We all have a few favorites when it comes to music genres. But if you always play pieces that sound the same, it can slow down your progress. Step outside the box. Try learning to play the blues, classical music, or bluegrass.
Play more with others. Jamming with a small group of peers gives you extra practice. In addition, you will probably get some valuable feedback – especially if there are sections that are tripping you up.
NO MORE SELF-JUDGMENT! Your fear of making mistakes is holding you back. Connect with your music, and don’t worry about who might be listening.
The sky is the limit when it comes to learning to play your dulcimer. Whatever resolutions you decide to make, the hardest part will be sticking to them. We believe in you! Happy resolution making, and Happy New Year!
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.
We are excited to announce a new Mountain Dulcimer Lesson Series by Bay area teacher Deborah DJ Hamouris. Deborah teaches at the famed Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley and is the Director of the annual Berkeley Dulcimer Gathering which takes place in May.
In this lesson, Deborah takes us beyond playing melody only with a drone. You will be playing melody, harmony, and ornaments – and she calls this the 3D Method.