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Ask Questions

Ask Questions

by Linda Ratcliff

A truly wise man always has more questions than answers.
– Wilson from Home Improvements


Ask Questions

Your sub-conscious works day and night to answer any questions you ask. So asking yourself open-ended questions puts the sub-conscious to work. Answers often come “out of the blue”, as ideas or notions that you might not have had otherwise. When practicing, why don’t you put your subconscious mind to work by asking questions about your progress?  

 

Below is a series of questions you could ask yourself when practicing. You don’t need to ask them all. Just pick a few that seem relevant to you. Listen to yourself closely – maybe even record yourself – and see what answers you get.

1. How steady and even can I make my tempo?
2. Am I playing this up to speed yet?
3. Can I connect my notes better, make it smoother?
4. Can I play all the way through without any mistakes?
5. Do I find the suggested fingering easy or is there a better way for me?
6. Am I standing or sitting correctly when I play? Is my posture correct?
7. Do I know the background for this tune so I can tell the story?
8. Am I enjoying myself?

Which question do you think is the most important?

As for me, “Am I having fun? Am I enjoying myself?” is the deal-breaker.

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!
 

Natural Talent vs. Hard Work

Natural Talent vs. Hard Work

by Linda Ratcliff

Hard work beats talent … when talent doesn’t work hard.


Natural Talent vs. Hard Work

Is it possible for a person without any inherent musical talent to become skilled at playing their dulcimer? Now to clarify … a person who lacks musical talent will usually manifest the following characteristics:
  • Lacks a sense of rhythm – plays on the wrong beats.
  • Tone deaf – doesn’t notice when he/she strums or hammers the wrong notes or chords.
  • Finds it difficult to keep in step with other players.
Is that YOU?  

Talent may be overrated – especially if a person doesn’t put in sweat equity as well. I believe a person who doesn’t possess a natural instinct for music can still learn to play the dulcimer if he/she possess the following attributes:

Dedication: This person is willing to make a larger investment of time into their practice than the natural musician.

Determination: This person doesn’t let the skepticism of family members or friends stop him. He won’t let anything or anyone discourage him from learning to play the dulcimer.

Passion: This person loves music and has a great love for the sweet sound of the dulcimer.

Practice will not make you a natural musician, but it will definitely bridge the gap between the musician for whom playing comes easily and the one who has to work at it. With practice, a fumbling musician can become a skilled instrumentalist.

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

Happy dulcimering,

Linda

Bridging the Gap Between What You Know … And Where You Want Your Music to Go

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!

 

Part 2 of Bluegrass Series

Part 2 of Bluegrass Series

by Linda Ratcliff

Bluegrass has brought more people together and made
more friends than any music in the world.
– Bill Monroe

NEW: Part 2 of our Bluegrass Series

What makes a tune or a song “bluegrass” anyway? Well, if you ask five bluegrass players, you’ll most likely get five different answers. Bluegrass music is usually performed by a group with a guitar, an upright bass, a mandolin, a fiddle, and a banjo, and features “high lonesome” three-part singing. Since most of early bluegrass musicians lived in remote areas, the lyrics of their songs reflected life on the farm or in the hills.

BUT NOW, dulcimer players can learn to become a part of these fun-lovin’ musical groups, and play along with those toe-tappin’ tunes that have caught the heart of so many Americans. We have just uploaded Part 2 of our Bluegrass Series for mountain dulcimer players.

In the video example on our preview page, Steve continues by reviewing a bluegrass lick going up, and then teaching the lick going back down.

Subscribe to DulcimerCrossing to have access to all (10) Videos in this Lesson Series.
SteveBluegrassPart2
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 5, 2017 in lessons, mountain dulcimer

 

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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.

 

Hammered Dulcimer Highlight

Hammered Dulcimer Highlight

Steve Eulberg gave a Hammered Dulcimer Concert Window show for Premium Subscribers at DulcimerCrossing on Saturday, May 20, 2017.

Here is the highlight video.

Subscribe to a Premium Membership at DulcimerCrossing to have access to all the Live Events.

 

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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