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Have a Blessed Thanksgiving

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving

by Linda Ratcliff

Your Thanksgiving dinner will not be complete without sharing these jokes!

What kind of music did the Pilgrims like? Plymouth Rock!
Why did the guys let the sweet potato join the band? So they could have a yam session!
What is the most musical part of the turkey? The drumsticks!

 

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, I have almost too many blessings to count. Being able to work with all of you who love dulcimers, and having the opportunity to share my thoughts about dulcimering every week, are definitely two of them. We appreciate the friendship and confidence you have shown in us by connecting with Dulcimer Crossing. Steve and I send our heartfelt Thanksgiving wishes across the miles from our houses to yours. May your homes be filled with laughter, happiness, and (of course) lots of dulcimer music.
Happy Thanksgiving
How to Care for Your Instrument in Cold Weather
With the weather turning colder, have you noticed a dramatic change in your dulcimer’s tuning? Well, a stringed instrument is a living thing. Since it is made out of organic materials, the woods, strings, and glues used when it was built interact with the atmosphere around them. And while these materials certainly work together to create beautiful music, they are also responsible for the reason that stringed instruments go out of tune, especially with sudden temperature changes.  Try to keep the temperature constant in the room(s) where you store your instruments.

Likewise, humidity will affect your dulcimers. Wood gains and loses moisture until it’s in sync with the air around it. When the air is humid, a piece of wood will swell as it gains moisture. When the air is dry, the wood will shrink as it loses moisture. This process happens fairly quickly with thin pieces of wood, such as dulcimer soundboards and backs, and if they get too dry, they can crack.

If you have started running the furnace already, the climate in the house may have become very dry. The widely accepted safe range for wooden musical instruments is between about 40% and 60% relative humidity. The only way to know if you’re in that range is to measure it by keeping a hygrometer near your instrument. (I found inexpensive ones on Amazon.) Also, I suggest that you consider purchasing a room and/or case humidifier for the good health of your precious instruments.
Hammered Dulcimer 

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

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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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