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Hug Someone with your Dulcimer

Hug Someone with your Dulcimer

by Linda Ratcliff

One day, someone is going to hug you so tight that
all your broken pieces will stick back together.
– Author Unknown
Hug Someone with Your Dulcimer

I used to be an awkward hugger.  Oh yeah … it looked like a hug from the outside, but  there was nothing real about it.  There were just a few forced pats on your back, a bit of nervous smiling, and I might have been rolling my eyes behind your back.

But then I joined a church that was big on hugging, and I got a LOT of practice. Over time, I changed from being an awkward hugger to being a sincere hugger … a hugger who actually reaches out to people now for a hug (and sometimes realizes too latethat they’re still at the awkward hugger stage).

When I was thinking about the progress I’ve made with giving and receiving hugs, I realized that I’m still shy about playing my dulcimer for people.  And the light came on in my brain.  There are so many parallels!  

  • Hugs give people joy.  Music gives people joy.
  • Hugs give people comfort. Music gives people comfort.
  • Giving someone a hug makes them feel loved.  Playing your instrument for someone, especially one on one, makes them feel loved.
If you lack confidence in this area, start with something easy.  Hug the folks at a nursing home with your music.  You will be playing for people who appreciate your company and won’t judge.  I remember the first time I played for my aunt’s friends at her nursing home … she cried the entire time.  I still don’t know if it was because my playing was so bad, or she felt so loved.  
Seniors singing and playing with me
NOTE:  When I play for a “captive audience” like this, I always take along some percussion instruments, so they can play along with me.  I quickly get more comfortable in the environment, when I can see how much fun they’re having.
As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask Steve or myself.
 

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You Need New Input!

You Need New Input!

by Linda Ratcliff

You don’t have to wait for inspiration to hit.  It’s easier to be inspired when you’re hanging out with other musicians and playing along with them.
– Linda Ratcliff


We go to Nashville a couple of times a year, and one of our favorite things to do in Nashville is to visit the Bluebird Cafe.  We’ve stood outside under their blue canopy in the rain for as long as two hours, waiting without a reservation, hoping to get inside.
Over 70,000 people visit the Bluebird annually, many of them as a result of seeing the Bluebird Cafe in the TV series “Nashville”. Or they may have read about the club in publications such as Southwest Spirit, National Geographic Traveler, The New York Times. Some heard it mentioned by artists such as Garth Brooks, Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Kathy Mattea, Trisha Yearwood, Kim Richey, Faith Hill, Amy Grant and Vince Gill – all of whom have played there over the past 31 years – at this tiny, legendary club.

Every show features four songwriters.  Some are already famous, and some are still hoping to be noticed by a talent scout. On our last visit, we were seated at a table with two successful songwriters who were friends. I was curious about why they were attending the show, rather than being IN the show.  So I asked, and this is what they told me.

You can’t expect new output if you don’t get new input.  In other words, you can’t sit in your living room, music studio, or outside with the birds for hours on end and expect inspiration to strike. You’ve got to get out in the music world, listen to other groups playing, interact with other musicians. Then you will find motivation and inspiration.

I have the signature of every musician who played that night, plus the signatures of the two songwriters. I can’t remember their names and I sure can’t read their writing. But I will never forget their advice and will continue to seek new input.  How about you?

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

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