Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Another successful workshop and concert in Pittsboro

Wish I had taken more photos, but I was sort of busy at the time. I regret that I didn't get the official group shot! And no photos from the concert. If you have some, please share!

19 students attended Ken Kolodner's all-day hammered dulcimer workshop.
The Tennessee Waltz and Cumberland Gap were on the agenda.

Circle the recording devices!
10 students attended Brad Kolodner's clawhammer banjo workshop.
A few folks hung around afterwards to play some tunes.
Late night jam after the concert
Ken & Bart
Bill & Rachel
Ken & Betsy 
MaryLynn & Carol

Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday's Muse

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit."
~ Aristotle

Friday, July 26, 2013

CTO ... There's still time!

Ken Kolodner and his son, Brad Kolodner, of Baltimore, MD, will be bringing their special brand of music to Pittsboro, NC on July 27, 2013. This one-day event will include:
  • All-day hammered dulcimer workshop with Ken AND an afternoon clawhammer banjo workshop with Brad
  • An evening concert featuring Ken and Brad, along with a variety of local talent, including Sue Wilson (hammered dulcimer) and Betsy Kraus (concertina)
  • Plus, an open jam session after the concert 

Check This Out ... We've had a great response and we're anticipating a fantastic day! Have you been procrastinating and suddenly realize the time is now? Or has your schedule changed in such a way to allow you to come after all? Call me (919) 542-5854 - or just show up. We can accommodate you!

For all the details, click on the "Schedule of Events" tab at the top of the page.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Monday's Muse

“The artist must forget the audience, forget the critics, forget the technique, forget everything but love for the music. Then, the music speaks through the performance, and the performer and the listener will walk together with the soul of the composer, and with God.”
~ Mstislav Rostropovich

Sunday, July 21, 2013

CTO ... Less than one week out - Ken Kolodner in Pittsboro

I temporarily dropped off the communications grid last Wednesday, but I'm back! And just in time, too, to remind everyone of the next BIG gathering of trapezoids ... right here in central North Carolina.

Ken and Brad Kolodner will be teaching and performing in Pittsboro, North Carolina on Saturday, July 27. That's next weekend, y'all! We've had a wonderful response and we're looking forward to a great day. Even better news ... there's still room for you!

Check This Out ... Refer back to the May 2, 2013 posting on this blog OR the "schedule" page of the Sue Wilson Dulcimer website, OR simply click on the "Schedule of Events" tab at the top of this page ... for all the details about:

  • Ken's all-day hammered dulcimer workshop
  • Brad's afternoon clawhammer banjo workshop
  • the evening concert, featuring Ken & Brad Kolodner, Sue Wilson & Betsy Kraus, and friends
  • the jam session
  • plus links to You Tube videos
  • and all contact information

We're getting ready. Hope to see you!
Felt like practicing in a tree house!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What I'm Doing on My Summer Vacation

There's a new guy in town!

Yesterday I had the opportunity to meet Joshua Messick, 2003 National Hammered Dulcimer Champion, newly transplanted from Houston, TX to Asheville, NC. He's temporarily operating out of Jerry Read Smith's gorgeous studio and concert venue, Perelandra ... reason enough to schedule a lesson! We had only one short hour together (it was a beautiful day in the mountains, and a trip to the top of Mt. Mitchell was on the family agenda) but we made it a productive time.

Folks are talking about this "new" young talent. If you get a chance to hear Joshua's music or participate in one of his workshops, do it! Welcome to NC, Joshua!

Sue & Joshua ... Nice shoes, eh?
Here's what Jerry has to say about Joshua:
Joshua Messick is one of a handful of new, young virtuoso hammer dulcimer players emerging from around the country. He is a National Hammer Dulcimer Champion and continues to grow and mature as an excellent talent. His skill on the instrument doesn't begin and end with his technical proficiency. He has an amazing sense for composition and has written, and continues to write, beautiful passages that specifically highlight the unique qualities and strengths of the hammer dulcimer. Joshua is a player who understands the power of the space between the notes. He has the ability to transform a solo piece into a "symphonic" experience.  ~ Jerry Read Smith, Master Luthier

From his web site:
Based in Asheville, NC, National Hammered Dulcimer Champion and composer Joshua Messick plays beautiful hammered dulcimer music. His progressive techniques are fun to watch, and an amazing sense for composition and improvisation allow Joshua to transform a solo piece into a symphonic, cinematic experience. Often compared to Yanni, Joshua plays a variety of world music including Celtic, Indian, Japanese, New Age, Hymns, Classical, Appalachian Folk, etc.

On the way to Mt. Mitchell:

Monday, July 15, 2013

Monday's Muse

"Every mountain top is within reach if you just keep climbing."
~ Barry Finlay Kilimanjaro and Beyond

Friday, July 12, 2013

CTO ... What I'm Doing on My Summer Vacation

What are your plans for summer vacation?

  • A trip to the beach or the mountains?
  • Exotic travel?
  • A visit with extended family?
  • A "stay-cation"?
  • A dulcimer festival??

I'm taking the month of July off from teaching this summer. One reason for doing this is to make more time for the garden. I know this has nothing to do with playing the dulcimer, but maybe you'd like to see what else I do with my time!
Check This Out ... I keep my garden journal on-line in the form of a blog. It's a fun way to keep a record of garden happenings. A digital blog is easy to search, easy to document a topic with photos as well as words, and easy to share with family and friends. Produce and chickens ... it's all there. Check it out!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Reduce Amount of Stuff ~ Make Space ~ CREATE

Maybe some form of de-cluttering is on your summer to-do list. I'd like to clear my desk, purge my wardrobe, organize the basement, get a handle on that avalanche of paper music, sort this pile, dump that pile, etc, etc, etc. I've taken the month of July off from teaching, but I don't see all that happening!

Part of the problem is the pain involved in making decisions about "stuff"... especially when the decision must be get rid of it. I was interested to read that the pain is real. No wonder the mantra running through my head as I tackle de-cluttering chores is, "Be brave!"

In today's modern world we deal with more than the obvious physical clutter. We have all that digital clutter flashing and pinging, keeping us notified at all hours. Studies show that all this clutter competes for our attention and overloads the senses, resulting in decreased performance, increased stress, and impaired ability to think creatively.

I came across this article by Mikael Cho: How Clutter Affects Your Brain and what you can do about it. Maybe you'll find it helpful as you clear the space necessary to have a successful music practice.

If you need me, I'll be bravely cleaning off my desk and desktop!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Monday's Muse

“I've always thought people would find a lot more pleasure in their routines if they burst into song at significant moments.” ~ John Barrowman

Friday, July 5, 2013

CTO ... Ruth Smith Releases NEW Book

The moment we've been waiting for! Ruth Smith has completed her new book, "From Heart to Hands" - a collection of her hammered dulcimer arrangements. Available now for purchase online!

Check This Out ... "From Heart to Hands" includes 27 of Ruth's most requested arrangements for the hammered dulcimer (10 original tunes and 17 others) You'll also get instructional information on how to play with expression and dynamics. Plus, she's included a string chart with music notation beside each string. Order yours now at: 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Plan for Your Summer Practice

It's been a crazy day! Today was my last day of teaching before taking a month off. I'm looking forward to gardening and "putting up" the garden, attending a family reunion, cleaning the house, tackling miscellaneous projects, preparing for the Ken Kolodner event planned for July 27 ...  etc, etc. Lessons were scheduled end-to-end, 9am - 6pm. We had another afternoon of thunder storms and heavy rains. Late in the day, one student called while en route to her lesson to say she had to stop and go back home because the roads were overwhelmed with water, creating a dangerous situation.

I'm glad to report, the weather has calmed. The waters are receding. Tomorrow is the 4th of July. We are well into summer, Folks! If you haven't set some summer music goals, now's the time. Here's a suggested plan for structuring your summer practice, adapted from ideas found at the Molto Music's website, a site dedicated to answering one question ... "What is the best way to learn a musical instrument." Remember, these are goals to be accomplished this summer, and should be achievable by Labor Day.
  • Make two lists: 1) All the tunes you'd like to learn this summer, and 2) All the new techniques you'd like to master. Don't spend too much time on this. Brainstorm and write down your ideas quickly.
  • From the first list, choose 3-5 tunes that stand out to you for any reason. 
  • Pick one tune from this short list as your main objective for the summer.
  • Select two additional goals from the technique list. These will be your secondary goals and should ideally be objectives that support the accomplishment of your main goal. For example, does your new tune require improved valley rolls? or bounced triplets? or 3-note rolled chords? Do you need to work on accuracy of scale runs? Do you want to focus on chords or rhythmic ideas in order to come up with a backup for your new tune? You get the idea.
  • Write down your goals.
  • Before each practice session, read your written goals and design your practice time around them.
Words of wisdom:  Summer is no time to get bogged down. In addition to these goals, don't forget to leave time to play the stuff that is just plain fun. If you feel like it, tell us your "main goal" tune in the comment section below. Maybe you'll inspire somebody!! Be safe, and keep practicing!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Monday's Muse

“Music is the great uniter. An incredible force. Something that people who differ on everything and anything else can have in common.” ~ Sarah Dessen, Just Listen