Monday, December 29, 2014

Monday's Muse

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're doing something.  ~ Neil Gaiman

Friday, December 26, 2014

CTO … Just for fun!

If you're on FaceBook you might have seen this, but still …

Check This Out … a little holiday reindeer humor.

Rudolph Puzzler

Got it?

Hint: Sing the song in your head until you get to a line that makes it all make sense.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Monday's Muse

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.  ~ Charles Dickens

Friday, December 19, 2014

CTO … Watch this!

Dan Landrum, editor of Dulcimer Players News, has put together a 10-minute video that peaks inside the current issue of DPN. Get a load of those meaty topics! And sample the tasty tunes featured on the CD!

Check This Out … Dulcimer Players News is a delectable publication dedicated to players and fans of hammered and mountain dulcimers. Every issue is chock-full of inspiration, music, connections to the traditional past and information about current goings-on in the dulcimer world. It's a fun and instructional resource.

Not a subscriber yet to this awesome quarterly magazine? Sign up today, or consider a gift subscription for a dulcimer loving friend. Subscribe at the website or call (423) 886-3966.

Watch the video preview on the DPN website

Like and follow on the DPN FaceBook Page

Monday, December 15, 2014

Monday's Muse

I love singing Christmas carols. I know every harmony to every music-hall Christmas song. ~ Zooey Deschanel

Friday, December 12, 2014

CTO … Dan Landrum Suggests Making the Most of Tuning Time

Tuning is a necessary evil. Most hammered dulcimer players I know don't like to do it, but we know we must!

Between my students' lessons, my own practice sessions with music buddies, and the occasional gig … I have to tune a lot. Usually, I just want to get it done. If the instrument is not terribly out of tune I'll zip straight up and down the bridges. This is probably OK for the quickie job I'm doing, but it doesn't necessarily result in the most accurate tuning across the board.

What if we structured our tuning efforts in such a way that we could actually learn something while getting the instrument in its best tune?

Check This Out … Dan Landrum has posted a video in which he discusses this very thing … ways to make the most of tuning time. Advantages to these tuning strategies is:
  • opportunity to learn the names of notes
  • chance to become more familiar with your instrument
  • more movement while tuning is friendlier to your body
  • better equalization of tension across the instrument compared to tuning up and down the bridge
The two methods:
  1. Tune all notes of particular name … all the A's, all the B's, all the C's (including chromatics, such as Bb and C#) This forces you to go all over your instrument
  2. Tune by fifths, around the Circle of 5ths. All the G's, all the D's, all the E's etc. You'll get to know where all the notes are and possibly begin to understand some things musically. Don't know what the Circle of Fifths is? Google it … or follow this link to read about it: Circle of Fifths
Follow this link to watch Dan's video yourself:  Mindful Tuning 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Simplest Way Ever to Vary your Arrangements

It does seem to be a simple thing …

… but have you moved that new tune into a different octave? If not, why not?

Monday, December 8, 2014

Monday's Muse

Music is my thing. It's my thing; it's what I love. It's what I do. It's football to me; it's Christmas to me; religion to me; poetry to me.  ~ Ryan Adams

Friday, December 5, 2014

CTO … Marya Katz to offer Workshop in January

Check This Out …  Marya Katz will continue her traditional offering of a day-long hammerdulcimer workshop in Winston Salem on Martin Luther King day. This year's topic will be "A Toast to the Table" (or "Eat, Drink, and Be Merry") - presenting a collection of duets for hammer dulcimer friends to play together. Sounds like a fun way to spend a Monday. I hope you'll join me there! Here's the scoop:

MLK Monday, January 19, 2015
9:00am - 3:30pm
College Park Baptist Church
Winston-Salem, NC

Fee: $50 pre-registration, $60 at the door
Includes lunch

Marya will send lead sheets out in January to all who have pre-registered.

To register, email Terry Lefler or Marya Katz.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A snapshot into my practice life ...

I said I would share how my newly structured practice is going. Here are some facts ... 

In one week's time I've spent 22 hours at the dulcimer in intentional practice.

I have focused on:

  • arranging(for myself & students) - notation is separate time.
  • backup (for 11 of the tunes listed below)
  • ear training (slow jams are good for that)
  • extended arpeggios and scale runs (exercises built out of actual tunes)
  • tremolos and triplets (within the context of tunes)
  • improved swing
  • increased tempo

In these tunes:

  • Albert Montmarquette's
  • Bach's BourrĂ©e in Em
  • Beggar's Belief
  • Come Before Winter
  • Crested Hens
  • Done Gone
  • Falls of Richmond
  • Frenchie's
  • The Gale
  • Holme's Lane
  • La Valse Pour les Petites Jeunes Filles
  • Leather Britches
  • McDonald's
  • Reel de Montreal
  • Saudade de Uberaba
  • Shenandoah Falls
  • Turkey in the Straw
  • Valse Nadine
  • We Three Kings
Whew! Enough of this. I've got work - and play - to do!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Monday's Muse

“Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life bringing peace, abolishing strife.” ~ Kahlil Gibran