Friday, October 30, 2015

CTO ... What time is it??

Jack-o-lantern shenanigans, Sandbridge 2011

Happy Halloween!

The end of daylight savings time is near. Don't forget to FALL BACK Sunday morning.

Check This Out ... Watch this hilarious daylight savings time "movie trailer". You aren't afraid of the dark, are you?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

What would you do if you weren't afraid?

That's the question asked of participants in a collaborative project between Facebook Analog Research Lab and Project M.

It's fun to read all the responses, but here are a few of that caught my eye:

  • Travel around the world
  • Explore the world of possibilities
  • Be creative
  • Become an artist
  • Go back to school to become a music teacher
  • Trust my talent
  • Believe in myself 
  • Amaze myself
  • Let loose
  • Go for it
  • Sing out loud
  • Fail harder
  • Feel more, think less
  • Eat all the chocolate chip cookies
So, how about you? What would you do if you weren't afraid? Start by leaving a comment here!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Monday's Muse

Listen to them - the children of the night. What music they make! ~ Bram Stoker

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Music is Process AND Product

No product can come into being without the processes that create it. Certainly, in music the process becomes the product. One cannot exist without the other. Effective instruction in music maintains a balanced representation of both product and process.

I, for one, was glad to get some good chord work done at my annual week-long group-lesson with my teacher, Ken Kolodner (Sandbridge Dulcimer Retreats). We spent a significant amount of time working on chords ... reviewing the map of the dulcimer and working through chord progressions, both listening for chord changes in real tunes AND intellectually analyzing where more interesting chord substitutions come from. Definitely my working edge.

Now, like most people, I love learning interesting new tunes and getting creative arranging ideas from players I admire, including my teacher. Copying the ideas of someone else is a good way to improve ones own playing. But sometimes you have to do the hard work that leads to true understanding of the music and your instrument. How does one approach the deep work?

Well, it's always good to go back to basics. Proficiency in playing scales and arpeggios is essential to mastery of the instrument. I've been pushing my students to pay attention to these things, giving them exercises that get them playing lots of different patterns all over the instrument. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. These exercises will make them apparent!

So, we work through the processes in a thorough and thoughtful way. We come to understand our instrument and the structure of music. We are enlightened and free to create our own music. It takes only about 10,000 hours!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Monday's Muse

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; 
teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. ~ Maimonides

Friday, October 16, 2015

Thursday, October 15, 2015

5 things I'm grateful for after my week at Sandbridge

Give thanks for a little and you will find a lot. ~ Hausa Proverb

Just returned from the 11th annual Sandbridge Dulcimer Retreat put on by Ken Kolodner. Feeling inspired and strong at the instrument. I have attended every year! These things ... for which I am most grateful ... keep me coming back:

  1. Good food to sustain us - From the Italian-made coffee machine that kept the caffeine flowing day and night to the well-stocked 'fridge and cabinets to the crabs prepared every which way to the daily dose of chocolate chip cookies to the .... well ... the list just goes on and on! Lori Theriault provided gustatory delights that kept our tummies happy. What a treat to eat delicious food that was planned, acquired, and prepared by someone else! In her life outside of Sandbridge, she's a potter in Asheville. Find her at Crazy Green Studios.
  2. Time to devote to this passion - There's always some frantic time before Sandbridge spent getting work and chores done up ahead of time in order to clear the week. Then the week after is spent catching up! I'm thankful to my family for putting up with my absence as I pursue my dulcimer passion.
  3. An unparalleled instructor - Ken Kolodner has been my main dulcimer teacher and mentor for the past 17 years. (How can that be??) He plays beautifully and knows how to convey what he's doing in the classroom. The bottom line, I want to play like Ken, so I study with him. 
  4. Plenty to work on in the coming year - Wow! As always, so much material presented in one week! It will take awhile to process. I'm sure I will not complete the list in one year, but it sure will be fun trying. Ken always chooses interesting and fun repertoire in which to practice skills, techniques, and theory. Every year we come back for more ... we just keep raising the bar.
  5. Fun and supportive community of friends - Sandbridge is like a family reunion, except everyone is on the same page, enjoying a shared passion for music! Aren't we the lucky ones?
Several trapezoids of the triangle have attended the Sandbridge retreat over the years. Perhaps you're ready for one of Ken's intensive week-long workshops, or would like to work up to it. Three weeks offered in the fall, and ... NEW in 2016 ... one week in April! Read more about Ken Kolodner's Sandbridge Dulcimer Workshops.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Monday's Muse

A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything. ~ Irish Proverb

Monday, October 5, 2015

Monday's Muse

words make you think a thought
music makes you feel a feeling
a song makes you feel a thought  ~ E. Y. Harburg

Friday, October 2, 2015

CTO ... Go ahead! Sing 'Happy Birthday' with abandon!

This news is a bit old, but in case you missed it ...

Check This Out ... Last week, on September 22, federal judge George H. King ruled that Warner / Chappell Music does not own the rights to the lyrics of the "Happy Birthday" song  ... one of the most well-known and oft-sung songs of all time. The ruling confirmed that the song is now in the public domain and the music company can no longer charge for public performances.

It was determined that composers of the tune, sisters Mildred and Patty Hill, gave away the rights to the original melody, "Good Morning to All", and to arrangements based on the melody ... but never any rights to the lyrics. There's more to the story. Check it out here: Happy Birthday Song

Oh, boy!
Just in time for my birthday.
No need to hold back.
Please sing with gusto!

Uh one ... and uh two .... and uh three ...
Happy Birthday to you ...