Saturday, January 30, 2016

Happy Birthday, J Quantz!

To celebrate, this month I learned his composition, "Minuetto".

"Minuetto" was the featured tune on Ken Kolodner's Sandbridge 2016 calendar (designed by Laurie McCarriar, aka Artist Geek), and one of my goals for the month of January as outlined in my January 27 post. I learned it and I played it today.

Need proof? I  recorded it and posted it to the the Sandbridge Dulcimer Retreat Facebook page. How's that for accountability?

Happy birthday, Johann Joachim Quantz! Click on his name to read more about this German flute-playing composer.

Friday, January 29, 2016

CTO ...Defending Music

Check This Out ... "Music does not need to make excuses for itself, as if it had no intrinsic worth. It does not have to dress itself up in test-taking robes or mathematical masks. It has deep, powerful human value, and all of us who love it should be saying so, over and over and over again." Interesting read at Huffington Post. Check it out!

Defending Music Education 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

How's it going?

Just a few weeks ago, on January 6, I confidently wrote that I knew what to do to get my practice back on track:
  • Set aside time
  • Set goals / deadlines
  • Get back to basics
  • Try something new
  • Be persistent
  • Be accountable
I would add:
  • Find inspiration
  • Use creative exercises
  • Get out with people
  • Lean on network
In the interest of being "accountable," I thought I'd give a progress report.

Since January 4, I have logged 28 hours of intentional practice time.
Here what's been happening at the dulcimer in my personal practice time:

  • Learn new tune: Minuetta  This is a bonus Sandbridge tune for me. We didn't learn it in week #3, but it showed up on the January page of the 2016 Sandbridge calendar. Great tune for practicing arpeggios. As such, it's part of the plan to "get back to basics." I will play it on January 30, as directed on the calendar.
  • Learn another new tune: Camel Hump  This tune was suggested by my music partner, Betsy, in honor of my recent camel ride. It will be a fun addition to our repertoire, plus, it gives me the chance to polish up double-strokes on bounced 16th notes ... another "back to basics" skill.
  • Learn Sandbridge 2015 tunes: Half Past Four and Farewell Trion.
  • Copy Ken Kolodner's medley: Lady of the Lake - Farewell Trion -  Shenandoah Falls. Thanks to music buddy, Bess Crider, who practiced tunes of this medley with me during our stay at John C Campbell Folk School last week.
  • And guess what? Ruth Smith was also at JCC Folk School last week. Yes, that was by design! and aren't we the lucky ones? We were all three taking classes NOT related to music, but we did manage to jam a few tunes here and there.
  • Keep up repertoire that I share with my music partner, Betsy. Practice regularly with her. We have had two practice sessions this month.
  • Play some well-established tunes just for fun.

Beat January's practice time.
Increase number of practice sessions with Betsy.
Prepare for gig that's on the February calendar, with Betsy.
Add another Sandbridge 2015 tune.

Annual retreat, with friends. Jamming, practicing shared repertoire, and preparation for minor part in public concert, Sparta, NC

Learn all tunes from Sandbridge 2015, deadline October 2016.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Monday's Muse

Every child is an artist until he's told he's not an artist.  ~ John Lennon

Friday, January 22, 2016

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

No Place for Hammered Dulcimers at WSDF 2016

Below is a copy of the communiqué from the Camel City Strummers, regarding the 2016 Winston-Salem Dulcimer Festival.

Warning: It does not contain good news for the hammered dulcimer community.

The Winston Salem Dulcimer Festival is undergoing significant changes. Of most consequence to NC Trapezoids -- This year's festival will be geared to mountain dulcimers only. A sad moment, indeed!

Let us pause for a moment of silence ... but also a moment of gratitude.

  • Gratitude for the good friends and memories made at this festival
  • Gratitude for the fantastic instruction and the inspirational performances experienced
  • Special gratitude for Jeff Sebens (founder) and Terry Lefler, who have each taken their turn running the festival over these many years

Of course, many others have been involved in the planning and execution of this on-going festival, but I dare not attempt to name them at the risk of leaving somebody out!

It all started more than 20 years ago, when the Brookridge Dulcimer Players and Meadows Music started the Winston-Salem Dulcimer Festival. The Festival was held at the Reynolda Friends Meeting. By 1997, the Festival had already outgrown those facilities. In 1998 it moved to College Park Baptist Church. By 2007, more than 100 students were attending, with 10 instructors, two concerts, and 30-some workshop sessions! Zoom ahead to 2016, and circumstances dictate change.

Many of us hammered dulcimer players are truly sorry to see this good thing come to an end. When will we see our friends, from near and far? Where will we get our dulcimer fix?

We wish our mountain dulcimer playing friends a successful and fun-filled festival, as we look forward to the next big thing in the hammered dulcimer world. Perhaps we will have the opportunity to join forces again down the line.

Here's the communiqué:

2016 Winston-Salem Dulcimer Festival

Greetings from the Winston-Salem dulcimer community!

Folks, we’d like to let you know that, despite rumors you may have heard, there will be a Winston-Salem Dulcimer Festival this year. There are some changes in store – some minor, some a little larger – but we will be having an event that is, overall, a lot like what you are used to.

The biggest change is that this year’s festival will be for mountain dulcimer only; it will not include hammered dulcimers. This was not an easy decision to make; and there are multiple factors involved in it. We won’t rule out the possibility that this might change, again, in the future; but for this year our approach is basically to “simplify.”

Other changes include a change of venue, and a slight change of date. Both the venue and the date are not far from what’s been the case in the past, so we will consider these “minor” changes. More details on all this in just a bit.

The festival will be a “one-day only” event this year – no Friday night activities are
planned. Everything will take place between Saturday morning, April 30, and Saturday evening at 6:30 (approx).

Last, but not least, another big change in the festival is in the administration of the event. Terry Lefler is stepping away from managing what has become one of the premier dulcimer events in NC. Terry will still be on our advisory board (and we are grateful for his guidance and assistance), but the Winston-Salem Dulcimer Festival will now be sponsored by the Camel City Strummers, a newly-formed dulcimer club here in “Camel City” USA.

Instructors that we have signed up for this year include: Joe Collins
Larry Conger
Dave Haas

Judy House and Carol Crocker (co-teaching the "beginner" track)

We have a lot of details still to work out for WSDF2016, but we are hard at that right now. Just be sure to go ahead and “Save the Date” on your calendars: Saturday, April 30, in Winston- Salem, NC.
We will send more details as we hammer them out. In the meantime, you can note these sources of info for WSDF:

Facebook page: 

Email contact:  

Monday, January 18, 2016

Monday's Muse

Whatever your life's work is, do it well.  ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Friday, January 15, 2016

CTO ... Plan to play on MLK Day!

You still have time to reserve your spot in the workshop Marya Katz is teaching this coming Monday, the 18th, Martin Luther King, Jr holiday ...

Check This Out ... Marya Katz will be teaching her annual hd workshop in Winston Salem.

Registration and setup: 8:30am
Workshop: 9:00am - 3:30pm
Location:  College Park Baptist Ch, 1701 Polo Rd, Winston Salem
Fee: $60, includes lunch and all materials

The Plan ... a kind of "Master Class" focusing on:
- Dynamics, specifically volume and tempo control
- and Chords, including the use of chord substitutions
- resulting in the Creation of interesting, expressive arrangements

Tunes used will be a couple of Moravian hymns and a simple German round.

No need to pre-pay for the workshop, but please do RSVP to Marya so proper planning may take place.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Christmas tunes ... A good measure of how far you've come!

Sometimes it is difficult to recognize progress.

We take lessons. We learn tunes. We work on technique. We play with friends. We play with the metronome. We practice, practice, practice. We experience some frustration and enjoy some success. Time passes. It all happens gradually, and it's hard to know if we're gaining ground! But if you enjoy the annual playing of Christmas music, you actually have an inherent indicator that hints at how your musical skills have evolved over the past year.

Just think. About the time October rolls around, the old holiday tune lists are resurrected. We dust off our favorite tunes and spruce them up. Most of the tunes come back with a little effort. Many of the tunes will be improved upon. In fact, you may find yourself wondering, "Why did I find this so hard last year?"

And THERE's your sign!

  • You ARE making progress.
  • You HAVE gained ground.
  • YOU are developing as a player.

Keep up the good work!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Monday's Muse

The easiest way to avoid wrong notes is to never open your mouth and sing. What a mistake that would be. ~ Pete Seeger

Friday, January 8, 2016

CTO ... Slow Jam this Sunday

Another new meeting place for the Slow Jam of the Triangle!

heck This Out ... This Sunday, January 10, 2:00 - 4:00pm, the Slow Jam will meet at the Durham Central Park Cohousing at 130 Hunt Street, Durham. This makes the third location in a monthly rotation. The idea is to make the event accessible to folks in different parts of the Triangle and to spread out the responsibilities.

Click on the "Slow Jam" tab at the top of this page for everything you need to know, including the schedule going forward, the list of venues and addresses, and contact information. While this is organized by and for hammered dulcimer players, all acoustic instruments are welcome. Check it out!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

New Year's Resolution ... Dump the Slump

OK ... True confession time. I have fallen off the practice wagon. I have never been in such a long-lasting slump! Don't get me wrong ... I have "played" the dulcimer. I have prepared lessons for students. But intentional, serious practice has been missing since late October.

The main reason ... I've had a lot going on!

It happens to the best of us. When life gets extremely busy, something's got to give. I spent three weeks of November traveling on the other side of the world. Of course, the two weeks before departure were spent packing and getting everything in order. The week after was spent recovering from jet lag, catching up at the day job, and getting everything back in order. Then I flew to New Mexico for my sister's wedding. When I returned home, I hit the ground running, preparing for and living the holiday season. Woo hoo! We made merry for a solid two weeks!

I'm sure many players can relate. Disruptions in the routines of life can adversely affect the practice schedule. There's no time. Energy is sapped. Focus is lost. It's really hard to get going again!

But I am determined to do so.

As luck would have it, we are entering a new year. It's the perfect time to find new inspiration and to set new goals. I know what I must do:

  • Set aside time
  • Set goals / deadlines
  • Get back to basics
  • Try something new
  • Be persistent
  • Be accountable
Easy, huh? Ready or not ... 2016 here we come!

"And now we welcome the new year.
  Full of things that have never been!" ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Monday, January 4, 2016

Monday's Muse

We all can dance when we find music that we love.  ~ Giles Andreae Giraffes Can't Dance

Friday, January 1, 2016

CTO ... Slow Jam of the Triangle adopts new rotation in the new year

The Slow Jam of the Triangle continues to meet 2:00-4:00pm on the 2nd Sunday of each month. Beginning with the January 10 meeting, however, the location will rotate among three different venues -- St. Giles Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian Church in Cary, and Durham Central Park CoHousing in Durham.

Check This Out ... Find all the info you need, including addresses and contact info, on the newly updated Slow Jam page and make plans to attend the next Slow Jam of the Triangle, Sunday, January 10, 2-4pm, at the newest location: Durham Central Park Cohousing.