Thursday, March 31, 2016

Good excuses ... should've just played!

In the month of March I logged 33.75 practice hours. That doesn't seem so bad, except for the fact that it doesn't quite meet my goal. So close, but 1.08 hours per day is just under my goal of 1.25 hours per day. Oh, brother! It's true ... I've been slacking off!!

The good news is I had plenty of time to practice a ton of Sandbridge tunes with friends at Martha's Mountaintop Music Retreat. We enjoyed a weekend full of music.

Plus, Betsy and I had plenty of practice time .... 4 regular sessions plus the weekend retreat. Isn't she the brave one to come hang out with a houseful of hammered dulcimers?!

April Goals -- Keeping it simple this month:
  • Increase practice time to average 1.25 hours per day
  • Practice at least once per week with Betsy
  • Continue working on Sandbridge 2015 tune list

Learn all tunes from Sandbridge 2015, deadline October 2016.

Want to read more about my 2016 Practice Project?
  • New Year's resolution? Getting back on track - January 6 
  • Progress report for January plus specific goals - January 27 
  • Progress report for February plus specific goals - March 3 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Monday's Muse

A good compromise, a good piece of legislation, is like a good sentence; or a good piece of music. Everybody can recognize it. They say, ‘Huh. It works. It makes sense.  ~ Barack Obama

Friday, March 25, 2016

CTO ... Do you ever hear music in your head? Like, when there's none playing?

Aren't you just a little bit curious about what tunes we played at our mountaintop music retreat last weekend? Check This Out ... It's quite a list!

Tunes We Played throughout the weekend: 
Beaumont Rag
Black Nag
Black Tail Canyon Waltz
Blackberry Blossom
Bonnie at Morn
Caspian Lake
Cluck Old Hen
Coleman’s March
Cowboy Waltz
Cradle Song
Done Gone
Fanny Poer
Farewell Trion
For Ireland
Half Past Four
John Ryan’s Polka
Kentucky Waltz
Kevin Keegan’s
King of the Fairies
Lady of the Lake
Lay Down Your Arms
Lovers’ Waltz
MacPherson’s Lament
Midnight on the Water
Nadine’s Waltz
Nail that Catfish
NC Breakdown
OK Rooster
Over the Waterfall
Rights of Man
Rock the Cradle, Joe
Shenandoah Falls
Southern Cross
Snow Drops
Whiskey Before Breakfast

Thursday, March 24, 2016

10th Annual Mountaintop Music Retreat

Last weekend a crowd of trapezoids and other musicians gathered at our dear friend, Martha's, house for our annual mountaintop music retreat. This makes #10! What a tradition it has become ... a full weekend of learning, playing, and sharing our passion for the hammered dulcimer and the music we love to create.

There were learning sessions led by Sue Wilson and MaryLynn van Deventer. There were multiple jam sessions, full of fiddle tunes and shared repertoire from Ken Kolodner's Sandbridge Dulcimer Retreats. There were meals and chats and cups of cocoa aside butter-grilled pound cake. (Yes, you can get more than a pound of butter into one pound cake!) There were fiddles, guitars, a concertina, and a hammered mbira. There was a house concert -- planned, rehearsed, and performed within a 6 hour span. Food, fellowship, and fun. Music, music, and more music. Sounds like heaven on earth, doesn't it??

Monday, March 21, 2016

Monday's Muse

Like family, we are tied to each other. This is what all good musicians understand.  ~ Billy Joel

Monday, March 14, 2016

Friday, March 11, 2016

CTO ... Time for Music!

What time is it? Daylight savings time! This Sunday, March 13. Spring ahead! And if you're in the market for a new whimsical clock ...

Check This Out ... The Zazzle website has all kinds of clocks with musical themes. There's even one with drum notes & rudiments for the percussionist in all of us! Check it out!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Monday's Muse

To play without passion is inexcusable!  ~ Ludwig von Beethoven.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

A Goal without a Plan is just a Wish

I bet many of you are not list-tickers or clock-slaves, but for me, paying attention to what I'm doing and writing it down has always been a helpful strategy ... in all sorts of endeavors. It's not surprising, then, that I would rely on some sort of record keeping to maintain focus on my music goals.

I use a spread sheet on the computer to keep my music goals in sight. I list tunes, make notes, record time spent, document who I've played with, etc. etc. True, tracking details of a practice session takes time, but once a system is in place, it's not so bad. Depending on the time available, my notes are more or less detailed but basic information is always there. Because of this habit, I'm able to report specifics about what's been going on in the practice room this past month ... 
  • In the month of February I logged 36 practice hours, beating January's time by 8 hours!
  • Thanks to Leap Day, Betsy (my music partner) and I managed to fit in five practice sessions plus a gig. Our repertoire has been reviewed and improved.
  • I'm continuing to make progress on Sandbridge 2015 tune list:  Farewell Trion is the new tune, but while I'm at it, I'm reviewing Lady of the Lake and Shenandoah Falls in order to play all in medley as found on Ken Kolodner's recording, Journey to the Heartland. I'm improving these tunes with a variety of arrangement ideas, harmonies, solid backups, and more swing. I'm having fun playing the basic tune and backup for Halfpast Four. And the classic Kentucky Waltz is in the bag, complete with backup.
March Goals:
  • Maintain current practice schedule at average of 1.25 hours per day.
  • Practice once per week with Betsy.
  • Prepare for and have fun at annual hammered dulcimer retreat with friends. Looking forward to jamming, practicing shared repertoire, and preparing for neighborhood house concert.
  • Continue working on Sandbridge 2015 tune list


Learn all tunes from Sandbridge 2015, deadline October 2016.

Want to read more about my 2016 Practice Project?
  • New Year's resolution? Getting back on track - January 6 
  • Progress report for January plus specific goals - January 27