Monday, May 30, 2016

Monday's Muse

Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.  ~ John Rohn

Monday, May 23, 2016

Monday's Muse

I believe luck is preparation meeting opportunity. If you hadn't been prepared when the opportunity came along, you wouldn't have been lucky.  ~ Oprah Winfrey

Monday, May 16, 2016

Monday, May 9, 2016

Monday's Muse

"Once you stop learning, you start dying."  ~ Albert Einstein

Friday, May 6, 2016

CTO ... Better Aging Through Practice, Practice, and more Practice

Preaching to the choir, I know, when it comes to the trapezoid playing TotT blog followers, but the author of this article wants to know, "When is the last time you improved at anything?"

Check This Out ... The New York Times recently posted an article by Gerald Marzorati expressing enthusiastic encouragement for tackling new and difficult tasks as we age. His challenge: Dare to immerse yourself and improve at a new skill. Hmmm .... any of you following THAT prescription

Think back to the early days of your own hammered-dulcimer-playing obsession. Have you improved? I know you have, and I bet you're still improving! And continuing to raise the bar, because there is no end point. It's the getting there that enthralls us.

Check out the entire article here: Better Aging Through Practice, Practice, Practice 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

All's well that ends well ...

I've been thinking about reworking a tune that I learned from my teacher, Ken Kolodner, many years ago at the Swannanoa Gathering Dulcimer Week (sadly, that dulcimer event is now defunct). It's an old time rag ... the first tune that I really started to "get" the idea of shifting accents and playing syncopated rhythms. I don't know why, but at some point I dropped it from my practice list. This past week was the time to resurrect it.

All I had was a messy handwritten piece of music notated for fiddle players, with no suggested chord progression. It was more trouble than it was worth to read, so I loaded Ken's recording of the tune (from his cd Journey to the Heartland) into the Amazing Slow Downer and got to work. The tune came back to me. I slogged through every little nuance.

I got the tune. I got the variations. I got the nice chromatic runs. I even got a new syncopated rhythm trained into my brain and hands. I wrote out the music in Finale, but paused when it came to writing in the chords. Most of it was pretty straightforward, but doubt was creeping in. Could it be that simple? There's always something that I miss!

So I googled it ... searching for the standard chord progression for YZ Hamilton's Breakdown. And what do you think showed up? The third entry down the google list ... Fiddle Tunes Volume 2 - Ken Kolodner ... an instructional cd that I own!! I haven't looked at those lessons in years. Hmmm ... there's gold in them thar piles of cds!

So I pulled out the cd. Listened to the entire lesson. Was personally affirmed by the fact that I had successfully gotten it by ear. Yay!

I'm glad it turned out this way. It was much better practice relying on my own ear and skills of analysis. But, of course, I did miss something ... the darn G7 chord. And you know what? That chord makes all the difference!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

30 days hath .... APRIL!

Monthly Practice Progress by the Numbers:

ü  Number of days in April                                                30
ü  Practice sessions w/Betsy                                                4
ü  Sandbridge tunes to date                                                  5
ü  Total hours spent practicing                                           30.25
ü  The Goal: average practice hours per day                       1.25
L  Actual average practice hours per day                            1

Oh well. I'm going to push for that average of 1.25 hours per day one more month. After that, it'll be vacation / gardening season, with miscellaneous plenty to compete with my practice schedule. I’ll be doing the best I can this summer!

May Goals

·      Continue to practice regularly
·      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

Want to read more about my 2016 Practice Project?

  • New Year's resolution? Getting back on track. - January 6 
  • Progress report for January - January 27 
  • Progress report for February - March 3 
  • Progess report for March - March 31 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Monday's Muse

In the under-wood and the over-wood there is a murmur and trill this day, for every bird is in lyric mood, and the wind will have its way.  ~ Clinton Scollard