Wednesday, August 8, 2018

What's your skill level?

In recent weeks I have publicized a Dan Duggan workshop (planned for September 22, 2018) and the Black Mountain Music Festival (scheduled for October 21-26, 2018), both excellent opportunities to see professional musicians at work and to acquire some top-notch instruction on the hammered dulcimer. But these opportunities bring up questions. I've had inquiries. People want to know...
  • "Am I good enough?"
  • "What exactly is an 'intermediate' player?"
  • "What skill level do you think I am?"
It's not unusual to wonder, "Where do I fit in? How do I stack up?"
  • compared to other players of this instrument
  • compared to other musicians
  • compared to one's own personal goals
Compared to your own personal goals is a topic that is a bit lofty for this space. But I do encourage you to monitor your own progress and goals in a manner that is fitting for you. What I know for sure, is that as individuals, we are always raising the bar. There is always so much more to learn. There is always so much music, so little time. Just keep at it!
Compared to other musicians is certainly, a question of interest, but for many of us playing for our own enjoyment, not the biggest concern.
Compared to other players of this instrument... Now, this could be useful information, especially when signing up for classes at a festival or workshop.

I was going to attempt to write out a description of the various skill levels, from beginner to advanced, but you know it's already been done. That's what google has done for us. Instead of reinventing the wheel, I thought I would link you to a few good resources.

Take a look. Think about your own skills. Perhaps you'll find some affirmation in these descriptions. Perhaps you'll recognize some holes in your own skill set. Maybe you'll get a better feel for the process of mastering the instrument. Maybe it will help you envision where you want to be in the process. And hopefully, you will gain confidence to participate in activities that are perfect for your skill level!

Links to information worth reading below:

Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester
Hammered Dulcimer Curriculum

From a satellite of the North Georgia Foothills Dulcimer Association
General Playing Level Descriptions
(scroll down to find hammered dulcimer information)

From Steve Eulberg, at Owl Mountain Music
Skill Levels? How do I compare?
(scroll down to find hammered dulcimer information)

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