Check This Out ... The next Dulcimer Players News magazine will have a holiday theme. Material is needed! Submit audio recordings, sheet music, tablature, instructional pieces, anything that is appropriate for the winter holidays. Don't forget to include the story behind the tune, how it fits into your tradition, your interpretation, etc. Deadline early October, so hurry! Sorry, no copyrighted music.
For those not familiar with Dulcimer Players News, it is a quarterly published magazine and CD (what a deal!) jam-packed with music, instructional information, interviews, and stories for and about dulcimer enthusiasts. It's an important connection to tradition and community. Many players report that they can't wait to sit down and flip through the magazine as soon as it lands in their mailbox. If you don't already subscribe, I encourage you to do so!
I am talking about paying attention to the chord progression of a tune as you learn it. Most of my students resist this advice because there is just so much darn work behind the comprehension and application of chord theory. I'm here to say, begin the work and keep it up. It's worth the effort.
After 20+ years I still must work diligently to get the chord work down in a tune. Today, as I review and revive old tunes in preparation for an upcoming intensive week-long Sandbridge workshop with Ken Kolodner, I am finding that those pieces learned with focus on chord progression are coming back much more quickly those learned more by rote memorization. I'm having to relearn those early tunes the RIGHT way!
So ... take note of the way the chord progression is reflected in the melody line - learn how decisions about harmony are made - work on back-up arrangements even if you never play with others! The tunes you work so hard to acquire will stick better in the end.
Don’t respond with theology. God isn’t angry, and God doesn’t want devastation. Your sin didn’t cause the flood that swept away your home, your town. God doesn’t punish Houston, and didn’t punish Miami or San Francisco, or New Orleans, because God isn’t in the storm. God weeps at our suffering. God loves.
Don’t respond with politics. Hate government assistance later; dismantle welfare tomorrow. This is a time for us all to unite to offer assistance, to protect the weak and endangered. Remember to feed the hungry and clothe the naked. The Bible and the government both agree on that.
Don’t respond with greed. Raise prices later, on something else. Not on housing or food, or medicine. Not when people are soaked, tired, and terrified. Do you rob the poor to line your pockets? God cherishes the poor and the needy.
Don’t close your doors. The point of your great big building is the people it can shelter. You can always redo the floors or get another carpet. The time to shelter the homeless is now. God wants to send an Ark. Be that Ark.
As you treat the least of them …
Respond with compassion, Respond with deeds of kindness, Respond with open hands, Respond with love,
… so shall you be treated. ~ Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson
Be thankful it happened while at home, not in the middle of performance :-)
Dan's video is my go-to instructional resource whenever a string must be changed / replaced. Honestly, I can't remember the last time I broke a string, but when I had a full teaching schedule, I was frequently called upon to assist students replace their broken / missing strings. It can be an intimidating task, but actually, not that difficult.
The first thing I always do is refresh my string-changing memories by watching Dan's video. In it, he offers detailed instruction to give you confidence to do exactly the right thing AND he offersemotional support / encouragement to give you the courage to do it!
Check it out! Truly, there's never a good time for a string to break, but we can prepare ourselves for the moment when Murphy's Law strikes again!
* Murphy's Law - an adage that refers to the general truth that "anything that can go wrong will go wrong".