Friday, January 29, 2021

CTO ... QuaranTUNE 3.0 coming next week!

No more time to procrastinate! Still thinking about participating in this virtual dulcimer festival? Whether you're looking for a workshop or the opportunity to kick back and enjoy a concert ... time is running out!

Check This Out ... Registration closes tomorrow, Saturday, January 30th, 8:00pm EST for the weekend event scheduled for February 5-6, 2021. There are still workshops available, along with four concerts featuring 10 hours of music. And remember, the concerts are not just for players. Share the link with your music-loving friends!

Register for workshops and buy concert tickets here

Monday, January 25, 2021

Monday's Muse

This is the time to be slow,
Lie low to the wall
Until the bitter weather passes.

Try, as best you can, not to let
The wire brush of doubt
Scrape from your heart
All sense of yourself
And your hesitant light.

If you remain generous,
Time will come good;
And you will find your feet
Again on fresh pastures of promise,
Where the air will be kind
And blushed with beginning.

~John O'Donohue

Thursday, January 21, 2021


It's still January. There's still time to wish you all a happy new year! As the calendar page turns, many of us will take time to turn inward, reflect, make a plan to establish good habits ... begin again.

I bet many of you are optimistically approaching the dulcimer, aiming for more, better, improved practice habits in the coming year. 2020 really messed with my music practice. It was a combination of things, certainly not a lack of time! Priorities shifted. I spent more time in solitude with other creative endeavors, mostly at my sewing machine. We took our camper trailer and traveled across the country for extended visits in Colorado, not once, but twice this fall. I took my dulcimer, but it was hard to focus. I had total replacement of my right hip in late September. Two weeks later the Sandbridge Hammered Dulcimer retreat with Ken Kolodner and support crew Mary Lynn Michal and Laurie McCarriar was certainly a bright spot, zooming old and new friends and the music into my home, providing good structure and reason to get going after surgery. But it took weeks to really feel comfortable at the instrument again. Actually, there were plenty of digital opportunities in the dulcimer world last year... most notably, the well-attended QuaranTUNE virtual dulcimer festival, proving, if nothing else, that humans are adaptable!

Thankful to say that I'm back at it, reviewing previously mastered tunes, getting back to the basics with scales, arpeggios, harmonization exercises, and learning those new tunes from the Sandbridge retreat.

The big surprise is I'm also adding 15 minutes of piano practice to my music schedule. As a kid, I played the piano a lot. It was my escape. Mind you, I'm no master pianist! But since taking up the hammered dulcimer I haven't found time to do both. In recent years, though, I've made a point of getting the piano tuned in December, anticipating a house full of family who might like to play or sing carols ... and then I have fun playing Christmas music all month.

During this past very odd holiday season I enjoyed playing music from Tschaikowsky's ballet, The Nutcracker. I have a book of selected pieces arranged for piano solo by Harry Dexter. The book cost 75 cents back in the day. It has a pink cover. Anybody else remember it, or have a copy?

Amazing how one can get out of physical shape for playing the piano. At first, there were passages where my brain and my fingers felt absolutely disconnected. Then, there was a muscle in my upper left arm that became tired and sore after playing less than 15 minutes. All that has improved! Plus, I'm getting better at reading the notes on those outer ledger lines. 

You heard it here first... my goal is to learn all eight pieces in that book by next December. I'm hoping that experience playing the hammered dulcimer will somehow inform my playing of the piano, and vice versa. I know that at the very least I am getting back to something that used to give me quite a lot of pleasure. Wishing you joy in all of YOUR 2021 endeavors!

Monday, January 18, 2021

Monday's Muse

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.  ~ Martin Luther King, Jr

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

QuaranTUNE 3.0 Registration Opens TONIGHT

QuaranTUNE 3.0 is coming February 5-7, 2021. Registration OPENS tonight, Wednesday, January 13, 7:00pm EST. 

For those who don't know, QuaranTUNE is the virtual dulcimer festival that came into being last year in response to the social distancing required by COVID-19. Offering a plethora of workshops, concerts, and more, it's the music fix we all need, zoomed directly into our homes!

Go to the website, Read how it works. Check out the list of instructors and classes. Make your "wish" list, then submit your registration. Keep in mind that there are size limitations to the classes. Those taught by sought-after teachers fill up quickly! You can add concert tickets and additional classes to your order anytime before registration closes.

Registration CLOSES at the stroke of midnight EST January 30.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Monday's Muse

 Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.  ~ Arthur Ashe

Friday, January 8, 2021

CTO ... Sandbridge HD Spring Retreat "Relaxed" Week - still some spaces available

Been thinking about attending one of Ken Kolodner's Sandbridge Hammered Dulcimer Retreats, but not sure you're ready for the "intensive" part of it? Here's your chance!

Check This Out ...  There is now a week designed specifically for first-timers who would like a more relaxed pace. Scheduled via Zoom this spring, the class will run March 28 - April 2, 2021 ... and there are still a few spaces available.

The socially distanced conditions during the COVID pandemic have demanded new and creative ways to "gather" in the dulcimer community. Unsure about video conferencing? After attending the online version of Sandbridge this past fall, I can assure you that Ken and his assistants, Mary Lynn Michal and Laurie McCarrier, truly have the zoom thing figured out. The silver lining? More students than ever are able to enjoy the benefits of Ken's teaching ... no travel required, and the price is right!

It's a new year. Perhaps "play more music" or "get serious about the dulcimer" is on your resolution list. What are you waiting for? Check it out!

Monday, January 4, 2021

Monday's Muse

 And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been.  ~ Rainer Maria Rilke