What do you aspire to with your music?

Colleen Hailey
Colleen Hailey
@colleen-hailey
6 years ago
67 posts

I just want to play....better.  I've been playing two years now, and while I am much better than when I started, the road to where I want to be is a long one.  I'll never be as good as people who have been playing for years and who have a real feel for music, but I can always be...better.  I guess that one goal would be to be able to take an Intermediate workshop at a festival and be able to keep up on the songs on the first go-through.  So, better tab reading, better traveling up and down the fretboard, and getting a handle on rhythm and difficult chords.  

The fun part is the journey on the way there, though.

Lexie R Oakley
Lexie R Oakley
@lexie-r-oakley
6 years ago
230 posts

My main aspiration is to play my dulcimer's every day, to listen carefully and learn how to add my own touch to each song.

I want to continue to play the songs I know to keep up my skills and to work on my memory so I can play without tab.

I want to learn from other's and become more comfortable playing in front of others and work more on playing by ear. 

Playing my dulcimers and the helpful folks on this site have greatly enriched my life. Thank you Friends, who have taken the time to teach me about the MD and it's sweet music.

David Pedersen
David Pedersen
@david-pedersen
6 years ago
32 posts

I'm sitting here in my home office,music room man cave(when my wife of 11 years come 6/3/16)(I'm 62@ retired) lets me have it. I thought I was the only one that had issues playing in front of people. 

I have had something in me, and have been trying to find it for 45 years, I found it. Dulcimer.  After a year and a half I can only play 5 or 6 songs with out tab. Gospel and Messing with Sugar Hill. Thanks John K.  But I know a little bit of a lot of songs. I try John Henry, thanks Dusty.

Most nights I will play to keep up what I know and try to add more songs.  At a certain time I find that songs I could'nt play 6 months ago are attainable now.

Guess I play because it feels good to me. I pay attention to you all every day.

John Keane
John Keane
@john-keane
6 years ago
182 posts

Terry Wilson: John, what you wrote was inspiring and thought provoking.  I could never say it that way, but that's very much how I feel, and I am sure there are others just like me.  Your description of life and music is a blessing.  And I'm not just trying to buddy up to you, no reason to,  just being honest. 

Thank you much,

Terry

 

Aww...thanks Terry!  That's a very sweet thing to say.  It just kinda revolves around perceived frustration.  When we (in general) start asking ourselves about what we're getting out of this little musical endeavor, we need to also inquire as to what we are putting into it.  Fulfillment and effort seem to go hand in hand.

Paul Killian
Paul Killian
@paul-killian
6 years ago
8 posts

I have never been very musically inclined. In elementary and junior high school I played a trumpet and then a Sousaphone/tuba in the school band. I learned to read music (badly) in that context. When I finished the eighth grade my musical involvement was over except for congregational singing in church, which I have always enjoyed. I also listen to music and enjoyed attending concerts. My wife died in 1998 and in 2001 I remarried. When I remarried I joined my wife's church and the choir. That was the first time I had been in a choir since childhood. About three years ago I decided to try to learn to play the dulcimer. Folk and country music have been a genres that I have listened to most of my life, so I guess that it was a natural choice. I play the dulcimer for myself. Right now, my only goal is to please myself. I play pretty much everyday when I am at home. I am slowly improving and look forward to improving more. 

Terry Wilson
Terry Wilson
@terry-wilson
6 years ago
296 posts

John, what you wrote was inspiring and thought provoking.  I could never say it that way, but that's very much how I feel, and I am sure there are others just like me.  Your description of life and music is a blessing.  And I'm not just trying to buddy up to you, no reason to,  just being honest. 

Thank you much,

Terry

 

John Keane
John Keane
@john-keane
6 years ago
182 posts

I guess that I have a rather nerdy thought process, but I usually think more along the lines of "what does my music aspire for me to do?"  I have always had the feeling that as long as I respect the musical journey, that same journey will respect me.  Respect for the journey includes things such as practice and participation for sure, but also the mindset that music is a powerful entity.  It can evoke inner feelings and emotions at will.  Music also brings people together to share a common experience (both musically and socially).  If I look at my relationship with music over the years (both childhood and adulthood), it is best described as a two-way street...as long as I love and respect my musical pursuits (and share that love and respect with others), music will always fulfill my human spirit when I need it the most.  That is why I strive to KEEP IT FUN and KEEP IT GOING!  

Frank Ross
Frank Ross
@frank-ross
6 years ago
33 posts

I wanted to keep the brain working and the fingers functional after I retired. I wanted something to do on cold rainy days and the winter nights, one can only tie so many flies for fishing. Death from TV or internet surfing didn't seem palatable. I had finished the dulcimer I started to  build over 40 years ago and wanted to learn how to play it. So it went on the bucket list. My aspirations change as I make progress - at first all I wanted to do was to play simple tunes and eventually use chords. I progressed enough where if I play in front of others I don't have to tell them the name of the common tune and it doesn't sound like one of the cats attacking the fret board. I can chord some now and have played at one open mike event. I play with other MD players and in front of friends now without the need of a barf bag. I hope to encourage others to take up the dulcimer and have fun. Having started my MD playing two and a half years ago at the age of 68, I have realized that playing fast Irish jigs will probably not  make my repertoire. The hardest part now trying to learn the tunes so that I don't need the tab sheet in front of my face and getting smoother playing. If I can make others happy, keep learning new skills and encouraging other to play, I will be satisfied.

Estes George
Estes George
@george-desjardins
6 years ago
92 posts

I just enjoy sitting every night and playing for an hour or two, While I play fairly decently, I've never been comfortable playing in front of people. I mostly play because it helps me deal with depression issues.

 

Dulcimer is the voice of angels.

 

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
6 years ago
1,970 posts

I aspire to keep entertaining myself and others for as long as I can.  Sitting in a shady park, playing for myself and watching folks pass by is as good as it gets.  I enjoy Open Mics and work at getting better as a performer not just a player.  I guess my biggest aspiration is that I'd love to get invited to teach noter & drone at festivals.

ellozz
@ellozz
6 years ago
7 posts

I am 58 and just beginning, so right now my goal is to be able to play without the lurch-stop thing going on...my initial goal is just to play music for myself because I love music! I am thinking that someday I would like to play for children or adults that are in the hospital , if they still allow that sort of thing. 

Jan Potts
Jan Potts
@jan-potts
6 years ago
408 posts

Sheryl St. Clare: I want to just play at home...and get together with friends and other like minded dulcimer players purely for enjoyment and socialization.

Pretty well sums up my soaring ambitions...at least the ones in my comfort zone!

Outside my comfort zone, I'd like to become better at teaching others, and to occasionally perform in front of others without feeling like I'm going to throw up or pass out.

And loftier, still....to learn tabledit or something like that so I can tab out my own arrangements and compositions..........and one day get to hear a "dulcimer orchestra" play one of my pieces.

Ok....that's so lofty, I'm starting to feel light-headed....

 




--
Jan Potts, Lexington, KY
Site Moderator

"Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best." Henry Van Dyke

updated by @jan-potts: 03/02/16 02:55:57AM
Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
6 years ago
2,112 posts

Dusty Turtle: What about you, Strumelia? What do you aspire to with your music?

Years ago, I had the typical daydreams about recording CDs or teaching at festivals, etc....  but as time goes by I find more and more enjoyment from just playing at home with my husband, and playing occasionally with a few friends.


Like Robin Thompson, my biggest love is playing home made music at home.  I also enjoy the learning process and consider that to be a lifelong pleasure.  My husband and I are able to learn a whole lot while playing music together.


I also do enjoy playing occasionally for events in my community- our village's Sidewalk Summerfest, a humane society fundraiser, and next to the Blacksmith/spinning wheel/candlemaking demonstrations in the "Old Timey" pavillion of our County Fair.
I still travel to one far away gathering (before I get too old)...an early banjo one in Virginia or Maryland.  I kinda like that one and don't want to give it up just yet.  oma


So, my goal is to continue doing most of the above.  


 


EDIT:  I want to add that another goal of mine musically is to be able to stop, or almost stop, working my day job (patent illustration) so I can have more precious time to explore and play and learn more on several different instruments that I would dearly love to get better at playing.  I simply don't have enough time while still working every day.  




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990

updated by @strumelia: 03/02/16 09:55:52AM
John C. Knopf
John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
6 years ago
315 posts

I just want to bring a little joy to people's lives by playing at church or at home once in a while.  No big aspirations here.  And I like to supply others with the equipment needed to do the same in their own lives.  The instrument's history and traditions are what interest me most, not so much the playing.

Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
6 years ago
1,346 posts

I want to keep having fun making music at home-- it enriches a home to have music in it.  :) To that end, I aspire to become a better, more careful listener.  The better I get at listening, the more I'll enjoy, appreciate music and things musical. 

Gail Webber
Gail Webber
@gail-webber
6 years ago
70 posts

I play for a number of reasons.  I heard a dulcimer for the first time in the mountains of North Carolina years ago and I've loved the sound of them ever since.  I didn't really have much time to play until I retired 3 years ago.  My husband has some ongoing medical issues, so our retirement hasn't been what we expected.  I have found the dulcimer (plus playing some autoharp and fiddle) have kept my mind busy, brought me a lot of peace (well maybe not that darn fiddle), brought me together with others and allowed me to make some new friends.  I can't imagine my life without my music.

Annie Deeley
Annie Deeley
@annie-deeley
6 years ago
49 posts

Like Terry, I play because I love it so much. My goal - going to a dulcimer festival! Dulcimer Day in Duluth is the closest...

 

Rob, Dusty, you are both pros, in my eyes.  

Rob N Lackey
Rob N Lackey
@rob-n-lackey
6 years ago
415 posts

Well, I wanted to be on the Opry when I was young.  Then I wanted to find a blues band that needed a guitarist.  Now as a dulcimist I have 2 tab books in the cloud and on the hard drive of my computer that's in the shop (and quite a bit on a 3rd.)  I've taught and performed at festivals.   I'm working on a cd.  Shoot, I just love to play; all the other stuff has been wonderful icing on the cake, particularly the great folks I've met, along with Jim.  ROFL.  Just kidding.  Maybe I'm looking to finally be a pro at something musical.

 

Sheryl St. Clare
Sheryl St. Clare
@sheryl-st-clare
6 years ago
258 posts

I want to just play at home on my porch for an audience of birds, and get together with friends and other like minded dulcimer players purely for enjoyment and socialization.

Steven Berger
Steven Berger
@steven-berger
6 years ago
146 posts

To get good enough to say to myself "Yes! I can do that!", and then continue on again.

Robin Clark
Robin Clark
@robin-clark
6 years ago
237 posts

Damm !!!  I wish you hadn't asked that question.  You've made me realise that at present I don't have any clear goals at all about my music.  So perhaps my first goal should be to set some goals dohh

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
6 years ago
1,591 posts

What about you, Strumelia? What do you aspire to with your music?




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
-- Dizzy Gillespie
Terry Wilson
Terry Wilson
@terry-wilson
6 years ago
296 posts

Good question.  When I tuned 65 Sept. 4 years ago,  I retired, and was searching for a hobby to keep my mind sharp.  My son suggested music, so here I am.

And now, over 4 years later, I still do it to keep my mind sharp, and all of this has simply amazed me.  I would never have bet that my memory was so keen, that I would love it so much.  So, I mostly play simply because I can do it.

I have no illusions of ever recording or being like a teen age rock star where the girls swoon and cry, and holler more, more more.  Nope, not to be. Only in my wildest dreams imaginable on perhaps another planet.

However, I am more than happy to jam with my musical children and grandchildren, and some friends from church.  Family reunions too.  I am more than happy to play for my senior group at church, and occasionally at other churches.  I am more than happy to play at assisted living homes, and nursing homes.  They seem to love my music and me, and the good thing is, I don't have to be real good.  Just willing. I love to lead their bingo and keno games too. 

Learning music has been very rewarding.  When someone asks me "how long you been playing that thing?", I just wish I could say "oh, around 40 years."

Terry

 


updated by @terry-wilson: 03/01/16 04:01:58PM
Sean Ruprecht-Belt
Sean Ruprecht-Belt
@sean-belt
6 years ago
33 posts

Thanks for starting this thread, Lisa. It's good to reflect on this stuff once in a while.

My aspirations are pretty simple.

I want to continue to play for as many years as I can. Violet Hensley and Vesta Johnson are role models, still playing fiddle well on into their 90's.

To have fun playing tunes with friends (those I know now and those I haven't yet met). So far, it's going well. The band I play with, The Mound City Slickers , is fantastic and a more fun bunch of old boinkers you couldn't find.

To continue to improve as a musician and as a human being, incidentally. 

To learn to be more effective as a teacher so that I can inspire new players to have as much fun and fulfillment as I've gotten out of music over the years.

If I can hit those goals, I'll be pretty happy and lucky.

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
6 years ago
1,591 posts

I've played music my whole life, and not once did it occur to me to ask why. I just assumed that people play music.  My grandmother growing up in Brooklyn used to buy the sheet music to the top hits as soon as they were released and she and her sisters would sing the songs on the streets for spare change.  My mom and her two brothers play guitar and other instruments, and at all the family gatherings, after a day of swimming and eating and catching up with relatives, we would sing around the campfire.  It never occurred to me to play music for a reason; making music is just something you do, like hugging your children or telling stories or sharing delicious recipes or complaining about the political process.

But later in life, I did get a bit more ambitious. At one point I tried to play bluegrass mandolin and bluegrass guitar.  My goal was just to improve my technique enough to be able to play at those bluegrass jams.  That effort led directly to my discovery of the dulcimer, and although I abandoned the bluegrass obsession with speed, I have continued to try to actually work on my playing, to practice enough to actually play songs without really obvious mistakes, to develop a steadier right hand and a more flexible left hand and to slowly understand the fingerboard. Until recently, my goal as a dulcimer player was just to continue to improve, something measured by my own ears, not someone else's.

But those goals may be changing again.  I started a dulcimer group a few years ago, hoping to lure out or the woodwork as many dulcimer players as I could who would be able to share their knowledge with me. Instead, although I do indeed have a group to play with on a monthly basis, the people that I've gathered are all beginners.  Our monthly gatherings have turned into my teaching them, and I started arranging tunes not for me to play, but in order to share with others. I am now on the precipice of becoming an actual dulcimer teacher and have several beginning students lined up.  So I guess my immediate goal is to continue playing the dulcimer and improving as a player while also devoting some time to refining how to teach others.

Every now and then someone asks me where they can find my CDs or books and I have to giggle. I am just an amateur musician. I have a day job. Still, I fantasize about someday putting together enough tunes for a CD to share with my friends and family or an instructional book (I do have one good idea, in fact) that might interest other dulcimer players.  But with a job, a family, and now a slowly growing number of dulcimer students, I don't know if I'll have time for any of that.  I am just glad that music is an integral part of my life. My life continues to be enriched immeasurably by music, and I have FOTMD to thank in that regard.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
-- Dizzy Gillespie

updated by @dusty-turtle: 03/01/16 04:10:26PM
Skip
Skip
@skip
6 years ago
340 posts

That's not as easily answered as it appears. I've had many varied interests and most of them have turned into boring activities which I eventually dropped. I was never very interested in music until well after I retired when I was exposed to building MDs and HDs. That led me to discovering music was open ended as far as what could be accomplished and learned, from instrument construction/repair to music theory, playing, recording, equipment, etc. It was an epiphany. I'm a very private person with little desire to socialize [my wife's the opposite], but I have taught a MD class for beginners, participate in several dulcimer groups, have arranged a few pieces and in the last few years performed in public with my groups [and now doing a few solo's], none of which I would have done before becoming interested in music. Most everything considered, I think my primary goal is to stay mentally active, learning and trying new things, and have some social activities for us. As for the future, it's wide open, there's still a lot to try.

Kusani
Kusani
@kusani
6 years ago
134 posts

I will be tickled if I can learn to play well enough grandkids and other family to want to listen and join in singing some of the 'oldies' songs I learned around campfires in my pre-teen and early teen years.  On Top of Old Smokey, Kum Ba Yah, America, This Land is Your Land, When The Saints, etc. etc.  Right now it appears it is going to take a lot more practice. violin


updated by @kusani: 03/01/16 11:56:19AM
Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
6 years ago
2,112 posts

I was just pondering about how we all have many things in common in our love for playing music, and yet we also have a wide variety of goals in our personal musical journeys.

Of course it goes without saying that we all have our own particular fondness of different types of music and different playing styles...but I'm not  referring to that.  

What I mean is the variety in our music goals- things such as:
I want to become a dulcimer teacher, ...or I want to be able to record some professional CDs one day and sell them, ....or I want to play for hospice situations, ...or I want to play during my church services, ...or I want to just play at home on my porch for an audience of birds, ....or I want to mostly play and socialize in my dulcimer club with dulcimer friends, ...or I want to be able to play with other musicians in a local bluegrass jam, ...or I want to be able to play my mother's dulcimer that she left to me...

Please share with us what your  fondest goal is in your personal music journey!   music




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990

updated by @strumelia: 10/27/19 12:02:25PM