What Are You Working On?
General mountain dulcimer or music discussions
Jennifer and Jill, I'm certainly glad you got something out of my video. We should all remember that we have a Group here called Help Me Learn This Song where members can ask other members how to play certain passages and the Arranging for Dulcimers Group where we can seek help arranging tunes. We should all probably make use of those Groups more often to seek advice from and share advice with one another.
It may seem that there is a wide chasm between "beginners" and "skilled" players, but that divide can be bridged. I remember marveling at how cleanly some people played or how they used certain fingers (like their pinky or thumb) in ways that I seemed incapable of doing. But I just kept plugging away. I've found playing scales and arpeggios and using a metronome have helped me immeasurably. My pinky is finally feeling strong and I can sometimes play a verse or two really cleanly, with no buzzing or extra strings hit by accident. It doesn't take a long time working with those kinds of exercises to see some benefit. I tell my students that when you work on a song, you get better at that song. But when you work on exercises such as scales and arpeggios, you get better at every song you play.
Actually, sometimes the best players intimidate as much as they inspire. They just seem so proficient that it seems you'll never get there. That can be discouraging. But some beginners not only play with great enthusiasm but often express really great musical ideas, perhaps a rhythm, or an accent, or one or two well-placed notes, that can be truly inspirational even if the execution is not perfect from a professional standpoint.
Wow. Dusty, this was great! I still consider myself a beginner even though I have had my dulcimer for awhile now. Watching your videos, as well as other more accomplished players does help and provide inspiration to learn. I love watching an experienced player play, as well as teach and talk thru some of the things they struggle with as well. It provides encouragement because you can see that an accomplished player still has to work at things. It isn't just for beginners. They still have to practice, work thru difficulties, figure out how to make things work to make playing sound good, but also be done with ease of motion. Seeing, and knowing that it isn't just beginners who have to work at this stuff is great encouragement. It tells me with time, and practice I too will get better and will possibly become one of these more accomplished players. Keep up the good work and thanks for posting this.