Thursday, April 21, 2011
When I was searching YouTube for Autoharp inspiration several months ago, I ran across the Dulcimerica podcast. Now mind you, when I was thinking of taking up the autoharp I was also considering the Mountain Dulcimer. Both looked easier to learn than the guitar, which I tried picking up a couple of times only to give up in frustration after practicing for months and only learning a song or two. I watched a couple of episodes and stored it in the back of my mind, until one day about a month ago, I decided to look at it again. Then I was hooked.
The instrument that I thought was mostly a kit for woodworking hobbyists to put together has become my new obsession. I've watched episode after episode on YouTube, joined in on Friends of the Mountain Dulcimer, subscribed to Dulcimer Player News, and ordered a dulcimer from Folkcraft.com. And in case there are any doubts, this is a spectacular instrument which as easy or hard to learn as you want it to be.
Tonight I went to visit an open mic night at the 42nd Avenue Station, a coffee shop a quick 10 minute drive from my house. I didn't play myself, I'm not ready for that kind of behaviour yet. But I was really delighted when a mountaint dulcimer player got up and played Arlo Guthrie's "Garden". He was playing a McSpadden that he got from a friend of his who had it shut away in a closet. Primarily a guitarist, she wanted it to go to a home where it would get used. Now he has the mountain dulcimer bug and I showed him my copy of Dulcimer Player News which just came in the mail today.
With the new focus of my life, on music and the growing family of zither instruments that I'm playing, I'm glad to have found a new venue to see live music every week. Maybe someday I'll get the courage to stand on the other side of the mic. But for now, I'll just be a good audience and get to know some more musician folk.