Monday, January 9, 2012


Tomorrow night I have my next Mountain Dulcimer lesson, and there's lots to go over. It's been a month since my last lesson, and since then, I've learned to manage my tight neck which has the side effect of pinching a nerve causing all kinds of weird sensations down my left arm. Correct posture is important, as is regular stretching generally. I've taken my body for granted, and so on top of my super tight neck I have a horrid head cold.

But I will go to my lesson tomorrow and be sure to medicate myself beforehand. My nose is too stuffy/runny/sneezy to try and get one more practice session in tonight, but I wanted to pop online and stress the importance of getting some training when you are first learning an instrument. As adults, we sometimes set our expectations too high for ourselves. There have been many times during my lessons when Karen has made simple suggestions that have helped me learn better. While online resources like Friends of the Mountain Dulcimer are fantastic, nothing can substitute sitting down with an instructor. I'm one of the truly lucky ones to have a world class instructor available to me where I live, I know that.

Having regular instruction has kept me from getting stuck and that has made all the difference for me. My love for this little instrument continues to grow and I am amazed at how much joy it has brought into my life. Lessons continue to inspire me and increase my passion for folk music and my Mountain Dulcimer in particular. It is a continuing joy for me to sit with an experienced player and learn from her in the tiny music rooms at Homestead Pickin' Parlour. Watching her play as we go over a new song is a delight, her fingers effortlessly glide over the fretboard to find each chord waiting for her touch. My fingers fumble along and she corrects me as I make mistakes, and I always leave with an excitement to practice the new things I learned in class that day.

I remember when I first got my dulcimer, and how awkward it was the first time I played. I've come a long way, having learned a few songs by heart, and I have a great desire to learn many more. Hopefully I'll find others to play with as well, for I know there are secret dulcimer players out there among my folkie friends. Until then, I'll play with Karen for my bi-weekly half hour lesson, and continue trying to improve. Little by little I'm getting the hang of it.

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