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Category Archives: dulci-bro

Backing Tracks Library is growing!

Backing Tracks Library is growing!

We keep adding to our Library of Backing Tracks which are available to our Premium Members.

backingtracklibraryexanding

The two newest are the chord progressions in the Keys of D and G which match the Albert Brumley tune:  I’ll Fly Away.  These were created for the new Bluegrass Dulcimer series taught by Steve Eulberg.

We are continuing to produce these and other resources to assist you in your goals to “Bridge the Gap Between What You Know and Where You Want Your Music to Grow.”

 

 

 

“I Have to Practice every day…

“I Have to Practice every day…

by Linda Ratcliff

…to play as bad as I do.    —Woody Allen

Woody Allen (born Allan Stewart Konigsberg) is a passionate fan of jazz, and jazz music has often been featured prominently in the soundtracks of his movies. He started playing the clarinet when he was a teenager and actually chose his stage name, Woody, after the famous clarinet player Woody Herman.

Woody will be 81 in December, and these days he is performing with the Eddy David New Orleans Jazz Band.  They play every Monday night at the Carlyle Hotel.


What made me take a closer look at Woody was a quote by him about his own playing: “I have to practice every day to play as bad as I do.” I love his statement because it mirrors the way I feel about my own playing.We all need to practice – and not just to prepare for the next jam session or performance.

Practicing an instrument sharpens your brain, increases your eye-hand coordination, teaches you perseverance, and creates a sense of achievement when you overcome the challenge of learning a new tune.
I’ve also discovered a lot about the history of our country and its musicians by researching the stories behind those old fiddle tunes dulcimer players enjoy.
 (This post originally appeared in the DulcimerCrossing Newsletter.  You can subscribe here)
 

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Quantity vs. Quality

Quantity vs. Quality

by Steve Eulberg

Which is more important in art:

Quantity or Quality?

Very often in the artistic world some believe we have settled this classic debate by choosing the benefits of quality over the benefits of quantity.

ok_signWe want to have qualities of timbre and phrasing in music, quality of graceful movement in dance, qualities of taste and smell in cooking, qualities of joy and cleverness in humor, qualities of color, depth and placement in visual art.

So, choosing the end goal of this discussion as the most important can lead us into the mistaken of mixing up the ends and the means.

Because, as this story by David Bayles and Ted Orland in their book Art & Fear:  Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking illustrates, the quality of the result may rest upon the quantity of production that precedes it.

“The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups.

All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality.

His procedure was simple:  on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group:  50 pounds of pots rated an “A”, 40 pounds a “B”, and so on.

Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce only one pot—albeit a perfect one— to get an “A”.

Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged:  the works of the highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity.

It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work-and learning from their mistakes—they “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.”

 

In my experience in learning, performing and teaching music, I have found the same to be true.

The only way I can perfect a phrase that I can never play perfectly once, is to try and play it 20 times….only to discover that out of twenty times I can play it perfectly three times; and then eight times, then fourteen times….all of which demonstrates the quantity needed to produce the quality I desire.

 

 

What is Your Method of Exercise?

What is Your Method of Exercise?

swimmingimageby Steve Eulberg

I remember the question from the cardiologist I visited on my 33rd birthday.

I was there because my heart was skipping beats periodically and heart disease runs in my family.

After the stress test failed to produce any abnormalities they concluded that the source of this anomaly may be just day-to-day stress, rather than being physical activity-induced.

So their strategy was to be certain that I was building a strong physical system that could withstand the mental, social and emotional stressors of an inner-city pastor.

But still the question made me pause….

“In what forms of exercise do you regularly participate?”

“Hmmm,” I thought to myself, “I remember how to spell that word: e-x-e-r-c-i-s-e.”

(There were NO forms of exercise in which I was regularly engaged.)

The following week I began a program of swimming, which has always been my preferred method of exercise:  low-to-no impact, aerobic and using many muscles groups, in addition to focusing on breathing.  That program has continued to this day. Everywhere I have lived and travel, I do my best to find a swimming pool and make being there regularly and often a priority in my schedule

So, by now you might be wondering what this has to do with music?

Usually when we speak of exercises in music, we are playing a fingering pattern, or developing a hammering pattern, or becoming more dextrous with hammer-ons or pull-offs, or learning bends and releases, not something aerobic like, well, swimming!

Patrick Gannon, PhD, in an article written for the International Musician (journal of the American Federation of Musicians), borrows from the world of sports psychology to help the kinds of mental training needed to deal with performance anxiety.

He begins with Exercise As Medicine for Your Music.  (This short article is full of tips for how exercise can help you relax and learn more effectively!)

Just this week, as I began to feel the weight and pressure of decisions and preparations and deadlines and schedules that I face, I decided to take his advice and increase the length of time I was swimming in my daily swim sessions.

Wow, the sense of calm and centeredness, the depth of sleep without anxiety of dreams, were very noticeable.

So now, my question is for you:

In what regular exercise do you participate?

 

 

 

New Video Explains DulcimerCrossing

New Video Explains DulcimerCrossing

We are excited to unveil a new 30 second explanation of what DulcimerCrossing is all about!  Watch below:


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Backing Tracks Library

Backing Tracks Library

Here is a view of the new Backing Tracks Library which is a resource at DulcimerCrossing.com for Premium Members.

Backing tracks are a way to play along with a “band” while not having to worry about any egos (yours or theirs!) or other people who are going to get knocked off track when you make an error.  (You’ll notice I didn’t say “if”!)

Steve uses these to get comfortable making and recovering from the errors and slips that inevitably come when playing music.  And sometimes, these “happy accidents” provide new inspiration and ideas!

Each track has an .mp3 file that you can play and hear, in addition, there is a pdf tablature with chord charts, an occasional melody line, sometimes some suggested scales to use.  They are in several keys, tunings, genres and tempo styles.

BackingTracksLibraryDC

Want to get started with this new learning tool?  Join now and choose the Premium Option and you’ll get the access you want for the support you need.