Marie's Story

by Linda Ratcliff

How the musical score of Marie's life was forever changed ...

One of our followers, Marie, shared her personal musical journey with us, and told how playing the dulcimer has impacted her life. I was touched by her story, and got her permission to share it with all of you.  From Marie ... "I just read your story about how you grew up learning music. You are so very fortunate. I always had it in me too, but I was not allowed to play music until I married my sweet husband, Bill. He bought a piano for me while I was in college in the 70's, so I could learn and enjoy music with our children.I will never forget how shocked my music professor was that I signed up for "beginners piano lessons" while in college. He simply could hardly tolerate me as I struggled to learn to read the music, and I "barely" made a C just in order to pass the class (I worked very hard). As if that was not enough for him, I "stupidly" told him I was going to come back and play for him someday. He said, "I will be an old man." This hurt me so much, and I left feeling defeated. Then I went on to my next class, cried as I told a friend how hurt I was, only to find this very nice young gentlemen was listening. He turned to me and said, "Do you want to play seriously, or for fun?" I said, "For fun, because I want to play for our children as they grow." He said, "I will teach you," and I started taking lessons with him and he taught me very well.

My youngest son, Keith, learned saxophone in grade/high school and I enjoyed playing with him. He died at the age of 26, and it left me so devastated that I lost all memory of how to play my piano, plus my computer skills that I had studied. I soon realized if I did not find something to do, I was not going to be able to bear life anymore. I then learned to play the mountain dulcimer, which helped me start to go on with my grief (because I could still count to 10).

Then I went to a concert, and Rick Thum was playing his HAMMERED DULCIMER. I got BIT!!! Rick gave me a learning CD, and I went all the way to Bennington, OK, and bought a beautiful Master Works HD. I began taking lessons in Mountain View, AR, and worked hard to learn my beautiful instrument.
Many times I thought about quitting because the HD was so HARD for me. I had to learn to read the notes and chords all over again -- but I did not quit. I felt like God was saying: "No, you are not going to quit -- I gave you a gift to help you, so keep trying."
I now enjoy the HD very much and I'm still learning (can't get enough). So even though I was not so fortunate at a young age, I have at least had this wonderful opportunity. By the way, I had told myself I was too old to begin ... and then I said to myself, "What if I don't try and I live to be 100? Then I will regret that I did not try." I'm so glad I tried and stayed with it!!"

Do you have a story to share?  Please send it, if you believe it will inspire and motivate other dulcimer players, And, as always, if you have any questions, always feel free to ask Steve or myself.

Happy dulcimering,




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