It's Just Practice

Person: How do you perform so well?

Musician: Practice

Person: It must be an innate gift.

Musician: It’s practice.

Person: I can never understand how some people get all the talent. It’s a total mystery.

Musician: It’s just practice.

It doesn’t matter what you want to learn. The difference in performance or results are the direct result of practice. When you were learning to cook, was your first batch of cookies the best you ever made? Did you burn food on the campfire or BBQ pit at the beginning, when you were first learning how to manage the flame? Maybe. But I bet you have more successes today than failures. I guarantee … you’ve been practicing.

How about the first time you picked up a baseball bat. Did you strike out a time or two before you managed to knock the ball back into the field? What about learning to shoot a basket? Did the ball go through the first time? Can you do it today. You bet. But it took practice.

And it’s the same with learning the dulcimer. I’ll grant you that some seem to have more natural ability than others when it comes to learning to play an instrument. But we’re all on the same page when it comes to perfecting our craft. It just takes practice.

However, for some reason, some of us are resistant to forming the habit of regular practice. Oh, we have lots of excuses and probably the most common one is the lack of time. I’ll grant you … that can be a very real issue. But you’re not going to progress until you practice, get feedback, refine your approach and practice again. And again.

Here are some suggestions to help you overcome any obstacles to practicing your dulcimer.

  • Acknowledge it will indeed be a challenge. Be honest about your time, whether you are really that short of time, or if you are just using it as an excuse. If it is true, you are sadly short of time to pick up your instrument or hammers, readjust your priorities and perhaps drop something else that is not as important to you.

  • Limit the scope. Don’t try to learn everything at once. Pace yourself and break the techniques and tunes you want to learn into baby steps. Otherwise you may get discouraged before you’ve even started.

  • Commit time. Block time on your calendar. Minimize distractions.

  • Gather tools and materials. Have everything you need close at hand in one area – tuners, picks, tabs, or maybe backup tracks.

  • Create practice partnerships. Get together with another dulcimer addict and practice together once a week.

  • Consider coaching. Sometimes you need more support than the online videos you can find at Dulcimer Crossing. We have teachers standing by to assist for a few lessons or more. Your choice.

Making a commitment to practice is essential. It’s the only way to become proficient ... at anything. Starting today, discipline yourself to build practice into your schedule several days a week.



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