Returning to Jam: New Survival Tips


Returning to Jam!

Survival Tips from DJ Hamouris, our Baritone and Standard Mountain Dulcimer Instructor

by Deborah (DJ) Hamouris

After such a long social isolation, I was excited to join nightly jams at an in-person dulcimer camp this summer!

What I had *not* counted on was how much it would hurt to continuously strum for a couple of hours. Though I teach & play a lot, most of what I do is less strumming & more picking.

DJ fingerpickingBaritoneOverhead

But my advancing arthritis in fingers & hands changed how I felt about this very social activity.

Fortunately, I found an alternative:

I would do some bass string picking on chordal passages (pick bass on 1st beat, strum chord on 3rd beat) or finger-pick the melody using arpeggios to add harmony.

The first option meant playing twice per measure instead of 6-8 times.

The second was easier because I didn’t have to hold the pick and stress my joints with strumming.

I would alternate the traditional strum for a tune, then finger-pick, then the bass pick/chord option, often sitting out for a chorus, especially if someone was soloing. I still got new tunes in my ears and fingers.

This turned my early disappointment into great joy!

I could play, choose a tune, and hang with my friends in the circle of music I had been looking forward to for months. Nobody even noticed the difference and I didn’t miss a thing. Win-win!

What are your Jam Survival Tips?  Let us know about them in the Festival Forum Tent

Deborah is also one of our Private one-on-one instructors for Mentor Level Subscribers. 

You can book your private lesson with her here



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