The 3 P's of Practicing

The 3 Ps of Practicing

It’s obvious. I preach (teach) about this all the time. If you want to make any progress in your playing, you’re going to have to practice. It’s unavoidable. It has to be done. But to see nay improvement, I think you also have to have the right attitude. And that’s what we’re going to look at today … the 3 P’s of Practicing.

  • Perseverance: There are going to be challenges. At times we’re going to feel like giving up. What separates the people who master playing an instrument vs. those who do not? One simple thing. They didn’t give up. They never quit. They may have taken a break now and then, but they always came back to try again.

    In other words, they persevered. When the going got tough, they toughened up. They kept at it when they were frustrated, angry, irritated, and discouraged. And you can too.

  • Patience: If someone asks me, “How long will it take before I can play well?” I already know we’re in trouble. Learning to play well will be a lifelong journey. There are NO amazing short cuts to master the instrument in 3 weeks, no magic potion you can drink. I can’t sugar coat it. It’s going to take time, it’s going to take work, and you’re going to need a lot of patience.

    What I can recommend is that you celebrate every success, every new tune learned, every new technique mastered.

  • Perspiration: Okay, let’s be honest here … learning to play the dulcimer is hard work. The reason why so many people quit and put the instrument back in the closet is that they don’t know one of the major rules of learning music, and that is … at times, you’re going to really suck at it. Yep. We don’t start out as maestros. We start off as bumbling, stumbling, fumbling beginners that don’t even know if we would rather play in D-A-A, or D-A-d. No one is exempt.  It's going to take getting past the sore fingertips, tuning disasters, and learning to read the tablature.

    But, we need to keep our chins up, or fingers limber, and keep on keepin' on – knowing a better day is coming if we JUST KEEP PRACTICING. Let's keep our eyes focused the end game, when we will be able to play through a piece without making a mistake, instead of groaning and having a fit every time we hit a sour note. Think positive; you can do it.

Learning to play the dulcimer is a journey ... not a race.

I believe learning to play the dulcimer isn’t about the destination. It’s about the journey. There will always be something new to learn, another festival to attend, another concert to enjoy. Enjoy this journey we are on with the sweet, beautiful tones of the dulcimer.

Happy dulcimering,



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