The Same, But Different


We moved six months ago into a senior community. It is a wonderful neighborhood … peaceful, friendly, and very well maintained. However, when you first drive into the neighborhood, you may think that all the houses look the same. We are hooked together like quadplexes with no steps – same metal roof, same postage-stamp-sized front yard, same double garage, same inset front door.

But when I ride up and down the neighborhood streets in my golf cart, I don’t see the sameness anymore. Every family's home is shining with personality. Some have planted trees; others planted bushes. Many have gorgeous flower gardens. Some decorated with metal art. One lady has a cedar wood pergola with potted plants and lawn furniture underneath. Another lady identifies herself as the home with an iron horse out front. Many of our neighbors have harvest decorations hanging from their light poles, front doors, and between the garage doors.

It is the same with our music. We are all learning and practicing the same tunes. You might think we would all sound the same. But we don’t. Why is that? Well, we tend to bring our own interpretation to the table.

  • Some may play the tune more quickly than others. 
  • Some strum or hammer more lightly or heavily than others to add expression.
  • Some of us add our own melodic embellishments to the tune.
  • Some (like Butch Ross) add variety with a looping pedal. I hang jingle bells around my ankle when playing lively Christmas tunes.

I want to encourage you to let your personality shine through when you play your tunes. Make them your own. Use your imagination to individualize your arrangements. Don’t play the same tunes the same way as everyone else. Dare to be different!

Happy dulcimering,

P.S. During a jam session, it can be disruptive to let too much of your own personality shine through. Please be considerate of others, so you don’t throw them off their game.



There are no comments yet. Be the first one to leave a comment!