Practice with PURPOSE


I made a lot of progress in sharpening up my dulcimer skills during December. I noticed my arpeggios got more accurate, some of the tunes I was dragging made it up to tempo, and my muscle memory improved (I didn’t have to keep my nose down on the strings!).  In addition, my memorized repertoire of Christmas tunes became extended way beyond what I could play at a moment’s notice in October and early November.

What made the difference? Well, to be honest, peer pressure. I knew there would be Christmas company in the house, they would see the hammered dulcimer set up right there in the living room, and they would ask me to play something. And so, by mid-November, I was practicing with purpose.

Hmmm …. I wonder if that’s something I should do year-round? Apparently I need a clear goal, a deadline, a target date or season, to get my practice routine moving along. When I have a defined specific purpose, I seem to practice more attentively and more frequently. You might relate.

Here’s what I recommend. Find ways to keep yourself motivated, such as setting short-term and long-term goals, creating a practice schedule, rewarding yourself for achievements, or exploring new repertoire and musical styles. You might need to find a private teacher, or a dulcimer practice buddy, to keep you moving forward.

By practicing your musical instrument with purpose, you will make significant strides in your musical development. With focused and intentional practice, you can achieve your goals, improve your skills, and become a more accomplished dulcimerist. And remember to have fun and enjoy the process along the way.

Happy dulcimering,



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