Baaaaaad Habits


Here are some true facts about baaaaad habits.

  • You can play your dulcimer alone or along with others … in spite of bad habits.

  • You can get compliments from people about your dulcimer playing … in spite of bad habits.

  • You can reach some of your goals … in spite of bad habits.

However, when you play your dulcimer with bad habits, you are moving toward an invisible brick wall. Eventually, you’re going to be stopped in your tracks. I’m not making this up. You’re not going to be able to continue advancing if you continue with these bad habits.

I have a few suggestions of things you might check, to see if you’re developing some bad habits. For example …

  • Posture: Are you slouching when you play? Regardless of what instrument you play, poor posture can cause a lot of back pain and add tension throughout your whole body. Straighten up, so you will be comfortable the entire time you play.

  • Sporatic Practice: To truly make advances in your playing, you need to practice consistently. You will be most successful if you dedicate a regular time, several times a week, to practicing.

  • Not Listening: Are you listening to yourself play? Or do you just play by rote, run through each piece one time and call it quits. You need to listen and stop if/when you hear an issue or mistake. Go back and work it out.

  • Unrealistic Expectations: Just as most (all?) of us aren’t going to lose that extra holiday weight in a week or two, we aren’t going to become professional musicians after a few months of practice. Set realistic goals, and celebrate each accomplishment.

  • Playing Too Fast: When we start a new tune, we tend to want to jump right into it at performance speed. Whoa! Put on the brakes! The more we make mistakes while playing too fast, the more that pattern gets burned into our brains. Slow it down and get it right from the git-go.

  • Being Too Hard on Yourself: We are our own worst critics. I would say this might be my weakest habit. I’m a bit OCD (ok, my husband says I’m much more than “a bit”), and my playing never seems good enough to my ears. I need to lighten up on myself. How about you?

The new year is a good time to make some changes, if you discovered any of these struck home with you, nod your head. Ok, now get to work and do something about them.

Happy dulcimering,



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