What Can I Learn from a Concert?


It is an interesting phenomenon.

Public performance is how many of us "discover" dulcimers, or the style of music that catches our fancy.  Sometimes this sows the seeds of "I've gotta learn how to do this for myself!" or "I've got to get an instrument" or "I've got to get a teacher" and "I've got to share this music, this instrument, what I've learned, with other people."

Yes I hear this observation from many people who host and organize dulcimer festivals:

"We are so surprised at the number of people who sign up for the workshops but then don't come to the concerts!"

Of course there are many, many reasons that we all make the choices we do, including very important personal or professional or familial responsibilities which must be balanced.

Sometimes, all I want to do is PLAY THE MUSIC, and it can be so challenging to sit and listen to others do that...which is why so many festivals, including the QDF Winter Fest (which starts today) include jam sessions after some of the concerts, so we can scratch that particular itch!

But I think the broader question is WHAT CAN I LEARN FROM A CONCERT?

Here is the beginning of a list of things that I learn from concerts:

1.  What songs/tunes/genres catch my attention, draw me in or inspire me to play more?

2.  How does the performers' arrangements of the tunes celebrate and highlight the uniqueness of the tunes?

3.  It may not be our focus, but how can we not notice how the performer is dressed, what is their zoom setup, how comfortable or nervous do they appear?

4.  Why do I believe the performer chose this (or these) particular tunes/songs for this audience at this time?

5.  From my Music Together (early-childhood music education) experience, I know that Observation IS Participation and when I participate by observing and even take notes, I find many things of value:  what I would do differently, what I usually do differently but now want to change in order to incorporate a new idea, Strong v. week introductions or conclusions of tunes; how this performer handled a surprise; what transcends the details and becomes the heart-string tugger?

This is a very short list, but is meant to invite your input as well!  What can you add to this list?

QDF WinterFest Concerts

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