Are You Wearing the Right Shoes?


Mike and I are campers. We lived full-time in an RV for almost 10 years, and today we still go camping for 4-6 weeks at a time. Each time we set up at a new campground, our dog wants to go for a walk to explore. (We like to say she wants to read the newspaper and get the scoop on all the other campers’ dogs.) I always want to go along on the exploration tour, but in hot weather, I’m often wearing sandals or flip flops.

Sometimes I get in a hurry because I’m afraid Mike and Peachie will leave without me, so I take off in whatever shoes I have on at the time. But if I walk too far in the wrong shoes, I have trouble keeping up and start limping. To really enjoy our evening walks, I need to wear the right shoes.

Likewise, just as I need to prepare to experience a comfortable walk, you need to prepare to experience a comfortable dulcimer session when you leave the house to play with others. Here are some suggestions.

  • Music Holder: I’ve been at workshops and jam sessions where folks are hunched over, peering at their tabs. If that’s you, you either need a lower chair or stool to sit on OR a higher music stand.

  • Chair: For 24+ years, I’ve played my dulcimer standing up, with the hammered dulcimer stand level so others can see what I’m doing. But my back started hurting, and friends pointed out that I was leaning way over to see the strings. (Age got me there!). So I finally found a comfy stool with a back on it, and I’ve tilted my hammered dulcimer stand just a bit, and now I can see the strings better.

  • Organize/Alphetize: This winter, the group I attended had put their tabs in their notebooks in the order that they learned each tune. So when someone called out a tune, everyone was scrambling to find it. Someone would holler, “Remember, we learned that in the first set of tunes,” and everyone would flip back toward the front of their notebook. Just alphabetize, folks!

  • Glasses: If you need to wear glasses, but tend to forget them, keep an extra pair stored in your dulcimer case. Also, if you carry more than one mountain dulcimer, go ahead and pack a pick and tuner in each case. That way, if you decide to leave one behind, you still have everything you need.

  • Carrier: If you go to a lot of dulcimer events, invest in something to tow your equipment. No sense being exhausted from dragging everything from the car before you even begin to play.

Check your gear. Are you equipped for comfort? Are you wearing the right shoes?

Happy dulcimering,



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