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It's ALL Inclusive

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by Linda Ratcliff

Music is an integral element of everyday life. People spend hours listening to it and billions of dollars buying it. Music plays a role in almost every area of a person’s life. The music you choose to listen to probably reflects your emotions – whether troubled or happy. Music can stir up your imagination and fill your mind with positive thoughts. Some people consider music as a way to escape from the pains of life, offering stress relief to others. In today’s world, music has…

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4 Equidistant Dulcimer Day

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DulcimerCrossing is pleased to host a day-long event that focuses on playing Mountain Dulcimer in  a 4 Equi-distant string set up.

6 Teachers will gather at the beginning of the day with Ashley Ernst, editor and publisher of Dulcimer Players News.

They will each provide a workshop and then join together at the end for a round-robin concert.

All events are held on Saturday, March 11th and take place on Zoom.

Visit the website for more details.

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Behind Every Performance

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One of the privileges we have, living in today’s world, is access to pristine, note-perfect recordings on YouTube, the radio, CDs. But this privilege comes at a cost. Performers, as well as our audiences, have developed the mind-set that such perfection should be possible every time we play for others – whether we are hanging out with friends on the front porch or attending a performance in a concert hall. And, Lord knows, we performers try our best. I’ve spent most of my adult life feeling like…

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The Humpty Dumpty Dilemma

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Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again.

Humpty Dumpty was in bad shape physically. Who knows how many bones were broken with such a great fall. His shell was shattered, pieces scattered all over the ground. He knew it would be impossible to get back up and fix himself - all by himself. So he went for help. Mr. Dumpty went straight to the top - booked a flight to the White House and was grant…

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Get Plugged In

I live in DEEP south Texas, just 10 minutes from the border wall, the Rio Grande River, and Mexico. I am far, far away from any other dulcimer players. I frequently cross the bridge over the Rio Grande River to enjoy all Mexico has to offer – the ambiance, the food, the inexpensive gift items. But as for the music, never have I ever heard another dulcimer player busking on the street. I am more likely to encounter Mariachi bands playing on the street corners, and live music in the restaurants.…

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My New Year's Resolution

There is a keyboard in my home as well as a hammered dulcimer set up on its stand, a mountain dulcimer, a guitar, a ukulele, and a pickin’ stick. None of these are packed up in their bags. They’re out on their stands because I always preach that you won’t practice unless your instrument is out and standing at attention, ready to be played.

The problem with this system is that, when someone comes into our home, they see all the instruments and expect a concert on demand. Aaaaaaarrrrrgh. I neve…

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Bloom

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by Linda Ratcliff

The first year I taught school, I put up a bulletin board for my 3rd graders with the quote, “Bloom Where You Are Planted.” I probably was thinking that was a nice Biblical scripture to put up in the parochial school where I was teaching, but then I learned that advice didn’t really come from the Bible. It was actually written by St. Francis de Sales who lived from 1567 to 1622, but it still holds true today.

This age-old tip encourages resilience. Let’s face it … sometimes…

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The Value of Partnership

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by Linda Ratcliff

My son has a new puppy, part Yorkie and part Dachshund (a Dorkie), called Tipper. And he already owned a black Lab named CJ (after the Jeep CJ-10). Those two dogs have become fast friends, and they have a new hobby - chasing squirrels. Now before Tipper arrived, CJ chased the squirrels alone, but they would run under the shed and the game was quickly over. But now the two work it like a team. When the squirrels run under shed, Tipper chases them back out. Game on!

Warming u…

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Be an OVERcomer!

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I get notes from folks now and then telling me that, due to physical challenges, they are thinking about packing up the dulcimer and putting it away. I can relate. I’ve told you, my vision is giving me problems … can’t seem to see the strings on my hammered dulcimer and rely mostly on muscle memory. In addition, after an accident this summer, I can’t stand to play very long at a time. Even sitting at my piano, I only last about 10-15 minutes before my back hurts too much.

Is it time to just giv…

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Creativity

I taught school for three years in a very small, parochial elementary school. The first two years, I had a combined classroom with 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders. But the next year, I was told I would be teaching the combined 6th, 7th, and 8th grade classroom.  OH. MY. GOODNESS.

First problem, I couldn’t use any of the materials I had developed that worked so well with the sweet middle graders. Second problem, they were TEENagers. Third problem, I needed to come up with some lessons and activities t…

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