Natural Talent vs. Hard Work

This article by Linda Ratcliff in Dulcimer Crossing is a very encouraging read for those who feel they have been left out of the talent thing. It certainly applies to many beginners on the mountain dulcimer, but it also applies to beginners on any instrument. Music did NOT come naturally to me! I had to work very, very hard and deliberately to learn rock and blues guitar when I was 13 or 14 years old. I had very little encouragement from my family and I had a very shaky sense of rhythm at the start. Playing along with some of the greats helped, but it was a long, hard struggle.

Now maybe music shouldn’t be a such a struggle, but there can be a confidence that comes from the right kind of training – and especially rhythmic training – so go ahead and read this and see if it helps:

Source: Natural Talent vs. Hard Work

Sarah Louise’s Cosmic Guitar

Bandcamp Daily

Sarah Louise

Finding inspiration in the woods and hills around her home in Asheville, North Carolina, 12-string guitarist Sarah Louise imbues her music with a free-flowing, organic quality. Her melodies snake through tributaries and counter-tributaries before building to swirling clusters of tone.

She’s not entirely alone out there. The “solo acoustic guitar” format has been enjoying a renaissance of late, with players like Daniel Bachman and Glenn Jones releasing quietly successful albums full of robust, fingerpicked compositions. Fingerstyle troubadours like Ryley Walker and Steve Gunn have taken the form overground, writing songs that pay homage to the patron saints of the genre: Bert Jansch, purveyor of the florid, left hand-focussed British style of folk baroque, and John Fahey, pioneer of the thoroughly rhythmic, right hand-focussed American Primitive genre. And, indeed, most modern practitioners of the genre tend to oscillate, to varying degrees, between those two figureheads. But Sarah Louise, who creates her…

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Kikagaku Moyo’s Journey to the Center of the Mind

This is some extremely interesting music…. talk about mesmerizing!!

Bandcamp Daily

Kikagaku Moyo

“The album paints a series of sound-pictures of nature in the mind’s eye. The artwork and the title are the platform from which you depart on this internal journey through the music.”—Go Kurosawa

Kikagaku Moyo—Japanese for ‘geometric patterns’—has built an international following over the last few years as part of a generation of new Japanese bands with a heavy psychedelic bent. Founded in the early 2010s by drummer Go Kurosawa and guitarist Tomo Katsurada, both of whom also sing, the quintet has issued a steady string of singles, albums and cassettes, and have also appeared stateside at events like Austin Psych Fest in 2014.

Their latest album, House in the Tall Grass, was released in May on their own Guruguru Brain label. We spoke with Kurosawa about the band’s recent activity.

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Building Some Dulcimers Again

Due to some extreme family pressures, it has been next to impossible to get any of my handmade dulcimers built. Now that seems so be changing some, in that I have a few instruments on hand, and I’m hoping I can continue in this rhythm for at least the next two or three months. Let me know if there is something you are interested in or if you’d like some pricing info — email is jcrockwell – the “at sign” – gmail.com (you know the deal- no spaces: everything run together)

North Carolina Hourglass (NCH model) with cherry back, sides, and fingerboard with spruce top. 26" nut-to-bridge string length

North Carolina Hourglass (NCH model) with cherry back, sides, and fingerboard with spruce top. 26″ nut-to-bridge string length

How to Create Chord Progressions That Grab an Audience’s Attention

this is one GREAT article! I got a killer 8-chord progression from tweaking one of the chorus progressions….

The Essential Secrets of Songwriting Blog

The progressions that really connect with audiences are the ones that fluctuate between fragile and strong.

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Struggling to build an audience base? “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” shows you every aspect of what makes a great song great. Read more..

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Keyboard, ear phonesA few days ago I wrote a post that dealt with differences between verse and chorus progressions. In this post, I want to give you some precise examples of how that all works. If you find that coming up with a set of chord progressions that works feels more like hit-or-miss than anything else, try thinking of your chords this way:

THE SONG:

Most songs focus on one chord as the tonic, or “home” chord, and overall, most of the progressions point to that tonic chord as being the most important one, a kind of musical anchor. With that in mind, however, different sections of the song will…

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On the way to Cranberry!

Mary and I are about to sample the splendor of at least two of the Finger Lakes near Penn Yan in upstate New York. Tomorrow we will arrive in Latham, NY for the 39th Cranberry Dulcimer and Autoharp Gathering. I will be teaching three workshops and also doing a featured concert set on Saturday night. If you are in the area, please check it out: it is a great festival with a long and wonderful history, and this year there are so many great workshop leaders:

2015 Cranberry Dulcimer & Autoharp Gathering