Friday, March 18, 2011

Music making

All this morning, I tuned 17 dulcimers. I replaced strings and spruced them up. These student dulcimers have been at our school for several years now, and are showing signs of wear. I tuned my own humble dulcimer, the same model as the one the students use. The dulcimers waited in the appear until music class, and they were received by a very enthusiastic group of third and fourth graders. We journeyed through strumming, strumming together (very hard when you just want to play your dulcimer the whole time and pay no mind to that teacher) and played Go Tell Aunt Rhody and Old Joe Clark. What a beautiful, gentle instrument.
Blame it on spring, but music has, with exuberant joy, been reminding me of her beauty and necessity. First of all, the children in my classes have been finding the "sweet spot" in any music class: that point of being lost in the song, of making music together; harmony deeply felt. Second, the arrival of an eurythmist at our school is helping deepen my relationship to music, my body, and so many other things. And third of all, I get to sing at our school auction. I will get to sing all those corny, torch-y, jazz-y songs I love to sing.
In music classes, the children, according to their age, often push and struggle and strive and reach for the goal I have set for them. Whether playing an instrument or singing in parts, there is a time of introduction, a time of deepening and practice, and a time of mastery. Students in the struggle of learning sometimes do not see that at the end of all this trying, there is a sweet spot of real knowing. I think this is how life is too.
Old Joe Clark and Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most. Stringing dulcimers and stringing yarn. Singing needles and colored tones. Hand working and music playing.

1 comment:

  1. I recently read Home Made or some book like that, and one chapter was about making music. I have wanted to try the dulcimer ever since. I have a guitar but haven't figured out how to use it yet. The author's description of the dulcimer made it sound fairly easy to learn.
    Can you find dulcimers in Kentucky? (to purchase?)


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