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Kat and Kevin Yares

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My First Dulcimer

It's funny; I've wanted one of these little stringed instruments since I was a kid in the hills of East Tennessee. I always talked myself out of buying one for two reasons: the cost and lack of music ability (my 5th grade band teacher convinced me of that one). So it wasn't until a few months ago that while shopping at a local flea market, that I actually considered buying one. After all, it was only 25 dollars and if I couldn't learn to play it, I wouldn't be out that much.

Like most things, the first thing I did when I got home was look online for how to play the thing. Found a couple of books at PaperbackSwap and found the website Friends of the Mountain Dulcimer.
There are literally dozens of websites dedicated to the mountain, or Appalachian dulcimer, but FOTMD is hands down the best. Not for gathering "TAB" to play the instrument, but for convincing me that no matter how I played, I wasn't doing it wrong. My 'tin' ear didn't matter, that as long as my playing made ME happy, that was all that mattered.

Boosted by the confidence they gave me, I gingerly began to pick out Amazing Grace on the melody strings. Now I can play it using both just my fingers or using the wonderful brass noter that Kevin made me and a thumb pick. Working now on learning Let Me Call You Sweetheart, as we want that song to be background music in a scene of the one of the short films we made.

But mostly, I just love to play. My grandpa used to say that music soothed the soul and I now know exactly what he meant.  As I zip around the net, looking for "TAB" for this song or that, both modern and ancient, it is fun to place the dulcimer across my lap and just play.